Best Finance Programs 2023

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Published January 17, 2023

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The best finance programs can lead to in-demand business and finance roles with career advancement options. Discover how this degree can meet your goals.

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A bachelor's in finance covers skills and knowledge in financial management, economics, and banking. Many programs offer courses in investments, corporate finance, risk management, real estate, and insurance. Students also learn statistics, mathematics, and financial analysis.

A finance degree prepares graduates to pursue roles in the fast-paced financial industry. Learn more about finance programs, potential careers, and benefits of this degree.

Why Get a Finance Bachelor's Degree?

  • Provides Strong Financial Background: A finance program teaches skills essential for in-demand careers in financial management, analysis, investments, and banking. Along with a strong financial foundation, students also develop analytical skills and gain knowledge of niche areas, such as portfolio management and corporate finance.
  • Career Advancement: With a degree in finance,graduates can advance their careers after gaining experience in the field. According to the BLS, financial managers need a bachelor's degree and five years of relevant experience. These managers earned a median average salary of over $130,000 in 2021.
  • Boosts Earning Potential: Finance professionals typically earn a higher-than-average salary, even in entry-level positions. The BLS also reports that the median salary for finance careers was $76,570 in 2021, higher than the median annual wage of $45,760 for all occupations.

What to Expect From a Finance Bachelor's Degree

The best finance programs prepare learners for careers in the financial industry with opportunities for growth and advancement. Students learn financial theory and practical business applications. A bachelor's program in finance may offer courses in capital markets, risk management, corporate finance, and banking.

Admission requirements for an undergraduate finance program include a high school diploma or GED certificate, a minimum GPA between 2.0 and 3.0, SAT or ACT scores, and proficiency in English, math, and science. Unlike a business program, a finance degree does not require enrollees to have prior work experience.

Most programs require four years of full-time study and 120-128 credits. Some programs may allow up to 90 transfer credits. Business programs can have either institutional or programmatic accreditation or both.

Degree, Concentration, and Format Options

Undergraduate finance programs often go by different names, such as bachelor of science in finance, bachelor of arts in finance, and BBA with a finance concentration.

  • Bachelor of Science in Finance: This area of study is best for individuals who wish to start a career in finance. Students take a mix of general education courses but most of the program is focused on the study of finance that prepares them for a job.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Finance: In a bachelor of arts in finance degree, students can expect to study a broad range of courses alongside finance, including language, history, communication, and science. This program is best for students who wish to pursue an advanced degree in finance after graduation instead of joining the workforce.
  • BBA with Finance Concentration: Students who aspire to work in business can choose a bachelor in business administration with a focus on finance. The program usually includes business and management topics with finance courses.

Accelerated finance programs can be completed in 3 years. Some programs combine a bachelor's and master's degree and can be completed in 4-5 years.

Finance programs are offered in on-site, online, and hybrid formats. Aspirants should check with every university to learn about modes of instruction and delivery formats.

Should You Get a Finance or Accounting Bachelor's?

At first glance, a bachelor's in finance andbachelor's in accounting may appear to be the same, but they have significant differences. Consult the following table to learn more.

Comparing Bachelor's in Finance and Accounting
Key Factor Bachelor's in Finance Bachelor's in Accounting

Degree Length

4 years

4 years

Course Topics

Marketing, financial reporting, corporate finance, risk management, investments and banking

Financial accounting, managerial accounting, financial reporting and analysis, strategic and ethical issues, auditing

Degree Focus

Understanding financial theory, concepts, and real-world applications

Development of accounting skills, preparation for accounting certifications

Admission Requirements

High school diploma or GED, minimum GPA of 2.0-3.0, coursework in math and science

High school diploma or GED, minimum GPA of 2.0-3.0, coursework in math and science

Standardized Tests

SAT, ACT

SAT, ACT, CLT

Admissions Process

Most undergraduate finance programs require proof of a high school diploma or a GED certificate. While standardized test scores such as SAT and ACT are mandatory for some colleges, many institutions make them optional. Admission to any finance program also calls for a minimum GPA between 2.0-3.0.

If choosing a BBA program with a concentration in finance, applicants may need to complete prerequisite courses in business. An associate degree in finance often serves as a stepping stone to a bachelor's program.

Applicants may also need to submit personal statements, letters of recommendation, and essays. Some colleges charge an application fee, while other programs waive it for first-year students. Applicants can use the Common App to apply to multiple colleges at the same time.

Popular Finance Undergraduate Courses

Bachelor's in finance programs include core courses and electives. These programs provide a strong foundation in finance fundamentals while sharpening analysis and critical-thinking skills. Some programs may culminate in a capstone project. The following are some common finance undergraduate courses.

  • Financial Planning: Financial planning courses are ideal for students wanting to take the certified financial planner (CFP) exam. The CFP Board strongly recommends students complete a board-accredited program to sit for the exam. In this course students learn to help businesses and individuals achieve their financial goals.
  • Corporate Finance: This course focuses on the issues faced by modern corporate management and capital budgeting. Topics include economic analysis of investments, financial leverage, and financial corporate strategies.
  • Risk Management: This class covers identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risks in investments. Students learn about the different types of risk, their indicators, and the ways to mitigate them.
  • Financial Markets: Students learn about global financial markets, regulatory authorities and the role of financial intermediaries in the stock markets and exchanges.

How Much Do Finance Bachelor's Programs Cost?

The cost of an undergraduate program in finance varies greatly, depending whether it's a private vs. public institution, the program's reputation, and whether you have in-state vs. out-of-state residency. Tuition can range from $24,000-$75,000 per year.

Besides tuition and other program fees, students must also consider additional expenses when determining the total cost of a finance program. Relocation, transportation, room and board, internet, and other costs can quickly add to the total expense. Whether you attend in-person or online classes also affect the cost of the program.

Students can pay for their college education with various types of financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and work-study. Federal loans may also be available, but students must be aware of the repayment terms.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

With the convenience and flexibility of online education, many students are choosing to earn their degrees online. .

One of the biggest advantages of an online program is convenience. Students can attend classes from home, without the need to relocate or commute. Many online programs combine live classes with independent learning, allowing students to complete coursework when convenient while balancing personal and professional commitments.

The total cost of distance learning is often less than traditional, on-campus programs. Because students can attend online programs from anywhere, they can reduce the burden of college expenses by reducing or eliminating the cost of lodging, commuting, or relocating.

But, remote learning may not be suitable for everyone. Many students may not have the self-discipline required for independent study. Some may prefer face-to-face interaction and in-person networking instead of looking at a screen.

Finance Jobs and Salaries

Finance graduates can pursue careers in business, finance, and accounting. Some popular areas of employment include banking, wealth management, corporate finance, and investments.

According to Payscale, the average salary of finance graduates was $76,000 annually, as of December 2022. With advanced credentials, finance professionals can pursue more senior roles and boost salary potential.

Below we explore some common career options for bachelor's in finance graduates.

Financial Planner


The duties of a financial planner include assisting clients with financial decision-making, insurance, and taxes. These advisors also help clients plan and reach financial goals, learn more about saving and budgeting, and develop healthy financial habits.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or business

Job Outlook (2021-31): +15%

Average Annual Salary, December 2022: $66,543

Sources: BLS, Payscale

Financial Analyst


A financial analyst's responsibilities include collecting and analyzing financial data, monitoring market trends, and creating forecast models. Financial analysts also find ways to cut costs and maximize profits.

Required Education: At least a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field

Job Outlook (2021-31): +9%

Median Annual Salary: $95,570

Sources: BLS

Investment Accountant


Investment accountants work with brokerage and asset firms, assisting brokers and asset managers in handling stocks, bonds, portfolios, EFTs, and currencies. Investment accountants also monitor third-party activities and client investments.

Required Education: At least a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or a related discipline

Average Annual Salary, November 2022: $68,760

Sources: Payscale

Financial Manager


Financial managers monitor the financial health of a company. These professionals analyze financial data, record transactions and cash flow, and write the financial reports. Other responsibilities of a financial manager include risk management and developing strategies to maximize profits.

Required Education: At least a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field

Job Outlook (2021-31): +17%

Average Annual Salary: $131,710

Sources: BLS

Selecting the Right Undergraduate Program

Choosing a bachelor's program is a major decision. Consider several factors before enrolling a bachelor's degree in finance:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation indicates that the school meets academic standards. Business programs can also hold accreditation from the AACSB. It is important to verify a school's accreditation status because most employers or professional designations, such as certified public accountant (CPA), CFP, or chartered financial analyst (CFA), may not recognize degrees or coursework from unaccredited schools.
  • Delivery Format: Finance programs are available in on-campus, online, and hybrid formats. Students must choose a delivery option depending on their needs and schedule.
  • Expenses and Financial Aid: A college degree can be expensive. When researching programs, students should compare fees and the financial aid opportunities available. It is important to know your total costs before choosing a program.
  • Internship Opportunities: Many undergraduate finance programs connect students with internship opportunities that provide professional experience. Before enrolling in a program, students should also check if a school provides networking opportunities that can assist with job placement after graduation.

Best Finance Programs

Launch your career with one of 2023's best finance programs listed below. Each of these five programs can help students prepare for diverse roles in finance fields like investment management and financial planning.

For more information about our ranking methodology, follow the link below.

#1 Best Finance Programs 2023

Taylor University

  • Upland, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

TU serves nearly 2,000 undergraduate students on its 952-acre Indiana campus. Founded in 1846, this non-denominational Christian university encourages students to live life to the fullest. TU offers over 100 degrees and programs. 

Bachelor of Science in Finance

Taylor University's finance major includes concentration options financial analysis, financial planning, and general finance.

The financial analysis focus includes courses in investment research and applied portfolio management. The financial planning concentration covers topics like federal taxes and retirement planning. Students completing the general finance concentration can choose any combination of those classes or explore other concepts like security industry essentials or the mathematics of finance.

Enrollees in all concentrations gain hands-on experience by completing a required practicum and working with financial software in TU's finance lab. The curriculum also helps prepare students for professional credentials like CFP, CFA, and accredited financial counselor (AFC). 

Applying to TU

Students complete an online application. They submit high school transcripts, a story about their Christian faith, and recommendation letters about their Christian character. TU does not require test scores, but applicants without these scores may need to share teacher recommendations or complete TU placement exams. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $18,588/semester
  • Required Credits: 128 credits
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$36,535
Out-of-state
$36,535
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
2,110
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Finance Programs 2023

Wofford College

  • Spartanburg, SC
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Located in South Carolina, Wofford delivers liberal arts education to over 1,800 undergraduate students. The college's strategic vision prioritizes justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Major in Finance

Wofford College's finance major includes required courses in accounting principles, business finance, and financial statement analysis. Students select 24 credits of pre-approved electives to personalize the curriculum. 

Half of the elective credits must focus on finance, with topics like international finance, bank management, and real estate analysis. Learners split the remaining credits between accounting and business electives. Potential courses include tax concepts and marketing research.

Wofford's schedule includes a required January interim. Students focus the entire month on experiential learning opportunities such as on-campus projects, independent study, internships, and travel abroad programs.

Applying to Wofford

Applicants complete the Common App and submit transcripts. Standardized test scores can help strengthen a student's application, but are not required. Wofford encourages applicants to submit recommendation letters.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $51,530/year
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$46,010
Out-of-state
$46,010
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
1,764
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Finance Programs 2023

Trinity University

  • San Antonio, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Trinity University began in 1869 as a Presbyterian university. The university honors that heritage through a nondenominational campus ministry and a commitment to intellectual and spiritual growth. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Trinity University serves over 2,500 students.

BS in Finance

Trinity University's BS in finance program covers topics like information systems, marketing, organizational management, and data analysis. Students also learn about legal concepts and economics. 

After completing the core business curriculum, students focus on six required finance courses. These classes explore topics like investments, equity valuation, and financial accounting. 

Learners also select three finance electives, which they can apply toward an optional concentration in investment management or corporate finance. Both concentration options provide practical experience. Investment management courses let students invest university endowment funds, and corporate finance classes include case-based learning. 

Applying to Trinity University

Candidates complete an online application and submit transcripts, a teacher evaluation form, and a school report form. They also write personal essays. Trinity University does not require test scores, but students must complete five prerequisite courses before gaining full admission to the finance major.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); AACSB International
  • Tuition: $49,264/year
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$45,840
Out-of-state
$45,840
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
34%
Students Enrolled
2,677
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Finance Programs 2023

Cedarville University

  • Cedarville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A Christian institution, Cedarville offers on-campus outreach programs, local service opportunities, and international mission trips. This Ohio university reports a 98.4% placement rate for its 2021 graduates.

BS in Finance

Cedarville University bachelor's in finance candidates can follow a three- or four-year completion plan. Both options entail 128 credits, but the three-year plan includes summer semesters. 

Cedarville offers several opportunities for hands-on learning. In their final two years of study, learners take portfolio management courses and practice investing university endowment funds. Students can also gain practical experience with live financial news and data tickers through the school's KeyBank Trading Center.

Other experiential learning opportunities include internships and a two-semester integrated business core program. The latter lets students develop a business plan and loan proposal for a startup venture. 

Applying to Cedarville

Along with an online application, students submit transcripts, evidence of their personal relationship with Christ, and a Christian leader recommendation. Cedarville does not require standardized test scores.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); ACBSP International
  • Tuition: $17,249/semester
  • Required Credits: 128 credits
  • Program Length: 3-4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$32,364
Out-of-state
$32,364
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
4,461
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Finance Programs 2023

Calvin University

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Calvin began in 1876 as a theological training school and has since grown into a Christian liberal arts university with over 3,250 students. Named after the theologian John Calvin, this Michigan university promotes creativity and intellectual inquiry.

Finance Major

Calvin University's bachelor in finance program provides a comprehensive business and finance core. Students dive into business ethics, organizational behavior, and managerial accounting. The curriculum also explores financial topics like investments and capital markets. 

Learners then pick two business electives in subjects like accounting, economics, and financial planning. For a hands-on experience, students can select an internship elective. 

Enrollees also gain experience through Calvin Action Projects (CAPs). These project-based courses connect learners to real-world companies. Students spend one semester working with classmates and advisors to develop practical solutions to business problems. Calvin business students typically complete at least three CAPs.

Applying to Calvin

Candidates complete an online application, submit transcripts, and pay a $35 application fee. Calvin encourages students to submit test scores and evidence of Christian commitment.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $38,370/year
  • Required Credits: 124 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$37,600
Out-of-state
$37,600
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
3,307
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Common Questions About Finance Bachelor's Degrees

  • What can you do with a finance bachelor's?

    Graduates with a finance degree can apply for various roles in business and finance. Banking, financial analysis and reporting, investment, corporate finance, and risk management are some of the most common career paths.

  • What's the difference between a finance bachelor's and certification?

    A bachelor's degree in finance is offered by a college or university, includes general education and core courses, and requires four years of full-time study. A certification in finance is offered by a professional organization and only focuses on a specific subject.

  • How much does a finance bachelor's program cost?

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of an undergraduate program was $25,910 during the 2020-2021 school year.The cost of a finance program depends on factors like school prestige, delivery format, location, and public or private status.

  • Can you get a finance bachelor's degree online?

    Yes, there are several institutions that offer online bachelor's in finance programs. An online program has a flexible schedule that allows students to balance academic and professional commitments.


Page last reviewed on January 11, 2023.

The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accounting.com.

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