Online Finance Certificate Programs*

Discover firsthand where the finance industry can take you. Heighten your knowledge and set yourself apart in the specialized areas of real estate, corporate finance or investment management.

Each Online Finance Certificate from William & Mary combines the prestige of a “Public Ivy” business education with the agility of a short-term, targeted professional skills-development program. In just four courses that can be completed in eight months, you will learn key tools and skills that can help launch you into leadership roles or provide your point of entry into the Online Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program.

Completing your online finance certificate coursework might be just the start of your finance education. The four courses of the real estate certificate programs comprise the prerequisites and first required course of the Online Master of Science in Finance program. Students who complete an Online Finance Certificate program in good standing are invited to apply to the Online Master of Science in Finance program with no additional application requirements, and all credits from the certificate may be applied toward completion of the MSF.

Online Certificate in Real Estate Finance

Develop your expertise on a four-part foundation: financial modeling, analysis and decision-making, global financial strategy, and effective communication of complex financial information and strategies. The four courses of the Real Estate Finance Certificate program center on these skills—each one essential for success in finance. They cover a wide range of real estate topics, from various mortgages to funding complex real estate deals. They’ll prepare you to speak confidently with other professionals in the world of real estate investments, and together, they comprise the core of our Online MS in Finance program.

Curriculum Overview

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.

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.

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.

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.

Real Estate Finance Certificate at a Glance

  • Complete in 8 months
  • 100% online
  • No residency or on-campus requirement
  • Study with our faculty of industry experts
  • Completion in good standing will automatically fulfill admissions requirements for the Online MSF program
  • All credits can be applied to Online Master of Science in Finance
  • One opportunity to start per year

Application Requirements for the Online Finance Certificate

Each Online Finance Certificate is designed to provide the opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a finance career, at any professional level, to move into this dynamic field. To promote this level of accessibility, the application requirements for the program are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Current resume or CV with employment history
  • One personal essay
  • $100 application fee; waivers are available by request

Have Questions?

We want to ensure you can take advantage of this opportunity to transition into a rewarding new finance career. Feel free to schedule a call with an Admissions Outreach Advisor if you have any questions about the Online Finance Certificates, or about using it to transition into the Online MSF program.

Interested in Our Online Programs?


Priority Application Deadline

June 9th
Fall 2023 Term

Application Deadline

July 28th
Fall 2023 Term

Next Start

August 28th
Fall 2023 Term

*Real Estate Finance certificate is pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)