Master’s degrees traditionally take two years to earn if students study full-time, with even longer times to graduate if you study part-time. If you want to earn a master’s degree in finance faster, accelerated graduate school options can make this goal a reality – but you need to be prepared for an intensive workload.

What Is the Fastest School for a Master of Finance Degree?

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Accelerated Master of Finance Degrees

Finance degrees from different colleges have different requirements, and while some take the traditional two years to complete, not all do. For example, the Master of Science in Finance program offered by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is a 21-month program. This program includes a blend of online and on-campus education options for maximum flexibility to work for any student’s learning style and schedule.

Students of the Master of Science in Financial Management program at Boston University can choose to study online or face-to-face and earn their degree in 18 to 24 months. Boston University graduate finance students can opt to pursue a specialization in either Investment Analysis or International Finance.

It’s not unusual for Master of Finance degree programs to be structured in such as way that students can graduate within a year, even without looking for additional accelerated options, according to U.S. News & World Report. In fact, this shorter time to completion, compared to traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, is one of several reasons these specialized finance degree programs are becoming more popular. The Sloan School of Management at MIT is one highly selective and respected business school to offer a 12-month Master of Finance degree option. Students in this 12-month program study full-time for the summer, fall and spring, graduating with their degree in June.

The fastest finance degree program isn’t always the best choice, so weigh your options carefully. An 18-month program that includes an internship may be a better choice than a 12-month program with no internship opportunity due to the experience it offers.

Fastest MBA in Finance Programs

The specialized Master of Finance degree is still a relative newcomer compared to the MBA, a program which was first launched more than a century ago. If you want to work for an employer that values tradition, or you simply find a greater appeal in learning a cultivating a breadth of business knowledge over a depth of highly specialized knowledge, a finance MBA program might be a better fit for you.

Many business schools offer accelerated MBA programs that students can complete in just 12 intense months of study. Because finance is such a popular concentration among MBA students, it isn’t difficult to track down programs that fit your career goals and allow you to make progress toward your degree quickly. The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh is one example. Students begin the program in early May, completing 15 credits of foundational courses over the summer term, followed by 18 credits in both the fall and spring terms. The Richard J. Wehle School of Business at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, is another school that offers a One-Year MBA option. At Canisius, established and aspiring finance professionals would choose the financial services concentration. Students study full-time, beginning in August and taking day courses throughout fall, spring and summer terms to graduate the following August.

MBA programs are generally more likely than Master of Finance programs to require substantial work experience for admission, so prospective students should look carefully at the admissions requirements of any MBA program they are considering.

Master of Finance Dual Degree Options

Some ambitious students begin thinking about graduate school well ahead of time. If you’re just starting out your undergraduate education but already have a finance master’s degree in mind, consider a dual degree program. Often called a “4+1” program, these options will still require years of education, but they allow students to take graduate courses early and count the credits toward both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, saving up to a year of studies.

The University at Buffalo is one college with a 4+1 program. Students start out working toward their Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Their graduate credits culminate in a Master of Science in Finance with a concentration in either Financial Risk Management or Quantitative Finance. Another example is the 4+1 accelerated Master of Science in Finance program offered through the University of Arizona’s Graduate College. In their senior year of study, undergraduate students in this program take one graduate class in both the fall and spring semesters, accounting for six of the 36 graduate credits needed for the master’s degree.

How many graduate credits can you take as an undergraduate? The answer varies from program to program, ranging from six credits to as many as 12 graduate credits. The more graduate courses you take as a senior, the more it reduces the cost of your master’s degree.

Additional Resources

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