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What Is a Master’s in Finance Degree?

A master’s in finance is an in-demand, specialized degree and a popular alternative to earning a traditional MBA degree.

A master’s in finance is one of a new breed of specialized degrees that provides a popular alternative to earning a traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Long the gold standard of graduate business degrees, the MBA is facing serious competition from a growing group of master’s degrees that focus on key areas of business administration, such as finance, accounting, and human resource management. By contrast, a typical MBA curriculum is built off of a multi-faceted business approach.

Unique Advantages of Specialized Degrees

  • Faster track to career advancement—446% of online students recently surveyed said their main motivation for enrolling was to advance their current career by acquiring higher level skills and knowledge.1 A specialized master’s program—like the MS in Finance program at Walden University—offers a concentrated 30-credit curriculum of 10 financial courses, compared to 3–5 financial courses in a broader online MBA curriculum of 36 or more credits.
  • Practical job skills—Students want to learn practical and timely business skills that can be used immediately in their jobs to improve their performance, solve problems, and enhance their value to current and future employers.
  • Improve in-demand business skills – A master’s in finance degree, for example, provides valuable, advanced credentials in a specialized discipline that is enjoying explosive growth.

Special Features of the Online MS in Finance Program at Walden

Walden’s MS in Finance degree program aligns with industry standards and demands to help you advance your career as a financial planner, manager, or analyst by providing a fully integrated set of high-level skills needed by most—if not all—businesses throughout the world.

What Is a Master’s in Finance Degree?

MS in Finance students choose from three specialization options, each addressing different competencies students need to succeed in their chosen area of finance:

  • )®Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA
    The objective is to teach students the research and analytical skills that will help clients assess risk and make informed investment decisions. Specifically, this master’s in finance track helps prepare students to sit for the CFA® exam through targeted coursework and a capstone simulation experience in which students answer past exam questions. CFA applicants must pass three difficult exams, each lasting sixhours. When students pass the exam, they become official Chartered Financial Analysts, a professional designation recognized internationally.
  • )®Certified Financial Planner (CFP
    The objective is to teach students the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to advise clients and managers on decisions about investments, insurance, retirement, and estate planning. This track helps prepare students to sit for the CFP® exam through targeted coursework and a capstone simulation experience with past exam questions. When students pass the exam, they become official Certified Financial Planners, a professional designation recognized internationally.
  • Finance for the Professional (Self-Designed)
    The objective is to prepare students for advancement in their organization through a program tailored to meet their unique goals. Core coursework explores best practices in corporate financial management and analysis, business risk assessment, and investment strategies that transcend international borders.

Dramatic Job Market Growth for Finance Professionals

The demand for financial professionals is outstripping the supply, said Dr. Roberto Castaneda, program director for Walden University’s new MS in Finance program. “It’s almost as if finance is a hidden diamond in the rough,” he explained. “Never before has demand for a profession increased exponentially like the finance profession.”

The job market for financial managers is projected to grow 16% through the year 2028.2 Castaneda outlined three main factors driving this robust growth:

  1. Growth of international companies as well as domestic companies that want to export their products. More companies need finance professionals and managers who work easily in a global marketplace. Financial professionals have an in-demand skillset that transcends borders.
  2. Aging of baby boomers means that a very large segment of the population will need the sound advice of a financial professional to prepare for and enjoy a successful retirement.
  3. Whether the stock market goes up or down, a qualified financial professional can help maintain sustainability.

Walden University, an accredited institution offering online degree programs, has been serving the higher education needs of working professionals for nearly 50 years. Today, more than 55,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 145 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates online at Walden.*

Explore Walden University's online MS in Finance degree program degree program and position yourself for success. Earn your online business degree using a convenient learning platform that fits your busy life.


*Total enrollment as of December 31, 2017.

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

The MS in Finance with Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)* Certification Emphasis is a specialized program with coursework that is aligned with the content covered in the competency-based CFP® exam. Walden enrollment specialists can provide general information relating to CFP® certification exam requirements; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to certification exams for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee, however, that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain CFP® certification. For more information about the CFP® exam, students should visit

*CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”). Walden University’s MS in Finance program is not a CFP Board-Registered Program and is not in any way sponsored or endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with, CFP Board.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,