What Is a Corporate Finance Degree in the US?

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By Deshan Mendis
Last updated on September 22, 2023

If you are interested in a lucrative career exploring international markets with growing opportunities for career advancement, earning a degree in corporate finance can be an important first step.

A female international student sits at a desk at home and uses a laptop while working on an assignment for her corporate finance class

Corporate finance is a specialized field focusing on increasing the value of a business through funding and investment decisions. Potential corporate finance careers include financial analysts, treasurers, auditors, and chief financial officers (CFOs), among many other roles. By pursuing a degree in corporate finance, you can develop in-demand knowledge, skills, and experience that are relevant to many different industries.

Read on to learn how to pursue a degree in corporate finance, career possibilities, and sample salaries.

What Is a Corporate Finance Degree?

There are multiple undergraduate degrees classified under the category of finance. For example, a US university may offer a finance degree with a concentration in corporate finance or a pre-MBA.

Students choosing a corporate finance major can expect to learn how to identify and address an organization’s funding sources, capital structuring, and investment decisions. A finance degree offers a well-rounded education in the financial sector while also enhancing interpersonal skills, analytical abilities, knowledge of digital tools, and more.

The US offers diverse opportunities for students pursuing a degree in finance, and studying in the US has several unique advantages.

Why Choose a Corporate Finance Degree Program at a US University?

As one of the largest economies in the world, the US is home to some of the best business schools, major global corporations, and capital markets such as the New York Stock Exchange. This makes the US an ideal environment for students to receive a high-quality finance education while also having access to internships, networking, and job opportunities.

Many US universities connect students with industry experts, experiential learning programs, and internships. You can also join student organizations such as entrepreneurial clubs and investment management groups that support you in networking and connecting with your peers.

Earning your degree from a US university also gives you the chance to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), enabling you to work and train in the US for up to 12 months after you graduate. With OPT, you can gain practical experience, a deeper understanding of global finance challenges, and overall professional skills to stand out to employers in the US or anywhere in the world.

So, getting a finance degree from a reputable US university can be an important first step. Let’s look at several international student friendly US universities with competitive finance degree programs.

Finance Degree Programs You Can Pursue in the US

While finance degree programs at different US universities will teach similar core skills, each institution’s unique curriculum offers varying specializations. Here are some universities in the US you might consider for studying finance:

Bachelor of Science in Finance — Adelphi University

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University offers a Bachelor of Science in Finance where you can master key finance principles and become career-ready by the time you graduate.

Sample courses at Adelphi include:

  • Data analysis and decision making

  • Investment analysis

  • Financial asset valuation

  • Managerial finance

With small class sizes, Adelphi offers individualized attention from award-winning faculty, and a curriculum focusing on the ethical, global, political, and social factors surrounding the financial industry. Located just a short train ride from New York City, Adelphi gives students access to internships on Wall Street and at major global corporations around the region.

Bachelor of Science in Finance — American University

The Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC, offers a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Its curriculum provides a solid grasp of financial competencies and develops professional skills with a global perspective.

Areas of study include:

  • Calculus

  • Financial modeling

  • International finance

  • Investment analysis

Kogod provides a wide range of programs and resources to promote community engagement, skill development, and networking. DC internship possibilities include government financial agencies, international think tanks, global employers, and nonprofit organizations.

Bachelor of Science in Finance — Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University’s E. J. Ourso College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Finance with a corporate finance track, preparing students for roles such as financial analyst, tax associate, corporate accountant, and more.

Students learn how to analyze financial statements, develop financial modeling skills, and evaluate portfolio performance using asset allocation and diversification principles.

Corporate finance curriculum at LSU includes the following courses:

  • Financial markets and institutions

  • Financial modeling and analytics

  • Fundamentals of asset management

  • Multinational managerial finance

Learning at LSU goes beyond the classroom — the Securities Markets Analysis Research and Trading (SMART) Lab is a simulated trading floor that features financial data, leading analytical software, and professional research tools to practice trading, market analysis, and more. Students can also use the FinTech Innovations Lab, a hands-on learning facility applying data science and machine learning principles to real-world scenarios.

Career Pathways with a Corporate Finance Degree

With a corporate finance degree, graduates have many career pathways across a wide range of industries. Here are some roles you might pursue with a corporate finance degree, as well as their average base pay in the US, Brazil, China, and India:

Starting salary in the US

Chief financial officer


Financial analyst






Starting salary in China

Chief financial officer


Financial analyst






Starting salary in India

Chief financial officer


Financial analyst






Starting salary in Brazil

Chief financial officer

R$ 579.223

Financial analyst

R$ 139.819


R$ 509.014


R$ 437.147

Source: Salary Expert, 2022

Dive Into the World of Corporate Finance

The demand for professionals with a finance degree is steadily increasing and majoring in corporate finance will provide you with an edge in this competitive industry. As a graduate with a finance degree, you can work toward solving complex financial challenges and supporting business decisions with a global markets perspective.

Reach out to your Shorelight advisor to find out more about the options for finance degrees and determining which programs are a good fit for you. Your advisor can provide support with evaluating your university options, and understanding program requirements and curriculum, and will be ready to assist you every step of the way.

Shorelight advisors can help you find the right degree program for your goals >