Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Curriculum

student in margolis market lab at Gies

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) is a broad and flexible graduate program in finance. The MSF program is designed to be a 3-semester residential program. The curriculum consists of required courses and elective courses. Students need to complete a minimum of 40 graduate level credits, at least 28 of which, including preparatory and required classes, are in Finance.

*Most preparatory and required courses would be completed in the first fall semester; however, dependent upon a student’s background and career goals, some preparatory courses may be waived, substituted, or taken in the spring semester.


MSF curriculum
Required courses8 hours
Professional Development*
2 hours
Finance electives
10+ hours
Other electives (may also be in Finance)12+ hours
Preparatory Courses*0-10 hours
ESL courses (if required)**0 hours
Total:40+ hours

*Professional Development or MSF Academy.

**ESL credits do not count towards the MSF degree.

Preparatory Courses

MSF students are from a variety of backgrounds, not necessary in business or finance. Some students may need to work on their fundamental knowledge in important areas during their first semester. We offer four preparatory classes in the fall semester:

FIN 580 Corporate Finance

This course will cover a broad range of corporate finance topics providing a comprehensive overview of the material. At the conclusion of the course, students will understand the broad fundamental concepts of corporate finance in a unifying model. The text we will be using provides an excellent introduction to the concepts. Topics can be explored in more detail based on class interest and experience. Required but may be waived if the student has the appropriate training at undergraduate level. 4 Credit Hours

FIN 504 Accounting for Financial Analysis

Introduces the fundamentals of reading and understanding financial statements. The basics financial statements will be introduced and there will be in-depth examples and cases demonstrating how the statements are constructed and how to carry out basic analysis. At the end of the class students should feel comfortable understanding a typical annual report. Required but may be waived if the student has the appropriate training at undergraduate level. 2 Credit Hours

FIN 502 Quantitative Finance 

This course provides an introduction to quantitative methods that are applicable in several areas of finance; presents concepts and methodologies from probability theory, statistical inference, and regression analysis; emphasis is placed on software applications of real data on stock returns, CAPM and Fama-French models, and cross-section firm data. Required but may be waived if the student has the appropriate training at undergraduate level. 2 Credit Hours

FIN 558 Data Science and Python for Finance

The financial industry is increasingly adopting Python. Libraries such as NumPy and pandas provide extraordinary insights into data analysis. This course focuses specifically on introducing Python for financial analysis. The first part of the course provides a detailed understanding of Python basics. Data structures, numerical computing with NumPy, and data analysis with pandas will be explained. The second part applies Python in solving problems in corporate finance and performing investment analysis. Topics include capital budgeting decisions, equity valuation, risk and return, portfolio optimization, and technical trading strategies. 2 Credit Hours

Required Courses

The program is focused on providing a flexible set of classes for students to tailor to their own specific career aims. There are only three required courses in the program:

FIN 501 Financial Economics

Firms’ long-run value ultimately depend on their business fundamentals. This course covers micro- and macro-economic drivers of such fundamentals, such as consumer demand, market competitiveness, government regulation, interest rates, business cycles, and monetary policy. Also includes topics in risk and intertemporal decision-making. 4 Credit Hours

FIN 511 Investments

Introduction to investment analysis, including the theory and implementation of portfolio theory, empirical evidence on the performance of financial assets, evaluation of portfolio investment strategies, and the extension of diversification to international markets. 4 Credit Hours

FIN 581 Professional Development OR FIN 580 MSF Academy

FIN 581 Professional Development 

Effective communication skills are one of the most sought-after traits of business leaders across industries and throughout the world. Understanding the world around you, as well as communicating clearly and persuasively is critical to your success as a student, as an employee, and as a leader in the business world. These skills will help establish your own credibility and lead you to become an effective leader among your peers and colleagues. This course will introduce successful strategies for structuring both written and verbal communication in the business world, with an eye toward the specific outcomes listed below. 2 Credit Hours


FIN 580 MSF Academy

The primary course objective is to foster students’ understanding and articulation of common industry practices, pertinent issues, and the students’ own experience and coursework that prepares them to perform professional activities in their fields of interest. Students will use their own research to assess initial and future areas for development towards their readiness to attain entry level roles and support career progression. Additional objectives include ongoing awareness of current industry issues, events, and practices, enhancing career placement related skills, and setting a foundation to build and maintain a network of industry participants. 2 Credit Hours


The MSF program offers courses in the following areas of finance: asset management, corporate finance, data analytics and fintech, quantitative finance, and finance research. Students can specialize in one of these areas by following a specialization track. By specializing in a specific area of finance, students become more marketable to employers in that area. A minimum of 16 credits of courses in any chosen area is needed to be awarded a specialization.

Asset Management Specialization

Prerequisite Elective: FIN 511 Investments 

Capstone Elective: FIN 589 Applied Portfolio Management

Other Electives: (At least 8 credit hours required)

  • FIN 512 Financial Derivatives
  • FIN 512 Financial Derivatives
  • FIN 515 Fixed Income Portfolios
  • FIN 518 Financial Modeling
  • FIN 532 Managing Market Risks for Fin Institutions
  • FIN 535 Wealth Management
  • FIN 545 Real Estate Investment
  • FIN 551 International Finance
  • FIN 552 Applied Financial Econometrics
  • FIN 580 Advanced Topics in Wealth Management
  • FIN 580 ESG Certification
  • FIN 580 Private Banking and Insurance Wealth Mgmt
  • FIN 580 Social Impact Investing
Corporate Finance Specialization

Prerequisite Elective: FIN 521 Advanced Corporate Finance

Capstone Elective: FIN 522 Cases in Financial Strategy

Other Electives: (At least 8 credit hours required)

  • FIN 518 Financial Modeling
  • FIN 526 Investment banking
  • FIN 527 Mergers & Acquisitions Topics
  • FIN 529 Applied Financial Analysis
  • FIN 530 Foundations in Risk Management (2 credit hours)
  • FIN 536 Banking and Financial Regulation
  • FIN 551 International Finance
  • FIN 580 Growth Corporate Capital Funding
  • FIN 580 Entrepreneurship thru’ Acquisition (2 credit hours)
  • ACCY 517 Financial Statement Analysis & Valuation
Finance Research Specialization

Prerequisite Elective:

  • FIN 591 Theory of Finance

Capstone Elective:

  • FIN 552 Applied Financial Econometrics 
  • FIN 592 Empirical Analysis in Finance Econometrics

Other Electives: (At least 8 credit hours required)

  • FIN 557 Financial Data Management & Analysis
  • FIN 580 General Microeconomic Theory
  • FIN 594 Seminar in Corporate Finance (Spring)
  • FIN 594 Seminar in Corporate Finance (Fall)
Quantitative Finance Specialization

Prerequisite Elective: FIN 512 Financial Derivatives 

Capstone Elective: FIN 514 Valuation of Complex Derivative Securities

Other Electives: (At least 8 credit hours required)

  • FIN 513 Applications of Fin. Engineering
  • FIN 515 Fixed Income Portfolios
  • FIN 516 Term Structure Models (2 credit hours)
  • FIN 517 Adv. Term Structure Models (2 credit hours)
  • FIN 537 Financial Risk Management
  • FIN 554 Algorithmic Trading Systems Design & Testing
  • FIN 556 Algorithmic Market Microstructure
  • FIN 580 Options Trading & Market Making
Data Analytics and Fintech Specialization

Prerequisite Elective:

  • FIN 503 Quantitative Finance II (2 credit hours)
  • FIN 559 Advanced Python for Finance (2 credit hours) 

Capstone Elective:

  • FIN 550 Big Data Analytics in Finance

Other Electives: (At least 8 credit hours required)

  • FIN 537 Financial Risk Management
  • FIN 552 Applied Financial Econometrics
  • FIN 553 Machine Learning in Finance
  • FIN 555 Financial Innovation
  • FIN 557 Financial Data Mgmt. & Analysis
  • FIN 580 Methods in Surveys and Experiments
  • FIN 580 Quantamental Investment


A concentration is an extension of a graduate major comprised of a coherent set of courses some or all of which count toward the major. Students must take a minimum of 12 credits of the required courses in order to earn a concentration.

The MSF offers two concentrations. Unlike the specialization, the concentration will appear on your final transcript:

Take the next step toward earning your MSF.