Many schools offer online master's degree programs in finance. Most programs are aimed at individuals who are already working in the field, and experience is required. Students can complete many of these degree programs entirely online, viewing courses as their schedules permit, within set deadlines. A few degree programs do require some on-campus courses, however.
Students must hold bachelor's degrees in order to enroll in an online master's program. Most programs can be completed in about two years, but there are accelerated programs that can shave a few months off that timeframe. Some schools allow as long as five years to complete the degree. Courses may include information technology, international financial management, risk management and asset pricing.
Master's Degree in Finance
Most online master's degree programs in finance are designed for individuals who already work in finance and wish to earn their degree from home without interrupting their weekday schedule. While enrolled in these programs, students learn skills that can help them advance their careers, such as financial theory, strategy and analysis. They may also learn risk management and financial planning tactics. Some programs qualify graduates to take professional certification exams, such as that to become a Certified Financial Planner.
Program Information and Requirements
Master's degree programs in finance generally take students two years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs for students wishing to earn their degree in less time, which can be completed in as little as 16 months. Since these programs are designed for working professionals, it is not uncommon to find programs that are offered fully through distance learning, with lectures and materials presented and accepted via the school's online interface (such as Blackboard). However, some programs may require certain courses to be completed on campus.
Common Finance Courses
Students are typically required to complete between 30 and 48 credits during their course of study. Coursework usually focuses on aspects of financial policy, valuation, strategy, analysis and management.
Lessons teach the basic principles of corporate finance, including how money flows between firms and financial institutions. Upon completion of the course, students should have the understanding needed to make financial decisions.
Students learn how to evaluate risk and different ways to manage it. They may learn how to manage fixed income returns, equity returns, interest rates and currency rates.
This class covers how statistics can be applied to aid in forecasting and decision-making. It also discusses how statistics are used to design experiments, collect information and interpret data.
Students learn strategies that can be applied in order to increase the values of corporations. The primary focus of this course is capital allocation, because decisions in this area greatly affect a corporation's shareholder value.
Accounting is a necessary component when managing a business. Students learn how accounting relates to planning and control, costing, budgeting, performance evaluation and break-even analysis.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers earned a mean annual wage of $134,330 as of 2015. The BLS also reports that a seven percent growth in employment is expected for financial managers during the 2014-2024 decade. While a bachelor's degree is sufficient for many positions, candidates with a master's degree or certification will likely enjoy more job opportunities.
Continuing Education Information
Ph.D. programs related to finance are readily available, but they are rarely offered online. Graduate certificate programs are commonly offered online, and popular among professionals who wish to broaden their financial knowledge (such as those concurrently enrolled in a related degree program) or specialize in a certain area, such as taxation. Financiers may also want to consider obtaining professional certification in their area of expertise.
There are many fully online master's degree programs in finance available. These programs are designed for working professionals and include advanced coursework in financial policy, risk management and accounting.