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The online Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree program from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers a curriculum that allows deeper insight into a range of complex problems related to the field of finance. Courses in the MSF program are designed to be a perfect match for professionals looking to advance their career through new connections and refined skills.
The exact curriculum taken by individual students in the MSF program may vary, but the program is structured around a set of core courses and specific electives. While the six core classes are broadly applicable to many roles in finance, the elective courses allow graduates to learn more about specific roles in the field to further their desired career.
MSF students can choose between two career tracks before choosing their coursework: investment finance or corporate finance. While these paths share plenty in common, they diverge in a few key ways.
The investment finance track focuses on the principles of portfolio management. Graduates from this track tend to pursue roles focused on managing portfolios of a particular asset class (like equities or bonds). They can also become adept at the fundamentals behind trading risk using more complex securities like derivatives. Private wealth management for personal or institutional clients is also covered more extensively under this track.
Corporate finance is the other MSF concentration. These classes relate more to managing capital in a for-profit organization. Compared to investment finance, corporate finance coursework dives deeper into management of financial assets beyond just securities, including real estate and other property. Corporate finance graduate students also get the chance to take a closer look at the world of private equity and venture capital funding, and the program features a greater emphasis on budget planning and corporate strategy.
Core classes and curriculum structure
The core curriculum of the online MSF program from Northeastern University will combine key concepts from most aspects of financial planning and analysis. These classes include:
- Financial Theory and Policy
- Analysis of Financial Institutions and Markets
- Investment Analysis
- International Finance Management
- Financial Strategy
- Finance Seminar
Core classes in the MSF program serve as the basis for further advanced studies in either track. Many topics covered in these courses will be expanded upon and refined through the electives that determine career track, as well as the professional experience students can receive along the way.
Many of these topics concern the methods behind analyzing markets, securities, and portfolios. Specifically, students in the online MSF program can learn more about the complex relationship between risk and return in finance. Depending on the scenario and their experience, financial professionals will use one or more statistical models to assess and forecast returns and risks:
- Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) is among the first analytical concepts that online MSF students will study in their core classes. Using the techniques outlined in MPT, financial professionals can craft financial portfolios with an appropriate balance of risk and return.
- Regression analysis is a form of statistical modeling that is applicable to a number of scientific fields, including finance. Online MSF students can become well-versed in applying regression analysis to portfolio strategy, asset allocation, and more.
- Theories central to the study of finance will also dictate much of the core curriculum’s structure. Online MSF graduates can gain an understanding of the underlying concepts of market efficiency, risk, and intrinsic value. From here, a more practical understanding of global markets and macroeconomic policy can be applied toward a graduate’s particular career track.
In addition to learning about the full body of research that underpins modern financial markets, online MSF students will get the chance to delve into recent studies that will shape the next generation of finance careers. As part of the Finance Seminar course, students will find, read, and discuss the latest research in corporate finance, investing, and policy. This course also helps graduates design their own study using the most recent analytical methods available.
Electives and career tracks
Rounding out the online MSF curriculum are eight elective courses focused on more specific industries and topics. MSF graduates need to choose only four of these electives to meet the online MSF degree requirements.
Investment finance electives
Students following the investment finance career track can gain a solid grasp of the inner workings of financial markets, especially for more niche asset classes related to hedging and margin trading. Some topics covered in these courses include:
- How risk is traded through the derivatives market, which concerns assets like futures contracts, swaps, and options.
- The differences between equities and fixed-income markets, especially in terms of calculating their returns.
- How interest rates, currency rates, and asset allocation all influence a portfolio’s risk exposure.
- Real estate finance, especially real estate valuation and market analysis. Taxation and economic policy also play a key role in maximizing returns while minimizing risk related to real estate investments.
Corporate finance electives
The study of corporate finance is more focused on managing the finances of a single business entity. Specifically, it requires more knowledge of capital in the form of real property, as well as investments and cash reserves, and how all of this should factor into corporate budgets that could amount to billions of dollars. As such, corporate finance elective courses will focus on:
- Capital valuation, as well as how capital creates value for corporations with a broad spectrum of financial assets at their disposal.
- How capital management influences business mergers and acquisitions — topics that are crucial for those interested in private equity or venture capital careers.
The key differentiator offered by the online Master of Science in Finance degree program from Northeastern University is its adaptability. The curriculum of the program is designed to enable graduates to work toward advancement in their chosen careers without giving up existing commitments in their professional or personal lives. With the help of world-class faculty from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, the online Master of Science in Finance degree program can put aspiring financial professionals on the fast track to success.