Master’s in Finance Programs in District of Columbia
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Understanding Master’s Programs in Finance
Pursuing a master's degree in finance may be a great way to earn the credentials necessary to pursue a career path in the finance industry or a related field.
This guide provides an overview of the benefits, career opportunities, academic requirements, factors to consider when choosing a program, and potential funding options.
Find Master's in Finance Programs
What is a Master’s in Finance?
Master’s in finance degrees are designed to provide students with high-level financial knowledge and skills necessary to manage and grow an organization’s assets.
These quantitative career-focused graduate programs typically cover topics such as financial reporting and planning, investing analysis, corporate finance, risk management, and markets and valuation.
Two common types of master’s degrees in finance include:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance: These programs tend to be broader in scope to help establish a foundation of business knowledge and financial concepts and strategy.
- Master of Science in Finance (MSF):These degrees are typically more narrowly focused on discipline-specific areas such as financial theory, financial reporting, statistical analysis, and more.
Popular Schools with Master’s in Finance
Who should consider a Master’s in Finance?
An MSF degree may be a good option if you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in finance or a similar field such as economics, accounting, or business but you’re interested in gaining the technical skills and knowledge to pursue higher-level roles in the field.
Some master’s in finance programs are designed for students straight out of undergrad, while others are more suited for those who have some professional experience.
Because the focus on different programs may vary, we recommend that you consider your experience level and career goals when narrowing down your options.
Potential Career Paths for Master’s Graduates in Finance
Earning a master’s degree may help you build the competencies and qualifications to gain a competitive advantage in the financial job market.
Although the minimum education required for a financial management position is typically a bachelor’s degree and five or more years of experience in a business or financial occupation , some employers may prefer job candidates with a graduate-level degree.
Below are four examples of some of the career paths that you may pursue once you graduate from a master’s in finance program.
The term financial manager encompasses a variety of roles, including risk managers, credit managers, treasurers, controllers, and chief financial officers (CFOs).
These professionals may work in a variety of industries, including investment firms, insurance companies, and banks.
Although specific duties vary by position, financial managers are responsible for forecasting, reporting, directing investments, and creating strategies to meet the long-term financial goals of organizations.
2022 median annual salary: $139,7901
Job growth, 2022–2032: 16% (much faster than average)1
Financial analysts assess the performance of bonds, stocks and other investments and advise individuals and businesses to help generate profit.
Different types of financial analyst roles include fund managers, financial risk specialists, portfolio managers, ratings analysts, and securities analysts.
By-side analysts may create investment strategies for large institutional investors such as hedge funds, independent money managers, insurance firms, and private equity firms.
And sell-side analysts typically advise financial services agents who sell investments.
2022median annual salary: $96,2202
Job growth, 2022–2032: 8% (faster than average)2
Auditors, or financial examiners, help ensure that banks and other financial institutions comply with current laws. They may review balance sheets and expense accounts, evaluate the risk level for loans, and analyze institutional management.
Auditors in risk assessment evaluate the health of financial institutions and put procedures into place to help ensure the stability of the overall financial system.
Compliance examiners work to ensure that borrowers are not discriminated against or fall victim to predatory loans.
2022 median annual salary: $78,0003
Job growth, 2022–2032: 4% (much faster than average)3
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors assess the needs of individual clients and create a financial plan for investments, taxes, mortgages, insurance, retirement, or estate purposes.
Advisors discuss short and long-term goals for their clients, such as setting aside funds for college expenses or purchasing stocks and bonds for retirement, and then invest money based on these decisions.
Some financial advisors may choose to focus on areas such as risk management or retirement planning, but most typically offer comprehensive guidance.
2022 median annual salary: $95,3904
Job growth, 2022–2032: 13% (much faster than average)4
Admission Requirements for Master’s Programs in Finance
The admission requirements for master’s programs in finance may vary by school and program, so it’s important to do your research before you apply.
Many graduate-level finance programs require that you’ve earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
In some cases, this degree may need to be in finance or a related field. Other programs may list specific course perquisites that you must meet to be considered.
You typically need to include all of your official transcripts as part of your application.
Standardized test scores
Some grad schools may request that you submit GRE or GMAT scores (and meet specific score requirements in quantitative reasoning or verbal skills).
Be sure to give yourself time to study for and take standardized tests well in advance of admissions deadlines.
While it’s not the case for all master’s programs, certain schools may require that you have previous professional experience in finance or business. As such, you’ll usually need to provide a current resume that highlights relevant work history with your application.
Statement of purpose
You may be required to write a statement of purpose or personal essay that details the reasons that you want to study finance, why you’re well-suited to the program, and how you plan to use your master’s degree once you graduate. Try to be concise, write with clarity, and proofread carefully before you make your submission.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Master’s Program in Finance
Below is a list of key factors to consider when deciding on a master’s program in finance.
Program reputation and ranking
Researching the reputation and ranking of the master’s programs that you’re interested in is a good way to narrow down your options.
The U.S. News and World Report ranks business graduate schools for finance by comparing career placement success, student excellence, and analytical assessment by experts. You may also review ranked online master’s program in finance here.
Curriculum and course offerings
Master of finance programs may cover a wide range of coursework depending on the type of program, the level of experience required from students, whether it includes subject area concentrations, and whether it is focused on a specific career outcome.
Consider all of these aspects to help you choose the options that most align with your experience, interests, and goals.
Student support resources
Student support resources to look for include mentorship programs, internship or research opportunities, academic support and tutoring, career services, and technical support if you plan on earning your degree online.
Program delivery format
If you’re continuing to work while earning your degree—or you have family or other personal obligations that prevent you from re-locating—you may want to focus specifically on online master’s in finance programs.
If you’re open to moving and studying on campus, then look into traditional graduate schools or hybrid program options. Research potential job opportunities and cost of living when considering different locations.
Funding Options for Master’s Programs in Finance
There may be several funding options available to help ease the burden of tuition costs for your master’s in finance program.
Scholarships, grants, and fellowships
Scholarships, grants, and fellowships typically don’t need to be repaid, making them ideal options to help finance your education.
These merit-based awards may be offered by schools, government agencies, or private organizations and are usually based on financial need or academic achievement.
Student loans and financial aid
Government or private student loans may be another option to help cover your tuition costs.
The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether you qualify for federal assistance.
Interest rates and repayment obligations vary, so it’s important to closely review the terms and conditions of different loan options.
Employer sponsorship and tuition reimbursement
If you’re currently employed, look into whether your company is willing to cover a portion of your graduate school costs through tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance.
Be ready to explain how continuing your education could enhance your skills and knowledge and help you excel in your current (or future) position.
GradSchools.com Offers 2 Master's Degree in Finance in District of Columbia
Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Accessed 7/10/2023.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.
Wake Forest University
Grand Canyon University
University of The District Of Columbia
The George Washington University