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Finance: Graduate Programs


The Master’s in Finance (MSF) program is designed to prepare students for advanced careers as financial analysts in large or small corporations, financial institutions, investment firms, financial services, insurance or real estate. The MSF program curriculum is designed around four tracks to assist Master's students in career planning. These tracks include investment management, fixed income, corporate finance and real estate finance. More information is available on our department website at

The doctoral finance program leads to a Ph.D. in management grounded on solid research methods. Core courses develop expertise in economics, econometrics, and quantitative methods, and provide a detailed knowledge of contemporary finance research in corporate finance and capital markets. Graduates are strong candidates for faculty positions at research and teaching universities.


Expected Learning Outcomes: 

The outcomes from both programs have been evaluated on an on-going basis. Specific learning outcomes were established by the Finance faculty in November, 2011.

The learning objectives of the Master's in Finance program are measured through the summer master's research and a required student evaluation of the program.

The learning objectives of the doctoral finance program are measured through on-going research during the program and through communication with graduates to assess research productivity and preparation.

The current list of objectives and assessment measurements are listed below. Information regarding the assessment tools and related academic courses can be reviewed in the attached document.

Master’s in Finance

Skills in Finance - The student will:
• Demonstrate knowledge of theories and models relevant to the field of finance.
• Apply concepts and techniques from complex finance topics.
• Demonstrate understanding of how finance knowledge is created.

Oral and Written Communication - The student will:
• Express complex financial information and concepts clearly and concisely when speaking and writing.
• Integrate complex financial information and analysis into a written report in a well-organized and easy to understand manner.

Software Skills - The student will:
• Use a range of internet and database sources to support assigned projects, e.g., Bloomberg, CRSP, SDC.
• Use software applications, such as Excel, SAS, MATLAB and VBA.

Teamwork - The student will:
• Provide and receive feedback, ideas and instruction in a professional manner.
• Organize tasks and delegate responsibility to complete collaborative projects in a timely and professional manner.
• Explain the impact of each team member (including self) on the collaborative project and the role each member plays.


Ph.D. Program (updated 5/10/13)

Research - The student will:
• Perform high-quality research in finance that is worthy of publication in top-tier journals  (i.e., research question and design is significant, data analysis is strong).
• Demonstrate understanding of how his or her research contributes to finance knowledge (i.e., idea raised is original and positioned well within literature).

Oral and Written Communication in Finance
• Express financial information and concepts clearly and concisely when speaking (i.e., interacts fluently with audience and keeps attention on the presentation, provides clear summary information with well-designed graphics).
• Integrate financial information and analysis into written research in a well-organized, understandable manner (i.e., document is error-free and easy to read, writing flows smoothly).


Assessment Activities: 

Master's in Finance (MSF)

The Finance Department faculty met in November 2011 to revise and update the learning outcomes for finance masters and doctoral students and to refine the points of measurement of learning outcomes. The new measurements were implemented in Spring and Summer 2012. Faculty meet at least annually to review the results of the measurement of learning outcomes and modify assessment activities and pedagogy. (The most recent meeting was held in April 2016.)

Assessment of the Master's in Finance program occurs in the summer master's project and covers oral and written communication skills, finance and software skills, and teamwork skills. The rubrics to be used for measurement are attached. Assessment measurements in the FIN 909 master’s project started in Summer 2012 and have continued.

In addition, each Master’s in Finance (MSF) student graduate has been required to submit an end-of-program evaluation since August 2007.


Ph.D. Program

Assessment measurements of the doctoral program occur during required research paper presentations. Rubrics for finance knowledge and skills in research, and oral and written communication skills are attached.

Assessment measurements of doctoral student research started in Spring 2012 and specific outcomes updated in 2013. Assessment is conducted during 2nd year paper presentations, oral examination/dissertation proposals and final dissertation defense. 

All tenured/tenure-track finance faculty attend 2nd year doctoral student presentations. Designated committee members attend oral comprehensive examination and final dissertation defense presentations. At each presentation, faculty assesses the student’s achievement of learning outcomes through the assessment rubrics.

In addition, graduating Ph.D. students have been requested to submit an end-of-program evaluation since August 2013.


Assessment Findings: 

Master's in Finance (MSF)

The data since Summer 2012 assessment measurement is provided in the attached document (Master's in Finance Assessment Measures). Assessment measures were updated in summer 2013 to include indirect assessment as part of the end-of-program evaluation and the results are included in the report.

While there is some year-to-year change in the assessment outcomes measurement, the direct measures of learning outcomes do not show substantial positive or negative change from 2012-2016. However, most indirect measures of learning outcomes do show a positive and improving trend since 2012.

Assessment data from the current cohort of students will be available in January.


Ph.D. Program

Assessment measurements are provided in the attached document (Finance PhD Assessment Measures). These measures were updated in summer 2013 to include indirect assessment through an exit survey as part of the end-of-program evaluation.


Change in Response to Findings: 

Master's in Finance (MSF)

Actions taken as a result of the earlier end-of program evaluations are summarized and attached (Master's in Finance End-of-Program Evaluation Actions). All learning outcomes have been addressed through course additions, curriculum changes in existing courses, and strengthening of feedback in the summer master’s project.


Ph.D. Program

Given the small size of our PhD class, there is a lot of variability in the learning outcomes measurement results in all categories (see attached). Indirect measures through the exit surveys have not yet provided substantial recommendations or a trend in comments, given the few graduates since Spring 2014.

However, a list of areas refined in the program is included in the resulting assessment measures documents to reflect the changes faculty felt would enhance the PhD students’ experience and strengthen both their finance knowledge and research skills.


Updated date: Fri, 02/02/2018 - 13:58