Top Master's in Finance Programs 2023

Updated January 11, 2023

check mark Reviewed by

Our Integrity Network

Accounting.com is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

Drawing on their firsthand industry expertise, our Integrity Network members serve as an additional step in our editing process, helping us confirm our content is accurate and up to date. These contributors:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for Accounting.com as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Explore our full list of Integrity Network members.

Top master's in finance programs can lead to career advancement. Explore the top-ranked master of finance programs below and learn how they can help students meet their goals.

Accounting.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Credit: g-stockstudio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A master's in finance (MFin or MSF) is a graduate degree focused on advanced finance knowledge and skills. Top master's in finance programs cover topics like quantitative finance, investments, markets, and valuation. Learners also take mathematics courses and explore financial theory, reporting, and analysis.

The best finance master's programs can position graduates for higher starting salaries and faster career advancement. Master's in finance programs boast the second-highest enrollment numbers of all graduate business degrees, making them one of the most popular business degree paths.

Read on to learn more about the top-ranked master's in finance programs and how they can boost your finance career.

Why Get a Finance Master's Degree?

  • Enhances Skills and Knowledge: A master's in finance teaches advanced knowledge and skills that can help graduates qualify for high-level positions in industries like financial analysis, financial strategy, and risk management. Students develop analytical skills and market knowledge in specialized areas of finance, including investments, global finance, portfolio management, and corporate finance.
  • Improves Earning Potential: A master's in finance can help candidates stand out in this competitive field and qualify for senior positions with higher salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), people with master's degrees earned an average of almost 18% more than workers with just a bachelor's as of 2021.
  • Leads to Career Advancement: A master's in finance can help professionals advance more quickly into higher-level positions. The skills students learn in MFin programs can help prepare them for top corporate positions such as financial controller, chief investment officer, and chief financial officer.

What to Expect From a Finance Master's Degree

Programs like those on our master's in finance ranking list prepare graduates to pursue finance careers. Students learn advanced concepts and explore industry practices. Many programs offer concentrations in areas like corporate finance, capital markets, and financial engineering.

To enroll in a master's in finance degree program, applicants need a bachelor's degree. Unlike many master of business administration (MBA) hopefuls, MFin students often do not need prior related work experience before enrolling.

Most master's in finance degree programs entail 30-45 credit hours and 1-2 years of study. Top finance degree programs hold regional or national accreditation, which ensures that potential employers will accept students' MFin degrees.

Degree, Concentration, and Format Options

The most popular advanced degree paths in finance are the master of science in finance (MSF), master of finance (MFin), and MBA with a finance concentration. Here are the key features of each degree option.

  • Master of Science in Finance: MSF programs usually take 1-2 years to complete. The curriculum focuses on topics like managerial finance, corporate finance, and investment analysis.
  • Master of Finance: This degree title is used interchangeably with the MSF. Like MSF curricula, the MFin curriculum teaches finance theory and practice, including financial economics and computational methods.
  • MBA With Finance Concentration: MBAs usually take about two years to complete. MBA candidates study advanced business topics like management and operations. Students who pursue finance concentrations take additional finance courses alongside the standard program curriculum.

Some finance programs feature a combined five-year bachelor's and master's degree. Others offer a one-year intensive, full-time master's program.

Universities offer MFin programs in person, online, or through a hybrid in-person/online format. Check with each university to learn about available options.

Should You Get a Master's in Finance or Accounting?

Although master's in finance and master's in accounting programs both prepare students to pursue finance careers, they are not the same. Learn about these programs' similarities and differences in the chart below.

Comparing Master's in Finance and Accounting
Key Factor Master's in Finance Master's in Accounting
Degree Length

1-2 years and 30-45 credits

1-2 years and 30-48 credits

Course Topics

Financial economics, financial reporting, corporate valuation, corporate finance electives, markets, investing

Financial accounting, auditing, financial statement analysis, accounting research and theory

Degree Focus

Understanding financial theory and business applications

Preparation for the certified public accountant exam, advanced accounting skills

Admission Requirements

Bachelor's degree from an accredited university; coursework in finance, math, and/or business preferred

Bachelor's degree from an accredited university; coursework in advanced math and accounting

Standardized Tests

GMAT or GRE scores required at some schools; waivers may be available

GMAT or GRE scores required at some schools; waivers may be available

Sources: Liberty University; University of Arizona Global Campus; Vanderbilt University; University of Arkansas; Maryville University; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; University of Pittsburgh

A master's in accounting caters to people who want to become CPAs or hold upper-level accounting positions. A master's in finance may better suit students seeking top corporate roles in finance, banking, or wealth management.

Learn the differences:

Admissions Process

Admissions processes for top master's finance programs vary. Most applications require a transcript; resume or CV; cover letter or essay; and references. Application fees can cost $70-$175.

MFin programs may include an in-person or virtual interview. Applicants may sit for a single interview with their admissions team or complete multiple rounds of interviews.

Applicants can demonstrate required skills through GPA, prior experience, and/or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores. Most MFin programs do not demand previous work experience in a financial field.

Popular Finance Graduate Courses

Master's in finance programs typically include required core courses in finance fundamentals. Students can also specialize in a sub-field of finance by picking a concentration. Some MFin programs culminate in a capstone project or thesis.

Common MFin courses include the following.

  • Financial Reporting: This core course focuses on financial accounting concepts. Students learn to use financial accounting principles to create, process, and analyze financial statements and assess an organization's financial situation.
  • Financial Economics: This course explores how financial markets function. Students learn about domestic and international markets, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and financial theory.
  • Corporate Finance: This class covers corporate financial management fundamentals. Students learn to use financial tools to make business decisions, select and finance investments, and manage cash flow.
  • Mergers, Acquisitions, and Private Equity: This course explores the financial side of corporate mergers and buyouts. Students learn about classic stock and cash mergers, company sale processes, leveraged buyouts, and private equity buyout funds.

How Much Do Master's in Finance Programs Cost?

The cost of a master's in finance varies widely. Tuition prices can range from about $30,000 to over $118,000, depending on factors like school prestige, public vs. private status, and in-state vs. out-of-state residency.

Along with tuition and fees, expenses like room, board, and transportation can add to a master of finance program's total expense. The type of MFin program — for example, traditional or accelerated — can also affect attendance costs.

Financial aid and scholarships can help offset the cost of a master of finance degree. Graduate fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships may cover tuition costs and provide a stipend. Students can also take out loans, though these require repayment.

Should You Get an MSF Online?

As online education becomes more prevalent, many prospective master's in finance students are deciding to pursue online programs.

Online master's in finance programs can offer several benefits. Students complete coursework from home, which can reduce lodging, transportation, and relocation costs. Online classes can better accommodate nontraditional students through asynchronous learning, which allows learners to study on their own schedule.

Online programs may also help students save money. Many online MFin programs cost less than in-person programs. Because students can often complete work on their own time, distance learning can also make it easier for students to work while enrolled.

Still, online education is not for everyone. Many students find that remote classes require more self-discipline than on-campus learning. Connecting with peers and instructors can also feel more difficult.

Finance Jobs and Salaries

People with master's in finance degrees can pursue various careers in business and finance. Potential career paths include corporate finance, banking, private wealth management, and accounting.

According to Payscale, master's in finance graduates made an average annual salary of $80,000 as of October 2022. Many finance roles are also seeing significant growth. The BLS projects employment for financial managers — a common role for people with MFin degrees — to grow 17% from 2021-2031.

Below, we look at some popular career choices for master's in finance graduates.

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents


These professionals advise clients on purchasing and selling commodities and financial securities. Core tasks for this role include connecting buyers and sellers, monitoring markets and positions, and making offers to buy or sell. These agents often work for brokerage firms, investment banks, and trading companies.

Job Outlook (2021-31): +10%

Median Annual Salary: $62,910

Source: BLS

Budget Analyst


Budget analysts provide financial planning services to public and private organizations. Tasks include preparing budget reports and tracking organizational spending. These professionals also explain budgeting decisions to company stakeholders. Budget analysts work for government agencies, private companies, and universities.

Job Outlook (2021-31): +3%

Median Annual Salary: $79,940

Source: BLS

Financial Analyst


Financial analysts help individuals and companies build wealth and make sound investments. These professionals study marketplace trends, demographics, and microeconomic factors. Analysts help forecast a client's financial position, investments, and expansion plans. Financial analysts can work for businesses like banks, corporations, pension funds, and insurance companies.

Job Outlook (2021-31): +9%

Median Annual Salary: $95,570 per year

Source: BLS

Financial Manager


Financial managers oversee an organization's monetary health and future. These business leaders create financial reports, manage investments, and develop plans to improve organizational profits. Financial managers often work for banks, investment firms, and insurance companies.

Job Outlook (2021-31): +17%

Median Annual Salary: $131,710 per year

Source: BLS

Selecting the Right Master's in Finance Program

Many factors go into choosing a master's program. The following list highlights some elements to consider before applying to MFin programs.

  • Accreditation: Accreditation assures students that a program provides quality education. Employers may not recognize degrees from unaccredited schools. Verify a program's accreditation status with the school or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program Cost and Financial Aid: Research each school's tuition, fees, and financial aid opportunities to calculate the total degree cost. Determine if that cost fits within your budget before applying.
  • Program Length and Format: Schools offer MFin programs in online, in-person, and hybrid formats. Students should consider which program type fits their needs. Some schools offer accelerated degrees that take less time to complete.
  • Concentrations and Internship Opportunities: Students planning to specialize in a finance subfield like management or analysis can apply to programs that offer concentrations. Many programs connect learners with internships and networking opportunities that may help them find jobs after graduation.

Our Master's in Finance Ranking

A master's in finance can lead to financial management positions across the globe. According to the ranking methodology outlined below, these five schools delivered the top master's in finance programs of 2023.

#1 Top Master’s in Finance Programs 2023

Hult International Business School

  • Cambridge, MA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Hult began as the Management Education Institute in Boston in 1964 and merged with London's Ashridge Business School in 2015. Along with Boston and London locations, the school maintains campuses in San Francisco and Dubai, plus rotation centers in New York and Shanghai. Hult offers six business programs at the master's level. 

Master's in Finance

Hult International Business School's one-year master's in finance concentrates on corporate and international finance and leadership. The STEM-focused curriculum features core courses in business insights through data, data extraction and visualization, and fintech. Within each module, students complete a team challenge, a struggling business turnaround challenge, and a merger and acquisition challenge. 

Enrollees can choose the Boston or London campuses for their core modules and explore other global campuses for electives and specializations. While on rotation, learners can complete city seminar electives with leaders of their chosen industries. Benefitting from a dedicated career services team and process, Hult boasts a 90% employment rate and a 58% wage increase for recent graduates.

Applying to Hult

Hult requires applicants to possess bachelor's degrees in business-related disciplines and English proficiency. They then establish an application profile for $95 and submit all required documents, including transcripts and a personal statement. Each candidate also completes a consultation and assessment interview.  

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $55,000/year
  • Program Length: One year
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$38,568
Out-of-state
$38,568
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
1,814
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 Top Master’s in Finance Programs 2023

Babson College

  • Wellesley, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Babson began as a school of business administration in 1919. More than a century later, the school offers more than 15 executive education programs to over 3,300 students worldwide. 

Master of Finance

The master's degree in finance at Babson College equips students with technical expertise, business and financial problem-solving skills, and professional ethics. The STEM-designated program features core courses in financial data analysis, corporate finance, and capital markets. Learners can access experiential learning via management consulting field classes and a course in which students manage the college's endowment funds. 

Babson provides finance students personalized mentorship experiences and opportunities to connect with some of the industry's leading executives. In 2019, Babson opened a new finance lab with exclusive workshops and analytics tools. With assistance from the career development team and school alumni, Babson posts a 95% placement rate for those within six months of graduation. 

Applying to Babson

The test-optional application process requires short answer questions, a letter of recommendation, transcripts, and a resume. Each candidate must pay the $100 application fee and may submit a personal essay if they wish. A video interview process typically occurs within 14 days of a submitted application. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $1,820/credit
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Program Length: 9-16 months
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$54,144
Out-of-state
$54,144
Retention Rate
92%
Admission Rate
27%
Students Enrolled
3,340
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
79% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 Top Master’s in Finance Programs 2023

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Baruch was established in 1919 as the School of Business and Civic Administration and joined the City University of New York system in 1968. The school enrolls nearly 20,000 students across three schools and over 85 programs.

Master of Science in Finance

The master's in finance from Baruch College's school of business covers managerial and investment finance, along with financial theory. The program has a STEM designation and features core courses in econometrics, corporate finance, and investment analysis. 

Part of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, the finance program can help prepare graduates for the chartered financial analyst (CFA) and financial risk manager certification exams. Students may also pursue elective courses and internships. Finance students can access the school's financial innovations lab, trading and financial markets research lab, and financial services center. 

Applying to Baruch

Applicants need bachelor's degrees in any discipline for Baruch's holistic and test-optional admissions requirements. Each candidate must submit transcripts, professional letters of recommendation, two essays, and a resume, along with a $75 application fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $470/credit in state, $855/credit out of state
  • Required Credits: 30-39
  • Program Length: One year
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
19,740
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Top Master’s in Finance Programs 2023

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

FSU, founded in 1851, hosts more than 45,000 students, making it the oldest and one of the largest schools in the state. In 1950, FSU introduced its business school. Despite being one of the country's youngest business schools, it has more than 7,000 students in 15 degree programs. 

Master of Science in Finance

Florida State University's master's in finance provides students with theoretical, analytical, and business foundations for financial decision-making. The program features courses in data analytics, risk management, and business conditions analysis. Students also take an investment course to manage more than $5 million in actual funds. 

The master's program offers a standard track and a real estate specialization. Finance courses can also contribute toward the CFA and certified financial planner certifications. Students can access a simulation trading room for practical experience, along with supportive alumni and professional networks. 

Applying to FSU

FSU requires a bachelor's degree and GMAT scores for entrance — unless the applicant possesses a 3.4 overall GPA or 3.2 GPA in finance courses. Each candidate also must submit transcripts, a CV, and three letters of recommendation, plus a statement of purpose and a $30 application fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $479/credit in state, $1,111/credit out of state
  • Required Credits: 32
  • Program Length: Less than one year
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,640
Out-of-state
$19,084
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
43,569
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Top Master’s in Finance Programs 2023

Vanderbilt University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 and now has 10 schools with over 13,000 total students. The school has more than 35 master's programs, including seven in its management school.

Master of Science in Finance

Vanderbilt University offers an accelerated and customizable master's in finance with up to 50% electives. Core courses explore essential fields like financial reporting, corporate valuation, and financial modeling. Enrollees can choose their remaining classes from 14 primary finance electives, allowing them to develop specialized skills. 

Vanderbilt's finance learners can use the school's financial markets research center. They may also participate in a leadership development program, which identifies their underdeveloped areas and provides personalized coaching. Recent Vanderbilt graduates enjoy a 100% placement rate within three months of graduation with assistance from the career management center. 

Applying to Vanderbilt

Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree, transcripts, and GMAT scores, while candidates with 3.5 GPAs or higher may receive test score waivers. Other requirements include a resume, two letters of recommendation, a written essay, and a video essay. The application cost is $100. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $65,500/year
  • Required Credits: 33
  • Program Length: 10 months
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$52,781
Out-of-state
$52,781
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
12%
Students Enrolled
13,537
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Common Questions About Finance Master's Degrees

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

    People with a master's in finance can qualify for many careers in their field. Popular focus areas include financial analysis, banking, budget analysis, and financial management. MFin degrees can help people accelerate their career advancement.

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

    Tuition for a finance master's program depends on factors like location, public or private status, and online or in-person format. The most affordable programs can cost under $30,000. More expensive programs may charge $118,000 or more.

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

    Yes, there are many online master's in finance programs. Online programs usually offer flexible schedules. Many distance learners work full time while enrolled.

  • Is a master of finance the same as an MBA?

    No. A master of finance focuses on finance-related topics, whereas an MBA is a more generalized degree in business. Some MBA programs allow students to concentrate in finance. MBA candidates typically graduate in about two years, while many MFin degrees take under two years.


Page last reviewed on Oct. 19, 2022.
Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accounting.com.

Recommended Reading

Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.

Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.