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Throughout the corporate and nonprofit sectors, organizations depend on well-qualified financial experts. The demand for professionals to manage the corporate bottom line and globalization trends have generated the need for experts in financial engineering, financial analysts, management online accounting programs, and personal financial advising. Each specialty is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 17 percent from 2018 to 2028 for Financial Managers and a 7 percent increase in openings for Personal Financial Advisors. If you already have a bachelor’s degree then earning an Online Master’s in Finance degree can effectively change the trajectory of your working life. But which programs and specialties are right for you? This comprehensive guide walks you through the range of options available online, ranks the best and most-affordable master’s programs, and provides a resource for financial scholarships, professional associations, and required licenses and certifications and what it takes for online students to succeed in this program.
www.onlinemasterscolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.
SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.
15 Most Affordable Master’s in Finance Programs 2023
To create the list of the most affordable master’s in finance degree programs, our methodology determined these rankings based on the key factors that most concern students. We took into consideration the tuition rates (in- and out-of-state), year-round availability of online classes, school accreditation, scholarships and grants, and more. Based on those criteria we collated the list below.
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Here are the top 15 master’s in finance degree programs for 2023. Our custom mathematical formula crunched numbers to determine the academic quality of each program. Universities were compared based on graduation and employment rates, the strength of the finance curriculum, faculty excellence, affordability, year-round classes, accreditation and other factors.
Understanding an Online Master’s in Finance Program
Applicants to a master’s in finance program must match their career goals to the precise degree options available at the university. Students should pick their concentration per their aptitude in their bachelor’s degree programs. To that end, the following sections address the seven specializations commonly offered online and the curriculum. Learn the professional career roles and skills required for proficiency in the field. Potential students can also evaluate the admission requirements, including whether they’ll need to take the GMAT.
Who Should Be Doing a Master’s in Finance
Students having aptitude in numbers with a good quantitative and qualitative aptitude should opt for this graduate program. Also, students would need good mathematical and analytical skills for doing well in this field of profession.
Common Specializations for an Online Master’s in Finance
Graduate students can earn a generalist master’s in finance. Programs also offer concentrations or focus options for those aspiring to work in particular disciplines. Students should pick their concentration per their aptitude in their bachelor’s degree programs. Options are available in niches such as financial engineering, financial planning, financial analysis, finance mathematics, public finance, global finance, and corporate finance. Here are some popular concentrations, schools that offer the programs, and careers that graduates can pursue.
Area of Focus
Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Financial engineers perform rigorous quantitative analysis, employing mathematical techniques to solve institutional financial problems. They test tools used by banks, insurance firms, asset management companies, and hedge funds to assist with derivatives trading and speculation vehicles. These engineers provide options for financial intuitions to make profits. These roles are highly paid, but they demand a huge return of investment for the companies paying these huge salaries. So, if you are a go-getter with an appetite for quick delivery and instant profit making, this is the right career path for you. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Financial Engineering Online: • University of Southern California • Stevens Institute of Technology
Financial Advisors in financial institutions Stock Brokers Investment Bankers in financial institutions Actuaries Risk Managers Derivative Traders
Financial planners work with corporations, small businesses and individuals to map out an investment strategy. They examine the funds available for investing and determine the risk tolerance for different investment options. They may specialize in investments for retirement or college. They also plan investment for high net worth individuals, so as to make them more profit than their money sitting in a savings account. As fiduciaries, they are required by law to make decisions for the good of their clients. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Financial Planning Online: • Purdue Global University • The University of Georgia
Financial analysts guide corporations and individuals to create investment portfolios by examining trends and performance. Analysts may specialize in a geographical or industry niche. They are typically identified as buy-side or sell-side analysts. Common roles include portfolio managers, ratings analysts, fund managers, and risk analysts. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Financial Analysis Online: • Purdue Global University • Creighton University
A master’s degree in financial mathematics prepares graduates in the creation and analysis of investment results using mathematical methodologies. Tools include the applications of statistics, probability, and stochastic processes for investments. They may specialize in the creation and evaluation of financial products, data science applications, and asset management. They use their skills to learn from patterns and predict the performance of a stock or an investment in the near to long term future. Here are a couple of universities that offer Financial Mathematics Online Master’s: • John’s Hopkins University • University of York (United Kingdom)
Public finance master’s programs offer studies in public management, finance and budgeting, theory, financial planning, forecasting, and financial decision-making. They prepare and review financial statements for public, nonprofit organizations and perform cost analyses. Here is a university that offers Master’s in Public Finance Online: • The University of Kentucky
Online degree master’s programs in global finance apply financial leadership for organizations that have an international reach. Students learn about international business principles, global risk assessments, the evaluation of global markets, international accounting, global marketing, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), exchange-rate forecasting, international taxation, and foreign direct investments. Here are a couple of universities that offer Online Master’s in Global Finance: • Boston University • University of London (United Kingdom)
Global financial analyst Global portfolio administrators International brand managers Global marketing specialists
Online graduate degree programs in corporate finance cover a wide breadth of necessary skills and processes that maximize the value of the organization. The major responsibilities for corporate financial officers include investments and capital budgeting, long- and short-term capital financing, dividends, the assessment of capital cash flows, financial statement analysis, liquidity and expenditures. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Corporate Finance Online: • Southern New Hampshire University • Golden Gate University
Quantitative Finance is a concentration within the finance field that deals with applying statistical, quantitative, and mathematical skills within the financial world. Quantitative Finance is sometimes referred to as Computational Finance. This concentration is sometimes mistakenly seen as financial engineering. These two concentrations have a lot of similar curriculum and similar job roles. Hence, it is important that you understand them thoroughly before one decides on taking up one. Here are a couple of universities that offer Quantitative Finance Online Master’s: • New York University • DePaul University
Financial Quantitative Analysts Financial Research Associates Reporting and Analytics Managers
Finance and economics are closely linked subjects that deal with money management, revenue generation for private organizations, and governmental agencies. A master’s degree in Finance and economics focuses on the study of economic theories and financial principles for a wide variety of industries. These programs teach students about the evolution of global financial order, capital markets, investment management, and economic theories from microeconomics to macroeconomics. Here are a couple of universities that offer Online Master’s degree in Finance and Economics: • University of Detroit, Mercy • West Texas A&M University
Healthcare is a critical concentration within the finance field, as healthcare is the single most crucial factor in today’s world. With rising healthcare costs, managing its finances is an essential aspect for many organizations in both the government and private sectors. Master’s in healthcare finance online programs typically combine courses that deal with public health, business, financial statement analysis and nursing areas. These programs teach students about various administrative aspects of the healthcare field and how to manage them. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Healthcare Finance Online: • Liberty University • Bellevue University
Banking and Finance are interlinked fields. Finance depends on banking systems, and banking depends on the finances of organizations and the financial policies of governments. An online master’s in banking and Finance deals with business of banking – client’s financial needs, financial statement analysis, how banks and financial agencies work, and central banking policies and its impact. It also teaches students about loan and asset management and recovery. There is a specific course which deals in the corporate finance concentration. Here are a couple of universities that offer Online Master’s in Banking and Finance: • Texas A&M International University • Northern State University
Credit Analysts Risk Managers Wealth Managers
Accounting and Finance
Accounting specialization within finance degrees is a concentration that is designed to help students understand concepts of accounting and reporting within financial Management. An online master’s degree in accounting and Finance helps students in learning about cash, inventory, accounts payable & receivable, managing costs, and performing a comprehensive analysis of financial health of the organizations using accounting. Here are a couple of universities that offer Master’s in Accounting and Finance Online: • Southern New Hampshire University • University of Maryland Global Campus
Applicants to online master’s in finance degree must satisfy entrance requirements to the specific graduate school and those set by the degree program. These include the applicant’s undergraduate degree, grades, completion of prerequisites, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.
Undergraduate degree: Applicants must submit transcripts from their accredited undergraduate degree programs or related courses completed at the graduate level. Graduate programs typically require the submission of unopened official transcripts.
Transcripts: Applicants must submit transcripts from their accredited undergraduate degree programs or related courses completed at the graduate level. Graduate programs typically require the submission of unopened official transcripts.
Prerequisites: Depending on the master of finance program, you may be required to have a minimum one year of related financial experience and take a TOEFL exam (for international students), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Recommendations: Requirements for submissions of at least three letters of recommendation are a common practice at online master’s in finance programs. Letters should attest to your professional skills and character.
Statement of purpose: Programs require applicants to submit a statement of purpose outlining your professional aspirations, why you’re choosing the program, what you bring to the table, and other arguments that may convince the admissions committee that you and the program are a great match.
Online Master’s in Finance: No GMAT Requirement
For working students who must fit their master’s programs around their busy lives, the preparation for taking a GMAT entrance exam can be time-consuming. Fortunately, many Online Master of Finance programs do not require a GMAT. To get a better idea of how to prepare for GMAT and also to find out about Masters in Finance that don’t need GMAT, check out the GMAT Prep page. One should be also mindful that the degree one is enrolling in is accredited by advance collegiate schools.
Purdue University Global’s business programs are accredited and offer an online MS in Finance that doesn’t need a GRE or a GMAT. Students applying for this program should have an undergraduate degree in Finance or 45 credits of undergraduate coursework across the ACBSP’s Common Professional Components (CPC) and foundational coursework in Finance. It is also accredited by advance collegiate schools. A student can graduate from the program by finishing a total of 56 credits (40 core credits + 16 major credits). The school offers this program with two concentrations – Financial Planning & Financial Analysis. The tuition fee is $485 per credit.
SNHU is an accredited institution that offers online MS in Finance programs that don’t need GRE or GMAT for admission. SNHU provides this program with two concentrations – Corporate Finance & Investments and Securities. The program can be finished within 15 months by signing up for two courses per 10-week terms. The tuition fee is $1881 per course, and the application fee is $40.
Penn State is an accredited institution that offers masters degree in finance programs. The program itself requires a GRE or GMAT. Still, this requirement can be waived if a student has an accredited undergraduate degree or an undergraduate junior/senior GPA of at least a 3.0 at a nationally accredited institution or an undergraduate junior/senior GPA of at least a 3.3 from a regionally-accredited university and excellent communication. Total credits for graduation are 30. The tuition fee is $1046 per credit.
Kansas State University is an accredited institution that offers an online master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning. This program does not require GRE or GMAT and requires 30 credit hours for graduation. The cost of each credit hour is $699.20.
John’s Hopkins University’s Carey Business schools offer in online MS in Finance concentration, a part-time program. The school has accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). The GRE/GMAT requirement may be waived if a student has an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or an advanced degree that includes quantitative work or ten years of progressive, managerial work experience and/or senior professional leadership experience.
Curriculum for an Online Master of Finance Program
The online master’s degree in finance concentration offers a deep dive into all aspects of the financial world. Most accredited schools have some mandatory courses in the program, and students can choose from a wide variety of choices. Here are some sample courses that students will come across in an online master’s in finance degree.
International Finance – The online program core courses provide a deep dive into international markets, foreign currencies, the tools available for global financial management, international tax laws, economic, political, and legal issues. It is through international finance that the dynamics of international monetary systems, investment analysis, foreign direct investment, global strategic management, global financial system, advanced financial management, balance of payments, human resource management and exchange rates. The study of a Masters degree in International Finance is a good basis for someone to understand various aspects of international trade.
Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management – In this online learning core courses program, students are exposed to portfolio management, advanced corporate finance, personal finances, financial reporting, corporate valuation, quantitative skills, analytical tools for maintaining a portfolio of securities, and how to maximize the profit for the investors. This module covers the field of investment and financial aid towards making the students proficient in the field of chartered financial analyst and help them understand and create financial strategies. It describes the main participants, their objectives and constraints, and the major investment markets. The module covers investment strategies for bonds, equities, and structured products including the use of derivatives in managing risk.
Risk Management – In the online program core courses program, students will be taught how to identify risk and minimize exposure to that financial risk. The course in Risk Management covers the key topics of risk management and will provide learners with an in-depth knowledge of the field. You will study the various risks that property and liability owners face on a daily basis and the manner in which they mitigate such risks. This involves risk involved in portfolio management as well.
Financial Planning -In this online core courses program is designed to teach students about macroeconomics and microeconomics, financial data, and counseling. Students are also exposed to estate planning, insurance, retirement, and benefits planning, financial aid, financial accounting, financial modeling, risk management, real estate investment, critical thinking skills, business strategy, managerial finance, security analysis and portfolio management. A financial plan is a comprehensive picture of your current finances, your financial goals and any strategies you’ve set to achieve those goals as well as understanding financial markets. Good financial planning should include details about your cash flow, savings, debt, investments, insurance and any other elements of your financial life.
Corporate Finance – In this course, students are taught topics such as capital structures, strategic financial decisions, financial aid, financial accounting, financial markets, financial modeling, financial strategies, international finance risk management, cost of capital vs. cost of operations, forecasting, etc. In particular, there are four elements within corporate finance that everyone should be mindful of when doing any type of analysis. These four critical elements in corporate finance are operating flows, invested capital, security analysis, cost of capital, and return on invested capital.
Banking – This course is designed to teach students about various aspects of how banks operate: legal issues, protecting assets of customers, advanced topics like cryptocurrencies, financial markets, growth, risk management etc. Banking curriculum is organized to provide a broad and fundamental understanding of commercial banking, financial markets, investment and portfolio management, international finance and what is required to successfully manage a commercial bank in today’s challenging financial services environment.
Quantitative Methods in Finance -Quantitative methods in Finance is an advanced financial course in which students are trained on using statistical models to provide students with tools that can help forecast capital market movements along with loan defaulting predictions. This course allows students to rely on mathematical models based on history for managing various financial aspects. The Master in Quantitative Finance has a technical focus. You will not only learn to apply state-of-the art methods, but also to understand their mathematical and statistical details. This knowledge prepares you to develop new methods yourself and to keep up with the fast developments in this field after graduation.
Financial Decision Process – The financial decision process is a fundamental course that exposes students to accounting and financial management, quantitative skills and qualitative skills, investment management, financial theory, managerial decisions, analytical analysis, cost-volume-profit analysis.
Applied Behavioral Finance – Applied behavior finance is an advanced financial course that deals with behavioral Finance, financial psychology, human emotions, and errors that people make in financial decisions. The course trains students on how to improve the financial health of their customers.
Skills Gained in an Online Master’s in Finance Program
Online Master’s degree in Finance Degree programs develop skills that are directly applicable to the business landscape. Individual programs may focus on skill sets relevant to their specialty. However, they share common, invaluable skills. Beyond online coursework, finance students build skill sets through internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job experience being part of a financial institution. They should also be mindful that they become members of advance collegiate schools. Here are key skills finance professionals need:
Accounting: Graduate accounting skills prepare you with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and for duties in cash-flow management, investment banking, cost reduction, budget planning, profit and loss projections, financial management, quantitative data analysis, reporting and compliance. Students might also check the course curriculum and see what is being suggested by industry bodies like the advance collegiate schools.
Decision-Making: Whether they make decisions or recommend actions to management, finance graduates are able to gather and analyze supporting data, fixed income securities, investment banking, financial management, undertake forecasting, and collaborate with other staff to determine best-practices solutions to business problems being part of a financial institution.
Financial Analysis: Deep financial analysis skills are critical in determining investments and budgeting strategies to support organizational initiatives. Analysts examine the potential return on investments and do financial management for programs to improve the corporate bottom line.
Leadership: Financial organizational leaders should have strong communication skills, human resource understanding, financial services, the ability to create and implement goals, the ability to motivate employees and delegate tasks to qualified personnel and also provide financial management.
Logical Reasoning: Financial professionals make informed decisions based on data-driven findings, not on speculation. Logical reasoning skills depend on findings from scientific analyses, quantitative analysis and qualitative skills and risk assessments to determine fact-based options for organizational challenges.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Finance Degrees
When choosing an online master’s program in finance, it is essential to look at the accredited online college programs of the school that you are considering. While many universities offer an online master’s degree in finance, not all those programs are accredited. Here are some prestigious organizations that provide accreditation for business schools that offer finance master’s degree programs. If a school has an accreditation from one of these bodies, the school maintains high standards in its online master’s degree finance program.
Accreditation is a step where a university is vetted and accredited by an independent body that checks the standards of the school, the program to ensure that they are meeting high standards. Check out our Accreditation guide to see why it matters.
Scholarships for Online Master’s in Finance Students
Graduate finance students need not shoulder the entire cost of their education. Scholarships may be available from your university or finance school. Many public and private organizations confer scholarships based on academic performance. Here are a few to consider:
Who Can Apply: MIG scholarship is available to qualified, full- or part-time graduate students majoring in public administration, accounting, business administration, and finance.
Nomad Capitalist Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The scholarship is available to students currently enrolled in a graduate business degree program. All applicants must submit a 1,000+ word essay on international business.
Career and Salary Outlook for Online Master of Finance Graduates
Graduates of online finance master degree programs can choose from a diverse field of financial careers. No degree guarantees a career or salary, however there are well-paying roles in both public and corporate organizations, and consulting. Employers often look at the specialized focus of your master’s program and/or your experience. Top-growing fields are in finance and insurance; scientific and technical services; financial management; state and local governments; and manufacturing.
The following section reviews the salaries, related jobs and employment projections across the spectrum of financial careers.
Job Growth (2016-2026)
Financial analysts serve business or persons to make informed decisions on investments. They may be called portfolio managers, ratings analysts, fund managers, or risk analysts.
People of this profession are responsible for directing the financial growth of their organizations. They analyze investments and establish long-term goals to maximize profits, reporting to senior managers
Working for public and private institutions, budget analysts are responsible for analyzing budget proposals and monitoring institutional expenditures to ensure that they meet budgetary requirements
Corporate Management Accountants help organizations meet reporting requirements and in developing budget and performance evaluations for internal managers. They may assist in asset management and investments.
Personal Financial Advisors
Personal Financial Advisors help individuals in the planning, analysis and strategies for retirement accounts, investments, estate planning, mortgages, college expenses, and tax advice. They may monitor their customers’ accounts and suggest ways to improve performance.
Certifications and Licensing for Finance Professionals
Graduate students in finance can prosper by earning certifications and licenses and maintaining them throughout their careers. Certification benefits can include higher salaries, promotions, marketability, and job security. Certifications must be renewed. Consequently, employers benefit from workers who are committed to ongoing training and education to maintain their credentials.
Why is it important to be a certified financial professional?
Financial certifications and professional licenses may be optional. But some are required for employment. There are other benefits. Organizations that offer certifications often sponsor professional societies where you can stay up to date in the industry and build networks for career building.
How can I stay up-to-date on my finance certifications?
Licensing and certification organizations offer testing to confer credentials. The credentials are time-limited and must be renewed regularly, often pegged to earning continuing education credits. Check the details for each certification to learn renewal requirements.
How do I receive licensure and certification?
Licensing and certification organizations set the requirements for taking certification exams. For example, CMA exam requires applicants who have two years’ experience in the field. To sit for the CPT exam, applicants must have two years of experience in corporate finance or cash/treasury management.
What are some example certifications and licenses I should consider?
Certifications and licenses can bolster your career. Professionals may be required to hold them to undertake financial roles within an organization or in consulting. Here are three to consider:
The following resources are for finance students and professionals who want to build or advance in their careers. Memberships can include access to job boards, certification examination testing, and extended career education.
American Management Association: The AMA is a nonprofit association offering tools and ongoing education for management students and professionals. It offers prep and the test for a Certified Professional in Management™ (AMA CPM™).
The Professional Accounting Society of America: PASA is a professional association serving entry-level and mid-level members currently working at accounting firms. It hosts a job line, conferences, continuing education and compliance forums.
CMT Association: The CMT Association offers for the Level I, Level II, and Level III chartist’s exam for Chartered Market Technicians who analyze investments to predict future price volume and movement.
Association for Finance Professionals: The AFP is a membership organization, granting credentials for Financial Planning and Analysis FP&A certification and for the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). It offers webinars and online education programs.
Sales & Marketing Executives International: SMEI is a global association of sales and marketing professionals, offering continuing education and examinations for SMEI Certified Marketing Executive and SMEI Certified Professional Marketer (SCPM) designations.
The rankings, average tuition (based on the degree type for in-state students), and average graduation rates are based on information from several sources, including Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and may vary. All rankings and figures mentioned are subject to change. Based on our proprietary methodology, the rankings are purely Online Masters Colleges's (OMC's) opinions. They do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor any official government census or survey. Additionally, any views or opinions expressed on this page are those of OMC's researchers and teams. Unless specifically indicated, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the people, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page's provided content is solely for informational purposes, with information drawn from several sources, including IPEDS. OMC or its employees make no guarantees of the accuracy or completeness of any information on this page or found by following any link. OMC will not be held liable for any mistakes or omissions in this material, nor will it be held liable for any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the material on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, reader discretion is always advised because part or all the provided information may have changed over time, potentially leading to inaccuracies. Please read our Terms of Service for more information. Logos and trademarks are properties of their registered owners
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