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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Financial Services

Majors Overview June 8, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in financial services and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and certification choices.

Master’s Programs in Financial Services

Schools offer financial services master’s degree programs as a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.). Both programs comprise courses relating to business as well as core financial analysis. Few schools, if any, offer master’s programs in financial services in online formats. With a master’s degree and work experience, graduates may seek professional certification in the form of a financial planner credential.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Financial Services

Students enrolled in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Financial Services program are trained to pursue careers in any financial service field, particularly financial analysis, and financial planning. This type of program comprises analysis strategies, planning tools, and implementation methods.

The primary focus of coursework for a Master of Science (M.S.) in Financial Services is on finance and does not include typical business courses such as information systems or accounting. While different schools have different admissions requirements, admission criteria commonly require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.


Students are required to complete 30-36 semester hours of courses. Some schools offer these programs in online formats; however, some requirements have to be in on-campus settings. Coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Security analysis and portfolio management
•Estate planning
•Stakeholder theory
•Mutual funds
•International finance
•Nonprofit gift planning
•Financial institutions and capital markets
•Derivative markets
•Analyzing business’ value
•Mergers and acquisitions

Career Choices

Program graduates can choose from various possible job positions, including that of a financial analyst.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a sixteen percent job growth rate has been predicted for financial analysts (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $76,950 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Program graduates must register themselves with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., and gain three years of work experience before being allowed to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFC) exam. They must also meet the board’s standards of conduct and pass a background check in order to be eligible.

Biannual renewal of certification is a requirement for these professionals who must complete continuing education in the form of a 2-CEU class in either standards or ethics, in addition to 28 hours in other accepted topic areas. Students must complete up to 15 hours of the required CEUs in the form of live presentations, teaching, and self-study programs.

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Programs in Financial Services

Through Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) programs in Financial Services, financial courses are added to the most generalized business coursework of a traditional MBA. More information on communications and financial technology is likely to be in the Master of Science (M.S.) in Financial Services program. The program aims at enabling the application of graduates’ knowledge to specific business conditions of their customers or employers. Different schools may have different additional requirements; however, a common educational prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree.


Coursework may covers topic areas such as:

•Real estate business
•Marketing management
•Managerial finance
•Management Information Systems
•Reporting and management
•International business
•Business ethics and law
•Money and banking
•Administration strategies
•Accounting concepts and practices

Career Choices

Program graduates may choose from careers in various settings, such as:

•Investment firms
•Retirement planning service providers
•Attorneys’ offices
•Life insurance companies

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