Recent financial and economic upheaval has stoked demand for strategic financial leaders with the global outlook, skills and knowledge to tackle increasingly complex problems. Businesses big and small need astute financial managers and are looking to candidates with a master’s in finance for their next crop of leaders.
The following online master’s in finance programs listed below provide working professionals access to premier instruction. These courses are as rigorous as on-campus programs and can be customized to fit any schedule. Most master’s in finance online programs develop leadership skills as part of instruction and students are groomed for management positions upon graduation. This broadly applicable and career-oriented degree is a great first-step for any serious financial professional seeking a leadership or management position.
Webster offered its first fully online MBA class in 1999, and the school boasts a low student to faculty ratio of 9:1. The finance program helps students understand financial modeling, mergers and acquisitions and financial business strategy. Teachers help students develop an "analytical perspective" as they learn to measure financial risk, design strategies to overcome risk, determine the value of financial assets and analyze corporate financial decisions. Students can prepare for CFA or CFP certification while studying entrepreneurial finance, capital budgeting or international finance.
The school adheres to a hybrid format where coursework is completed online and in-class (dependent upon student preference and scheduling restrictions). Webster’s students value the program’s class discussions, small class sizes, flexible scheduling options and faculty expertise.
Ranked #67 Best Online Graduate Business Program (excluding MBA) by U.S. News & World Report
Georgetown University prides itself on delivering the same "world-class education" to distance learners and on-campus students. The school’s online programs often have a lower student-teacher ratio than traditional classes (typically 11:1), fostering an interactive classroom and plenty of personal instruction. Professors use the latest online technology to deliver industry-specific knowledge in a personalized learning environment.
The 32-credit, 20-month online MS in finance is designed for working professionals seeking career advancement. Students learn to value stocks, bonds and derivatives while evaluating corporate investments, constructing efficient portfolios and estimating expected returns and risks. They also learn how markets work according to the Efficient Market Hypothesis and the Hypothesis of Behavioral Finance. A weeklong on-site residency is required, as is a capstone project.
Northeastern’s 30-credit program is ideal for students who already have experience in finance. Geared towards the working professional, students can specialize in corporate finance or investments. The degree is usually completed in 21 months, though accelerated 10, 12 and 16 month options are also available. All programs begin in the fall and CFA materials are integrated into the coursework.
Students develop a deeper knowledge of financial theories, reporting and markets, statistical analysis and management science while honing strong organizational, team and personal skills. Core courses include Financial Theory and Policy, Analysis of Financial Institutions and Markets, Financial Strategy, Investment Analysis, Portfolio Management, International Finance Management and Financial Risk Management.
Students can participate in the University’s 360 Huntington Fund
Ranked #17 Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA) by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #4 Up-and-Coming Schools by U.S. News & World Report
This 45-credit, 12-month online MBA in financial services helps students develop the managerial skills and industry expertise required to excel in business. The school emphasizes field-based learning and students should expect to test their knowledge in real-world situations throughout the curriculum. The program centers on strategic analysis, planning and implementation of business models, products, customers, market segments and geographical markets.
Students value Metropolitan’s discussion forums, research opportunities and the practical component of their coursework. The school offers specialized business accreditation from the ACBSP and a flexible degree path. Students have the opportunity to network with professionals through the school’s Business Advisory Board and student chapters of professional associations. Study abroad opportunities are also available.
Penn State’s World Campus opened in 1998 and it offers the same accredited programs found in Happy Valley. The university boasts a proud tradition of academic excellence; a recent survey in The Wall Street Journal found that recruiters ranked Penn State grads as the most well-prepared students for the working world.
Coursework in the 30-credit program focuses on practical business applications and advanced financial theory. Students learn about financial modeling, accounting, strategic financial decision-making, capital structure, valuation, multinational financial management and derivative securities. Those with work experience in finance or an academic background in business statistics, financial management or microeconomics are well-suited for the program.
Students prepare for careers as financial professionals or investment managers. Classes are asynchronous but everyone is required to complete a one-week on-campus residency at the Penn State Great Valley campus location in their fourth term.
Ranked #5 Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA) by U.S. News & World Report
Boston University Online is a recipient of the Sloan Consortium award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education, as well as the U.S. Distance Learning Association award for 21st Century Best Practices. The school’s 48-credit Master of Science in Banking and Financial Services Management degree combines instruction with an in-depth look at recent financial turmoil.
The program examines the causes and effects of previous market calamities, identifying past failures while developing students into diligent and ethical finance managers. Students build a foundation in management practices while preparing for a position in corporate finance, global markets or the financial services industry. Coursework addresses a wide-range of topics, including investments, managing cash, capital raising strategies and securities markets.
Ranked #9 Best Online Business Programs by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Ranked #42 National University by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Golden Gate University began its online program in 1993 and now offers 13 graduate degrees entirely online. The 45-credit online finance program provides in-depth technical training on the principles and practices of corporate finance and investment management. Students can concentrate in general finance, corporate finance or investment management.
Distance learners apply principles of valuation to major financial assets and securities, analyze financial statements, learn to evaluate risk and return, develop management strategies and to identify, evaluate and explain the financial decisions of corporations. Students value the professional focus, small class size and flexibility of the online format.
Located ten miles west of Boston, Bentley University’s nationally recognized business and online programs attract students from all over the world. The school’s online master’s in finance program was developed collaboratively with the corporate business community and combines an overview of math, economics and accounting with the theory and practice of finance. Students develop a deep understanding of financial theory and learn how to make informed decisions in business settings.
The CFA commends Bentley’s finance program for incorporating "at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge" into the curriculum, and recently welcomed the school into its University Recognition Program. Students benefit from flexible courses, hands-on experience, a strong alumni network, insight from business partners and recruiting and placement relationships with regional and national firms. Seventy-one percent of graduates find employment within three months, at an average starting salary of over $64,000.
Ranked #28 Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA) by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Ranked #6 Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Founded in 1881, Concordia University Wisconsin is a leading Lutheran University. The school’s 36-credit online MBA in Finance offers 13 concentrations where students can "learn business from a Christian perspective." Early instruction focuses on real estate investment, securities analysis and risk management. Over time, Concordia helps students develop the confidence, knowledge and experience required to make informed financial decisions in the modern economy.
Courses are taught by industry professionals and they prepare students for work in a variety of business positions. Key courses include Real Estate Investment, Risk Management and Insurance, Fraud Management, Financial Institution Management and Human Resources Management. Students complete a capstone project in their field of interest at the end of the program.
Ranked #61 Regional Universities West by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 N River Rd
A pioneer in distance learning, Southern New Hampshire University has offered online courses since 1996. The school is nationally renowned for its affordability, strong academic tradition, experienced faculty and small class sizes. SNHU’s online Master of Science in Finance prepares students to take the CFA Level 1 exam and the degree can be completed in just 15 months.
Students study investments, corporate finance, advanced economic theory and financial markets. Two finance concentrations are available: Corporate Finance and Investments and Securities. Core classes include Managerial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Fiscal and Monetary Policies and Practices, Financial Management and Quantitative Analysis for Decision Making. Graduates find work as managers in corporate finance, investment banking, financial management, securities firms and government.
Integrated educational experience available through the Center for Financial Studies
Winner "Best of Business" Award for Best MBA Program and Best Online Degree Program by the New Hampshire Business Review 2014
Gardner-Webb University is a private Baptist institution, and the school educates thousands of students through its distance learning programs. At this time, Gardner-Webb offers online classes to students in 41 states; check with the school to see if classes are available in your state.
The 36-credit online MBA program trains students for careers in administrative positions and prepares them to work in business. Students are encouraged to use their creativity in problem solving as they learn key concepts in business, accounting, economics, finance, marketing and many other subjects. The school helps learners build practical knowledge through internships, service opportunities, course projects and simulations and engagement with professional business leaders.
Ranked #34 Regional Universities South by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Ranked #74 Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News & World Report 2015
FIT’s 36-credit online MBA in Finance program prepares students for the dynamic world of global business and finance. The school roots coursework in the "case method approach," offering students a collaborative and hands-on education. Students engage in case study analysis and develop strategic cost management and financial management skills.
One core component of the program is FIT’s Essentials of Business Development class. The two-term course combines foundational skills with real world application as students develop a fully integrated business plan under faculty supervision. Students can specialize in Financial Markets and Institutions, Investment Management, Portfolio Analysis or Financial Management Policy. A Strategic Management capstone project is also required in the final term.
Ranked #103 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #173 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report
City-Seattle’s 48-credit online MBA emphasizes finance and prepares students for leadership positions across a range of business disciplines. Students learn to capitalize on economic trends, implement business strategies, promote social connections and apply theory and technology to practical situations.
The school tailors instruction to students seeking a career in large financial organizations, insurance companies, banks and brokerage houses. Key courses include Capital Formation and Corporate Management, Banking and the Movement of Capital, Equity Markets and Debt Instrument Management and Financial Management of Public and Not-for-Profit Organizations. The school also offers an internship program for students looking for practical experience prior to graduation.
Ranked #117 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
Highly regarded joint partnership with the Beijing University of Technology
New England College is a private liberal arts school in Henniker, New Hampshire. Founded in 1946, the school serves over 2,000 students with a 13:1 student-teacher ratio.
NEC’s MBA is intended for working professionals and can be completed in 20 months. The program’s distinguished faculty prepares future business leaders for the changing global business environment. Core courses include Organizational Leadership and Change, Managerial Accounting and Finance, Managerial Economics, Marketing Management and Strategic Planning and Policy.
Students value the accelerated and flexible course offerings. NEC offers core classes year round and students are encouraged to progress through the curriculum at their own pace.
Ranked #126 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
Tiffin’s online MBA in Finance program helps students expand their knowledge of local, national and international economies and competing markets. Students learn about stocks, bonds, commodities and investments as they prepare to work as financial managers in public and private corporations, banks, securities firms, nonprofits and investment firms. Most students in the program have ten years of relevant post-graduate work experience, and the school is proud of its diverse student body.
Instructors regularly update coursework, supplying distance learners with relevant material grounded in the development of leadership skills, teamwork, communication, managerial decision-making and problem solving. The curriculum includes courses in Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Business Research Analysis, Financial Markets and Institutions and a suite of management-based classes. Students value Tiffin’s supportive online community, listing it as the top reason for their success in school.
Accredited by the ACBSP and European Council for Business Education
Ranked #89 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
Founded in 1851, Saint Joseph’s serves over 9,000 students and educates under the Jesuit ideal of "cura personalis" (care for the whole person).
Saint Joseph’s online financial services program is accredited by both the AACSB and CFP Board. Designed for the working professional, instructors provide the theories and practical knowledge required for a career in financial planning services and financial analysis in a flexible online format. Students design their own schedules and can choose to take classes on either eight or 15 week semesters. Core focuses of the program include Financial Planning, Financial Analysis and Corporate Finance.
Ranked #11 Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Ranked #17 Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA) by U.S. News & World Report 2015
UMUC’s 66-credit online MBA/Master of Science in Financial Management dual degree program teaches students to apply their leadership skills to courses in business management. The MS Finance program addresses recent upheaval in global markets and helps students develop sophisticated financial management skills. Many faculty members actively participate in financial institutions or multinational corporations and their experience helps them base coursework in practical applications.
The school’s elective courses afford students an opportunity to tailor their schedules to suit their interests. Students at UMUC value the practical coursework, strong sense of community, flexibility and challenging academic environment. Distance learners should note that some classes may require on-site attendance in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Committed to helping working professionals advance their careers, Cal Lutheran launched the nation’s first online MBA in Financial Planning program in 2005. The 36-credit degree prepares capable managers with financial expertise to successfully lead in the business world. Students learn to integrate financial strategy and product market strategy, to define and measure asset and portfolio risk and to develop and implement capital and dividend policies.
Cal Lutheran offers several experiential learning opportunities to students, including internships with local companies, study abroad programs and co-work opportunities at the university’s Westlake Center. Students value the family-like community, networking opportunities and collaborative professional relationships they develop at school. Online courses are offered in five and eight week terms.
Ranked #15 Regional Universities West by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Ranked #3 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report 2015
Online MBA in Financial Planning program awarded Silver Category II: Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming by The U.S. Distance Learning Association 2007
Founded in 1971, California-based National University has offered online courses since 1996. National’s online MBA with a Specialization in Financial Management program provides a theoretical and conceptual framework for prospective financial managers. Students study growth and diversification policies, evaluation and management of securities portfolios, investment banking and merger strategies, analysis of foreign exchange rate movements and risk management.
Practical coursework is a foundation of the program. In one course, students are instructed to evaluate an institution’s financial situation and then recommend proper action based on their findings. Online learners also learn to assess capital structures and their impact, foreign exchange risk and the government’s impact on foreign exchange markets.
Accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
Ranked in Top 20 Accredited Online Education Programs in 2009 by Online Education Database (OEDb)
The University of St. Francis is a Catholic institution located in Joliet, IL. The institution boasts an esteemed online education program designed for working professionals: over 90% of students are already employed before enrolling in the online MBA program.
The 12-month online MBA with a concentration in finance prepares students to succeed in competitive business environments. Students learn the value chain of business, analytical thinking, leadership and decision-making skills and how to tackle global and competitive challenges.
St. Francis designs its curriculum to accommodate the interests and career paths of its students. Distance learners immediately delve into their concentration of choice and are taught by an experienced faculty with connections to financial institutions. Core classes include Entrepreneurship, Small Business Finance, Advanced Financial Management, International Finance and Derivatives Valuation.
Ranked #39 Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked # 117 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
The University of Saint Mary’s online MBA in Finance offers small class sizes and a strong professional network of Kansas City-based businesses. The school’s flexible course design and accelerated eight-week schedule enhances USM’s appeal to working students.
The program aims to develop effective leaders and managers grounded in the moral and ethical responsibilities of business management. Students learn to solve organizational problems, evaluate strategies and enhance business strategic advantages. Courses in finance include Advanced Financial Topics, Current Financial Trends, Financial and Capital Issues, Financial Decisions and Money and Banking.
Students value USM’s career enhancement opportunities, flexible scheduling, focused staff and strong student-faculty collaborative relationships.
Ranked #142 Best Online MBA Program by U.S. News & World Report
Sponsor of The Kansas City Mid America Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI)
The online business program at Colorado State's Global Campus has provided a first-class education to working adults since 2008. Distance learners work closely with experienced faculty members and have access to an unusually robust support network: students enjoy fixed tuition rates, 24-7 live tutoring, remote tech support, career services and library access.
The online finance program is designed with students’ individual career goals in mind and is fully customizable to work with any schedule. Core topics include financial management, analysis, auditing and accounting. Students learn to use the latest technology to create financial strategies, analyze financial risk and investments and to make effective financial decisions.
Davenport’s online MBA allows students to concentrate in finance and the degree is designed for working professionals seeking career advancement. The school’s expert faculty develops effective and wide-reaching managerial skills in students, ingraining a fundamental understanding of ethics and social responsibilities alongside traditional course material.
Core topics in the MBA program include management, human capital management, business law, organizational leadership, economics, accounting, quantitative business analysis, operations management, corporate finance, marketing and strategic management. The finance concentration requires an extra 12 to 15 credits of coursework beyond core MBA classes. The program culminates with a Capstone project.
National Louis University was founded in 1886 and has campuses in Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Poland. The school’s online MBA program distinguishes itself from other schools by rigorously focusing on effective leadership and classes are designed to challenge students to maximize their potential as leaders. Additionally, each class incorporates a “career corner” component demonstrating how effective leadership impacts class content in real world contexts.
Naturally, strategic management is the primary focus of coursework. Core classes include Graduate Management Foundations, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Ethical and Legal Issues, Managerial Economics, Managerial Accounting, Financial Management, International Management and Technology and Leadership. There is no specific concentration in Finance, though finance topics are included in the MBA core coursework.
Students value the focus on leadership, strong curriculum, course quality, accessible faculty and diversity of the student body. The program also offers flexible schedule options and relatively inexpensive tuition.
Oklahoma State’s online MBA program gives working professionals access to experienced faculty and an interactive curriculum. A separating characteristic of this MBA program is its teamwork focus: students seamlessly connect with classmates over OSU’s electronic tools and regularly collaborate on group projects and business presentations.
Administrators prefer applicants to have work experience before applying to this 42-credit program.
The school does not offer a finance concentration. Concentrations for the full-time MBA program include: Marketing Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Non-profit Management, Business Sustainability, Accounting, Risk Management, Economics, Information Assurance, Management Information Systems and Telecommunications Management.
AACSB International accreditation
Ranked #41 Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News & World Report
Financial managers play an important role in the workplace: institutions large and small depend on financial management to properly value assets, evaluate market trends and maintain ethical and moral standards. Furthermore, financial managers must be able to lead teams and organizations, communicate effectively with coworkers and support clients by providing sound financial advice.
What coursework do all master’s in finance curriculums typically have in common?
Schools structure their curriculum to include managerial components across courses in accounting, economics, investment, capital budgeting and much more. All schools implement practical projects and lectures into courses to help students acclimate to the professional business world. Most programs also include capstone projects and study abroad programs. As with other postsecondary programs, online master’s in finance programs require students to have completed a bachelor’s degree or to have relevant work experience before applying.
What competencies are emphasized most in a master’s in finance? How do those carry over to the working world?
Finance students develop a deep understanding of financial structures, investment strategies, research techniques, cash flows, asset management and financial statement analysis. They learn to incorporate this knowledge into sound financial plans while working in a team environment. By graduation, students are prepared to supervise staff, liaise with corporate managers, produce accurate reports and operate at the highest levels of ethical standards. They will also develop financial forecasting abilities, an essential skill that requires managers to make projections within certain constraints while synthesizing diverse sources of information.
What do earnings look like in the popular professions within the financial sector? What’s the future hold for such positions?
Financial managers typically have at least five years of work experience and earn, on average, $52.76 per hour or a median wage of $109,740 per year. Those entering the field will typically have lower salaries than experienced managers. There were over 500,000 financial manager jobs in 2012 and an average 9% job increase projected through 2022.
Financial managers almost always have previous experience in business and financial occupations, including positions as loan officers, accountants, auditors, securities sales agents or financial analysts. Job seekers should expect to face stiff competition for any position they apply to, as the number of applicants will typically exceed the number of available positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “candidates with a master’s degree or certification should enjoy the best job prospects.” Both the mean annual salaries for financial managers, across disciplines, and the salaries for the bottom 10% of the field are found below (as collected by the BLS in May 2014):
Committed, career-oriented finance students stand to benefit from master’s programs as they find their niche in the business community. A master’s in finance integrates leadership training with subfield exposure, ultimately preparing graduates to work in their field of expertise. Distance learning programs are more robust than ever, and those completing their degree online are just as prepared for the working world as students trained on campus.
The following resources consist of the foremost organizations, publications and people in the finance sector today. Explore each to get firmer footing as you begin your graduate education.