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The Online Master of Science in Finance

Business may run on numbers, but it relies on people who can build and analyze sophisticated models to translate financial figures into bold insights and innovative strategies. The financial professionals who have a firm grasp of the technical skills and practices of finance have the singular ability to clearly deliver contemporary solutions in all facets of management and finance.

At William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, we offer an Online Master of Science in Finance (MSF) that prepares future CFOs with the quantitative and leadership skills necessary to identify value creation opportunities and assess risk, navigate global challenges, foster change and create value in an ethical manner.

Online MS in Finance by the Numbers

32

Credits

8

Core Courses

7.5

Weeks Per Course

#1

Business School for Learning¹

#6

Best Business Professors²

Online MS in Finance Courses Overview

Our program is centered on four pillars—principled value creation; financial modeling, analysis and decision-making; global financial strategy; and effective communication of complex financial information and strategies. These are the conceptual and technical skills every financial professional must possess and fully master in order to find near and long-term success in corporate finance, investment management, real estate finance, commercial banking, consulting and more. These are the skills our Online MS in Finance curriculum prepares you to master.

Our 32-credit curriculum can be broken down into the following two types of courses:

  • 6 core courses, worth a total of 24 credits
  • 4 elective courses, worth a total of 16 credits

Pending approval for State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV)
Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Core MS in Finance Courses (24 credits)

BUAD 5027 Financial Statement Analysis and Modeling (4 credits)

This course introduces students to the elements of financial statement analysis and increases students' ability to extract and use information from financial reports. In addition, students will learn how to use this information to forecast a complete set of financial statements (Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Statement of Cash Flows) and prepare a three statement model.
Information from financial statements is used in many situations including setting targets for manager's bonus plans, determining loan covenants, setting prices for IPO's, setting prices for mergers or acquisitions, deciding whether to loan a company money, and deciding whether to purchase the stock of a company. When using financial statement information, people routinely make adjustments to net income to estimate what they believe is the true economic income of the firm (e.g., "core earnings" or "economic value-added"). In this class, students will learn how to evaluate the information provided in financial statements and draw your own conclusions about whether it accurately reflects the financial position of the firm.

BUAD 5127 Principles of Finance (4 credits)

Finance focuses on how people and businesses evaluate investment opportunities and raise capital to fund them. This course will provide you with an understanding of the financial principles that guide decision-making and equip you with the basic tools necessary for analyzing and interpreting financial data. The goal is to learn how to price securities in modern financial markets and to develop insights into the methods by which financial managers can create value for their shareholders.

BUAD 5417Advanced Corporate Finance (4 credits)

The objective of this course is to study the major decision-making areas of managerial finance. The course reviews the theory and empirical evidence related to investment and financing policies of the firm and to develop decision-making ability in these areas.
Building on previous courses, this course incorporates richer institutional details and deepens understanding of how firms interact with the financial markets. Topics to be included are: financing investments with capital market imperfections, corporate control, governance and risk management.

BUAD 5317 Corporate Valuation and Credit Analysis (4 credits)

This course will familiarize students with the tools and techniques for valuing corporate investment projects and assets in a wide range of settings. It offers hands-on experience in building and interpreting valuation models in Excel as commonly used by corporate financial managers, investment managers and investment bankers.

BUAD 5527 Investments (4 credits)

The course introduces the theory and practice of portfolio management and investments in various asset classes. Emphasis is placed on wealth/asset management and hands-on development and use of financial software tools. Topics include financial markets and intermediaries, measuring risk and return, asset allocation, portfolio optimization and wealth management. Students will emerge from this course with a thorough understanding of modern techniques in asset management and the ability to apply these techniques in practice.

BUAD 5617 Applied Investment Management (4 credits)

This course introduces students to the theoretical foundation and practical skills that are essential to managing investment portfolios. Students will also learn up-to-date knowledge on financial markets and the asset management industry. We begin with bond pricing and bond portfolio management. We then discuss equity and fixed income derivatives and structured products, and their applications in managing investment risks. Finally, we study how to evaluate investment performance.

Elective MS in Finance Courses (16 credits)

BUAD 6007 Behavioral Finance (4 credits)

This course analyzes how individuals, firms and other organizations make decisions. Standard economic and financial models assume rational agents, even though people may not always act rationally. In this course, we will study theories and evidence from psychology on individual decision-making, focusing on biases, heuristics and other factors that are missing from these standard models. We will discuss and analyze topical applications to economics (e.g., intertemporal choice, retirement savings, altruism) and finance (e.g., efficient markets, investor psychology, bubbles), including improved economic theory and potential public policy responses. The course will also improve students' understanding of individual behavior with an aim to improve their own decision-making in professional and personal settings.

BUAD 6207 Real Estate Finance (4 credits)

The value of real estate is roughly the same as that of the stock market, yet business decision-makers often overlook its importance. For example, real estate requires a fundamental choice for every firm and individual: the decision to rent vs. own commercial/residential real estate. The real estate market collapse in 2008, which led to a global financial crisis, has changed the way we think about commercial and residential real estate. It is of great import to manage the financial risk of real estate as its very nature is to have tremendous financial leverage. This class will cover a wide range of real estate topics from understanding the home buying process to programming complex mortgages.

BUAD 6307 Real Estate Investments (4 credits)

Real Estate has become an established asset class in which private individuals and institutions, pensions, life companies and foreign investors have increasingly invested. This is due largely to real estate's large investable universe, high yield, low volatility and diversification characteristics, resulting in potentially enhanced diversified portfolio risk­ adjusted returns. Broadly speaking, real estate's investable universe can be categorized into four quadrants, based on whether the investment is public or private, and whether the investment is equity or debt. While each quadrant has distinct investment characteristics, the underlying property and its ability to generate rental income ultimately drives investment performance. As such, an understanding of real estate property types, markets, underlying assets and tenancy, along with the respective space and capital markets in which an asset operates, is necessary when analyzing an investment opportunity. Additionally, an understanding of the various real estate investment vehicles, strategies and structures is important, especially when considering a real estate investment in the context of a multi-asset portfolio. In this course, students will explore each of these and several related topics that will improve their understanding of the real estate asset class, and if desired, prepare them for exciting careers in the real estate industry.

BUAD 6107 Money, Banking and Financial Markets (4 credits)

At the macro level, financial institutions and financial markets exist as the key intermediaries needed for efficient allocation of capital in a market economy. Financial intermediaries are entities, like banks and mutual funds, that take in household savings on the one hand, and, on the other hand, allocate these savings to businesses and others for investment in productive capital projects such as new factories, new software development and so on. However, among financial institutions, and both central banks, like the Federal Reserve and commercial banks, like Bank of America, are considered special because of the additional unique role they play in operation of the monetary system, which includes the money supply and related means of payment, which underlies all economic transactions.
The intertwined goals of this course are to (1) develop a strategic-level understanding of the economics of the financial sector as a whole, including interest rate and exchange rate determination, money creation by central banks, the operations of banks and the payments system, and (2) develop in­ depth knowledge of how some of the largest individual money/financial markets function, what financial services and products these markets offer, and how these products might be of value to the corporations and investors. The key financial markets analyzed in this course are the money markets including the both the commercial and shadow banking systems, the foreign exchange markets and role of banks as broker-dealers, public and private bond placement, the mortgage markets, and interest rate swaps. Among the financial institutions we examine are the two most important central banks, U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, large commercial banks, money market mutual fund companies, and foreign exchange market makers.

The Online MS in Finance at a Glance

  • Complete in as few as 15 months
  • 100% online
  • Optional residency*
  • No GMAT/GRE required
  • 3 starts per year: August, January and May
  • Earn your degree from a prestigious business school
  • Study with our faculty of industry experts

*Online MS in Finance students are invited to join other W&M online students at one of the immersive residency weekends at our Williamsburg campus. Students who attend a residency will earn one additional credit. Read more about the residency weekend experience.

Want more insight?

Explore what’s ahead in the Online MS in Finance program—download our program details guide, your one-stop document for admissions requirements, courses and more.

Download the Guide

Invest in Your Future

150,000

Jobs added in financial activities over the past six months³

#5

Best Business Job - Financial manager4

$129,890

Median base salary for financial managers5

$152,299

Average base salary for chief financial officers6

32.8%

Wage premium percent for a master’s degree in the U.S. in 20197

What skills will you acquire in the Online MS in Finance?

  • Analyzing financial statements
  • Forecasting complete sets of financial statements
  • Preparing three-statement-models
  • Pricing securities in modern financial markets
  • Creating value for shareholders
  • Understanding how firms interact with financial markets
  • Building and interpreting valuation models in Excel
  • Managing portfolios and investments in various asset classes
  • Using financial software tools
  • Analyzing individual and organizational behavior
  • Comprehending the homebuying process
  • Programming complex mortgages
  • Generating income from each quadrant of real estate
Sources

1. Retrieved on March 18, 2020, from bloomberg.com/business-schools/2018/#ranking=2
2. Retrieved on March 18, 2020, from princetonreview.com/business-school-rankings?rankings=best-professors
3. Retrieved on November 17, 2020, from bls.gov/ces/publications/highlights/2020/current-employment-statistics-highlights-10-2020.pdf
4. Retrieved on November 17, 2020, from money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/financial-manager&sa=D&ust=1606170200048000&usg=AOvVaw0gGzKLXrpSEn4LuobcOuM8
5. Retrieved on November 17, 2020, from bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm
6. Retrieved on November 17, 2020, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/chief-financial-officer-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm
7. Retrieved on November 17, 2020, from data.census.gov/cedsci/table?tid=ACSDT5Y2016.B20004&q=ACSDT5Y2016.B20004

Questions? Let’s Connect.