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Best Online Master's in Finance 2021

Best Online Master's in Finance 2021

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Careers in finance offer good salaries and job stability. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% increase in employment of financial managers between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earn a median income of $129,890 each year.

Prospective students interested in advancing their careers can earn an online master's in finance without ever visiting a college campus. Below, we take a look at the 15 best online programs in finance, exploring admission requirements, learning outcomes, and typical courses.

Top 10 Online Master's in Finance Programs

#1 Georgetown University Washington, DC
#2 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
#3 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
#4 Texas A & M University – Commerce Commerce, TX
#5 Johnson & Wales University – Online Providence, RI
#6 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#7 West Texas A & M University Canyon, TX
#8 University of Massachusetts – Lowell Lowell, MA
#9 University of Houston – Clear Lake Houston, TX
#10 University of Scranton Scranton, PA

What Is an Online Master's in Finance Degree?

An online master's in finance degree provides students with the advanced graduate education they need to pursue finance careers. Core coursework generally covers the fundamentals of finance, such as financial market analysis, portfolio management, and corporate finance. Elective coursework delves into niche areas and sometimes includes internships.

Students in master's in finance programs develop quantitative skills that can be used to evaluate financial information, make financial decisions, choose and assess portfolios, and manage risk. Students learn to apply financial strategies to practical business needs.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Finance Program?

Finance master's programs online focus on specialized concepts like financial accounting, financial marketing, corporate valuation, and risk management. Concentrations in areas like wealth management, investment baking, and corporate finance allow students to focus on the areas that align with their career goals.

Finance Concentrations

Wealth Management

This concentration prepares students to offer clients financial services, including portfolio management, asset management, mergers and acquisition assistances, estate planning, and investment management. Wealth managers work with corporations, small business owners, and individuals to develop strategies to meet financial goals.

Investment Banking

Investment bankers focus on the buying or selling side of financial services. Learners studying the sales side analyze how brokers and bankers trade and promote securities, including debit, equity, and derivatives. Those on the buying side delve into how hedge funds, asset managers, and investors look after private equity funds, unit trusts, mutual funds, and other capital.

Corporate Finance

This concentration teaches students to manage the financial well-being of corporations by generating compliant financial statements and evaluating long-term organizational health using data collection and models. For example, by selling assets to gain capital when needed, professionals in this field help achieve the goals of executives and board members

Finance Curriculum

  • Corporate Valuation: This course is about learning to add corporate value. Students work through the theory and application of organizational finance policy, budgeting, restructuring, and investment options. They also survey and use key valuation tools.
  • Negotiations: Prospective financial service employers frequently require that applicants have strong negotiation skills. This course fosters communication and interpersonal expertise by reviewing case studies and doing mock simulations. Learners analyze bargaining styles, mediation strategies, and ethical issues of negotiation across the dynamic structures of teams and coalitions.
  • Audit Institutions and Processes: Students in this course explore the concepts, risks, and procedures of the auditing process. Topics include professional ethics, the impacts of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, corporate compliance, the role of a board of directors, liability, and fraudulent financial reporting.

What's the Difference Between a Master's in Finance and an MBA in Finance?

Both degrees provide the graduate education needed for lucrative professions in finance. However, a master's in finance is a more specialized degree, whereas an MBA is more generalized.

A master's in finance focuses entirely on the study of finance, delving into niche knowledge, skills, and approaches to success in finance professions. An MBA in finance has some specialized focus in finance while taking a broader approach that covers business administration, managerial practices, organizational management, and other related concepts.

Finance Careers

While graduates can begin many entry-level finance careers with an undergraduate degree, earning an online master's in finance enables professionals to pursue advanced roles within their organizations.

In the list below, we explore three of the most popular fields in finance: accounting, financial examination, and compliance.

Accountants

Median Salary: $71,550 Projected Job Growth: 4%


Prepare and examine financial records to maintain accuracy and ensure that taxes are paid in a timely manner. Accountants may work on behalf of a single organization or with multiple corporate, government, and individual clients. Common tasks include examining financial statements, preparing tax returns, and suggesting methods of cost reduction.

Most accountants need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, but some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree. Pursuing certifications, such as certified public accountant, certified management accountant, or certified internal auditor, can improve job prospects. This career requires keen analytical, communication, and mathematics skills.

Financial Examiners

Median Salary: $81,090 Projected Job Growth: 7%


Work with banks and other financial institutions to ensure compliance with laws, evaluate risk level of loans, and assess bank management. Financial examiners often specialize in either risk assessment or consumer compliance. Common tasks include reviewing balance sheets and expense accounts, preparing detailed reports, and reviewing new government regulations.

Entry-level financial examiners typically hold a bachelor's degree and receive on-the-job training. Advancement to senior positions often requires a master's degree in accounting, business administration, or a related field. Financial examiners must be detail-oriented, with excellent analytical, mathematics, and writing skills.

Compliance Officers

Median Salary: $69,050 Projected Job Growth: 5%


Compliance officers examine, evaluate, and investigate an organization's conformity with applicable laws and regulations. In finance, compliance officers also help assess risks and reduce financial crime. Common tasks include evaluating financial data, conducting investigations, and working with management to address issues.

Professionals can typically find work in this field with a bachelor's degree and relevant experience. Employers may prefer or require certified anti-money laundering specialist or certified fraud examiner certification. Compliance officers working in finance must have keen analytical, mathematics, and computing skills.

Finance Professional Organizations

  • Association for Financial Professionals AFP is a professional society committed to the success of members and their organizations. The association offers several professional certifications. Other membership benefits include access to exclusive tools and on-demand training, virtual roundtables, and an online community.
  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors NAPFA is the nation's leading professional association of financial advisors who work without charging commissions. The association sets high standards and champions independent, objective financial advice for individuals and families. Membership benefits include access to podcasts, webinars, and facilitated virtual discussions.
  • CFA Institute CFA Institute strives to lead the global investment profession by promoting high standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence. Membership eligibility requires qualifying work experience and professional references. Benefits include exclusive career services, professional earning opportunities, and current readings on the investment management industry.

The Best Online Master's in Finance Programs

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4

Texas A & M University – Commerce 

Commerce, TX Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1889 as a teacher's college, TAMUC has flourished into a public research university with a diverse student body.

TAMUC's master of science in finance program offers both a fully online or hybrid curriculum. Students typically complete the required 30 credits in two years.

Courses include derivatives and risk management, international business financing, and applied business research. This degree program also offers 11 minors and five certificates.

TAMUC does not require test scores or a minimum GPA, but applicants must submit official transcripts. Interested candidates may apply throughout the year.

Graduation Rate
40%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
Online Enrollment
63%
5

Johnson & Wales University – Online 

Providence, RI Apply Now

About this school

With 12,000 students earning degrees across multiple campuses and online, JWU offers an intimate and personalized experience.

An accelerated schedule allows students to finish JWU's master of science in finance program in just 15 months, but most students graduate after two years of study.

Students can choose from two tracks to become either a financial planner or a Chartered Financial Analyst. Faculty teach all courses — including retirement planning, fundamentals of investment and portfolio planning, and personal financial planning — in a 100% online format.

Applicants with a GPA above 2.85 do not need to submit test scores. All other candidates should submit their GMAT scores. JWU accepts graduate applications year-round.

Percent Receiving Loans
73%
Online Enrollment
100%
6

Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH Apply Now

About this school

Founded in the 1930s, SNHU operates as a private, non-profit university with over 200 degree programs.

SNHU offers the opportunity to earn a master of science in finance through asynchronous online classrooms. Available concentrations include corporate finance and investments & securities. SNHU prides itself on connecting students to quality internship opportunities and a flourishing alumni network.

SNHU requires no test scores, essays, or letters of recommendation. They specify no minimum GPA. Graduate applicants may apply any time and start during one of five terms throughout the year.

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
68%
Online Enrollment
93%
7

West Texas A & M University 

Canyon, TX Apply Now

About this school

WTAMU values hard work, dedication and individuality, reflecting its Texas panhandle roots.

WTAMU's faculty teach courses for its online master of science in finance and economics degree program through an asynchronous platform. Core courses explore topics like monetary and fiscal policy, corporate governance, and asset valuation. To graduate, students must complete 36 - 45 credits.

Applicants should already have a bachelor degree, which does not have to relate to business. Those with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better may fill out a GMAT waiver.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
47%
Online Enrollment
58%
8

University of Massachusetts – Lowell 

Lowell, MA Apply Now

About this school

UMass Lowell has received numerous awards for its online degree programs, including the 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Inclusive Education.

The master of science in finance from UMass Lowell requires just 10 courses in topics like bank management, financial risk management, and advanced portfolio management. Some students complete the program in as little as 18 months.

Applicants should possess an undergraduate degree in a business-related field. Those who don't must take three prerequisite undergraduate courses. UMass Lowell requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GMAT score of 500.

Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
31%
9

University of Houston – Clear Lake 

Houston, TX Apply Now

About this school

UHCL promises endless opportunities to its 9,100+ students, who study within more than 90 degree programs.

UHCL offers an online master of science in finance program that students can complete in as little as 18 months. To graduate, students must complete 30 credits in courses such as financial statement analysis, commercial banking, and managerial economics.

UHCL requires graduate applicants to have an undergraduate degree and GMAT or GRE test scores, but does not specify a minimum test score or GPA.

Percent Receiving Loans
35%
Online Enrollment
38%
10

University of Scranton 

Scranton, PA Apply Now

About this school

Scranton offers a Jesuit-based education that focuses on the holistic development of every student.

Scranton's master of science in finance program includes eight core courses and two electives, resulting in a total of 30 credits required for graduation. Full-time students complete the program in 12 months.

Applicants should already holda bachelor's degree. The application process requires GRE or GMAT scores (waived for 2021 admissions), transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0, a professional resume, a statement of intent, and three letters of recommendation.

Graduation Rate
82%
Percent Receiving Loans
65%
Online Enrollment
18%
11

Creighton University 

Omaha, NE Apply Now

About this school

Creighton boasts an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, providing an intimate education experience even for graduate students.

Creighton's online master of science in finance program requires 33 credits to graduate. Students can also complete a 48 credit-hour dual degree in finance and business administration. Courses include equity analysis, portfolio management, and quantitative analysis.

Applicants must provide transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0 during their undergraduate studies and submit GMAT scores and two letters of recommendation, among other admission requirements. Creighton reviews applications on a rolling basis, so students can begin during the spring, summer, or fall semesters.

Graduation Rate
81%
Percent Receiving Loans
49%
Online Enrollment
40%
12

Saint Joseph's University 

Philadelphia, PA Apply Now

About this school

Founded by Jesuits in 1851, Saint Joseph's promotes the personal, mental, spiritual, and creative growth of each student.

Saint Joseph's online master of science in finance program offers three tracks: financial analysis, financial planning, and real estate finance. Courses include portfolio management, risk management, and international finance.

Part-time students typically complete their degree in two years, and as little as one if studying full-time. Students need 30 to 42 credits to graduate. Faculty teach online courses in 8-week accelerated semesters and typically meet synchronously one evening per week.

Although applicants must submit transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores (waived on a case-by-case basis), Saint Joseph does not specify a minimum GPA or minimum test scores.

Graduation Rate
80%
Percent Receiving Loans
50%
Online Enrollment
42%
13

Brenau University 

Gainesville, GA Apply Now

About this school

With four campuses and online programs, Brenau surrounds students in a caring educational community.

Brenau offers an online master of science in organizational leadership in finance program that explores topics like investments, corporate financial policy, and valuation. The school offers 15 concentrations within this degree program.

To graduate, students must complete 36 - 39 credits, not including foundation courses. Prospective students should already hold a bachelor's degree and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5.

Graduation Rate
43%
Percent Receiving Loans
72%
Online Enrollment
60%
14

University of Michigan – Dearborn 

Dearborn, MI Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1959 thanks to funds from the Ford Motor Company, UM-Dearborn currently teaches more than 8,000 students annually.

Students can complete UM Dearborn's master of science in finance program without ever visiting campus. Available concentrations include investments and corporate finance.

To graduate, students must finish core and elective courses totaling 30 credits. Those studying full-time can graduate in as little as 16 months.

Applicants must already hold a bachelor's degree. UM-Dearborn does not look at cumulative GPA for this degree program, but does expect a minimum grade of "C" or higher for certain undergraduate courses. UM-Dearborn accepts applications on a rolling basis for admission to the fall or spring semesters for this program.

Graduation Rate
56%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
Online Enrollment
30%
15

CSU Global 

Aurora, CO Apply Now

About this school

CSU Global has offered 100% online classes for over 10 years and operates as an independent state university.

CSU Global offers six specializations within its master of science in finance program, including fraud management, information technology, and applied business management. Courses include bank management, corporate finance, and investments.

Classes take place asynchronously. To graduate, students must complete 36 credits.

CSU Global expects applicants to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, but will consider applicants with a lower GPA on a case-by-case basis. Students who meet the minimum GPA requirements do not need to submit GMAT or GRE test scores.

Graduation Rate
70%
Percent Receiving Loans
49%
Online Enrollment
100%
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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Finance Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Finance Program?

Full-time students can earn a finance master's degree in 1-2 years. Part-time students may take longer to graduate.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Finance?

This versatile degree allows graduates to pursue advanced careers in finance, insurance, business, and government, including leadership positions.

Is a Master's in Finance Better Than an MBA?

MBAs offer broad curricula, covering finance, statistics, and management. A master's in finance is best suited to students who want to focus narrowly on finance, investments, and risk management.

Is a Finance Degree Hard?

All college programs are difficult to some degree. Students may consider different components of a master's degree easy or hard depending on their individual strengths and weaknesses.

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