A career in finance can offer opportunities in almost any industry. While the term may call to mind a career in banking or at an investment firm, most organizations of any size — and many individuals–require the services of a finance professional for accounting, investments, budget analysis, and much more. Whether you pursue a career as a personal financial advisor, a corporate CFO, a market research analyst, or a fundraiser, earning an online master’s in finance can qualify you for a variety of professional opportunities.
Career Opportunities with an Online Master’s of Finance Degree
While most jobs in finance do not require a graduate degree, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have earned a master’s in finance online or through traditional means. A graduate degree indicates to a potential employer that the candidate has advanced professional knowledge and experience, as well as a commitment to their career. A master’s in finance is more specialized than a general MBA, so it is particularly appealing to employers for certain roles, most of which have a median starting salary of $70,000 per year or more. Potential careers for a person with a master’s in finance include:
- Commercial or Investment Banker
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Finance Director
- Financial Planner
- Personal Financial Advisor
- Financial Examiner
- Insurance Specialist
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist
- Financial Analyst
- Budget Analyst
- Cost Estimator
- Market Research Analyst
- Broker (stocks, bonds, commodities)
Benefits of Getting Your Master’s of Finance Degree Online
A good online master’s in finance program offers an educational experience with the same level of quality that a student would receive while attending in person. Time and geography are major considerations for most people who are working full-time and wish to pursue a graduate degree, and today’s online finance master’s degree programs can offer excellent opportunities for distance students to receive a quality education. These online master’s in finance programs are designed around the assumption that the student is working full-time and needs some flexibility to balance their education with their work schedule. Some can be completed entirely online, while others require limited visits to the campus in person. The student has access to faculty as needed, and the program encourages communication and collaboration among peers, as well. The following online master’s in finance programs offer these attributes and more to help you achieve your career goals.
Harvard University offers a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Finance. Harvard’s online finance masters degree includes 12 courses (48 credits). While most of this program can be completed online, at least 16 credits must be taken on campus during the course of the program. Students have the option of taking these on-campus courses in short, intensive sessions, minimizing the amount of time required for in-person classes. To enter the program, a student must complete three admissions courses from the curriculum to demonstrate that they are well-suited to the program. Students of Harvard’s masters in finance online program can earn a second graduate credential by choosing electives relevant to a certain topic. Graduate certificates are offered in accounting, corporate finance, principles of finance, business economics, and real estate investment. Graduates have access to Harvard’s career services office, as well as the university’s prestigious alumni program and related networking benefits.
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business offers a Master of Science in Finance (MSF). A Master of Science is offered rather than a Master of Business Administration because the focus of the program is more technical than general. Georgetown’s program allows students to complete their master’s in finance online (32 credits) in 21 months, with two weeklong sessions that must be completed in person. A weeklong residency is required after the first core course, in financial markets, is completed. Students can also enjoy a weeklong international travel experience while completing their capstone consulting project for a company in another country. The MSF program’s online learning platform allows students to complete their weekly coursework at any time of day, offering flexibility while a student works full-time or handles other obligations. It also allows online master’s of finance students to interact with professors and other students, replicating a live educational experience. Applicants to Georgetown’s MSF online program must have earned a BA or BS from an accredited university, and must submit an official copy of a GMAT or GRE score with the test date. Georgetown’s MSF program features a dedicated career services office, as well as helps to facilitate internships and alumni networking opportunities.
Webster University’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology offers an online masters in finance, comprising a total of 36 credit hours. The program consists of 27 required credits and 9 elective credits, as well as 9 credit hours of prerequisite courses in accounting theory and practice, current economic analysis, and applied business statistics (3 credits each). Webster also offers an MBA/MS finance dual degree, which consists of 48 credit hours. Applicants are required to submit official transcripts from the school where they earned their first undergraduate degree. Students may choose electives to earn advanced certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP), or take courses in entrepreneurial finance or other advanced topics in order to pursue careers in other fields.
Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers an online Master of Science in Finance, consisting of 30 credit hours which can be completed in as few as 16 months. All coursework is completed online, and no residencies are required. Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and either an official GMAT score, or current employment and five years of relevant professional experience. Students pursuing a master’s of finance online may choose between two tracks: corporate finance or investment finance. There also is the option of pursuing a dual degree, the Online Master of Science in Finance/MBA, which consists of 72 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 30 months by a full-time student.
Concordia University-Wisconsin offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance. For admission into Concordia’s graduate program to earn a master’s in finance online, an applicant must have earned an undergraduate degree and graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Concordia does not require applicants to take GMAT or GRE exams. Instead, a capstone course at the end of the program is designed to allow students to demonstrate their level of skill. Once accepted, a student can start the program at any time rather than waiting for a particular term to begin. Coursework consists of 39 credit hours, and can be completed entirely online at the student’s chosen pace. Some courses in this master of finance online program can lead to certifications, such as an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) 54 or 56 certificate. An internship of at least 120 hours, worth three credits and providing valuable, real-world job experience for the student, is also part of the master’s in finance online program.
To determine the best online Master’s in Finance programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 5 best online Master’s in Finance programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.