Frequently Asked Questions

How can a M.S. in Finance degree advance my financial career?
The Master of Science in Finance degree, which teaches the concepts and quantitative skills in the CFA Curriculum, prepares you to excel in financial analysis and portfolio management roles at banks, fund management firms, insurance companies, investment banking firms, brokerage houses, financial advisors, and other institutions. The program instills a deep understanding of economics, quantitative methods, financial statement analysis, corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, equity valuation, fixed income instruments, derivatives, portfolio management, risk management, ethics, and compliance. In addition to building a comprehensive understanding of finance topics, you can start building your network right in the classroom by working with other students to help you study and also to find job openings with the help of students and instructors. [back to top]

Do I need work experience in finance to enter the M.S. in Finance Program?
The M.S. in Finance Program has students who already work in finance and others that want to start careers in finance. The M.S. in Finance Program does not require prior experience in finance positions although it may make studies somewhat easier for students who are already familiar with some of the topics. [back to top]

Can the M.S. in Finance graduate degree help prepare me for the Level I, II, and III CFA Exams?
Yes, the M.S. in Finance curriculum mirrors the knowledge in the CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge or ‘CBOK’. This degree comprises 11 courses which focus on the concepts and quantitative techniques used in financial analysis and portfolio management that are required study for all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) exams. The M.S. in Finance degree gives graduates the knowledge to complete all three CFA exams in 18 months after graduation although many take more time based on personal schedules, requirements of new employment, and career plans. [back to top]

How can the M.S. in Finance Program accommodate my busy lifestyle?
The M.S. in Finance Program is geared for working professionals with classes offered Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the San Francisco Marriott in San Francisco right next to a BART station; M.S.-FAIM students take two courses at a time with each course lasting 11 weeks. The entire program is completed in 5 quarters (15 months) with 1 to 2-week breaks in between quarters. [back to top]

How big are M.S. in Finance classes?
The M.S. in Finance Program is designed so that every group or cohort stays together, progressing at the same pace through the program, with cohorts usually ranging in size from 15 to 25 students to allow plenty of personal attention. The cohort structure improves the learning experience and helps you develop study groups, professional connections, and friendships. [back to top]

When do M.S. in Finance classes start?
New M.S. in Finance cohorts start each January and July. [back to top]

Can I enroll in the MBA Program as well?
Yes – several of the core courses in the M.S. in Finance program such as Accounting, Economics, and some Finance courses are also offered in Saint Mary’s MBA programs so some M.S. in Finance coursework will count toward a Saint Mary's MBA with a concentration in Finance. This allows students to complete the M.S. in Finance degree and the MBA degree concurrently or back-to-back, with concurrent completion times possible (but not easy!) in 15 months. [back to top]