Master's Degree in Finance for Non-Business Majors

A master's degree in finance includes classes that touch on business strategy, economics and applied mathematics. Graduates are prepared with the analytical skills and business acumen to succeed in the fast-paced world of finance. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn a Master's Degree in Finance (for Non-Business Majors)

You do not need a background in business to be admitted into a finance master's degree program. In fact, many of the highest rated finance programs want students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds. To complete the program, students take classes for 1-2 years and can choose to develop a concentration in one of a variety of topics, including investment analysis, investment banking or corporate finance.

Corporate Finance

A strong understanding of corporate finance underpins a finance student's entire course of study. The vast majority of finance graduates will go on to work in a corporate environment. This class prepares students with a general overview of capital budgeting, risk assessment and valuation, capital management and dividend policy. Students finish the class with the fundamental knowledge necessary to advance in their degree programs.

Financial Modeling

Computer software can be an incredibly useful tool to help calculate complex corporate finances. In this class students are introduced to the software, programming and mathematics skills necessary to build computer models that can aid in financial decision making. To this end they will study statistics, regression analysis, optimization techniques and the Monte Carlo simulation. They may even practice using real-time data to analyze information in Excel.

Financial Reporting

One of the fundamental skills that a finance graduate should walk away with is the ability to write, read and analyze financial reports. To do this, students begin by learning about financial concepts like assets, liabilities, equities, revenues and expenses. In this course students practice writing different types of financial statements, like balance sheets and cash flows.

Econometrics

This course combines economics and statistics. Each statistical technique learned through this class is instantly applied to real-world finance situations. For example, a student might learn how to apply multivariate regression analysis to analyze stock returns. They finish the course with the mathematical tools they need to conduct empirical research in a business setting.

Business Ethics

The constant flow of money in the finance field leads to common ethical issues and dilemmas. In this class students are introduced to ethical dilemmas that they may face during their finance careers. Students discuss and debate legal cases and learn finance law to ensure that they never end up in a financial scandal of their own. They are prepared for careers as responsible finance professionals.

Master's Degree in Finance Career Paths

Financial Analyst

A finance master's degree program prepares students to take the CFA exam, a nationally recognized test that qualifies graduates to become financial analysts. As a financial analyst you will use the modeling and research skills learned in your graduate program to write reports and advise business stakeholders and leaders on how to improve their profits.

Personal Financial Advisor

Another great way to apply the financial reporting, statistics and decision making skills acquired through a finance master's degree program is to become a personal financial advisor. These professionals advise individuals and/or companies on how to manage their money and secure a healthy financial future.

Financial Manager

A financial manager is in charge of setting and enforcing a company's long-term financial goals. He/she ensures that teams and departments comply with their company's finance policy. Financial managers use the skills learned in a finance master's degree program every day, from writing financial reports to conducting research to advising on business management.

Accountant

An accountant is an expert in preparing and reviewing financial records. Because accounting involves a lot of the same analysis tools and mathematics skills taught in a finance degree program, a master's degree in finance can prepare students who want to take the CPA (certified public accountant) exam and start off in this respected and well compensated career.

Budget Analyst

A budget analyst comes into organizations and agencies, looks over their current financial situations and designs workable budgets. Without an expert monitoring that budget, it is easy for a business, nonprofit, university or government agency's expenditures to go way off track! Thus a budget analyst needs the advanced statistical analysis, financial reporting and business management skills learned in a finance master's degree program.

Careers with a Master's Degree in Finance Median Pay (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-28)*
Financial Analyst $85,660 6%
Personal Financial Advisor$88,890 7%
Financial Manager$127,990 16%
Accountant $70,500 6%
Budget Analyst $76,2204%

Source: *US Bureau of Labor and Statistics

A master's degree in finance is open to students from a wide range of backgrounds. It provides graduates the skills necessary to pursue well-compensated and respected careers in business, accounting and finance.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Georgetown University

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  • Florida Tech

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  • American University

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