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20 Best Masters of Finance Universities & Colleges

Graduate finance degree programs are generally located within a university's school of business and most are tied to an MBA program, although some schools offer them through different academic departments. Our list of the 20 best colleges (in no particular order) for a Master of Finance or related degree is derived from our own independent research on  top finance programs in the country.

Nineteen of the 20 following schools placed in the top-40 of U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Business Schools. Princeton University, which was not ranked as it doesn’t have a business school, placed fourth nationally in graduate public finance and tied for first in graduate economics in a 2009 U.S. News and World Report study.

A few of the available degree options include a Master of Science in Finance, an MBA with an emphasis in finance, and a new finance degree that has been introduced in recent years, the Master of Science in Financial Engineering. According to the International Association of Financial Engineers, professionals with this degree help solve financial problems through mathematical methods.

Please contact each university for current admission, tuition and other enrollment requirements specific to each program. Program lengths are taken from each program; there is no guarantee students will finish in the stated completion timeframes.

1. Cornell University: The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management has a two-year MBA program with concentrations in Financial Analysis, Corporate Finance, and Financial Investment, as well as an accelerated one-year degree program with the same specialization options. The University also offers a Master of Engineering in Financial Engineering through the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering.

2. Yale University: The School of Management offers an MBA program with elective courses in finance and accounting that includes classes such as Corporate Finance and Capital Markets, and Financial Statement Analysis.

3. University of Michigan: Students can earn an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Financial Engineering program through the College of Engineering; Ross School of Business; and College of Literatures, Science, and Arts. There is also a traditional MBA option with a concentration in finance.

4. University of California/Berkeley: The Haas School of Business includes the Master of Financial Engineering as part of its graduate program catalog. An MBA with an emphasis in finance is also available.

5. Northwestern University: The Kellogg School of Management offers several graduate and doctoral degree programs through its Finance Department, including a PhD in Finance and an MBA with majors in finance and analytical finance.

6. Princeton University:  The Bendheim Center for Finance has a Master in Finance degree that incorporates financial economics, computational methods, and financial engineering into one program. Graduates from the program could potentially enter a career in quantitative management assessment, financial forecasting, or risk management, just to name a few possibilities.

7. Stanford University: Developed in 1999, Stanford University’s interdisciplinary Master of Science in Financial Mathematics is a joint effort  by the Graduate School of Business; Department of Economics; Department of Mathematics; Department of Statistics; and the Department of Management, Science and Engineering. The program offers core classes such as Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory and Computation and Simulation in Finance, as well as a variety of electives. Students can also earn an MBA with electives in finance through the Graduate School of Business.

8. Columbia University: The Finance and Economics Division of the Columbia Business School offers nearly 50 percent of the graduate school’s entire course library, so MBA and PhD finance students should have many options as they pursue their degrees. A Master of Science in Financial Engineering is available through The Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

9. University of California, Los Angeles: The Anderson School of Management is responsible for UCLA’s graduate business program, where students can earn an MBA degree in finance in specializations like corporate finance and financial risk management. Anderson also oversees the Master of Financial Engineering degree offered as a one-year program with a highly-focused curriculum.

10. New York University: NYU’s Stern School of Business offers an MBA program with specializations in Finance, Financial Instruments and Markets, and Financial Systems and Analytics. There is also a Master of Science in Mathematics in Finance developed by the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences that is similar to financial engineering programs.

11. University of Chicago: The Booth School of Business offers both Finance and Analytic Finance as areas of concentration in its MBA degree program. The Department of Mathematics also has a one-year Master of Science in Financial Mathematics program that can teach students how to work with complex mathematical and financial models through finance-based applied mathematics.

12. University of Pennsylvania: The Wharton School of Business offers 18 majors within its full-time MBA program. Finance is one of them, as are Accounting, Insurance and Risk Management, and  Statistics. Wharton is recognized as the top business school for finance according to 2013 rankings by U.S. News and World Report.

13. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT’s Sloan School of Management has introduced the Master of Finance degree for students wanting to learn about finance from an analytical perspective. The curriculum aims to teach students quantitative methods and models, so they can solve complex problems in the world of finance. Students can alternatively opt to pursue an MBA with a Finance Track.  

14. Vanderbilt University: The Graduate School of Management offers an accelerated nine-month Master of Science in Finance. Its full-time MBA program includes finance as one of its seven general career tracks, and corporate finance as an advanced specialization.

15. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:  UNC has several MBA options for finance students, including an Executive MBA and an online MBA program through the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Students can earn their full-time MBA in several finance concentrations, including Corporate Finance and Investment Management.

16. University of Texas/Dallas: The Jindal School of Management has developed a Master of Science in Finance in three areas of concentration: Financial Analysis; Financial Management; and Financial Risk Management and Financial Engineering. The school also offers a general finance track. Students can also earn an MBA with a focus in finance from the university.

17. University of Virginia: This school might be appealing to students looking for a shortened finance program, as it offers a Master of Science in Commerce designed to be finished in one year through the McIntire School of Commerce. An MBA in Finance is available through the Darden School of Business with two concentrations, Asset Management/Sales & Training as well as Corporate Finance/Investment Banking.

18. Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon launched the first-ever Master in Computational Finance degree program in 1994. This degree is a collaboration of four departments but is offered through the Tepper School of Business. Tepper also offers several financial MBA tracks, including Financial Engineering and Investment Strategy.

19. Washington University at St. Louis: Olin Business School offers a Master of Science in Finance in two areas: Corporate Finance and Quantitative Finance. Students pursuing the MBA in Finance can choose the Corporate Finance & Investments career platform, where they can specialize further in fields like Asset Management and Financial Management.

20. Indiana University: The Kelley School of Business has an online option for its Master of Science in Finance. The full-time MBA offered on-campus includes a major in Finance and one in Strategic Analysis of Accounting Information.

Sources:

U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Business Schools

Princeton University Public Finance Ranking, U.S. News and World Report

Princeton University Economics Ranking, U.S. News and World Report

International Association of Financial Engineers

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 

School of Operations Research and Information Engineering

MBA Elective Courses, Yale University

University of Michigan, Master of Science in Financial Engineering

Master of Financial Engineering, UC Berkley

 UC Berkley MBA Finance

Northwestern Finance Department

Princeton Bendheim Center for Finance

Stanford, Master of Science in Financial Mathematics

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Columbia University: Finance and Economics Division, Columbia Business School Master of Science in Financial Engineering,

UCLA: The Anderson School of Management, Finance Specializations, Master of Financial Engineering degree

NYU: Stern School of Business, Degree Specializations, Master of Science in Mathematics in Finance

University of Chicago: MBA Areas of Concentration, Master of Science in Financial Mathematics program

UPenn: Wharton School of Business, U.S. News Rankings

MIT: Master of Finance degree, MBA with a Finance Track

Vanderbilt: Master of Science in Finance

UNC: Kenan-Flagler Business School, Finance Concentrations\

UT Dallas: Jindal School of Management, MBA Program

University of Virginia: McIntire School of Commerce, Darden School of Business, Concentrations

Carnegie Mellon: Master in Computational Finance,  MBA tracks

Washington University, St. Louis: Master of Science in Finance, Corporate Finance & Investments

Indiana University: The Kelley School of Business, Online Master of Science