A Comprehensive Guide to an Online Finance Degree

Commonly defined as the science and discipline of money management, finance is a broad field with many specializations. The most well-known of these specializations are personal finance, corporate finance (e.g., accounting, risk management, and investment), nonprofit finance, and government and public finance (e.g., the financial health of states, counties, and departmental entities). These subfields encompass a variety of occupations (e.g., financial planning experts and loan officers) as well as institutions (e.g., banks and investment firms). Finance is a stable and lucrative field that is witnessing rapid job growth in many specialized areas. Earning an online finance degree is a convenient and affordable way to enhance your job prospects and marketability.

The Bureau of Labor statistics predicts that finance-related occupations will see rapid expansion in the coming decade; projections suggest an overall job growth rate of 10% for areas such as accounting, financial analysis, portfolio management, and auditing. As the demand for finance professionals grows, a greater number of individuals have turned to online finance degrees as a cost-effective way to enter into or advance within this industry.

Unlike accounting or business administration programs, a finance degree imparts broader skills in statement analysis, bookkeeping, investing, and other areas, which makes it an ideal choice for people interested in multiple areas of finance. Rather than focusing specifically on management theory or accounting skills, the curriculum of an online finance degree program prepares students for a variety of career paths.

projections suggest an overall job growth rate of 10% for areas such as accounting, financial analysis, portfolio management, and auditing

Many finance degree programs also offer areas of concentration, independent study options, and elective courses that present far-ranging opportunities for graduate and postgraduate study. The material covered in the curricula of most finance degree programs also prepare students for a number of certification exams; these certifications may be required to work in certain higher-ranking positions or to offer services to the public. For example, many programs address material covered on the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) test.

The first step in earning an online finance degree is finding a program that matches your academic and career goals. Prospective students should consider many variables. For example, how much time and money can you spend earning your degree? And do you have any previous college experience or transferable credits? It is also important to select an accredited college with a strong reputation for academic quality and value.

Depending on the degree you decide to pursue, you may need to complete general education coursework in addition to major-specific courses. Most undergraduate and master's programs also include a certain number of required elective courses, and some have an internship or experiential learning component.

As in most fields, a finance professional's salary correlates with how advanced their degree is. However, although the differences between levels of education and associated earnings can be sharp, each type of degree has its own benefits and presents different career paths. Many entry-level finance positions demand a bachelor's degree, but some require only a two-year degree.

An associate degree takes half the time to earn and can lead to job opportunities in areas such as claims adjustment, accounting, and management. The cost of earning an associate finance degree online is also considerably lower than that of a bachelor's degree.
Some students may benefit from a master's in finance, while others complete up to eight years of study to earn a doctoral degree in finance; these professionals take home considerably higher wages. The type of online finance degree you choose to pursue should align with your career and personal goals as well as your budgetary and time constraints.

Common Careers and Median Salaries for Finance Graduates by Degree
Associate Degree in Finance Finance Clerk $33,350
Bachelor's Degree in Finance Finance Associate $59,015
Master's Degree in Finance Senior Financial Analyst $79,052
Doctoral Degree in Finance Hedge Fund Manager $103,646

Associate Degree in Finance

An online finance associate degree is a relatively affordable, time-efficient way to acquire an understanding of foundational financial principles. Most associate degrees combine general education coursework with introductory classes in accounting, investing, and basic financial analysis. Students gain familiarity with some of the computer programs and software commonly used in accounting, statement analysis, and taxation. The majority of associate degree programs consist of around 60 credits and take two years to complete, although the accelerated nature of some web-based degrees may significantly reduce a program's duration. Cohort-based programs generally take longer to complete.

Because a bachelor's degree is the minimum credential required for many entry-level finance jobs, many students earn an associate degree as a step toward completing a four-year undergraduate program. Some institutions allow students to transfer general education and core course credits towards bachelor's programs; this can help learners save on tuition. In some instances, associate degree holders can find employment in investment or brokerage firms, banks, or marketing departments.

To apply to an associate program, prospective students usually need to provide a copy of their high school diploma or GED certificate. Some schools have certain GPA requirements, while others maintain open-door policies.

Example Courses:

Microeconomics

This course introduces the basic economic principles needed to understand a variety of financial concepts, including supply and demand, wealth distribution, market structure, and elasticity. Learners also gain a broad understanding of consumer behavior.

Introduction to Accounting

Using industry-standard accounting computer programs, students examine each step of the accounting cycle and its implications for business owners and investors.

Investments

This course provides a basic overview of fundamental investment concepts and strategies, such as risks and returns, portfolio selection, and stock analysis. Coursework also introduces investment alternatives, like mutual funds and bonds.

Financial Statement Analysis

Students learn to analyze and interpret financial data to determine an organization's financial health. Coursework covering fraud detection and competitor analysis may also be included.

Marketing

Presenting major principles of marketing, this course identifies the business strategies used to determine target demographics, drive sales, and build brand loyalty. Students also learn how to ethically apply these strategies in the corporate sphere.


Bachelor's Degree in Finance

Many high school graduates seeking the best online finance degree program to help them secure entry-level employment choose to enroll in a bachelor's program. Consisting of around 120 credit hours, the curriculum of a bachelor's degree in finance combines general education and liberal arts coursework with an in-depth look at important concepts in business and finance. While traditional bachelor's programs take four years to complete, online degree tracks may be shorter depending on the program format.

In an online bachelor's program, students gain the analytical and strategic skills needed to assume a variety of positions in the financial sector, from investment banking to estate planning. Undergraduate finance curricula vary considerably, and some programs offer concentrations or specialized tracks in areas such as supply chain management and portfolio management. Additionally, some schools offer a bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in finance; these programs focus on administrative skills and managerial theory within the field. A bachelor's degree in finance prepares graduates for a variety of roles in the arenas of business, management, and finance, and many graduates go on to pursue lucrative careers.

Although admissions requirements differ widely between schools, most programs expect applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED certificate, and most require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores.

Example Courses:

Corporate Finance

Students learn to analyze financial information and make business decisions based on their understanding of profit planning, financial risk and planning, dividend policies, and working capital.

Supply Chain Management

Coursework explores the principles and methodologies used by corporations to streamline operations across the supply chain from materials sourcing strategies and warehousing to distribution procedures.

Money and Banking

Taking a broad look at the role of financial institutions and money in society, this course offers foundational knowledge in areas such as money supply creation, monetary policies, and interest rates.

Investment and Portfolio Analysis

By examining case studies, learners gain the skills needed to evaluate assets, sources of investment information, and risks. They also learn to perform simple portfolio management tasks.

International Finance

This course introduces the structure and functions of foreign exchange and international capital markets, as well as the foreign trade financing methods and globalization strategies adopted by multinational corporations.


Master's Degree in Finance

Some bachelor's degree holders choose to further improve their marketability and gain a specialty by earning a master's degree in finance online. While most financial careers require a bachelor's degree, a master's can help job candidates stand out from their peers and acquire higher-level positions. Like many undergraduate programs, students can choose from a traditional master's in finance or a master's in business administration with a concentration in finance, which emphasizes managerial theories and skills. Both expand on a student's prior knowledge, introducing advanced concepts and allowing for a more in-depth exploration of specialized areas of study.

Students seeking a master's in finance degree online have numerous online program options to choose from, and each program has different admission and graduation requirements. While it usually takes between two and three years to complete a traditional graduate program, distance learners can finish web-based degrees in as little as one year. In addition to a bachelor's degree in finance or a related area, program applicants may need to hold some professional experience in the field. GRE or GMAT scores and professional letters of recommendation may also be required.

Example Courses:

Financial Market Analysis

Using financial theories, empirical evidence, and equilibrium models, students taking this class learn to analyze risk factors and the effects of government policies on market price determination.

Corporate Finance

Building on foundational concepts in finance, this course develops the competencies needed to make strategic financial decisions in a corporate context, including forecasting, advanced budgeting, and working capital management.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Exploring the strategic decision making involved in acquiring, evaluating, and funding new firms, coursework uses real examples to present a broad overview of the complicated acquisition and valuation process.

Risk Management

Students learn to quantify and manage large-scale financial risks as well as the relationship between risk, regulation, and insurance policies.

Options and Futures Markets

This course covers topics related to speculative markets, including the trading, valuation, computer analysis, and hedging procedures involved with investing in options and futures.


Doctoral Degree in Finance

Graduates of master's programs interested in teaching in postsecondary settings or pursuing high-level research positions may opt to earn a doctoral-level finance degree online. Learners choose from two types of doctoral degrees in finance: a Ph.D, which is research-based, and a DBA, which is a vocationally-focused professional degree. Both programs feature similar curricula and a dissertation or thesis component. Candidates must also pass a comprehensive exam before graduating. While details vary from school to school, most doctoral-level finance programs take four or five years to complete. Prospective doctoral candidates should have an extensive educational background in business or finance, including a master's degree earned with a competitive GPA.

Professionals who earn a doctoral degree in finance qualify to take on challenging executive roles, including those of controllers, financial managers, and chief financial officers. A Ph.D is typically required to teach in colleges and universities, and many graduates become professors or work in research-oriented fields or assume advanced consulting positions.

Example Courses:

Research Methods and Theories

Degree candidates explore a range of research and data collection methodologies used to conduct academic and business research at the doctoral level.

Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

Introducing common statistical tests and their role in research design, this course provides the tools needed to analyze and interpret quantitative data in an accurate and ethical manner.

Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

This course explores the theoretical and conceptual frameworks representative of qualitative research. Students learn about ethical data collection procedures and strategies for organizing and interpreting data. The class also features a qualitative study on a research topic.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar

Throughout the course of this seminar, doctoral candidates prepare to conduct independent research, develop a dissertation proposal, and create a progress plan as they exchange ideas with faculty and advisers.

Economic Analysis

Exploring advanced topics in microeconomics, such as consumer choice and equilibria in various types of markets, coursework equips students with the analytical tools needed to assess cost functions and supply curves.


Finance Concentrations and Specialties

Some online finance degrees feature concentrations or specialized academic tracks that allow students to explore a particular aspect of business or finance in depth. Many graduates choose to pursue one of the following specialized finance careers, often seeking a master's degree in finance online to acquire a deeper understanding of their focus area.

Actuarial Science

These professionals apply mathematical and statistical analysis methods to different areas of finance, such as risk assessment and insurance. Using stochastic modeling and probability theory, they measure variables to determine insurance premiums and high-risk financial areas.

Banking and Financial Services

Encompassing numerous areas such as accounting, personal financial advising, and stock brokerages, the financial services sector includes most jobs that involve money management and banking.

Financial Management

Financial managers develop organizational financial strategies that maximize profits while remaining within budget constraints. They analyze cash flow and help determine and realize a company's long-term financial goals.

International Finance

Relying heavily on economic principles, including foreign exchange and global financial systems, international finance experts examine political risks and market imperfections that affect international investments and trade agreements between multinational corporations.

Investment Management

These managers handle securities and assets in a way that meets investors' financial goals. They work with corporations and individuals to evaluate financial plans and manage portfolios to benefit their clients.

Personal Wealth Management

Personal wealth advisers work with private, high-net-worth clients to achieve financial goals and direct investments. Taking a holistic approach to financial management, they incorporate techniques from many subfields of finance, such as tax preparation and estate planning.


Median Salary For Finance Specialties
Actuary $83,641
Product Manager - Financial Services $91,132
Finance Manager $87,912
Investment Manager $93,273
Financial Adviser $58,636

Earning a finance degree online is a good first step toward securing employment. However, most individuals need to hold multiple licenses or certifications to find lucrative work in the field. While these credentials vary considerably according to a worker's position and state of employment, they typically involve additional continuing education coursework, successful completion of one or more exams, and registration with a regulatory agency. More information about licensure can be found at the websites of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): This credential qualifies its holders to offer accounting and tax preparation services to the public. Candidates must have one year of professional accounting experience and 150 semesters of college-level credits. They must also pass an exam. Licensure is granted by individual states, and additional requirements vary. Continuing education is necessary to retain licensure.
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): Centering on the "four E's" -- education, examination, experience, and ethics -- this standard-setting certification is intended for professionals with at least three years of work experience. Applicants who pass a comprehensive 10-hour exam must meet ongoing continuing education specifications to remain licensed.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): This highly respected credential requires four years of work experience, membership in the CFA institute, and successful completion of the CFA program. The three-part qualification exam covers numerous topics, including ethics, economics, and quantitative methods.
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): The ChFC certification process is unusual in that candidates do not need to pass a board-certified exam to earn certification. Instead, individuals complete an eight-course educational program that centers upon comprehensive financial planning topics that emphasize personal financial services. The core curriculum of this program is similar to that of the CFP program.
  • Registered Investment Adviser (RIA): An RIA is a firm or adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These firms/individuals operate according to certain fiduciary standards, adhere to certain principles regarding the disclosure of information to clients, and retain detailed documentation related to advising and investment practices.
  • Series 6 License: Individuals with a Series 6 license can sell insurance premiums, annuities, and mutual funds. Applicants must pass a four-part exam covering a range of topics in personal finance and industry regulations. Those who successfully pass the exam must register with the FINRA through a sponsoring firm.
  • Series 7 License: Like a Series 6 license, Series 7 licenses can be earned by FINRA members who pass a comprehensive exam. This standard-setting credential is a basic requirement for stockbrokers and registered representatives working in the securities industry. Holders may trade stocks, funds, and options.
  • Series 3 License: Awarded to those who complete the FINRA's National Commodities Futures Examination, this license allows holders to sell commodity futures contracts and options. Test takers have two hours and 30 minutes to complete the 120-question exam, which assesses a candidate's knowledge of regulations and market principles.

Standards of Care in the Finance Industry

Financial advisers and firms typically operate under either a suitability standard or a fiduciary standard. Under the suitability standard, advisers select products and plans that they determine are suitable for their clients. This allows advisers to promote their company's products, provide proprietary investment options, and earn higher commissions on sales. Alternatively, the fiduciary standard is determined by the Financial Planning Coalition and requires that advisers offer unbiased advice, only presenting options in the client's best interests, even if this leads to lower profits.

Demanding strong analytical skills and an eye for detail, jobs in finance can be rewarding and lucrative. Nearly every organization and individual requires the services of a financial professional at some point, and graduates with online finance degrees can take on a variety of roles. From jobs in fraud examination and portfolio management to academia, an online finance degree can lead to diverse career opportunities.

Financial Careers

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help corporations and individuals evaluate investment opportunities, recommending decisions based on a client's preferences and recent economic trends. Many of these professionals specialize in hedge funds, portfolio management, or risk analysis.

Personal Financial Adviser

Working with individuals instead of businesses, these advisers assist clients in developing long- and short-term financial plans, selecting investments, and saving for retirement. Some hold licenses enabling them to sell stocks, bonds, and insurance.

Financial Manager

The duties of a financial manager center on maintaining an organization's financial health. Responsibilities include investment activities, budgeting, and data analysis. These workers may also supervise senior managers.

Loan Officer

Loan officers evaluate applications and approve loans for businesses and individuals. Utilizing a process called underwriting, these professionals analyze applicants' financial information to determine their eligibility status.

Budget Analyst

Working in conjunction with project managers, these analysts review proposals and monitor spending to develop an appropriate budget for an organization. Some work in government settings and aid in passing budget-related laws.

Best Jobs for Finance Majors by Salary Potential
  Entry Level Mid-Career Experienced Late-Career
Vice President of Finance $116,000 $140,000 $159,000 $167,000
Director of Finance and Administration $73,000 $85,000 $96,000 $97,000
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) $94,000 $112,000 $144,000 $155,000
Senior Financial Analyst $76,000 $83,000 $86,000 $89,000
Investment Banker $93,000 $146,000 $148,000 $228,000
The Best States for Finance Careers
Click Here to View The Full List of States
State Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Alabama 1,420 $39.68 $82,530
Alaska 350 $47.17 $98,120
Arizona 6,380 $35.98 $74,840
Arkansas 910 $32.98 $68,590
California 34,100 $52.72 $109,650
Colorado 3,570 $53.84 $112,000
Connecticut 6,040 $50.43 $104,880
Delaware 3,570 $41.12 $85,530
Florida 10,990 $36.63 $76,190
Georgia 6,900 $38.08 $79,210
Hawaii 390 $34.90 $72,590
Idaho 420 $35.73 $74,320
Illinois 13,840 $46.32 $96,350
Indiana 2,530 $35.83 $74,530
Iowa 1,850 $37.86 $78,740
Kansas 1,180 $36.20 $75,290
Kentucky 1,300 $35.88 $74,620
Lousiana 820 $40.66 $84,580
Maine 420 $36.30 $75,510
Maryland 5,970 $47.17 $98,110
Massachusetts 13,700 $46.49 $96,700
Michigan 5,800 $38.58 $80,240
Minnesota 6,480 $42.38 $88,150
Mississippi 530 $37.05 $77,070
Missouri 3,730 $44.11 $91,740
Montana 160 $42.25 $87,890
Nebraska 2,050 $35.30 $73,420
Nevada 770 $32.70 $68,020
New Hampshire No Data $37.46 $77,930
New Jersey 7,960 $48.29 $100,430
New Mexico 580 $38.15 $79,350
New York 49,050 $62.33 $129,640
North Carolina 7,720 $42.17 $87,710
North Dakota 280 $36.10 $75,090
Ohio 8,850 $37.53 $78,060
Oklahoma 1,510 $35.94 $74,760
Oregon 2,380 $43.19 $89,840
Pennsylvania 10,830 $40.81 $84,880
Rhode Island 1,070 $37.37 $77,730
South Carolina 1,650 $34.35 $71,450
South Dakota 500 $33.81 $70,330
Tennessee 3,690 $36.14 $75,170
Texas 23,710 $44.67 $92,920
Utah 2,170 $38.22 $79,490
Vermont 170 $44.60 $92,780
Virginia No Data $44.50 $92,570
Washington 5,740 $39.11 $81,340
West Virginia 370 $31.57 $65,660
Wisconsin 4,460 $37.52 $78,050
Wyoming 90 No Data No Data

Dean Myerow Las Olas Wealth Management, NatAlliance Securities LLC

Dean Myerow of Las Olas Wealth Management of NatAlliance Securities LLC has been a municipal bond portfolio manager for 25 years. Dean earned a BBA in Finance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Juris Doctor from the University Of Miami School Of Law. Dean started his own broker dealer in 1998, grew the firm into a national footprint and sold it to BBT Bank, one of the largest US banks. He spent nearly a decade running the bond trading and portfolio management for BBT's Private Client Group. Today, Dean manages money for high net worth individuals, institutional clients, and family offices from South Florida. He is the father of 3 teenagers and enjoys walking his goldendoodles on Fort Lauderdale Beach with his wife of 23 years.

Describe the range of services you provide to your clients.

I specialize in wealth preservation through high quality municipal bond investments.

What is your investment philosophy?

Our investment strategy is value oriented and seeks to uncover undervalued bonds to enhance client portfolio yields and maintain asset quality. I seek to invest client assets in stable bonds that provide consistent income that is generally tax exempt at the Federal level.

Are you a fiduciary? How important is the fiduciary duty for financial advisers and their clients?

I am not a fiduciary, however I make certain that the recommendations that I make are always in my client's best interest. I am not selling complicated products or strategies.

What skills are essential to financial advising?

A good understanding of financial markets is a must. You must also be able to obtain the information you need about your clients, which they may not be so comfortable disclosing. So it is your job to make them comfortable, because without that information your can't do your job, which is all about making suitable recommendations for each and every client.

How much contact do you have with your clients?

I am in continuous contact with our organization's clients, and by being proactive we are able to present investment opportunities as they arise and also confer with our clients if their investment needs and parameters have changed.

Is it important to choose a finance specialty? What tips do you have for students who aren't sure which focus they would like best?

It is not essential to pick a specialty within finance, a general finance education is helpful. I do also believe that an accounting background is important to aid in the understanding of financial statements behind company's stocks or issuer's bonds that one recommends to his or her client.

What makes financial advising an exciting career opportunity right now?

Being a financial advisor can be a gratifying career. Just knowing that you are helping clients reach their financial goals whether that is retirement or sending children off to college, makes it exciting. And using the newest technologies combined with learned skills makes it fun.

What does continuing education look like for you?

Continuing education could be looked at as only a FINRA requirement. For me it is more; it is a constant quest for information that will keep me on top of changes - structural, political, technological or other - that affect the municipal bond market.

What software do you think every finance adviser should learn?

Most veterans in the industry depending on their role should have familiarity with Bloomberg. Knowing Excel is a must-it has been around for a long time and used properly it can help solve lots of quantitative questions.

How important is networking and what are some easy ways to stay connected to other financial advisers in your community?

Networking is extremely important. It is a way to keep up on what your peers in the industry are doing. What practices they are adopting, how they are adjusting to changes in investor thinking, how they are adjusting to changes in the industry as a whole. It is very important to have connections throughout the industry to see others views on how changes are affecting advisors. These men and women are your competition, but they can also be an asset and source of information. Join as many professional organizations as you can, and participate as much as your schedule will allow. The thing about networking is you may not leave a dinner with a new piece of business, but the payoff may come further down the road when you least expect it.

How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements and technology in the finance world?

Read, Read, Read. I spend an enormous amount of my free time reading any source of news I can get my hands on. Also, do not curate your news sources so specific to what we do that you miss broader indications of change. You never know when something Google (or others) is working on will have an implication on financial advice. So keep your reach broad.

What are some practical tips to prepare for an interview?

Be yourself, don't pretend that you know more than you do, and show a willingness to learn and demonstrate to an interviewer that you possess those learning skills.

Scholarships represent one of the best ways to help pay for an online finance degree, and finance majors at every stage of their education have many scholarship opportunities from which to choose. The list below contains a few of the major-specific scholarships available to students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability or financial need.

Finance Scholarships for Associate Degree Students

Brandes Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Students between the ages of 18 and 22 who complete an online quiz and a series of essays related to investing.
Amount: $4,000

Coca-Cola Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Current high school seniors in the U.S. who intend to enroll at an accredited institution.
Amount: $20,000

Horatio Alger Fund Career & Technical Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens under the age of 30 who intend to pursue a two-year degree at an accredited institution. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have proof of a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Amount: $2,500

NSA Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Accounting majors attending an accredited two- or four-year program. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0.
Amount: $500-2,000


Finance Scholarships for Bachelor's Degree Students

Paul S. Mills Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens enrolled as full- or part-time students in a university program related to financial services. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need.
Amount: $1,000

TD Ameritrade NextGen Scholarship

Who Can Apply: College freshmen, sophomores, or juniors enrolled in a four-year financial planning degree program. Students must maintain good academic standing.
Amount: $5,000

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Full-time undergraduates seeking a degree in business, accounting, finance, or criminal justice. Applicants should be interested in a career related to fraud examination.
Amount: $1,000-10,000

Rick Guggolz Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Sophomores enrolled full time in a business or finance-related degree program with a GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants must intend to pursue a career in the insurance field.
Amount: $1,500


Finance Scholarships for Master's Degree Students

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Part-time graduate students with two or more years of employment experience in a state or local government setting. Applicants must obtain a recommendation from their employer.
Amount: $10,000

Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Minority students enrolled in a business, finance, political science, or related graduate program who have been recommended by an academic adviser.
Amount: $8,000

Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time graduate students preparing for careers in government finance.
Amount: $15,000

AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a non-business field and intend to pursue a graduate degree in finance. Applicants must also intended to obtain CPA certification.
Amount: $5,000


Finance Scholarships for Doctoral Degree Students

HIckman Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Full-time students enrolled in or applying to a doctoral program in actuarial science or a related field. Applicants must hold a fellowship-level actuarial credential or be members of an actuarial organization. They must also have passed at least two actuarial exams.
Amount: $80,000

NBMBAA Doctoral Scholarship

Who Can Apply: African-American doctoral candidates enrolled full time in an Atlanta-area AACSB-accredited institution. Applicants should hold a 3.0 GPA or better and be a member of NBMBAA Atlanta. They must also complete an essay and an interview.
Amount: $2,500

AICPA Fellowship for Minority Doctoral Students

Who Can Apply: Minority students enrolled in or preparing to enter a full-time doctoral program. Candidates must be pursuing a CPA credential, hold a master's degree or three years of work experience in accounting, and agree to refrain from working full time during the school year while pursuing their degree.
Amount: $12,000

EFWA Postgraduate Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Women pursuing a Ph.D in accounting who demonstrate exceptional scholarship abilities, community engagement, or financial need.
Amount: $1,000-5,000


General Guides

  • Careers for Finance Majors: Learn more about your career options when you earn a degree in finance. Our guide covers the job skills you will develop, the minimum requirements for the most common jobs in finance, and alternative careers for those with an educational background in the field.
  • Finance Resources: We have compiled a collection of the best academic journals, websites, and open courses available to those in finance.

Finance Software for Students

Many fields rely on industry-standard software to increase efficiency and maximize profits, and the finance sector is no exception. Finance professionals use the following software packages during day-to-day operations. Students pursuing an education in finance will likely encounter one or more of these while earning their degrees.

  • MoneyGuidePro: This web-based financial planning program allows financial advisers and their clients to collaborate remotely on risk assessments, budgets, retirement goals, and other financial plans.
  • emX Pro: Featuring a client portal, analytics, an interactive cash flow planner, and a digital advice platform, this wealth management program is one of the most comprehensive financial tech packages.
  • TOTAL (Money Tree): Money Tree Software is a simple and intuitive financial planning program that lets clients upload information, ask questions through an interactive platform, and compare their adviser's suggestions on side-by-side charts.
  • NaviPlan: Known for its versatility and ability to meet the needs of ultra-high-net-worth clients, NaviPlan is used for everything from tax analysis and estate planning to creating complex modeling scenarios.
  • Advizr: This financial planning platform comes in versions developed for both independent advisers and large firms. Both versions feature budgeting tools, progress tracking, and advanced planning technologies.

Professional Finance Organizations

Membership in a professional finance organization can boost your resume and make it easier to fund an online finance degree, earn certifications, and develop a worldwide professional network. Many professional associations offer student members exclusive scholarship opportunities, educational resources, and mentoring programs. These organizations also provide the chance to connect with other finance students, employers, and industry leaders through conferences and seminars, discussion forums, and local chapter meetings. The following list contains three respected professional finance organizations that offer several benefits to members at any stage of their careers.

  • Association for Finance Professionals: Committed to the advancement of finance professionals, this organization offers its members access to an extensive digital library, virtual seminars, exclusive job boards, and certification opportunities.
  • American Finance Association: AFA members can expand their professional network by attending conferences and seminars, publish papers in the association's Journal of Finance, and explore global career opportunities in finance and academia.
  • National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors: Promoting ethical conduct and high professional standards, this association provides members with several continuing education and professional development resources in the form of webinars, workshops, and online courses.

2018 Accredited Programs

Top Graduate Certificate in Finance
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Harvard University MA Graduate Certificate in Corporate Finance $14,376
2 Boston University MA Graduate Certificate in Financial Management $30,047
3 Colorado State University-Fort Collins CO Graduate Certificate in Finance $15,747
4 Stony Brook University NY Advanced Graduate Certificate in Finance $14,860
5 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus PA Graduate Certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management $24,329
6 Golden Gate University-San Francisco CA Graduate Certificate in Finance $32,178
7 City University of Seattle WA Graduate Certificate in Finance $15,000
8 Arizona State University-West AZ Graduate Certificate in Global Finance $10,124
9 Southern New Hampshire University NH Graduate Certificate in Finance $29,195
10 SUNY Empire State College NY Graduate Certificate in Global Finance and Investment $15,470
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Top Associate in Finance
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Davenport University MI Associate of Business Administration - Finance $15,914
2 North Hennepin Community College MN Associate of Applied Science in Finance Management $14,986
3 Franklin University OH Associate of Science in Financial Management $21,927
4 Columbus State Community College OH Finance Associate of Applied Science $5,168
5 Northwest Arkansas Community College AR Associate of Applied Science in Business Management - Banking and Finance $5,239
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Top Bachelor's in Finance
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Northeastern University Global Network MA B.S. in in Finance and Accounting Management $27,107
2 Florida International University FL BBA in Finance $12,543
3 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus PA B.S. in Finance $25,498
4 Old Dominion University VA B.B.S. in Finance $12,925
5 Thomas Edison State University NJ BSBA in Finance $13,155
6 Southern New Hampshire University NH B.S. in Finance $29,195
7 University of Maryland-University College MD Bachelor's in Finance $10,558
8 Regis University CO B.S. in Finance $23,390
9 Missouri State University-Springfield MO B.S. in Finance $14,585
10 Dallas Baptist University TX B.B.S. in Finance $23,019
11 Dickinson State University ND B.S. in Finance $10,592
12 University of Alabama at Birmingham AL B.S. in Finance $15,296
13 Columbia College MO B.B.A and B.B.S in Finance $10,626
14 Northwood University-Michigan MI BBA in Finance $19,137
15 University of Houston-Clear Lake TX B.S. in Finance $12,270
16 National University CA B.S. in Financial Management $24,924
17 Davenport University MI BBA in Finance $18,186
18 University of Houston-Downtown TX BBA in Finance $10,302
19 DeSales University PA B.S. in Finance $25,466
20 University of Minnesota-Crookston MN B.S. in Finance $13,472
21 Granite State College NH B.S. in Finance/ Accounting $14,681
22 Franklin University OH Bachelors in Financial Planning or Financial Management $21,927
23 Upper Iowa University IA B.S. in Financial Management $18,993
24 Metropolitan State University MN B.S. in Finance $15,722
25 SUNY College of Technology at Canton NY BBA in Finance $14,313
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Top MBA in Finance
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC MBA in Corproate Finance $10,077
2 University of Florida FL MBA in Finance $14,761
3 Babson College MA MBA in Finance $27,453
4 Touro University Worldwide CA MBA in Finance $10,572
5 Lehigh University PA MBA in Finance $27,478
6 Johns Hopkins University MD MBA in Financial Businesses $27,352
7 North Carolina State University at Raleigh NC MBA with Finance Certificate $13,066
8 University of Maryland-College Park MD MBA in Finance $15,757
9 George Washington University DC MBA in Finance $39,562
10 Carnegie Mellon University PA MBA in Finance $35,250
11 The University of Texas at Dallas TX MBA in Finance $10,254
12 Northeastern University MA MBA in Finance $29,998
13 Golden Gate University-San Francisco CA MBA in Finance $15,184
14 Villanova University PA MBA in Finance $33,270
15 Johnson & Wales University-Online RI MBA in Finance $8,871
16 Stevens Institute of Technology NJ MBA in Finance $37,168
17 Mississippi College MS MBA in Finance $16,804
18 University of Houston-Clear Lake TX MBA in Finance $11,628
19 Webster University MO MBA in Finance $24,717
20 University of Miami FL MBA in Corporate Finance $37,424
21 Colorado State University-Fort Collins CO MBA in Finance $16,232
22 American University DC MBA in Finance $31,758
23 New Jersey Institute of Technology NJ MBA in Finance $15,406
24 Syracuse University NY MBA in Finance $31,823
25 University of Alabama at Birmingham AL MBA in Finance $16,092
26 Nova Southeastern University FL MBA in Finance $25,344
27 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus CO MBA in Finance $13,751
28 Pepperdine University CA MBA in Finance $39,637
29 University of St Francis IL MBA in Finance $17,968
30 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus PA MBA in Finance $25,055
31 University of Delaware DE MBA in Finance $15,894
32 University of Dallas TX MBA in Finance $25,197
33 Azusa Pacific University CA MBA in Finance $28,506
34 East Carolina University NC MBA with Financial Certificate $12,817
35 Mercer University GA MBA in Finance $20,692
36 Regis University CO MBA in Finance $26,505
37 Temple University PA MBA in Finance $21,237
38 Brandman University CA MBA in Finance $20,087
39 California State University-Dominguez Hills CA MBA in Finance $3,297
40 Dallas Baptist University TX MBA in Finance $24,669
41 University of Kansas KS MBA in Finance $18,014
42 Missouri State University-Springfield MO MBA in Finance $14,862
43 University of Nebraska-Lincoln NE MBA in Finance $16,462
44 Lindenwood University MO MBA in Finance $22,183
45 Samford University AL MBA in Finance $29,544
46 California Lutheran University CA MBA in Finance $29,038
47 University of North Texas TX MBA in Finance $10,424
48 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus OH MBA in Finance $19,978
49 University of Saint Mary KS MBA in Finance $19,455
50 Saint Joseph's University PA MBA in Finance $36,058
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Top Master's in Finance
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Harvard University MA Master in Finance $16,205
2 Georgetown University DC Master of Science in Finance $35,147
3 Colorado State University-Global Campus CO Master of Finance $27,453
4 Columbia University in the City of New York NY Master of Science in Operations Research - Methods in Finance $11,628
5 Boston University MA Master of Science in Financial Management $13,066
6 Northeastern University MA Master of Science in Finance $12,817
7 University of Miami FL Master of Science in Finance $11,693
8 Auburn University AL Master of Science in Finance $10,077
9 Golden Gate University-San Francisco CA MBA, Finance & Master of Science in Finance $15,757
10 Brenau University GA Master of Business Administration in Finance $15,945
11 University of Maryland-College Park MD Master of Business Administration in Finance $24,669
12 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus PA Master of Finance $39,637
13 Saint Joseph's University PA Master of Science in Financial Services $15,406
14 University of Delaware DE Master of Business Administration with Concentration in Finance $16,804
15 Texas A & M International University TX Master in Business Administration with a concentration in International Banking and Finance $31,823
16 University of Houston-Clear Lake TX Master of Science in Finance $25,197
17 Drexel University CA Master of Science In Finance $16,010
18 Loyola University Chicago IL Master of Science in Finance $10,254
19 Dallas Baptist University TX Master of Business Administration in Finance Concentration $16,683
20 Indiana University-Bloomington IN Master of Science in Finance $27,478
21 Virginia International University VA Master of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in International Finance $17,550
22 University of San Francisco CA Master of Science in Financial Analysis $15,411
23 California Lutheran University CA MBA in Financial Planning $29,038
24 Texas A&M University-Commerce TX Master of Science in Finance $15,095
25 Webster University MO Master of Science in Finance $24,717
26 Florida Institute of Technology-Online FL MBA Accounting & Finance $16,128
27 Bellevue University NE Master of Science in Strategic Finance $14,761
28 Mercy College NY Master of Business Administration with concentration in Finance $33,270
29 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin FL Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance $18,032
30 University of Massachusetts-Lowell MA Master in Business Administration with concentration in Finance $15,894
31 Mississippi College MS Master of Business Administration Finance Focus $16,804
32 Northwood University MI Master of Science in Finance $16,506
33 Middle Tennessee State University TN Master of Science in Finance $31,758
34 Suffolk University MA MBA (Finance Focus) $12,621
35 University of Scranton PA Master of Science in Finance $16,232
36 West Texas A&M University TX Master of Science in Finance and Economics $28,506
37 Southern New Hampshire University NH MS Corporate Finance & MS Finance - Investment and Securities $19,913
38 University of Louisiana at Lafayette LA Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance $31,539
39 National University CA MBA (specialization in Financial Management) $22,377
40 Loyola University Maryland MD Master of Science in Finance $24,717
41 University of Michigan-Dearborn MI Master of Science in Finance $20,133
42 University of Saint Mary KS Master of Business Administration (Finance Concentration) $19,455
43 Pace University-New York NY Master of Science in Finance for Professionals $16,242
44 Louisiana State University-Shreveport LA Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance $11,160
45 SUNY Empire State College NY Master of Science in Finance $35,250
46 Concordia University-Wisconsin WI MBA in Finance $25,764
47 Clarion University of Pennsylvania PA Master of Business Administration with Concentration in Finance $27,352
48 Upper Iowa University IA MBA (emphasis in Corporate Financial Management) $23,405
49 Charleston Southern University SC MBA, Finance $15,709
50 Davenport University MI MBA, with Finance Certificate $16,742
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