What kind of classes will I have to take to get a degree in finance?

Are you a person who is dreaming of making a career in finance? Perhaps this is the only field which has got a wide set of opportunities for students in different sectors. Continue reading this article to know what kind of classes are to be taken in order to get a finance degree.

Updated by Ipsita Meher on 8th May 2020

Are you a person who is dreaming of making a career in finance? Well, yes finance is always a lucrative career. Many people dream of making a career in finance because it is always in demand. To earn a degree in this field you have to study a little bit of economics, all aspects of business, and most importantly money and asset management. Most undergraduate degrees will give a broader outlook on how businesses and finance work. If you want to dive deeper and have in-depth knowledge in any domain of finance you can go for a master's degree or maybe a P.hd.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2026, the job growth is projected to grow at 10% and thereby resulting in approximately 773,800 job openings. If you have a bachelor's degree in finance then it gives you the highest return on investment that’s why there is a huge demand for finance graduate and undergraduate programs.

Finance is the best option for people having an analytical mind, good mathematical skills, and problem-solving ability. Perhaps this is the only field which has got a wide set of opportunities for students in different sectors. Extroverts and outgoing individuals can opt for a  profession like a financial advisor, finance manager of a company, market analysis expert, fund manager, etc. People who are quiet and introverted can choose professions like being an accountant, asset manager, etc.

What background one should have, to get into the field of finance?

Finance plays a very important role in business. But it is an integrated domain in business. You cannot exceed in the field of finance without knowing the different aspects of the business. That is why most of the undergraduate finance programs include mandatory courses in different areas of business. 

Many finance degree programs include introductory classes in the basics of business principles, business laws, and ethics. You will also learn the fundamentals of microeconomics, accounting, management, business laws, and management.

 But in MBA degrees you get to learn how to deal with real-world scenarios. MBA prepares you to face all the challenges that are faced by a company with respect to financing. Some of the MBA programs include courses like Fintech, business analytics, and communication. These sets of courses give you a wide range of technical knowledge in finance and help you grow in this field.  

But the fact is not all the people working in the field of finance hold a financial degree. Some of the professionals have come to this field from a general background as well. Sometimes companies also train you and while working one gets to know a lot about the market. But having a degree in finance from a reputed business school will always have an additional advantage.

What finance degrees are available?

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Finance

Many people go for a bachelor’s degree program in Finance. It is an initial kick for people who wish to make a career in Finance. As a bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate degree you will get a chance to choose a finance major in your bachelor’s degree. In finance, you can focus on some major areas right away. After getting a bachelor’s degree the students have the option of either getting into jobs right away or pursuing Master's degree programs. If you prefer to do jobs after a bachelor's degree program, then probably you can go for jobs like commercial banking, financial planning, investment banking, money managing, insurance, and real estate. 

Now let’s understand what are the subjects you need to study as a Finance major. You are generally asked to complete 180 credits to be a finance major. Students opting for finance majors can choose concentrations like Finance Accounting, Investments, International Finance, Money and Capital Markets, Risk Management, and Corporate Finance. Along with this, you will be asked to read a lot of other core subjects. Here is the list of a few subjects. 

Examples of Core Courses

  • Accounting I

  • Macroeconomics

  • Microeconomics

  • Introductory Human Resource Management

  • Principles of Business

  • Introduction to Business Law

  • Management Fundamentals

  • Fundamentals of Marketing

  • Introduction to Project Management

  • Personal Finance Concepts

Examples of Upper-Level Courses 

  • Managerial Accounting Practices

  • Introduction to Corporate Finance

  • Managing Human Resources

  • Organizational Change

  • E-Business

  • International Business Communications

  • Statistics: Data-Driven Decision Making

  • Organizational Behavioral Principles

  • International Business Practices

  • The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business

  • Business Strategy

  • Marketing and the Virtual Marketplace

  • Ethics: The hallmark of Leaders at All Levels

After finishing these courses you will land up with some of the best jobs in finance. Here are a few jobs that one can think of getting after getting a bachelor's in finance. 

  • Chief executives

  • General and operations managers

  • Financial managers

  • Budget analysts

  • Credit analysts

  • Financial analysts

  • Personal financial advisors

  • Loan officers

  • Financial specialists, all other

  • Business teachers, postsecondary

Master's Degree Programs in Finance

One can either pursue an MS in Finance or an MBA in Finance. It is up to you to decide what master degree you want to go for. Master degree programs either prepare you for either a manager's role or an administrative role. Let's have a look at the different types of subjects one needs to study for a master's in finance.

MBA with a Focus in Finance

  • Accounting for Managers: In this subject you will learn about the accounting cycle, making financial statements and its analysis, managerial decision making. 

  • Business Communication: This subject teaches you to make effective presentations, written communication used by managers and business communication, and a lot more. 

  • Quantitative Methods for Management: This subject will tell you what are the quantitative methods of management and how these can be used in various domains. 

  • Organizational Behavior: In Organization Behavior you learn about different theories on OB. This is applied to organizations and human resources to increase effectiveness and productivity. 

  • Managerial Economics: Managerial economics will teach you the essence of how managers deal with economics and finances in a given business scenario. It includes things like price determination, resource planning.

  • Macroeconomics: Microeconomics deals with accounting, Keynesian model, consumption, savings, investment, general equilibrium model, and public sector spending. 

  • Marketing Concepts and Practice: Marketing concepts involve how the 4ps of marketing, i.e. product, price, promotion, and place, play a very vital role while delivering goods and services to customers. 

  • Corporate Finance: Corporate Finance talks about the role of finance in organizations, principles of financial analysis and control, the financial structure of cost capital, investment decisions after uncertainty, sources of long term and short term financing. 

  • Strategic Management Seminar: Strategic Management Seminar is in the MBA program and it teaches you about operational situations, policy issues, and policy and strategy response.

MBA Finance Track Options

  • Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management

  • Financial Markets and Institutions

  • Advanced Financial Management

  • Finance Seminar

MS with a Focus in Finance

MS in finance is mostly for administrative jobs. In this degree, you will have to deal with numbers and it's more quantitative as compared to MBA in Finance.

  • Financial Economics

  • Professional Development and Communications

  • Financial Reporting

  • Financial Economics

  • Econometrics

  • Financial Modeling

  • Corporate Valuation

Conclusion

Finance has broader aspects. The course curriculum and subject differ from universities to universities and is also different for different degrees. Based on your choice you can go for any degree in finance be it a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. A bachelor's degree is a minimum required degree for you to make a career in finance. All the subjects taught in finance are designed in a way keeping in mind that students should be able to work in a competitive business environment and should be able to make good financial decisions.