Shorelight helps international students attend top universities in the U.S.
Shorelight helps international students attend top universities in the U.S.

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4 Top Universities

Master’s Degrees in Finance

Studying for a master’s in finance helps you work towards lucrative careers in financial management. Explore specializations that suit you and your ambitions, learn from industry professionals, and gain real-world skills. Experience unique courses such as portfolio management, financial modeling, risk management, international finance, fiscal policy, corporate valuation, impact investing, and more.

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Master’s Degree in Finance FAQs

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    Where can I study master of finance degree programs in the US?

    While finance is mostly a quantitative-focused field, understanding theories related to financial management is also a core part of building a career in finance. 

    Combining your knowledge of fiscal policies and tools with math skills helps you understand and evaluate investment options, create financial plans, and predict the movements of the stock market. These highly valuable skills can make you an important asset, whether you open your own business for individual clients or take a financial role within a company. The best graduate finance programs in the US help you learn quantitative skills needed for practical applications alongside conceptual knowledge to critically analyze data.

    Here are some top-ranking MS in finance in USA universities where you can pursue your degree: 

    • American University—The American University master’s in finance program features a Student Managed Fund Program, where students gain hands-on experience managing assets worth $500,000. Learn about financial intermediation in emerging markets, investment analysis, and more, plus access AU’s cutting-edge Financial Services and IT lab.

    • University of Dayton—The master of finance program offered through the University of Dayton helps you learn about financial analysis and wealth management, as well as how finance impacts international business. University of Dayton finance students have been hired at top US companies such as Bloomberg, IBM, and JP Morgan Chase.

    • University of Illinois ChicagoUIC offers accelerated program options for your master’s in finance and offers four specializations: corporate finance; asset management; banking and capital markets; and commodities, derivatives, and financial exchanges.

    • University of Massachusetts Boston—With the master’s in finance program offered at UMass Boston, choose between two tracks: general finance or investment management. Learn technical knowledge and get a deeper understanding of finance while also developing critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

    • University of the PacificPacific’s master of science in finance offers an accelerated nine-month course with options for both online and on-campus learning. Work with industry professionals and gain hands-on experience with financial management by managing Pacific’s $3.2 million student-run investment fund.

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    Which undergraduate majors can earn a master’s in finance?

    As finance graduate programs have a strong focus on quantitative methods and mathematical skills, many programs require you to have an undergraduate major in finance, statistics, accounting, mathematics, or other related fields.

    These requirements may change depending on different programs, and some may not require an undergraduate in a quantitative major. Instead, if you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-quantitative field, you may be asked to complete several prerequisite courses such as calculus, statistics, economics, or financial accounting. 

    The exact MS in finance in USA requirements may vary depending on the university you hope to attend. Here are some common master’s in finance requirements USA:

    • Test scores—Many MS finance courses in USA require you to achieve a minimum score in your Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Depending on the university, they may also request your academic transcripts.

    • English proficiency—To prove your proficiency with the English language, you need to achieve a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score (as determined by the university).

    • Letters of recommendation—Depending on the university, you may have to submit two to three letters of recommendation as part of the application process for your master’s in finance USA. If you have work experience, the letter can come from a manager, senior employee, or supervisor. For students without work experience, letters can come from professors, school administrators, or other educators.

    • Personal statement—Some MS finance courses in USA may also ask you for a personal statement, which is usually an essay or personal statement outlining your background, accomplishments, and future career goals.

    A Shorelight advisor can help you discover the best graduate finance programs in the US and explore your career prospects with US finance majors.

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    How many years does it take to earn a master of finance degree in the US?

    Typically, it takes one to two years to complete a master’s in finance USA. This duration can change depending on different universities, as some universities offer accelerator programs that let you complete your degree in one year or less. Some programs are also available online over a shorter duration, and can allow you to start your degree from your home country before you complete it in the US. 

    The duration of your finance graduate program can also change because of your academic performance, the types of coursework you have selected, the number of semesters you are enrolled, and if the program has a thesis component. Additionally, studying your MS in finance in USA universities part time can extend the duration of your degree by up to five years, depending on your course schedule. Your degree may also take longer if you are pursuing another master’s from a different field as part of a dual degree. Participating in an internship during your degree may also extend the duration depending on the type of work you do. 

    Additionally, if you need to complete certain courses as part of your master’s in finance requirements USA, your masters may take slightly longer to complete. You can avoid these prerequisite courses if you have a bachelor’s degree in finance, which usually takes four years to complete. While not always a requirement, a bachelor’s in finance equips you with the fundamentals you need to understand the topics you will be studying in a graduate program. 

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    What can I do with a master of finance degree?

    A master’s in finance USA boosts your career development by helping you learn advanced management concepts and skills used in modern-day financial markets. While a bachelor of finance would teach you the basics, a graduate program in finance helps you understand analytical techniques and teaches you about cutting-edge financial technology (also known as fintech). 

    As careers in finance heavily prioritize experience, many finance graduate programs help you find internships at US companies where you learn real-world skills. Some master’s in finance USA programs may also allow you to work with investment funds and simulate stock trading, giving you valuable insight into the real-world practices of financial markets. 

    When you graduate, you will also become eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT lets you engage in training or work in the US (including internships) for a maximum of 12 months after completing your master’s. Since many master’s in finance degrees are STEM-designated, you would also be eligible to request an additional two years of OPT. This allows you to work in the US for a total of three years.

    Pursue a variety of lucrative careers by graduating with a master’s in finance USA:

    • Accountant

    • Actuary

    • Auditor

    • Budget analyst

    • Credit analyst

    • Financial examiner

    • Financial planner

    • Insurance agent

    • Investment banker

    • Market research analyst

    • Personal financial advisor

    • Real estate agent

    • Senior financial analyst

    • Venture capitalist

    • Wealth manager

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    Is a master of finance degree better than an MBA?

    The benefits of a master’s in finance compared to an MBA largely depends on your personal career goals, level of experience, and current market trends.

    While it is difficult to say that one degree program is objectively better than another, here are several advantages of a master of finance degree:

    • Expert specializations—A master’s in finance helps you specialize in your area of interest in the field of financial management. As you grow and gain more experience, you can become an expert in this field, which makes you more employable by finance-related organizations, compared to an MBA holder.

    • Less-saturated job market—As MBAs are one of the most popular professional qualifications, MBA holders are fairly common among prospective job candidates. By earning a master’s in finance, you may stand out more to prospective employers. With different concentrations available for finance, including management specializations, you can transfer your skills and knowledge to a variety of different industries and roles.

    • Faster completion—Many finance graduate programs do not require you to have work experience, while many MBA programs require at least two years of experience. This lets you get started on your master’s in finance as soon as you finish your bachelor’s, helping you qualify for higher position jobs earlier compared to MBA holders.

    If you are looking for assistance to start your master’s, Shorelight is here to help. Our advisors provide a variety of dedicated support services such as international student advisory services, F-1 visa support, college application help, career advice, and more!

Growth & Opportunity

The Future of Finance

$80,310

median salary for financial analysts (May 2015)

807,400

projected job openings, 2014-2024

+22%

job growth for actuaries through 2026