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George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Curriculum

Our curriculum is structured around the principles of finance knowledge including corporate finance, investments, and banking. It focuses on dividend policy, how much debt to issue, and the process of governance for an organization. You will learn how to allocate large classes of assets within a financial portfolio, and evaluate the performance of a portfolio. Coursework will educate you on managing bank balance sheets to achieve liquidity, and manage the risk of assets and liabilities using futures, options, and other derivatives.

Our curriculum is also focused on advanced quantitative and programming skills. You will gain proficiency in computational software programs such as Matlab and Python. You will also become proficient in working with big data, using database analytics and management programs such as SAS and R. Coursework will allow you to become knowledgeable about internationalization in financial markets, understand relevant, diverse regulatory environments, and utilize a variety of financial instruments to solve current and emerging issues in the global economy. An emphasis on ethics is embedded in the coursework, ensuring that our students are exposed to ethical professional standards which govern finance professionals.

The curriculum has been designed to meet the standards of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute's Candidate Body of Knowledge. Coursework will meet the CFA’s Ethics and Professional Standards.

All students will complete a capstone course. The purpose of the capstone course is to provide students the opportunity to experience the real-world responsibilities of managing a portfolio in a large mutual fund company.

Program Requirements

Core Courses

  • MSF 603: Managerial Economics and Decisions of the Firm (3 credits)
  • MSF 643: Financial Economics and Statement Analysis (3 credits)
  • MSF 632: Statistical and Quantitative Methods for Finance (3 credits)
  • MSF 702: Corporate Finance and Governance (3 credits)
  • MSF 706: Investment Analysis (3 credits)
  • MSF 707: Futures, Options, and Other Derivatives (3 credits)
  • MSF 732: Fixed Income Securities (3 credits)
  • MSF 705: Venture Capital, Private Finance, and Alternative Investments (3 credits)
  • MSF 717: International Finance and Financial Markets (3 credits)
  • MSF 783: CFA Ethics and Preparation (3 credits)

Capstone

  • MSF 777: Student Managed Investment Fund (3 credits)

Total: 33 credit hours

Time to Degree

The MS in Finance will be offered on a full-time and part-time basis. Summer enrollment is required for all students. An 8-week modular academic calendar will be utilized. The Fall and Spring semesters are comprised of two 8-week modules. Summer term includes one 8-week module and one condensed 5-week module.

  • Full-time students can complete the degree program in one academic year (3 semesters).
  • Part-time students can complete the degree program in two academic years (6 semesters).

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Recognize ethical issues related to the finance profession such as conflict of interest, insider trading, and fiduciary duties.
  • Analyze financial markets, industries, securities, and projects, using advanced quantitative and qualitative methods and techniques with sound theoretical foundations.
  • Apply interpersonal and team-leadership skills needed to form, lead, and work effectively with diverse organizational teams within a large financial institution.
  • Conduct research, using large data and advanced programming skills, to (1) manage equity and fixed income portfolios, (2) utilize complex derivatives for hedging strategies, and (3) optimize corporate dividend, investment, and capital structure policies. Effectively summarize and present research findings through various communication tools.
  • Apply knowledge in the diverse regulatory environments of U.S. and international markets to address current and emerging issues in the global economy.