Finance entails various money-related activities such as investing, borrowing, risk management, and forecasting. To ensure positive financial outcomes for their organizations, financial professionals apply finance principles and knowledge of markets and systems in the field.
Working professionals often pursue online MBA degrees to learn new skills, secure leadership roles, and make higher salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that financial managers earn a median annual salary of $134,180. BLS data also projects jobs for these professionals to grow 15% during 2019-2029.
This guide ranks the best online MBA finance degrees. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common courses and scholarship opportunities for finance students.
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Finance MBA Questions
Q. Is an MBA in finance worth it?
PayScale salary data from March 2021 suggests that MBA in finance degree-holders make an average salary of $99,770 annually, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.
Q. How long does it take to get an MBA in finance?
Traditional MBA in finance programs take 2-3 years to finish. Some accelerated programs may offer year-round, intensive coursework that takes only 12-15 months to complete.
Q. What is the difference between an MBA and a master's in finance?
MBA in finance programs feature a more interdisciplinary business curriculum. MS in finance programs often focus more on specialized finance topics.
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Why Get a Degree in Finance?
MBA in finance degrees offer many potential benefits, including career advancement, transferable skills, and specialization. Graduates can pursue high-paying jobs, such as financial manager or top executive. These professionals make median annual salaries between $107,000-$134,000.
MBA programs build advanced skills in business, management, communication, and leadership. These versatile skills can benefit professionals in many roles, organizations, industries, and sectors. Additionally, online finance degrees often cost less than on-campus programs, and they give students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.
How Much Does a Finance Degree Cost?
MBA programs typically cost more than other master's programs. According to the U.S. News & World Report, prestigious MBA programs typically cost between $100,000-$200,000. However, online finance degrees often cost significantly less than on-campus equivalents.
For example, many public schools allow out-of-state distance learners to pay in-state tuition rates. The College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2020 report suggests that annual in-state tuition costs less than half of out-of-state tuition rates at the same schools.
Additionally, many online programs feature flexible attendance options that accommodate working professionals, so MBA students can maintain an income while going to school. Plus, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.
Finance MBA Cost Survey
|Type of MBA
||Number of MBA Students
||Average MBA Cost
||MBA Cost vs Total Average
|Online with a few on-campus visits required
*Average cost of an MBA used from survey: $33,696.79
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
How Much Do Finance Majors Make?
MBA in finance graduates often work in lucrative business and finance occupations. According to the BLS, these occupations garner a median annual wage of $72,250. However, MBA in finance graduates can pursue specialized finance roles that offer higher salaries, like financial analyst, financial examiner, and personal financial advisor. Median annual salaries for these professions fall into the $80,000-$90,000 range. Financial managers also earn a very high median annual salary of $134,180.
MBA in finance graduates may also seek positions such as financial controllers or directors. April 2021 PayScale data indicates that financial controllers earn average salaries of $85,110 annually and that financial directors make an average of $114,360 per year.
Courses in Finance
Online MBA in finance curricula usually include core coursework in financial management, leadership, and communication. Students learn how to analyze financial data, draw conclusions, make projections, and present findings to executives. Finance graduate programs typically include capstone research projects and internships that cultivate advanced skills in finance research, analysis, and management.
Courses vary by program, but the following three sample courses appear in many finance MBA programs.
Corporate FinanceOften a core course, corporate finance courses build investing and financing skills. Participants also cultivate skills in data analysis, financial valuation, and risk management. The course proves essential for aspiring corporate financial analysts and managers.
Financial Ethics and Legal ComplianceThe class familiarizes enrollees with contemporary financial regulations, laws, and professional ethics. Core topics include policies, activities, and laws regarding financial reporting and compliance. The course also covers investment regulations, agency relationships, and fiduciary responsibility.
Financial ForecastingThe course focuses on using financial analysis and planning to guide organizational decisions. Learners build skills in variance analysis, which helps finance professionals compare actual and budgeted expenses.
Certifications and Licensure for Finance
Online MBA in finance degrees meet or exceed educational requirements for many finance-related jobs. However, some employers prefer or require additional training and expertise. The following list outlines several common professional credentials for graduates with an online MBA in finance degree.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) grants this certification to aspiring corporate financial managers and accountants. Candidates need a bachelor's degree or certification in accounting, IMA membership, and two years of relevant professional experience. They must also pass a two-part exam.
The CFA credential serves aspiring investment professionals. Candidates need a related bachelor's degree or 4,000 hours of combined professional experience and higher education.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority awards this certification to candidates who pass the Series 7 exam. United States stockbrokers and general securities representatives must pass this exam to practice their trade. The exam covers topics such as equity, securities, taxation, and investments.
Scholarships and Fellowships for Finance
Online MBA in finance students can pursue scholarship and fellowship opportunities to lower the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, these awards do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship and fellowship opportunities for finance MBA students.
Scholarships and Fellowships for Finance
||Who Can Apply
Rising Farmworker Dream Fund MBA Fellowship
||This RFDF MBA fellowship considers applicants planning to apply to MBA programs in the next three years. Awards may cover the costs of tuition, GMAT/GRE test preparation, MBA application fees, and school and career planning.
Forte Foundation MBA Fellowships
||This fellowship program supports women MBA students who receive nomination from a participating school. Applicants with diverse backgrounds and career goals may receive preference. Candidates must demonstrate leadership potential and commitment to women's advancement in the business world.
Online MBA in Finance Programs 2021
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School offers an online MBA in finance with four start dates each year. The cohort-model MBA requires 62 quarter credits. The degree holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, International accreditation.
Core subjects cover mergers and acquisitions, financial reporting and analysis, capital markets, and corporate valuation. Most students earn the degree in 24 months. The school also offers accelerated 21-month and extended 27-month study tracks.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree and two years of related work experience. The program requires GMAT or GRE scores. Applicants with over five years of professional experience can apply for a GMAT/GRE waiver. The program does not accept transfer credits.
Texas A & M International University
TAMIU offers an online MBA in international banking and finance through the A.R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business. Most students complete the 30-credit degree in 15 months. The program features six start dates throughout the year. The degree holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, International accreditation.
The curriculum includes 21 core credits and nine elective courses. The core classes cover financial statement analysis, business research methods, managerial economics, and strategic management. The program may require non-business degree-holders to complete prep-module classes. Graded as pass/fail, these classes do not count toward completion requirements.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants with a 3.0 GPA for their last 60 undergraduate credits can ask for a GRE/GMAT waiver.
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD
Robert H. Smith School of Business at UMD offers a finance degree online through its 54-credit MBA. The program holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, International accreditation.
The core curriculum covers 11, two-credit courses. Topics include global economic environment, strategic information systems and managerial economics and public policy. Electives make up the rest of the credit requirements. Most students graduate from the coursework-only program after two years of continuous enrollment.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and two years of related work experience. Candidates submit their latest GRE or GMAT scores. Out-of-state distance learners pay the same tuition as in-state students.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nebraska offers a finance degree online through its 48-credit MBA program. Students can earn the degree entirely online, with no campus visits. The curriculum covers fixed income analysis, portfolio management and ethics, and capital markets and financial institutions. Students learn about security valuation and the Buffett investment method.
Distance learners can use the university's career center services just like on-campus students. The center offers many services, including resume writing assistance, job interview tips, and networking opportunities.
Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. The program requires GRE or GMAT scores, but qualified applicants can ask for a waiver. Qualifying conditions include over seven years of relevant managerial experience or a doctorate or professional degree. Applicants currently in medical school or accepted to the Nebraska College of Law also qualify.
Florida Atlantic University
The online MBA at FAU includes 40-46 credits and holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, International accreditation. The cohort-model program offers asynchronous classes designed to meet the educational requirements of full-time working professionals. FAU's online MBA follows eight-week delivery schedules and takes 16-23 months without any campus visits.
Students complete 12 credits in their specialization area. The curriculum includes classes in advanced monetary economics, mergers and acquisitions, financial markets, and multinational finance.
The program welcomes applicants with an accredited bachelor's degree in any major. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA for their last 60 undergraduate credits and four years of relevant experience. The program requires GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants with a professional or graduate degree can apply for a GRE/GMAT waiver.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
UMass Amherst offers a 37-credit online MBA through the Isenberg School of Management. Students can complete an optional focus area, including the MBA in finance program. Each focus area requires three extra classes. Students can also complete an optional practicum, adding 3-6 more credits to the program.
The school lets students take up to two general MBA classes before or during the application process. Credits for these classes, with a B grade or higher, count toward the degree once a student enrolls. Finance-focused classes include e-commerce logistics, corporate real estate, value investing, and financial management of health institutions.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree, GMAT scores, and three years of relevant experience. Applicants with a 3.2 undergraduate GPA and five years of professional experience qualify for a GMAT waiver. Doctorate-holders can also apply for a waiver.
Ohio University-Main Campus
The online MBA in finance at OHIO requires 35 credits of core and concentration classes. Most students graduate from the program after two years. The degree holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation.
The curriculum includes one, two-credit and eight, three-credit classes. Classes cover managerial finance, organizational behavior and human resource management, and descriptive analytics. Finance concentration students take financial markets and institutions, investments, and advanced corporate finance classes.
The university requires online students to complete the Leadership Development Program on the Athens, Ohio campus. At the two-day event, students learn from leading industry practitioners and get face-to-face networking opportunities.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. The program does not require GMAT scores. Applicants need two years of work experience for admission consideration.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
UNCG's Bryan School of Business and Economics offers an 18-month online MBA in finance. Classes follow an asynchronous delivery schedule. The program accepts applicants with bachelor's degrees in any major as long as they earned it at an accredited school. The school holds dual Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation in business and accounting.
The program requires a capstone consulting project, no matter students' track or concentration. For the project, students consult with area organizations and provide solutions to real-world problems.
The program does not require GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants need basic familiarity with Excel, statistics, and probability concepts. Depending on professional background, students complete a 42-credit experienced professional track or a 45-credit early career professional track.
UD's Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics offers an online MBA with five concentrations, including finance. Completing one concentration requires 44 credits, while completing two or three concentrations at once requires 47-53 credits. Classes follow a seven-week asynchronous delivery schedule. The program holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation.
No matter their concentration, all students take 28 core business credits and nine credits for each concentration. The finance concentration includes investment analysis and portfolio management and corporate financial analysis classes.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a 2.8 GPA, two years of professional experience, and GMAT or GRE scores. Applicants meeting specific criteria can ask for a GMAT/GRE waiver.
UofA offers a finance degree online through the Eller School of Management's MBA program. Besides finance, the program offers five other concentrations: entrepreneurship, healthcare management, privacy and security, marketing, and management and organizations.
The 45-credit MBA in finance includes 28 core MBA credits and 17 elective credits, including finance concentration classes. Students pick from six start dates each year. Core finance classes cover financial statement analysis, investment analysis and management, and fundamental financial modeling.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree in any major and GRE or GMAT scores. Candidates meeting certain criteria can request a waiver of this requirement. Peace Corps volunteers with service commitment completion and students with a 3.5 GPA in a STEM or business-related field qualify.
Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue offers an online MBA with Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accreditation. Students pick from seven optional career-focused concentrations, including one in finance.
An MBA with a concentration requires 76 quarter credits. Without a concentration, students take only 60 quarter credits. A third option, the ExcelTrack, also requires 60 credits but follows a self-paced format. The program offers several start dates throughout the school year. Courses follow accelerated six-week delivery schedules, allowing students in the traditional program to graduate within two years.
The finance concentration includes financial institutions and markets, risk analysis and management, and corporate finance classes. Students take 60 credits of core coursework no matter their concentration. Core classes cover economics for global decision-makers, strategic management, and ethics in business and society. The program requires a capstone course where students create a business plan for an international venture.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
UNCW's Cameron School of Business offers a 36-credit, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited online MBA. The program offers concentrations in business analytics, healthcare management, international business, and finance. MBA classes follow seven-week delivery schedules, letting most students graduate in as few as 12 months. The program features six start dates each year and a rolling admissions policy.
The online MBA in finance includes 10 core classes and two electives. The core curriculum features business analytics, information analysis and management, corporate finance, and business law classes.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's with a 3.0 GPA, GRE or GMAT scores, and two years of work experience. Candidates with five years of managerial experience, a graduate degree, or a 3.2 undergraduate GPA qualify for a GRE/GMAT waiver.
Arizona State University-Skysong
ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business offers a 49-credit, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited online MBA. The program offers different enrollment dates each year and seven concentrations, including one in finance. Most students graduate within two years.
Courses follow five-week delivery schedules. Students take one class at a time, letting them develop a deep understanding of the subject. The finance concentration includes classes in international finance, mergers and acquisitions, financial performance reporting, and investment fundamentals. Students complete a strategic management capstone class before graduation.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's in any major with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits. Applicants must also submit their latest GRE or GMAT scores.
Wayne State offers an online MBA in finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business. The program requires 36 credits and holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. Students pick from 12 other concentrations besides finance.
The MBA in finance program includes 18 core, nine concentration, and nine elective credits. The finance concentration includes investment policies, money and capital markets, and applied financial analysis classes.
The program accepts applications from bachelor's degree-holders of any major and requires GMAT or GRE scores. Applicants meeting certain criteria can ask for a GMAT/GRE waiver. Qualifications include a 3.0 GPA in business from an AACSB-accredited institution or a 2.75 GPA and three years of experience.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The online MBA at UL Lafayette requires 33 credits and features five start dates throughout the year. Courses follow accelerated eight-week delivery schedules that students complete without visiting campus. Most students graduate within 15 months. The program holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation.
Finance concentration topics include investment analysis and portfolio management, advanced financial management and policy, and financial markets and institutions.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's and recent GMAT scores. Bachelor's degree-holding applicants with a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credits can request a GMAT waiver. Students with a 2.75 undergraduate GPA and three years of relevant work experience also qualify. Based on their educational background, non-business degree-holders may need to take prerequisite courses before starting the program.
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
CMU offers a 36-credit online MBA with 11 concentrations, including one in finance. The MBA in finance program holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation. Students take nine core business and three finance classes. Core business classes cover data analysis and risk management, global business and sustainability, and managerial accounting.
The finance concentration covers financial statement analysis, international finance, and financial modeling. Students complete an integrative class in strategic management near the end of the program. The class lets them make business plans for different business environments.
The program accepts applications from accredited bachelor's degree-holders in any academic discipline. Applicants must show a minimum 2.7 GPA. Ideally, an applicant's undergraduate degree includes prerequisite coursework in economics, accounting, statistics, and finance. Students with insufficient academic background in these subjects may need to take leveling classes.
California State University-Stanislaus
Stanislaus State offers a 30-credit, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited online MBA in finance. Classes follow the regular 15-week semester schedule but use asynchronous delivery. Students can complete the general MBA or a finance or human resource management concentration.
Students take 21 core and nine concentration credits. Students without a concentration take nine elective credits instead. The core curriculum covers management accounting, computer information systems, and project methods and integrated strategic processes. The program requires a comprehensive exam after coursework completion.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's with a 2.5 GPA in the last 60 credits. Students must also submit their latest GRE or GMAT scores. Candidates meeting certain educational and/or professional criteria can ask for a GMAT/GRE waiver.
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Students can complete UTC's 36-credit online MBA without any campus visits. Students pursue a general program or an online MBA in finance, business analytics, or healthcare administration.
Students take 24 core business credits, nine concentration credits, and a three-credit capstone class. Finance concentration classes cover investments, financial markets and institutions, and international financial management. The capstone uses computer-simulated scenarios that let students apply the skills and knowledge they got from the program.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's in any major and GRE or GMAT scores. The program waives the GRE/GMAT requirement for students meeting certain criteria. Those with a graduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or a 3.25 undergraduate GPA and five years of experience qualify.
Villanova Business School offers a 48-credit online MBA in finance program. Classes follow asynchronous delivery schedules, letting most students earn the degree while working full time.
Learners must complete 7.5 credits in a specific area to earn a specialization. The core curriculum covers managerial accounting, corporate finance, and business operations.
Students must complete a global strategic management capstone class and a practicum experience with a social enterprise focus. The program requires a second practicum experience focused on global organizations. Students can complete this requirement at home or abroad.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's and GRE or GMAT scores. Students can transfer up to nine credits from another accredited school.
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel's Tommy & Victoria Baker School of Business offers a 36-credit online MBA in finance. The program holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation. Students can pursue a specialization in finance, entrepreneurship, or supply chain management.
The MBA in finance program covers security regulations, the financial planning process, liquidity management, and taxes. Students must complete a capstone class in global business strategy, business planning, or strategic consulting.
Applicants need an accredited bachelor's and GRE or GMAT scores. Enrollees or recent graduates of professional programs can submit placement test scores instead of GRE/GMAT scores. Master's degree-holders with a 3.0 GPA can ask for a GRE/GMAT waiver as well.
All data was collected between 6/14/21 and 7/3/21. Respondents were fielded by Lucid LLC. All 343 respondents in the study were screened by multiple quality checks, including systems like Relevant ID, and responses were manually reviewed to ensure consistency and accuracy. Survey participants include 169 currently enrolled MBA students and 174 graduates from MBA programs within the past 6 years. Respondents are between 21 and 78 years of age and identified as 45% Female, 54% Male, and 1% non-binary.
Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for completion of a survey (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of such students and surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively. All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.