Online Master’s Programs in Finance

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Top-Ranking Online Master’s in Finance

Organizations in nearly all industries, ranging from government agencies to nonprofit organizations, need financial professionals with advanced skills who can diversify their financial portfolios, help them to grow and maximize the return on their investments. An excellent way to advance your skills and move up in your career is to earn an online master’s degree in finance. On this page, we provide a look at what a master’s degree program in finance entails. We also highlight the top-ranking online finance master’s degree programs. Take a look to see if earning a graduate degree in this field is the right step for you.

Top 10 Online Master’s Programs in Finance

Rank School Location
1 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, OH
2 Utica College Utica, NY
3 New England College Henniker, NH
4 Oklahoma Christian University Edmond, OK
5 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
6 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
7 West Texas A & M University Canyon, TX
8 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
9 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
10 Northern State University Aberdeen, SD
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Best Online Master’s in Finance

  • Methodology

    Best Online Master’s in Finance 2018-2019

    Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors
    Data Sources:

    All rankings: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
    Best Online MBA Programs: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (GMAT scores)
    Some nursing programs: NCLEX
    Nursing bridge programs: American Association of Colleges of Nursing and DiscoverNursing.com
    Accreditation: ABET and the US Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education

    Eligibility Criteria:

    Each college must be accredited
    Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
    Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
    Each college must have at least one online program 1
    Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000

    Ranking Factors:

    Affordability
    Quality
    Flexibility
    Program

    Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

    1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

    2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.
    Notes:

    A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
    Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.

Considering that financial management is becoming increasingly complex, master’s degree programs in finance expose students to valuable skills with which they can fast-track their careers without having to sacrifice their current jobs. Check out our rankings list below to determine which of the top finance master’s degree programs would best help you to advance in your field. For these rankings, we obtained our data from the United States Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the universities’ own published materials. All of the schools in our list are accredited.

  1. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
    Location

    Mount Vernon, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Christian-affiliated Mt. Vernon Nazarene University's fully online Master of Business Administration with Finance Emphasis is designed for adult learners who want to earn an advanced business degree while maintaining their professional responsibilities and personal obligations. This regionally accredited finance degree program prepares its graduates for leadership positions in a variety of professional settings including investment banks, corporations, and financial planning firms. A Master of Ministry/MBA dual degree program is also available. MVNU's online MBA with Finance Emphasis is a 36-credit hour program (27 credit hours of core business and 9 credit hours of finance concentration coursework) that is formatted to be completed in just under 24 months when taking 1 course at a time. The degree is additionally available in a fully online fast-track format that allows students to complete their degrees in less time than the regular-track format. Mt. Vernon suggests two fast-track study options: an 11-month plan in which students take two courses at a time from start to finish, and a 15-month plan in which students take three concentration courses while taking the core courses. Students may transfer up to 6 credit hours of business coursework from a properly-accredited college or university, provided the credits were earned with a "B" grade or higher and are applicable to the program. Admission requirements for both the regular and fast-track programs include possession of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution earned with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher. Applicants with an undergraduate cumulative GPA below 2.8 may still be admitted on a probationary basis.

  2. Utica College
    Location

    Utica, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Utica College's online Master of Business Administration with Finance/Accounting Specialization introduces students to contemporary issues in cost management and managerial accounting, along with an understanding of economic forces and how they affect profitability and growth. Graduates gain the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze financial statements, as well as experience utilizing real-world financial tools and models. UC's MBA with Finance/Accounting Specialization is a 30-credit hour program consisting of 15 credit hours of core business courses and 12 credit hours of specialization electives, culminating in a 3 credit hour capstone project. The entire degree program is designed to be completed with 2 years of part-time study. The degree program is presented in a flex format, meaning that students are given a variety of study options. Online students can complete their coursework entirely online, with no required on-campus residencies, or through a blend of in-person and online classes. Students can attend lectures live via virtual connection or review recorded lectures at their convenience. Interaction with instructors and fellow students is accomplished through the program's online learning management platform. To be admitted into UC's MBA program a student must possess a bachelor's degree or international equivalent earned with a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA, and demonstrate at least 2 years of relevant work experience. Both business and non-business related degrees are acceptable. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.7 and tenured work experience in management, finance and/or accounting may be admitted into the program at the discretion of Utica College. There are no standardized test requirements for admission.

  3. New England College
    Location

    Henniker, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    New England College of Business offers a variety of business degrees online. Its Master of Science in finance is one of the oldest programs offered by the school, and it has recently been added to the online catalogue. The focus of MSF is on financial models and investments rather than the management and administrative side of finance. The faculty have real-world experience in business and finance and the program's online educational platform has won awards. To be eligible for this program, students should have a minimum GPA of 2.7. Prior work experience in business or finance is recommended, but it isn't required for admission. Designed for working adults who want to specialize and further their career, the MSF offers 4 tracks of study: global finance trading, leadership, healthcare management and ethics and corporate social responsibility. In total, students will need to complete 30 credits, all of which are offered in an accelerated format. Unique to New England College of Business, courses in the graduate program last just 5 weeks, and students get a one-week break between classes. There are a total of 8 sessions throughout the year, and students can begin their studies with any session. With continuous study, New England estimates that students can complete their degree in just 15 months. Each course carries the same tuition cost per credit, and this cost is the same for all students, except for military members and partners, who receive a discount. All courses are available entirely online and allow students to study at any time.

  4. Oklahoma Christian University
    Location

    Edmond, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Christianity is an important part of Oklahoma Christian University, and it can be seen in their curriculum. Students interested in finance can enroll in OC's Christian Master of Business Administration program. This program offers 9 different specialization tracks, including a financial management track. To earn the Christian MBA in finance, students will need to complete 36 credit hours, 9 of which are specific to the finance track. While none of the required courses are religion specific, ethics courses do draw on Christian values to instill OC's beliefs. Transfer students are welcome to apply, and 6 credits can be transferred into the program. Students must have a bachelor's degree, but it doesn't have to be in business. However, students who don't have a business degree will need to take prerequisite courses prior to getting accepted into the Christian MBA. Every course in the Christian MBA is available entirely online, and students can complete this degree in as little as 12 months. Hybrid options for courses are also available for students that want some in-person education. To have a good chance of acceptance, applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students will also be required to provide GMAT or GRE test scores while going through the admission process. A 450 is required on the GMAT, or a 285 on the GRE. These can be waived with a GPA above 3.25.

  5. Mississippi College
    Location

    Clinton, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mississippi College is a Christian University that seeks to infuse the teachings of Christ into its classes and campus life. It offers a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance online within a traditional semester format. To be accepted into the MBA with a concentration in finance, students must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and must submit standardized test scores. A bachelor's degree in business is not required, but students are expected to have taken basic accounting, finance and marketing courses and to understand basic business software applications. The MBA program entails 30 credits of coursework in a variety subjects including financial management, financial markets, investments and financial institutions. All courses for this concentration are available entirely online, though students are allowed to study in a hybrid format with online courses and on-campus evening courses if they prefer. MC advertises a 16:1 student to teacher ratio and a relatively inexpensive private education. Depending on how many credits students choose to take each semester, this program can be completed in as little as 2 years. The program is designed for working professionals, though, and plenty of students take longer to earn their degree. Upon earning their degree, students may be eligible to take certification exams.

  6. Tiffin University
    Location

    Tiffin, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Tiffin University offers a Master of Business Administration in finance to students with a background in business and a desire to advance their career in the financial sector. The curriculum explores the factors influencing markets and various types of investment vehicles and strategies. Graduates often go on to careers in financial management, either on their own or working for a firm. Tiffin's School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the MBA degree program is accredited by the respected European Council for Business Education (ECBE). With accelerated 7-week courses, full time students can earn their degree in as little as 14 months. However, for the many students in the MBA program who are working and only attending school part time, the average completion time is a little over 2 years. There are 6 start dates throughout the year for the 7-week courses. Graduation requires completion of 32 to 36 credits, depending on the student's prior experience and education. No work experience is required for the program, but students should have a bachelor's degree in business with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students that don't meet this prerequisite may be required to take introductory courses. The same flat per credit tuition rate is applied to every student. Students who are required to take additional courses will have a longer and more expensive education.

  7. West Texas A & M University
    Location

    Canyon, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    West Texas A&M University offers a variety of online degrees, including its Master of Science in Finance and Economics (MSFE). This unique program combines the practicality of finance with the theory of economics. In addition to business, finance and economics content, students are expected to learn critical thinking and professional communication skills. Because of the broad curriculum, there are multiple career possibilities for graduates, including careers in finance, economics, policy and teaching. Some graduates may choose to continue their education in law school after graduation. The master's degree requires completion of 36 credits. Students are expected to be working while earning their degree, so West Texas A&M estimates that most students will complete their degree in about 2 years. While there are no specializations available for the program, students are required to take elective courses. Also, many of the required core courses can be substituted, so this is a highly customizable curriculum. All courses for the program are available entirely online, though students to have the option of studying in a hybrid format. After completing all the coursework MSFE students need to pass a comprehensive exam in order to graduate. To be eligible for the program, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Students that don't meet the required 3.0 GPA will have to submit GMAT scores for consideration. The required GMAT score depends on the student's GPA. Depending on the courses that students selected, they should be eligible to take certification exams.

  8. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Placing an emphasis on flexibility, Bellevue University gives students the chance to specialize their education in a number of ways. For students interested in finance, the Master of Science in Strategic Finance offers the most flexible option. Along with being offered entirely online or through a hybrid of online and on-campus courses, the MSSF allows students to pick from one of 20 different concentrations. This degree can be shaped however students see fit, allowing them to take their finance career in almost any direction. The MSSF requires 36-39 credits, depending on the concentration students pick (if they choose to pick any). A minimum of 30 of these credits must be completed through Bellevue, so transfer students can bring some credit with them. Students can also combine the MSSF with another master's degree requiring as few as 18 additional credits. Most of the curriculum assumes that students have previous experience with finance, either professionally or academically. Students without that experience may need to take additional courses to be eligible for the program. A minimum undergraduate or graduate GPA of 2.5 is required to be admitted. Some courses prepare students to take certification exams. For example, completion of the Cash Management course entitles students to register for the Certified Treasury Professional Associate (CTPA) certification exam. A flat tuition per credit is applied, and it is the same for online and on-campus, so hybrid students won't pay any additional tuition.

  9. Kansas State University
    Location

    Manhattan, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Kansas State University'sProfessional Master of Business Administration is designed for students who are currently working and want to advance their careers. Students in the program get access to faculty who provide personalized attention to each student to help them advance toward their desired careers. While the degree isn't specific to finance, some of the required courses translate into management level positions in finance. Graduates can go on to positions as project managers, analysts, marketing managers or consultants for a wide range of businesses. The majority of the 30 credits required to earn the PMBA can be completed online; however, Kansas State estimates that roughly 10% of the program will require face-to-face instruction. Courses are offered each semester with the option of studying during the summer. Most students are expected to attend part-time, so the average student will complete this program in about 2 years. A flat tuition cost per credit is applied to all students. Because this is designed for working professionals, Kansas State requires that students have a minimum of 3-5 years professional business experience. Students who don't have the minimum amount of work experience will be required to take additional courses, increasing the total number of required credits to 39. To be eligible for the program, students will need to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GMAT score of 500 or above. Student outcomes for the program are positive with 96% of students finding a job after graduation.

  10. Northern State University
    Location

    Aberdeen, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northern State University offers a Master of Science in banking and financial services to students interested in careers in banking or finance. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, this is the only master's program in banking and financial services that has been accredited. It's offered entirely online. The program is ideal for students who already have a bachelor's degree in banking and financial services or business and want to specialize their education. At the end of the program, students should be able to secure a job in banking, which NSU facilitates with its many relationships with banks. Part of the reason NSU's banking and financial services program is successful is because of its experienced faculty, all of whom have direct experience with banking, management, investment and regulations. In total, students will need to complete 36 credits to earn the degree. However, students without an undergraduate business degree will be required to take an additional 4 courses in business foundations at the start of the degree program. Students also get access to advisers who have experience in the field. These advisers can connect students with internship opportunities, both for credit and after graduating. Students are charged a per-credit tuition rate that varies depending on a number of factors, but most students will have access to the same rate. The cost of the program will be higher for students who are required to take the prerequisite business courses.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Finance Program?

An online master’s degree program in finance teaches students how to diversify a company’s financial portfolio globally and maximize shareholder value. Students should also learn how to manage an organization’s risk exposure to commodity fluctuations, interest rates and exchange rates.

These programs cover various finance areas, including government finance, corporate finance or investment banking. Students can expect the same content covered in a traditional finance program to be covered in an online finance program.

What’s the difference between a master’s in finance and an MBA in finance?

A master’s degree in finance and an MBA in finance have some major differences. Both offer the necessary education for pursuing various finance careers. However, the master’s degree in finance offers students more specialization than they would get in an MBA program.

A master’s degree in finance provides the niche skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in finance careers. An MBA offers a more general education in business administration, managerial practices and organizational management, which includes some finance coursework. Both types of programs usually take one to two years to complete.

What common courses are offered in a master’s in finance program?

Here are five sample courses commonly offered as part of an online master’s degree in finance program:Current Issues in Corporate Finance

This course covers strategic financial decision-making topics, including capital costs, capital structure, corporate control, financial forecasting and valuation.Multinational Managerial Finance

This course delves into the institutional and environmental factors that influence capital allocation and acquisition internationally. Financial Decision Processes

Through this course, students learn how to make financial decisions when faced with uncertainty. Specific topics covered include normative and positive models as well as current issues facing financial managers.Quantitative Methods in Finance

In this course, students learn about the quantitative methods utilized in financial analysis and how these methods are applied in investment modeling.Portfolio Theory & Policy

This course allows students to examine the behavior of asset holders under uncertain conditions. Rigorous risk analysis is a major component of this course.

What exams or projects should I expect?

In an online master’s in finance program, students may be required to complete an interactive residency involving a few days of coursework. During this on-campus residency, students work with faculty in the program to gain hands-on experience with building models by using a sophisticated simulation tool. The purpose of such residencies is to teach students how to analyze various financial risk probabilities and outcomes.

Many master’s programs in finance also require a capstone research course in which students complete a project involving the valuation and analysis of a company’s equity securities using fundamental financial market analysis. The goal of this type of capstone project is to encourage students to sharpen their analytical skills when it comes to identifying strategies for enhancing value creation.

What specializations are available in a master’s in finance program?

Some online master’s degree programs in finance allow students to choose specializations. For instance, some students may choose to focus on managerial accounting or financial markets, whereas others may concentrate on investment analysis or mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

Other programs offer specializations designed to prepare students for various financial certification examinations. Students in these programs may choose to become a certified fraud examiner, certified public accountant or certified financial analyst, for example.

Take a look at a few common master’s degree in finance specializations below.Managerial Accounting

Through this specialization, students learn how to measure and report financial data for various external purposes. Students focus especially on current problems related to income and asset measurement.Financial Markets

Students analyze the factors that affect how prices are determined in today’s financial markets. This specialization also covers derivative securities, focusing on hedging, trading, valuation, futures and forwards.Mergers & Acquisitions

This specialization teaches students about what drives the success of M&As. Students also develop skills and knowledge regarding designing and evaluating M&A transactions.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Finance Degree?

An online master’s degree in finance will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to excel in a number of jobs. Here are a few of them.Finance Manager

These professionals are responsible for monitoring and developing departmental or company budgets and making financial forecasts. A specialization in managerial accounting can prepare a student for this type of position.Financial Analyst

Financial analysts carefully study marketplace trends, microeconomic factors and demographics to help their firms to make wise investments. They might also advise companies regarding the issuing of bonds or splitting stock. A master’s degree specialization in financial markets can help to prepare students for financial analyst roles.Financial Advisor

Financial advisors assist individuals seeking to maximize their money. They help their clients develop realistic frameworks for their investment goals and suggest prudent implementation strategies for achieving these goals. A master’s degree specialization in investment analysis can prepare students for this type of position.Investment Banking Analyst

Investment banking analysts work with their companies’ senior members on a variety of deals and perform industry research and financial analyses. A master’s degree specialization in investment analysis can help students to confidently land this type of role.

In addition to completing an online master’s degree in finance, students may benefit from joining professional organizations for networking purposes. Here are a few from which to choose.

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

This association, established in 1983, is the biggest professional organization for personal advisors in the finance field. This association is 2,400 members strong.

International Financial Management Association

This global association provides certification in five finance areas: management accounting, investment and law, investment banking, internet finance, and credit analysis/management. The association’s website offers a job board plus professional development course links.

American Finance Association

Established in 1939, this association is deemed the leading academic organization in financial economics. The organization has a flagship publication called The Journal of Finance that has been published since 1946.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Finance?

Here is a glimpse at salaries for those with a career in finance. Students should keep in mind, however, that while a master’s degree in finance can lead to these careers, some may require additional certification or experience on top of a master’s degree.

CareerLowest 10% Earned AnnuallyMedian Annual SalaryHighest 10% Earned AnnuallyJob Growth 2016-2026
Financial ManagerLess than $66,480$125,080More than $208,000+19%
Financial AnalystLess than $51,780$84,300More than $165,580+11%
Personal Financial AdvisorLess than $40,800$90,640More than $208,000+15%
AccountantLess than $43,02069,350More than $122,220+10%
Securities, Commodities, Financial Services Sales AgentLess than $33,060$63,780More than $208,000+6%
Top ExecutiveLess than $68,110$183,270More than $208,000+8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

As indicated in the above chart, the finance field is expected to remain on an upswing for the next 10 years. With increasing globalization, companies need professionals who can help them to manage their money and their risk.

Finance professionals are also needed to assess investment opportunities for businesses and individuals in the world’s emerging markets. Technological improvements and the growth of big data should also drive increased demand, as finance professionals can access more financial data and thus perform higher-quality analyses.

Note that there is a difference in salary depending on your degree. The median salary for a professional with a master’s degree in finance is $101,000, whereas the median salary for someone with bachelor’s degree in finance is $73,000. So those who decide to earn a graduate degree in finance can expect to earn nearly $30,000 more a year.

Online Master’s in Finance Program Accreditation

Students who wish to increase their job opportunities in finance should choose an accredited master’s degree in finance program. In addition to searching for a school that is regionally accredited, look for a finance program that has garnered accreditation from one of three industry accrediting organizations: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB), International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) or Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). AACSB Accreditation

AACSB accreditation is considered to be the most prestigious of the three types of accreditation in the finance field. Just five percent of schools globally have received this accreditation based on their productive faculty research as well as their high academic rigor and admission standards. A school accredited by the AACSB can help students prepare for a variety of professional certifications, including the Chartered Financial Analyst certification. ACBSP & IACBE Accreditation

Accreditation from the other two organizations still indicates a top-notch finance program as well. The ACBSP remains the second-biggest accrediting body in the business and financial education field, whereas the IACBE accredits smaller regional schools throughout the United States.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Finance Degree

In many cases, graduate students could use a little financial boost to cover the cost of an online master’s degree in finance. Financial aid is certainly available through the federal government in the form of loans, but here are several scholarship options for these students as well.

  • Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship This scholarship is available through the Girard Miller Foundation via the Government Finance Officers Association, or GFOA. Valued at $12,000, it is presented each year to graduate students who are studying full-time to earn an advanced local and/or state government finance degree.
  • George Harding Scholarship This scholarship is available through the Michigan Bankers Association. First-year grad students studying finance are eligible for this $1,000 scholarship. Students have to be residents of Michigan, be full-time students and have a 3.0 grade point average to be eligible.
  • Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship The scholarship, also sponsored by the GFOA, is available to finance graduate students who are of Hispanic, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Asian, Alaska Native, American Indian or African American descent. Students who are eligible for this scholarship must be planning to begin their careers in local and state government finance.

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