Advance Your Future In Finance
At Gies, we deliver a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree that thoroughly prepares students for the dynamic world of finance. Our comprehensive, flexible, and cutting-edge curriculum is taught by faculty experts and industry leaders.
Students arrive with different backgrounds and different levels of expertise in finance, so our 15-month program has built-in flexibility to deliver education and experience that fits your needs. When you arrive in August, we’ll work with you to assess your skills and interests and place you in the classes that will prepare you for success. At Gies, we deliver a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree that thoroughly prepares students for the dynamic world of finance. Our comprehensive, flexible, and cutting-edge curriculum is taught by faculty experts and industry leaders.
Classes start in August (fall) each year. Applications for 2021 are now open. Applications deadlines are as follows:
Round 1 Deadline: January 25, 2021
Round 2 Deadline: March 15, 2021*
Round 3 Deadline: April 15, 2021
*Final deadline for international applicants requiring a visa.
Set Up For Career Success
If you're looking for a career as an investment analyst, business valuation associate, or data analyst, our MSF program will prepare you for these careers as well as the CFA Level 1 exam. Over the past two years, graduates have gone on to work for major corporations such as PwC, Enfusion, Nanhua USA, Bloomberg, Deloitte, and KPMG China. Click here to view more career outcomes.
A Flexible, Customizable, And Cutting-Edge Curriculum
The MSF program has an innovative three-semester curriculum that provides you with a strong foundation in the principles and practices of finance. The program also introduces you to the emerging concepts, practices, and technologies necessary to be successful in today's finance industry.
In addition to the core curriculum, you will select courses to customize your degree. For instance, you may choose to follow a specialization track in one of the following areas:
Data Analytics and Fintech
Finance Research (Ph.D. Specialization)
You can also choose from a broad range of electives in other areas of finance, such as commercial banking, real estate, financial engineering or wealth management.
An optional full-semester practicum project allows you the opportunity to work on real-world projects for national and international companies to gain hands-on experience. These projects, paired with cutting-edge courses in big data analytics, high-frequency trading, financial engineering, and valuation will prepare you to excel in the finance industry.
Admitted students with extensive finance experience may elect to complete their studies in two semesters with approval from the program director.
The Department of Finance boasts an elite faculty with eight chairs or named professorships. Numerous studies continue to rank the Department as among the most productive of all finance research units in the world. Finance Department faculty are outstanding teachers who deliver high-quality, challenging courses. In the classroom, practice and learning converge to create an active and engaging educational experience which will prepare students for the challenge of modern financial markets.
"The program has great professors who are very knowledgeable and come with rich experiences. The learning is phenomenal, and the breadth of courses offered is the key highlight of the program."
Tanvi Rotkar, MSF '16
"My time at Illinois has been an outstanding experience. I am highly thankful for the depth of knowledge the MSF program has armed me with. The support system created by the professors and the faculty is phenomenal."
Sashikanth Yenika, MSF '16
STEM-Designated By Design
The MSF degree is STEM-designated, which may allow international students to remain in the US for up to 36 months on the Optional Practical Training STEM extension. Our commitment to a leading-edge curriculum in data analytics, financial modeling, and financial technology secured this important designation.
Solve Complex Real-World Problems
Round out your finance experience with innovative resources and options that will make your educational experience even more valuable. The Margolis Market Information Lab is a state-of-the-art lab designed to give you exposure to industry-leading tools like Bloomberg, Capital IQ, Tableau, and more. Business case competitions and Illinois Business Consulting (IBC) are two additional ways for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world, client-focused projects.
Curriculum and Requirements
The Master of Science in Finance is a generalist graduate program in finance. The MSF program begins in August each year and is completed in three semesters (fall, spring, fall). Most core and required courses would be completed in the first fall semester; however, dependent upon a student’s background and career goals, some core courses may be substituted or taken in the spring semester.
We admit students from a range of backgrounds, so in their first semester, students may need to work on their fundamental knowledge in important areas. We offer three core classes in the fall semester:
FIN 580 Corporate Finance (4 credit hours)
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.
FIN 580 Financial Statements (2 credit hours)
Introduces the fundamentals of reading and understanding financial statements. The basics of 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 a basic analysis. At the end of the class, students should feel comfortable understanding a typical annual report.
FIN 580 Quantitative Methods (2 credit hours)
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.
Students with an appropriate undergraduate background may waive some or all of these classes, with the approval of the academic director. For example, students with a Finance undergraduate degree do not need to take the Corporate Finance and Valuation class
The program is very much focused on providing a flexible set of classes for students to tailor to their own specific career aims. There are only two required classes in the program:
FIN 501 Economics of Stock Market Fundamentals (4 credit hours)
Firms’ long-run value ultimately depends 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. It also includes topics in risk and inter-temporal decision-making.
FIN 511 Investments (4 credit hours)
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.
We have a wide array of electives on the program from topics in entrepreneurship all the way through to financial engineering and machine learning. To help guide students through the extensive list of electives available on the program, students have the flexibility to select classes that suit their interests and allow them to specialize in a particular area. We currently offer six different specializations on the MSF program:
Asset Management Specialization
Corporate Finance Specialization
Data Analytics and Fintech Specialization
Quantitative Finance Specialization
Real Estate Specialization
Finance Research (Ph.D. Specialization)
A concentration is “an elaboration or an extension of a graduate major: either content specialization within a particular discipline (for example, a taxation concentration in accountancy, or an interdisciplinary program A concentration is a coherent set of courses some or all of which count toward the major.”
The MSF offers three concentrations. Unlike the specialization, the concentration will appear on your final transcript:
Business and Public Policy
Data Analytics in Finance
Electives available for students
All of our extensive elective offerings are included in at least one of the MSF Specializations listed above. Here is a full list of the electives that have been offered on the MSF program in previous semesters.