What Are the Different Types of Finance Degree Programs?

K. Kinsella
K. Kinsella
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Educational establishments around the world offer a number of different finance degree programs that both undergraduate and postgraduate students can enroll in. Generally, finance degree programs are regarded as science rather than arts degrees although some colleges do offer programs that are classified as the latter. To enroll in a finance course, typically an individual must have completed high school and achieved better than average grades on mathematics and other related topics.

Bachelor of Science (BS) courses are among the finance degree programs that are commonly available at major universities. People enrolling in these courses study a variety of mathematics related subjects including statistics, microeconomics and macroeconomics. Additionally, most programs include some business and trade related subsections. People studying for BS degrees, have to use their mathematical skills to solve complex problems and many of the people who study these courses go on to work for investment firms or accounting companies.

As with BS programs, Bachelor of Arts (BA) courses are undergraduate finance degree programs that introduce students to a wide variety of business and mathematics related topics. The students who enroll in BA courses are very often people who are taking joint honors programs. These individuals may or may not have an interest in working in the financial services field but the BA courses are usually more concerned with financial theories rather than complex equations and the problem solving techniques that BS students must learn.

Some colleges offer both Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) finance degree programs. These postgraduate courses usually last for a minimum of one year; students study the same topics as BA or BS students except that masters programs go into much greater depth. Having completed a masters program, some students continue to study finance and enroll in Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. These courses can last for several years and in most instances, the students have to write a lengthy dissertation that focuses on one element of the topic such as global finance or applied econometrics. While those with a masters degree often end up working in industry, PhD graduates typically work as college lecturers or researchers.

Many finance degree programs involve traditional classroom based lessons. Some universities offer online classes in which case students have minimal interaction with teachers since most of the lectures take the form of online videos or audio recordings. In many instances, online courses are self-study programs which means the students can decide how quickly they want to complete the coursework.

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