Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs in 2021

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs in 2021

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 In 2021

  1. California State University - Dominguez Hills

    Carson, CA



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 76%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost:$
    • City location: Carson, CA
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: Minimum score requirements 140 on the Quantitative Reasoning and 146 on the Verbal Reasoning sections of the GRE
    • Contact: 310-243-3696
    • Website
  2. Texas A & M International University

    Laredo, TX



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 41%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $
    • City location: Laredo, TX
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not required
    • Contact: 956-326-2001
    • Website
  3. Fayetteville State University

    Fayetteville, NC



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 57%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: Minimum GMAT (or GRE predicted GMAT) score of 400 required
    • Contact: 910-672-1111
    • Website
  4. California State University - Stanislaus

    Turlock, CA



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 80%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Turlock, CA
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GMAT and GRE score requirements vary depending on undergraduate GPA; minimum score is based on undergraduate GPA;  the higher your GPA, the lower the acceptable score
    • Contact: 209-667-3122
    • Website
  5. Thomas Edison State University

    Trenton, NJ



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 42%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Trenton, NJ
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not required
    • Contact: 609-777-5680
    • Website
  6. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

    Durant, OK



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 22%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Durant, OK
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: Score must place an applicant at or above the 75th percentile of college graduates
    • Contact: 580-745-2000
    • Website
  7. Louisiana State University - Shreveport

    Shreveport, LA



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 42%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Shreveport, LA
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: A minimum GMAT score of 450 is required for applicants who don’t have at least three years of professional experience 
    • Contact: 855-704-0315
    • Website
  8. Bellevue University

    Bellevue, NE



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 59%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Bellevue, NE
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: No standardized tests are required
    • Contact: 402-293-2000
    • Website
  9. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

    Odessa, TX



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 59%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Odessa, TX
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE and GMAT are optional
    • Contact: 432-552-2020
    • Website
  10. The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX



    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.

    • Graduation rate: 71%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Richardson, TX
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE and GMAT not required
    • Contact: 972-883-2111
    • Website

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.

  • 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.
    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 20%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 40%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 15%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

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.

CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Financial Analysts$81,5905%
Personal Financial Adivsors$87,8504%
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents$62,2704%
Budget Analysts$76,5403%

Source: BLS

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.

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Monitoring financial market and securities performance, these professionals sell financial services to prospective clients, buy and sell securities and commodities, and arrange trading and investment opportunities. According to the BLS, these professionals often benefit from a master’s degree.

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.

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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.

Schools receive regional accreditation by undergoing a voluntary evaluation by regional accrediting agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Depending on their location, schools may receive regional accreditation from agencies such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Finance programs may hold accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The Types of Finance Concentrations

    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.

  • Healthcare administration

    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. 

Career advancement

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.

Increased expertise

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.

National Association of Black Accountants National Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Ethnic minority learners studying business, accounting, or finance full time at accredited four-year schools may apply. Eligible applicants need active NABA student membership, a 3.3 minimum overall GPA, and a 3.5 minimum major GPA.
Amount: $1,500

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

Association for Latino Professionals For America Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Hispanic U.S. citizens or permanent residents pursuing business-related programs full time at accredited four-year schools may apply. Applicants need a minimum 3.3 GPA.
Amount: Varies

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Lara Vukelich


Lara Vukelich is a contributing writer who covers higher education, online graduate programs, college planning, and more for Grad School Hub. Her writing has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Travelocity, and MyMove.

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Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht is an editor for Grad School Hub. A proud University of Houston alum (go Cougs!), she previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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