Exploring concepts in financial systems, money management, and fund acquisition, the finance field covers topics such as banking and investments, debt and credit, financial risk and liability, and capital markets.
Whereas economic analyses typically examine entire regions or markets and consider public policy, finance usually focuses on profit and risk within a specific company or industry. However, these disciplines do inform one another and increasingly overlap. As the focus of finance expands, governments often hire finance professionals to assist with larger-scale economic strategies.
Accounting differs from finance in that it involves tracking daily money flow rather than generating longer-term financial projections and strategies. However, these disciplines also increasingly overlap as basic accounting functions become automated.
Today’s accounting positions often require financial management skills, and finance careers often require advanced skills in accounting and financial reporting. Focused on evaluating return and risk, finance also requires advanced skills in financial data analysis, financial planning and projection, leadership, and communication.
Accredited Online College Programs
Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs
The following rankings highlight the most affordable online master’s in finance programs. Each institution listed meets rigorous academic standards established by regional accreditors. By highlighting good-quality, affordable degree options, this list can help prospective enrollees find the best fit for their budget, interests, and goals.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, California State University - Dominiguez Hills offers an MBA with a concentration in finance that trains students in business management functions and financial management. Enrollees without a business background take prerequisite bridge courses that cover topics such as financial accounting and business statistics.
The 30- to 60-credit MBA includes core courses on topics like advanced accounting, human behavior in organizations, operations management, and strategic management. The finance concentration consists of four courses, such as derivatives and future markets and investment and portfolio management.
Students can transfer up to nine credits toward the degree. Degree-seekers pursuing the master's in finance online can choose between full-time and part-time options. Admission requires a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA and GMAT scores.
Texas A & M International University offers an online MBA in international banking and finance that teaches students how to help companies navigate international institutions and financial markets. Students pursuing the master's in finance online take seven-week courses, typically graduating within 15 months.
The 30-credit program features core courses in areas like financial management, strategic management, and financial statement analysis. The international banking and finance track consists of courses in international finance, international investments, and international financial markets and institutions. A seminar in marketing management teaches enrollees how to develop and implement competitive marketing strategies.
Learners without an undergraduate business degree must complete a series of prep-module courses before taking MBA coursework. The program offers six start terms per year. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores.
Fayetteville State University is one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities. Part of the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, FSU offers an online MBA with a concentration in finance that allows students to choose between synchronous or asynchronous lectures.
The 36-credit program develops competencies in areas such as financial management, managerial economics, and business policy and strategy. Students use two electives to complete the concentration, building expertise in areas such as security analysis and futures trading. A seminar gives learners the opportunity to explore and report on topical finance issues and practices.
Students culminate the degree with a capstone project. The degree ranks among the most affordable MBAs in the UNC system. Admission to this online master's in finance requires a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA and GMAT scores.
California State University - Stanislaus offers a 30-unit online MBA with a concentration in finance. Students take core courses on topics like management accounting, computer information systems, and business strategy and project development. All students complete a writing proficiency requirement that they may fulfill with a course in marketing management or business organization, theory, and behavior.
The nine-unit concentration examines three key areas of finance: international financial management; options, futures, and swap contracts; and security analysis and portfolio management. MBA students culminate the degree with a comprehensive exam or an individual project that highlights their expertise.
Students with an insufficient business background must complete an 18-unit business foundation before admission to this online master's in finance. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Established to educate nontraditional learners, Thomas Edison State University offers online degrees in a variety of disciplines. The New Jersey college's online MBA in finance takes around 15 months to complete.
The degree builds skills in areas such as financial management, strategic operations, and global strategic management. A key course focuses on how managers can accomplish organizational goals while making ethical decisions. The finance component examines investments, corporate and managerial finance, global finance, and financial modeling.
Graduates leave the program with well-honed communication, leadership, and qualitative and quantitative skills. The degree costs less than many similar online master's in finance programs, and all students pay the same per-credit tuition regardless of residency. The program offers six start dates per year. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and prerequisite courses.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers programs on campus in Durant, at satellite locations, and online. The school's fully online MBA with a concentration in finance takes just one year to complete.
The 36-credit program features core courses on topics like accounting for managers, marketing management, data analysis for managers, and research methods. The finance concentration covers valuation, securities investments, and financial institutions and Fintech. Finance students examine the key issues managers consider as they oversee multinational firms, including foreign trade flows, forecasting currency exchange rates, and managing exchange rate risk with derivatives.
All students pay the same tuition rate for this online master's in finance regardless of where they live. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and no GMAT.
Louisiana State University - Shreveport offers a 30-credit, fully online MBA with a finance concentration. Students can complete the program in just 10 months. Learners take core courses on topics like financial management, organizational behavior, and marketing strategy.
The concentration requires three courses that examine areas like financial analytics and contemporary investments. An elective course allows learners to explore a complementary subject, such as casino and resort management or fraud detection through data analytics.
Students who lack a business background may take optional one-credit courses to build their knowledge base. All U.S. residents pay the same affordable tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission to the online master's in finance requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Founded in 1966, Bellevue University offers a 30-credit online MBA with a concentration in finance that integrates theoretical knowledge and applied learning. The MBA core includes coursework in financial reporting and analysis, marketing and new media strategy, and financial management and strategy.
The finance concentration consists of nine credits that examine investments, risk management, and international finance. Students learn how to apply MBA concepts when they engage in simulations and case studies. Participants leave the online master's in finance program with a portfolio that highlights their abilities to design, implement, and analyze projects.
Graduates can pursue certifications from the Project Management Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management. All students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
At the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, learners need not attend classes on campus to develop the professional competencies and tools they need for successful managerial careers. The 33-credit, fully online MBA with a concentration in finance takes 15 months to complete.
Students take courses on topics like information systems management, strategic management, and business research methods. One notable course teaches students how to use computer programming software to develop analytical models for decision-making. During concentration courses, students examine financial derivatives, international finance, and management of financial institutions.
All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. UTPB offers financial aid and payment plans to help students afford tuition. Admission to the online master's in finance requires GMAT scores.
Students residing anywhere in the world qualify to enroll in the professional MBA administered by the University of Texas at Dallas. The 53-credit program features a part-time curriculum and no on-campus requirements. The professional MBA with a concentration in finance examines core business functions such as accounting, business economics, and operations management.
Students can decide whether they want to concentrate in corporate financial planning or analysis of financial securities and investment portfolios. Course options include valuation, investment, and financing; financial management; investment theory and practice; and regulation of business and financial markets. An optional semester-long finance internship gives learners an opportunity to observe financial operations from a managerial perspective.
Graduates leave the program with advanced analytical, problem-solving, and strategic planning skills. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Part of a four-campus system, Missouri State University - Springfield offers a close-knit community of learners on campus and online. About 25% of MSU's MBA students are online learners. The fully online MBA with a certificate in finance begins with 18 credits of foundational courses on topics such as managerial finance and accounting concepts for managers. Students with a relevant background may be able to waive these courses.
Once students complete foundational courses, they pursue 33 credits of core courses on topics like advanced financial management, organizational behavior, and organization strategy and policy. Degree-seekers work with an advisor to choose electives for the graduate certificate in finance.
All learners pursuing the master's in finance online pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT or GRE scores.
The University of Houston - Victoria enrolls about 4,500 students annually through its 70 programs. The school's online global MBA with a finance concentration takes 16 months to complete. The 36-credit degree includes an MBA core that develops general business knowledge from an international perspective. Topics include global economics, financial reporting and analysis, international marketing, and international finance.
The six-credit concentration teaches learners about types of investments, investment principles and objectives, and security prices and yields. Participants also explore the fundamentals of risk management and insurance, studying topics such as health, auto, and homeowners insurance. Graduates can use theoretical knowledge and tools to address global business challenges.
The online master's in finance offers multiple start dates per year. All degree-seekers pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and GMAT scores.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers a 30- to 33-credit online MS in finance. Students can choose between fully online and hybrid formats. During core courses, students learn how to interpret financial information, conduct economic analyses, and develop applied statistical models. They also study the intricacies of finance and value creation.
Finance students use 9-18 credits to complete one of two finance concentrations: investments or corporate finance. Hybrid learners can partake in the Bloomberg Finance Lab, an on-campus learning environment that simulates a real-world trading room. In the lab, finance students access real-time financial market data and use simulations and tools to develop statistical analyses.
Students can build even more hands-on expertise with an optional business internship. Admission to the online master's in finance requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Established in 1974, the University of Houston-Clear Lake enrolls about 9,000 students annually. The 30-credit online MS in finance covers core areas such as managerial economics, corporate finance, commercial banking, and international finance. Students learn about quantitative methods in finance, including statistics and probability, sampling, and hypothesis testing.
Enrollees can use six electives to complete an optional finance internship. Students can also use 12 credits to specialize their financial skills in healthcare administration. The four-course concentration includes an examination of the legal aspects of healthcare systems and the financial management of healthcare organizations. Students who pursue this concentration must complete 36 credits total rather than the 30 credits required for the general finance concentration. Admission requires GMAT scores.
A private school in Michigan, Walsh College specializes in business and technology programs. The online MS in finance program examines concepts such as financial and managerial accounting, financial analysis, and investment performance and analytics. Electives build specialized skills in areas such as credit underwriting and analysis.
Learners culminate the degree with a capstone, such as an internship or simulation. The program's state-of-the-art finance lab serves as a hub for developing real-world business solutions. Learners can use free training in the lab to earn Bloomberg analytical software certification.
Students gain access to free tutoring, mentoring, and networking opportunities. They can enroll in the online master's in finance at any time and finish the degree at their own pace. Admission requires no GMAT or GRE scores.
Located in Las Vegas, New Mexico Highlands University offers a fully online MBA with a finance concentration. Learners without an undergraduate business degree must pass a proficiency course in the first semester. The 36-credit program features core courses on topics like financial accounting, marketing management, managerial economics, and quantitative methods.
The nine-credit finance concentration deepens enrollees' understanding of investments, financial statement analysis, and financial markets and institutions. MBA students use case studies and simulations to learn how to make decisions across business functions. Students culminate the degree with a capstone focused on a strategic case analysis of an organization's business problems.
All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission to the online master's in finance requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and no GMAT scores.
The University of South Florida offers a 33-credit online MBA that full-time students can complete in just three semesters. Part-time students typically complete the degree in three years. Students without a business background must take foundation courses in areas such as financial management and accounting concepts for managers.
All students complete six core courses on topics like organizational behavior and leadership and data analytics for business. The degree offers four concentrations, including one focused on compliance, risk, and anti-money laundering. While the MBA does not officially offer a finance specialization, learners may work with an advisor to create their own finance emphasis.
Learners can take advantage of professional development programs that offer valuable networking opportunities. Admission to the online master's in finance requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi offers an online MBA with a finance concentration that builds managerial skills for the financial sector. Students can complete the 36-credit degree fully online in 12-24 months. Non-business students may need to complete prerequisite courses in subjects such as accounting and economics.
The MBA core covers topics such as managerial finance, operations management, and organizational behavior and theory. The concentration consists of four finance courses that examine multinational finance, personal finance planning, investment and portfolio theory, and financial markets and institutions.
The program offers accelerated seven-week courses and multiple start dates per year. All students pursuing the master's in finance online pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Considered a Public Ivy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a customizable online MBA@UNC with a finance concentration. The 62-credit program takes 18-36 months to complete. Live weekly classes facilitate collaboration on interactive case studies and negotiation simulations.
The extensive core examines functions such as financial accounting, operations, and the use of analytical tools for decision-making. Finance students examine topics including taxes, business strategies, and financial statement analysis. Students must complete two in-person sessions, including a three-day global intensive.
A dedicated team provides participants with career coaching. A limited number of merit-based partial fellowships help students pay for tuition. All online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Texas A & M University-Commerce offers an online MS in finance that teaches students to apply financial theory to solve business challenges. Students can complete the 30-credit degree in two years. The program features fully online and hybrid options to suit different learning preferences.
Learners study concepts such as financial management, finance for decision-makers, derivatives and risk management, and applied financial and economic forecasting. A notable course explores human psychology's impact on finance and economics, such as investors' irrational financial decision-making. During a capstone, enrollees apply their expertise to develop a written financial plan.
Guest speakers, professional networking opportunities, and internships give students enrolled in the online master's in finance access to hands-on experience and business connections. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Founded in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington operates a comprehensive virtual college that includes an online MS in finance. The 30-credit curriculum gives students the technical expertise needed to help organizations achieve their financial goals. Participants acquire skills in domains such as quantitative analysis, finance valuation, financial management, and valuation and capital investment.
Enrollees use an elective course, such as international financial management, to broaden their portfolio of skills. Students may also want to consider the school's online 54-credit online MBA in finance. Students in this program complete most coursework online in addition to two signature Kelley Connect Weeks, which are intensive academic and networking events held on campus.
All students pursuing the master's in finance online pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission to both programs requires GMAT or GRE scores.
One of 13 universities in the University of Wisconsin system, UW-Whitewater offers online degrees that blend strong academics, flexibility, and affordability. The online MS in finance offers a curriculum that prepares participants for the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation administered by the CFA Institute.
Working professionals can maintain their obligations and still earn the 30-credit degree in two years. The curriculum covers topics such as corporate finance, business valuation, financial markets, and investment banking. Learners culminate the online master's in finance with a comprehensive exam.
Graduates join a strong network of alumni in various sectors. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores and sufficient professional work experience.
Florida Institute of Technology is a private, research-intensive college located on Florida’s “Space Coast." The school offers an online MBA in finance that explores foundational business and managerial principles, while giving learners specialized training in financial practices.
The 36-credit curriculum includes a core that explores topics such as managerial economics, financial management, and organizational behavior. Students develop financial expertise in areas like investment management, portfolio analysis, and finance markets and institutions. A course in financial management policy cultivates knowledge in three key areas: working capital, capital budgeting, and capital structure.
Students culminate the degree with a live case analysis and management simulations as they develop a strategy to maintain a firm's competitive advantage. All students pursuing the master's in finance online pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires no GRE or GMAT scores.
Fort Hays State University offers over 200 online degrees and certificates, including a 34-credit online MBA with a concentration in finance. The program enrolls learners from all professional backgrounds, offering four foundational courses for students without a business background to fill in knowledge gaps.
The MBA core includes a graduate success lab that familiarizes students with FHSU's online environment and resources to help them succeed. Learners study core topics like advanced corporate finance, strategic management, and information systems for management.
The nine-credit concentration covers topics like money and banking, financial institutions, and international finance. All students enrolled in the online master's in finance pay the same tuition regardless of residency. A full suite of financial aid options helps make this MBA affordable. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.
Baker College offers a fully online, 36-credit MBA in finance that features flexible, asynchronous courses. Students examine core topics like economic environment, human resource management, and management information systems.
Finance courses examine topics such as the financial environment, money and banking, and public finance. A course in international business finance explores the strategies managers use to effectively guide businesses that compete globally. Enrollees in this course complete a research paper that makes recommendations to improve a firm's financial business practices.
Learners interested in expediting graduation can pursue the program's Accelerated Path, earning the degree in as little as one year. About 86% of MBA students receive scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid. Enrollment requires no GMAT or GRE scores, though applicants may submit them to strengthen their application.
Our Methodology, Explained
Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates
Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid
Admission and enrollment rates
Number of program options
Online Enrollment Score
Portion of learners taking at least one online course
Answering your questions about a master’s in finance
How much does a masters in finance cost?
Tuition costs for a master’s in finance degree will vary depending on the program you choose and where it’s located. Some programs, even when online, will charge you out of state tuition if you aren’t a local resident, which can double or triple your tuition. The programs we reviewed range in tuition cost from $12,000 to $40,000.
How long does it take to earn a master’s in finance?
Traditional master’s programs usually take two years of full-time study to complete, but accelerated online master’s in finance programs offer shorter timelines.
Can I earn a master’s degree in finance online?
Yes, earning a master’s in finance online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
Do you need a master’s degree to work in finance?
No, most entry-level financial occupations only require bachelor’s degrees. However, master’s degrees often help professionals achieve promotions and higher salaries.
Which Careers Benefit From a Master’s in Finance?
Master’s in finance programs prepare students for competitive financial careers across various companies, industries, and nonprofit organizations. Bachelor’s-holding candidates sometimes qualify for entry-level positions in the roles outlined below. Earning a master’s degree in finance makes candidates more competitive in the job market.
Financial Analysts Employed by public and private clients, these professionals analyze market trends, evaluate investments, and provide financial advice. They may also review financial statements, create financial reports, and assess financial management teams. These analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field.
Personal Financial Advisors Usually equipped with a finance-related bachelor’s or master’s degree, these financial experts counsel clients on financial matters such as investments, taxes, insurance, and retirement. They often spend their days meeting with clients, outlining financial options and risks, monitoring accounts, and identifying promising investment opportunities.
Budget Analysts Employed by various nonprofit, for-profit, and governmental organizations, these financial organizers track institutional expenses, create and review budgets and budget reports, and estimate future needs. Budget analysts may also counsel managers and ensure legal and regulatory compliance. Budget professionals typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree and benefit from coursework in statistics, accounting, and economics.
Accreditation for Master’s Degrees in Finance
Prospective online master’s in finance students should seek out programs at accredited schools. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.
For many programs, finance is the concentration for your master’s degree. Some programs may offer further specialization that allow you to explore specific applications of finance knowledge.
Corporate financial planning
A corporate financial planning concentration will prepare you to manage financial strategies at a corporate level. You’ll learn to analyze common executive-level financial situations and gain an advanced understanding of capital structure, incentives, risk management, and dividend policy. Potential courses you would take in this concentration include: creating value through mergers, acquisitions and private equity, advanced corporate finance, and corporate valuation and strategy.
Financial securities and investment portfolios
This concentration will focus on the investment and market side of finance. You’ll focus on mastering valuation concepts, corporate investment analysis, portfolio management, asset allocation, trading, and performance measurement. Courses may include: valuation, investment and financing; regulation of business and financial markets; investment theory and practice; and fixed income securities.
Some programs offer electives that focus financial management on the healthcare industry. You’ll learn the legal and financial management strategies necessary to oversee healthcare organizations. You’ll take classes like financial management of healthcare organizations, planning and marketing healthcare services, legal aspects of healthcare systems, and integrated delivery systems.
What is the Difference Between a Masters in Finance and an MBA in Finance?
An MBA in finance is a business degree with a focus on financial topics. You’ll have a broader education in business management and corporate leadership. The finance concentration will teach finance in the context of business administration. Leadership and business courses will be just as important as finance-based classes. This degree will prepare you for a career leading finance departments and corporate finance institutions.
A master’s in finance, focuses more on pure finance and accounting. There may be more technical math and statistics courses and it can be more broadly applied to finance careers. Investments, marketing, financial analysis and theory, math, and quantitative finance are core topics to this type of degree. Though you can apply it to business operations, those courses and more elective. If you have a passion for finance and numbers, this degree will allow you to pursue fiance-centered careers.
Requirements for a Masters in Finance
There are several universal requirements for admission to a master’s in finance program. Letters of recommendation and a professional resume are commonly asked for. Many programs also have a minimum GPA requirement, usually between 2.5 and 3.0. Some of the programs on our list also ask for GRE or GMAT scores.
Why Should I Get a Masters in Finance?
Higher salary potential
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master’s degree graduates in the finance field earn an average of 41% more than bachelor’s degree graduates. That’s a significant boost in your earning potential. Going back to school for a master’s degree can give you leverage for a raise if you’re already employed. If you haven’t entered the job market yet, you may be able to negotiate a higher starting salary with a master’s degree.
Similar to the earning opportunities for masters graduates, your career advancement opportunities grow. Advanced degrees can prepare you for management roles and accelerate your promotion track. In some ways, it can replace job experience and you enter a company at a higher level with a master’s degree.
A master’s degree offers more focused and specialized education than a bachelor’s degree. By continuing your education, you can learn more advanced finance topics and how they apply to specific career paths. If you choose a concentration, you can focus your expertise even further.
Scholarships for Finance
Many students reduce their education expenses through scholarships, which do not require repayment. Various schools, organizations, and private donors award scholarships based on eligibility criteria such as field of study, academic merit, financial need, and/or identity. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for online master’s in finance students.
Golden Key International Honor Society Graduate Scholar Award Who Can Apply: Golden Key members enrolled or soon-to-be-enrolled in an accredited graduate degree program can apply. Applicants must submit a five-page personal statement, a 500-word essay, a resume, a recommendation letter, and transcripts. Amount:
Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association awards this scholarship to minority students enrolled in programs pursuing local or state government finance careers. Applicants must submit a recommendation letter that speaks to their public sector commitment. Amount: $10,000
Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship Who Can Apply: Funded by the Girard Miller Foundation, this scholarship goes to outstanding students planning government finance careers and enrolled full time in accredited graduate programs. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation. Amount: $1,500
Danika Miller is an education reporter at Grad School Hub who covers higher education news and trends, as well as paying for college. Her writing has also appeared in Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus, and her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple Dollar and CreditCards.com.
A Ph.D. is the most advanced and one of the most highly-respected degrees that someone can earn. If you have a financial background or are interested in specializing in topics like finance, economics, and statistics, a Ph.D. in finance can help you open up many career doors and increase your earning potential. According to data […]