Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs 2020

| Staff

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs 2020
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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.

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FAQ

Question Answer
What is the difference between finance and economics? Economics typically examines financial data within a broad context, such as national or regional economic performance. Meanwhile, finance typically focuses on company- or industry-level financial patterns and decisions.
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.
Most Affordable Online Master's in Finance Badge

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Finance Programs 2020

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.

  1. California State University - Dominguez Hills
    Location

    Carson, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  2. Texas A & M International University
    Location

    Laredo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  3. Fayetteville State University
    Location

    Fayetteville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  4. California State University - Stanislaus
    Location

    Turlock, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  5. Thomas Edison State University
    Location

    Trenton, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  6. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Durant, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  7. Louisiana State University - Shreveport
    Location

    Shreveport, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  8. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  9. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
    Location

    Odessa, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  10. The University of Texas at Dallas
    Location

    Richardson, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

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.

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.

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.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Financial Analysts $81,590 5%
Personal Financial Adivsors $87,850 4%
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents $62,270 4%
Budget Analysts $76,540 3%

Source: BLS

Courses in a Master’s in Finance

Traditional finance master’s programs typically require around 30 credits and take at least two years of full-time enrollment to complete. Enrollees often take core courses in areas such as wealth management, investment banking, corporate finance, and government finance. Specialized courses may cover topics such as audit institutions and processes, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning.

Master’s in finance curricula also include research coursework and thesis or project requirements that help students develop advanced research, analysis, and communication skills. The sample courses described below appear in many (but not all) online master’s in finance programs.

Corporate Finance

Often part of a concentration, this course familiarizes students with corporate finance strategies, tools, and practices. Useful to aspiring financial managers, analysts, and advisors, this course cultivates skills in data collection and analysis, financial valuation, and financial statement generation. Students may also learn about budgeting, investments, and finance policy.

Financial Forecasting

This core course benefits aspiring financial managers and advisors, providing an overview of financial planning, analysis, and modeling. Students learn when and how to use various forecasting methods, plus how to factor in debt, equity, depreciation, and working capital. Enrollees practice short- and long-term forecasting and use of relevant Excel functions.

Negotiations

Focused on cultivating the interpersonal, communication, and financial skills needed for financial negotiation, this specialized course serves aspiring financial managers and advisors and often appears among wealth management concentration course requirements. Enrollees gain sophisticated knowledge of negotiation ethics, mediation strategies, and bargaining styles. This course often employs simulations and provides sample cases for analysis.

Budgeting

A core course in most finance programs, budgeting focuses on budget-creation skills and tools that analyze production, revenue, and expenses. Learners also practice conducting financial data, cost/benefit, and risk analyses. This course proves essential for budget analysts and financial managers.

Financial Compliance

Helpful for aspiring compliance professionals and financial managers, this course surveys compliance regulations and covers topics like reporting, auditing, investigation, and risk assessment. Participants also study fraud, finance and compliance ethics, and financial information security.

Financial Aid

Finance master’s degrees can prove costly, but many students qualify for financial aid opportunities, including federal grants and loans. Students can determine their eligibility for federal aid by submitting the FAFSA. Some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Specific schools and programs may also offer financial aid based on factors like need, merit, and/or identity. External scholarships like the ones outlined below can also offset tuition expenses. Some graduate students may qualify for fellowships that pay student stipends in exchange for teaching or other work for the university. Additionally, some working students can take advantage of employer assistance programs.

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: $2,500

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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