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Financial analysis graduate degree programs aren't available through distance learning, but graduate-level financial analysis course and certificate options are available. Additionally, a number of colleges and universities offer distance learning graduate degrees in related fields of study, including financial management, finance and banking, and financial services management.
Graduate programs are often designed for business or finance professionals looking to advance their knowledge. Some financial graduate degree programs are offered fully online, while others can be found in a blended format of online and on-campus courses.
All applicants must have a bachelor's degree and may need to have some undergraduate credits in business, finance, and/or economics. Once admitted, students can typically earn their master's degrees in about two years; however, financial analysis certificate programs may be completed in a year or less.
Financial analysis certificate programs generally teach students how to develop and present capital and operating budgets. They also teach the concepts and tools for corporate finance, financial decision making, current financial management practices, and investment management.
Most online financial graduate degree programs cover topics that are very similar to certificate programs. However, students also gain broad business skills in brokerage, capital structure estimating, stock and bond valuation, capital budgeting, and financial statements. Common graduate-level financial courses include:
- Corporate financial analysis and modeling
- Accounting, finance, and information technology
- Strategic investment
- Securities markets
- Analyzing financial statements
- Financial and managerial accounting
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Portfolio management
- Federal taxes and management decisions
Most distance learning finance programs are self-paced, flexible, and mostly conducted through Blackboard, webinars, or online meetings in asynchronous or synchronous formats. Some financial programs separate classes into modules, while others have required courses and elective courses that can be taken in any order. Finance graduate degrees can usually be completed totally online.
Generally, a bachelor's degree is the minimum required degree for most financial analysts or other related financial positions. Graduate financial degree programs can give students a solid background in preparation for law school or for transfer into a Master of Business Administration program. Graduates of an online graduate degree program in finance are prepared for careers as:
- Financial analysts
- Investment bankers
- Investment advisers
- Financial consultants
- Financial planners
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for financial analysts is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, at a rate of 12% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that those possessing graduate degrees and certifications should have the best job prospects.
Though online financial analysis graduate degree programs are not available, students have the option to complete a graduate certificate in this field fully online. Other options such as a graduate degree in financial management, finance and banking, or financial services management relate closely to a financial analysis degree and are available fully online.