Best Online Master’s in Finance: Students Before Profits Award

The Students Before Profits Awards were created to recognize nonprofit colleges and universities offering degrees that put students before profits and education before the bottom-line.  For our ranking of the 2017 Online Master’s in Finance winners, we chose online Finance degree programs from nonprofit colleges and universities, accredited by independent and trusted accreditation boards, with lower than average tuition costs, and have ranked them by affordability.

Online degree programs have become more and more popular amongst savvy students.  By enrolling in an online degree, students can enjoy many benefits that their on-campus students cannot.  Online degree programs tend to be substantially cheaper than their on-campus counterparts, resulting in a large amount of savings for the students enrolled.  Not only do these programs tend to be cheaper, the curriculum is often times the same as the on-campus version.  Students are getting the same education at a fraction of the price.  Online programs also allow students to look at programs that they may not have been able to consider due to geographical or scheduling constraints.  Students can find the program that best suits their needs without having to consider whether or not they can afford to move to the school’s campus.  They also can create schedules that best suit their needs.

When entering into the world of finance, a Master’s of Finance degree is an almost crucial tool needed for success. While the finance industry is seeing job growth, the market is still quite competitive.  Students with a Master’s in Finance will be able to stand out amongst their peers to ensure potential employers that they have the education necessary to hit the ground running and be successful in their new position.  Finance can be a very technical field of work, which lends itself to instruction by experts that are well-versed in the subject matter.  While work experience can definitely help a student understand the intricacies of finance, a Master’s of Finance will provide a more thorough understanding of the information, ensuring a much more well-rounded and all-encompassing understanding of the relevant financial principles and subject matter.  The average starting salary for a student with a Master’s in Finance entering into a financial analyst position is just under $75,000/year.

Note that tuition rates listed below are based on cost per credit and individual programs may have additional fees.

#1. West Texas A&M University

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The Texas State House of Representatives established the West Texas State Normal College in 1910 as a school to train teachers who would then teach students across the state of Texas.  Initially one of the seven state-funded teacher colleges, this school grew to become West Texas A&M University, an institution within the Texas panhandle.  Starting as just a teacher’s college, the school began to add more and more to its curriculum and was eventually renamed West Texas A&M University in 1993 when it entered into the Texas A&M University system.  Located thirteen miles out of the Amarillo metropolitan area, West Texas A&M University is located within the city of Canyon, Texas.  The school offers just shy of 100 different degree programs and enrolls nearly 10,000 students.  West Texas A&M University is a public institution.

Program Overview

Students at West Texas A&M University are able to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Finance and Economics degree.  This program of study is designed for students looking to begin work in finance institutions or finance departments within businesses or hoping to shape financial policy within the public or private sector.  Students who complete this program will also be knowledgeable enough to enter into the field of financial education.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the West Texas A&M University campus to complete their studies.  A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: West Texas A&M University’s Master of Science in Finance and Economics degree is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $13,200

#2. Colorado State University

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Edward M. McCook, the Governor of the Colorado Territory, signed legislation that established Colorado State University into existence in 1870.  However, the school was stuck in development for some time and only existed on paper for years.  The first progress made on freeing the school from developmental issues was when Robert Dazell purchased a plot of land for the school.  Located outside of Fort Collins, this plot of land would be the home of what would eventually become Colorado State University.  Established as the Colorado Agricultural College, the school was eventually added to the Colorado State University system in 1876.  After nine years, the school began accepting its first class of students in 1879.  The school was renamed to Colorado State University in 1957.  Now, the school is home to a student body of 34,000 students.  Colorado State University is a public institution. 

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Finance degree is offered to students at Colorado State University. Students in this program of study will learn how to assess financial status, interview and gather financial data, implement cash management strategies, risk management and much more.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Colorado State University campus to complete their studies.     A minimum of 39 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Colorado State University’s Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $13,650

#3. University of Massachusetts Lowell

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The origins of the University of Massachusetts Lowell date all the way back to the 1890s.  Operating as two independent schools, the Lowell Technological Institute and Lowell State College would eventually merge to form the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  Merged in the year 1975,  the University of Massachusetts Lowell was later incorporated into the University of Massachusetts system in 1991.  Now, the University of Massachusetts is the second-largest public university in the state and is home to over 17,500 students.  The school offers students more than 150 fully accredited academic programs across its six colleges and schools.  University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public institution.

Program Overview

Students at the University of Massachusetts are able to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Finance degree.  A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.  This program is offered through UMassOnline and is identical to the course of study offered to students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus.  Through this course of stud students will learn portfolio management, global financial markets, financial risk management, and investment analysis.  This program is made available entirely online and does not require students to visit the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus to complete their studies.

Accreditation: University of Massachusetts’ Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Tuition: $19,200

#4. Bellevue University

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Established in 1966 in Nebraska, Bellevue University was established with the mandate to provide working adults within the state a way to gain a higher education.  Called Bellevue College, the school grew quickly over the next ten years.  By 1974, the school had grown so much that it had become the fourth-largest private school within the state of Nevada.  Eventually, the school added Master’s programs to its curriculum after receiving university status which prompted the school to change its name to Bellevue University in 1994.  Founded in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University has recently opened an additional campus in west Omaha.  The school currently enrolls over 10,000 students and offers seventy different degree programs.  Bellevue University is a private institution.

Program Overview

Bellevue University offers students a Master of Science in Strategic Finance degree.  Students in this program of study will learn how to properly analyze and evaluate an organization’s financial strategy and implement ways to strengthen that strategy.  This course of study will have students learn how to perform cash flow analyses, and risk assessment and management.  This program is available entirely online and does not require any visits to the Bellevue University campus.  A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Bellevue University’s Master of Science in Strategic Finance degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $19,620

#5. Kansas State University

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One of the first recipients of the Morill Land Grant Act, Kansas State University is one of the oldest public institutions of higher education in the entire country.  Originally named the Kansas State Agricultural College, Kansas State University was established in 1862.  Over the years, as the curriculum of the school expanded, the name of the school was also changed in order to reflect the wider array of educational opportunities offered.  It was after this expansion of curriculum that the school was renamed to Kansas State University.  Originally founded in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University has remained at its original campus its entire lifetime.  The campus is widely regarded for the many original buildings from the school’s founding.  The school is home to over 24,000 students and offers over 120 different programs of study. Kansas State University is a public institution. 

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree is offered to students at Kansas State University. Students in this program of study will study topics including microeconomics, finance, financial planning, ethics, as well as proper financial counseling skills.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Kansas State University campus to complete their studies.  A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Kansas State University’s Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $19,836

#6. Southern New Hampshire University

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Located in Manchester/Hooksett, Southern New Hampshire University enrolls over 3,000 students on campus and additional 60,000 students in its online programs.  Southern New Hampshire University has been a part of the state of New Hampshire’s higher education program since the early 1930s.  Founders Harry A. B. Shapiro and Gertrude Crockett Shapiro founded the school as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science in downtown Manchester in the year 1932.  The school’s original mission statement was to provide working adults with an opportunity for a higher education.  Operating under the name of New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science for three decades, the school was renamed to the New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce to reflect it’s widening curriculum.  The school was later renamed to Southern New Hampshire University.  Southern New Hampshire University is is a private institution.

Program Overview

Students at Southern New Hampshire University are able to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Applied Economics degree.  Through this program of study students will acquire skills related to financial data collection and processing while learning investigative questioning techniques needed to properly ascertain this type of information.  Students will learn how to build economic models and understand economic issues.  This program is available entirely online and does not require any visits to the the Southern New Hampshire University campus. A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University’s Master of Science in Applied Economics degree is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Tuition: $22,572

#7. University of Maryland University College

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In the 1920s, the University of Maryland began offering a series of evening programs aimed at working adults who were hoping to continue their education but were unable to attend classes during the day.  A common idea now, the University of Maryland became a pioneer in alternative education for working professionals.  This program became wildly popular, resulting in the University of Maryland having to spin the program off into its own school which would eventually be known as the University of Maryland University College.  Over the next two decades, the school was spun off and became the College of Special and Continuation Studies.  The school was later renamed to University of Maryland University College in 1959.  Now, the University of Maryland University College enrolls almost 90,000 students. University of Maryland University College is a public institution. 

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management degree is offered to students at the University of Maryland University College.  This program of study will have students learn how to understand costs and risk, to perform financial analysis and modeling, manage a company’s financial operations, and how to account for and make long-term financial decisions.  Students are able to take this program of study entirely online and are not required to visit the University of Maryland University College campus to complete their studies.  A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: University of Maryland University College’s Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management degree is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Tuition: $23,724

#8. Thomas Edison State University

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The New Jersey Board of Education established Thomas Edison State University just outside of the city of Princeton, New Jersey in the Forrestal Center in the year 1971.  Residing at the Forrestal Center for just a short amount of time, Thomas Edison State University quickly outgrew its original campus and had to relocate its campus.  After securing land in the nearby city of Trenton, New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University moved to the Kelly Building located in downtown Trenton in 1979.  Thomas Edison State University was named in honor of the New Jersey native and creator of the light bulb, Thomas Alva Edison.  Currently, Thomas Edison State University enrolls over around 18,600 students.  Thomas Edison State University is a public institution. 

Program Overview

Students at Thomas Edison State University are able to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in International Business Finance degree.  This program of study has students preparing to enter into the field of financial advising.  By taking this course of study, students will study topics including financial planning, financial risk assessment, risk management, as well as cost analysis.  This program is available entirely online and does not require any visits to the Thomas Edison State University campus.  A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Thomas Edison State University’s Master of Science in International Business Finance degree is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Tuition: $24,048

#9. Indiana University

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The Indiana State Government established Indiana University in 1820 and construction on the school began just two years later in the city of Bloomington in an area of the city known that is now known as Seminary Square Park. Originally called the “State Seminary”, Indiana University began enrolling its first class of students in 1825.  The school changed its name in 1829 to Indiana College and then changed it again in 1839 to Indiana University.  Throughout the 19th century, the school experienced slow but steady growth that exploded in the the 20th century.  Indiana University became the flagship school in the Indiana University system of higher education as other schools were established throughout the state.  The school now enrolls just under 50,000 students.  Indiana University is a public institution. 

Program Overview

Indiana University offers students a Master of Science in Finance degree. Through this program of study students will study a wide range of topics including but not limited to: financial management, quantitative analysis, value creation, economics, risk management, and capital markets.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Indiana University to complete their course of study.   A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Indiana University’s Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $24,480

#10. University of Colorado Denver

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Originally a part of the University of Colorado’s Department of Correspondence and Extension, the University of Colorado Denver was established out in 1912 out of the school’s original distance education program.  Operated by one full-time teacher out of the C.A. Johnson Building in downtown Denver, the Extension Center was eventually moved to a different part of downtown Denver.  Over time, the program grew and grew until the University purchased the Denver Tramway Company Building and moved the school to the larger building.  The school was renamed in 1964 to the University of Colorado – Denver Center and then later renamed in 1973 to the University of Colorado Denver.  In 2004, the school merged with the nearby University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  Now, the University of Colorado Denver is home to 18,000 students. The University of Colorado Denver is a public institution.   

Program Overview

Students at the University of Colorado Denver able to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Finance Risk Management degree.  Through this program, students will gain an overview of topics relevant to working in finance while being given the opportunity to take electives that will allow them to specialize their education.  These electives include Security Analysis and Firm Valuation, Financial Innovations, Futures and Options, Mergers and Acquisitions, and much more.  This program is available entirely online and does not require any visits to the University of Colorado Denver campus. A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Science in Finance Risk Management degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $28,800

#11. Pennsylvania State University

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Referred to by many as Penn State, Pennsylvania State University was established in 1855.  Originally the school was named the Farmer’s High School of Pennsylvania, but was later renamed after the school had received a donation of 200 acres of land which allowed the school to grow in size and scope.   This change in available land resulted in the school being renamed the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania.  Soon after, the school received even more funding through the Morill Land-Grant which led to the school growing even more.  By 1874, the school had changed its name to Pennsylvania State College. Eighty years later, the school was granted university status and was renamed to Pennsylvania State University.  Now, the school enrolls over 100,000 students.  Pennsylvania University is a public institution.

Program Overview

The Master of Finance degree is available to students at Pennsylvania State University. Through this course of study students will learn about financial modeling, financial accounting, strategic financial decisions, multinational financial management, and financial derivative securities.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Pennsylvania State University campus at any time to complete their education. A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Pennsylvania State University’s Master of Finance degree is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Tuition: $30,750

#12. Boston University

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Chartered by the Massachusetts Legislature, Boston University was established in 1839.  Originally known as the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school was renamed after receiving its charter from the state of Massachusetts. Originally located in Vermont, the school moved to the center of Boston in 1867 before receiving its charter from the state.  The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education have designated Boston University as a Research University with “very high research activity”.  The school is also a member of the prestigious Boston Consortium for Higher Education, which has helped to cement the school as one of Boston’s most important research universities. Currently, Boston University enrolls almost 33,000 students across its downtown campus.  Boston University is a private institution.

Program Overview

Students at Boston University are able to enroll in the school’s Master of Bank & Financial Services degree.  This program of study has students studying topics including the time value of money, cash flows, portfolio management, equity valuation, dividend discount models, as well as an understanding of derivative instruments.  Boston University offers this program entirely online and does not require students to visit their Boston University main campus to complete their studies. A minimum of 48 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Boston University’s Master of Bank & Financial Services degree is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Tuition: $39,840

#13. Northeastern University

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The Evening Institute for Younger Men, what would eventually become Northeastern University, opened in 1868.  From it’s founding, Northeastern University has been committed to offering students a flexible option when it came to higher education.  Originally founded in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University maintains campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; and Silicon Valley, California.  Northeastern University is designated as having high research activity by the Carnegie Classifications Institute of Higher Education placing the school among the upper-echelon of research universities.  Over 25,000 students are enrolled at Northeastern University.  Northeastern University is a private institution.

Program Overview

Northeastern University offers students a Master of Science in Finance degree.  This program of study has students learning about portfolio management, corporate finance, investment and commercial banking, as well as securities analysis, mutual funds, and personal financial planning.  This program is of available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Northeastern University campus to complete their degree of study.  A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Tuition: $41,640

#14. Golden Gate University

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Golden Gate University’s history dates back to a reading group at the San Francisco Central YMCA.  The San Francisco Central YMCA wanted to provide local adults with a way to continue their education so they established a reading group that later grew into the YMCA Night School. The YMCA Night School offered students classes in subjects including mathematics, Spanish, bookkeeping and more. The program continued to add more and more courses, including a law school, and eventually became so big that it outgrew the YMCA resulting in the creation of Golden Gate College.  In 1972, Golden Gate College had received university-status and was renamed to Golden Gate University.  Now home to 5,300 students, Golden Gate University is still located in San Francisco, California.  Golden Gate University is a private institution.

Program Overview

Students are able to enroll in a Master of Science in Finance degree from Golden Gate University.  Through this program students will cover topics including security valuation, financial planning for corporations, risk assessment and management strategies, understanding risk and return, how to properly understand financial statements and much more.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Golden Gate University campus.  A minimum of 45 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Golden Gate University’s Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Tuition: $43,875

#15. Auburn University

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Chartered by the Alabama Legislature, the East Alabama Male College opened in 1856.  Originally operated by the Methodist Church, the East Alabama Male College changed considerably over the coming decades to eventually become Auburn University.  During the Civil War, Auburn University played a crucial role for the Confederacy.  During wartime, the campus was shut down and became a training ground for the Confederate army.  By the close of the Civil War, the Methodist Church relinquished control over the school and it was transferred to the state of Alabama.  Soon after the school received federal funding from the Morill Act, and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama.  In the 1960s, the school was renamed once more to Auburn University.  Located in Auburn, Alabama, Auburn University is home to nearly 30,000 students.  Alabama University is a public institution.

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Finance degree is offered to students at Auburn University.  Through this course of study, students will study topics including microeconomics, business analytics, financial management, cost analysis, and much more.  This program is available entirely online and does not require students to visit the Auburn University campus to complete this program of study.  A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Auburn University’s Master of Science in Finance degree is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $57,680