Business Finance Degree Program Overviews by Degree Level

Oct 20, 2019

Students interested in finance degrees have several options, which include business programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs prepare graduates for careers in lending, financial planning and financial management.

Essential Information

Most associate's degree programs in business administration offer areas of specialization related to money management. Graduates may consider applying their associate's degree credits to a bachelor's degree program in finance. Students seeking a bachelor's degree can major in finance or choose a business degree program with a finance concentration. Both types of programs focus on business math and law, financial management, economics and business strategy. To qualify for admission, students should possess a high school diploma or GED.

For admittance into a master's program, students must have a bachelor's degree in a related field, including finance, business or economics, in addition to GRE and GMAT scores and reference letters. Students who don't have a bachelor's degree in a business related subject might need to take introductory business courses.

Some programs accept professional business experience for academic credit or to meet course prerequisites. Students seeking a master's degree can select business administration programs with a finance concentration, or business programs with a specialization like financial management or investing.

Associate's Degree in Business Administration

Most associate's degree programs in business administration offer concentrations in finance or economics. Both specializations incorporate similar coursework. These introductory programs present the basics of business while teaching finance, investing, accounting, economics and business law. Introductory business theory, concepts and law classes teach students the tools necessary to analyze current financial trends and potential investments. These are some of the basic courses:

  • Introduction to accounting
  • Finance basics
  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Corporate and personal finance
  • Introduction to marketing strategy

Bachelor's Degree in Business Finance

Business degree programs include Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business with a concentration in finance, B.S. in Finance, or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance. In these programs, students learn basic principles and strategies, as well as techniques for understanding the emerging patterns as the field grows. Coursework covers general practices of local and international economics, business and law, with a background in math and statistics. These are some of the general courses:

  • Principles of economics
  • Financial law
  • Business statistics
  • Financial management
  • Business strategy and economics

Master's Degree in Business Finance

Master's degree programs, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Master of Science (M.S.) in Business-Finance are designed for students with jobs those fields. The programs involve advanced studies in the theory and methods of financial investing and decision making in current and past markets. Some programs offer several concentrations that include investing, econometrics, financial management and corporate finance.

These programs prepare graduates for executive positions as they begin or move forward in their careers. Students learn how to analyze current and potential problems in the financial market, both locally and internationally. Furthermore, students may be expected to create solutions to these problems and look at how the market will fluctuate through courses similar to the following:

  • Advanced financial management
  • Advanced financial analysis
  • Advanced marketing techniques and methods
  • Risk management and derivatives

Popular Career Options

Associates degree programs in finance prepare graduates for entry-level careers. These programs provide students with the necessary skills for entry-level positions as credit authorizers, financial planners and loan officers. Graduates with a bachelor's are prepared to work in finance or business. They can find employment as economists, financial analysts or financial managers. With a M.S. or MBA degree, graduates are qualified for a career in financial management. Students can apply their education, analytical skills, and understanding of the economy to the following jobs:

  • Credit authorizer
  • Loan officer
  • Financial planner

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 608,120 financial managers and 306,200 financial analysts were employed in 2018. The BLS predicts a job growth of 16% for financial managers, and a 6% rise in available jobs for financial analysts for the years from 2018 to 2028. In addition, the BLS reported that financial managers earned a median annual salary of $127,990 and financial analysts made a median annual wage of $85,660 in May 2018.

Continuing Education Information

Doctoral degree programs, such as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration, are available to teach quantitative methods in finance and economic theory, as well as advanced research methods and techniques. Professionals with a Ph.D. in this field may consider research or teaching in economics, finance and other business areas. Graduates may also consider certification from the American Academy of Financial Management, which offers professional designations for financial managers, business analysts and wealth managers (

For students interested in finance, there are several degree options at the undergraduate and graduate level that should adequately prepare students to enter the very lucrative field of financial analysis and management. These options typically allow students to select an area of concentration to cater to their career goals.

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