Career Guidance

How Long Does It Take to Get a Finance Degree?

How long does it take to get a finance degree? The time it takes to get a finance degree varies depending on several factors, such as the level of the degree, the program format, and personal circumstances.

If you are interested in finance, you may be wondering how long it takes to get a finance degree.

Well, you can expect to spend several months to several years to get a finance degree as well as relevant work experience.

Within this period, you will be taught everything you need to know to pursue a career in finance.

The finance field is very broad with a lot of opportunities you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

If you’ve been considering getting a finance degree, this is the best time to get started!

In this comprehensive guide, we will take an in-depth look at how long it takes to get a finance degree as well as other essential things you need to know.

Ready? Let’s go!

Also Read: Is a Business Degree Hard? (Find Out)

Table of Contents

What Is a Finance Degree?

What Is a Finance Degree
What Is a Finance Degree

A finance degree is an academic qualification focused on financial management.

It covers financial principles, investment, banking, and risk management.

Key aspects include:

  • Core Curriculum: Courses in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics provide foundational knowledge.
  • Specializations: Students can choose areas like investment management, corporate finance, or financial planning.
  • Financial Analysis: Students learn to analyze financial data, assess investments, and model financial scenarios.
  • Investment Management: Focuses on portfolio management and financial market analysis.
  • Corporate Finance: Deals with financial decisions made by companies, such as budgeting and mergers.
  • Risk Management: Teaches identification and mitigation of financial risks.
  • Financial Planning: Prepares students to become certified financial planners.
  • Ethical Considerations: Emphasizes responsible financial decision-making.
  • Practical Experience: Offers internships and real-world projects for hands-on learning.
  • Career Opportunities: Graduates can work in finance, banking, consulting, and more, with roles like financial analyst, investment banker, or risk manager.
  • Advanced Degrees: Some pursue MBA or MFin degrees for specialization or career advancement.


Overall, a finance degree equips graduates with skills for diverse careers in finance and related fields, making it highly valuable in today’s job market.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Finance Degree?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Finance Degree
How Long Does It Take to Get a Finance Degree

The time it takes to earn a finance degree can vary depending on several factors, including the level of the degree, the program format, and individual circumstances.

Here’s a breakdown:

1. Bachelor’s Degree (B.S. or B.A. in Finance)

Earning a bachelor’s degree in finance usually takes around four years of full-time study at a regular college or university.

That’s assuming you’re attending classes and completing coursework on a standard schedule.

However, if you’re going part-time or need to complete some prerequisite classes, it might take a bit longer.

Keep in mind that some programs with summer sessions or accelerated tracks might help you graduate a bit more quickly.

2. Master’s Degree (M.S. or M.A. in Finance)

Moving on to a master’s degree in finance, this typically takes one to two years to complete.

If you’re going full-time and can commit to a robust course load, you might wrap it up in just one year.

However, many students choose to go part-time while working, which can extend the duration to two years or more.

Also, there are intensive programs out there that offer a one-year option, but be prepared for a rigorous experience.

3. Ph.D. in Finance

Now, if you’re thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. in finance, you’re in for the long haul.

This advanced degree can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years beyond your bachelor’s degree.

This extended timeline includes coursework, comprehensive exams, conducting research, and writing a substantial dissertation.

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4. Online or Part-Time Programs

If you’re considering an online or part-time program, your timeline can be quite flexible.

It really depends on how many courses you take each semester.

Some students appreciate the flexibility of these programs, which can allow them to fit their education around their work and personal commitments.

This flexibility can mean you complete your degree faster or slower than the standard durations I mentioned earlier.

5. Transfer Credits and Prior Learning

Here’s a potential time-saver: if you’ve got some prior college coursework or relevant work experience, you might be able to transfer credits or even get credit for your existing knowledge.

This could shorten the time it takes to earn your degree.

Keep in mind that the policies on this vary from school to school.

6. Prerequisites

If you don’t already have a strong background in math or economics, you might need to factor in some extra time for prerequisite courses.

These courses can provide the foundation you need to succeed in more advanced finance coursework.

7. Dual Degrees or Combined Programs

Lastly, some universities offer combined degree programs that allow you to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance in a shorter time frame.

These can be great options if you’re looking to expedite your education and get a head start on your career.


So, as you can see, the time it takes to get a finance degree varies quite a bit based on your individual circumstances, program format, and prior education.

It’s a good idea to explore your options and plan accordingly to meet your goals.

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What Factors Can Influence the Time It Takes to Get a Finance Degree?

What Factors Can Influence the Time It Takes to Get a Finance Degree
What Factors Can Influence the Time It Takes to Get a Finance Degree

There are several factors that can influence the time it takes to get a finance degree.

These include:

1. Program Type and Format

So, first things first, the type of finance degree you’re pursuing makes a big difference.

If it’s a bachelor’s degree, you’re generally looking at about four years of study.

But if it’s a master’s program, that can be completed in one to two years.

Ph.D. programs, on the other hand, are a whole different ball game, taking several years to complete.

And don’t forget, the format of the program matters too.

Full-time programs often mean you’ll graduate faster, while part-time or online options offer more flexibility but can extend your timeline.

2. Course Load

Your course load can impact your graduation timeline significantly.

If you’re willing and able to take a heavy load of courses each semester, you could potentially finish your degree sooner.

Conversely, a lighter course load might stretch out the time it takes to graduate.

3. Prerequisite Courses

Now, if you don’t have all the necessary prerequisites in math, economics, or other foundational subjects, you might need to factor in some extra time.

You’ll likely have to complete these prerequisites before diving into the more specialized finance coursework.

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4. Transfer Credits and Prior Learning

Here’s a potential time-saver: transferring credits from previous college coursework or getting credit for relevant work experience can speed things up.

But keep in mind, that each university has its own policies when it comes to credit transfer.

5. Program Intensity

Some programs offer accelerated or intensive options.

These can be great if you’re looking to graduate more quickly, but they often require a lot of dedication and hard work.

6. Part-Time or Full-Time Enrollment

Your choice between part-time and full-time enrollment is a significant factor.

Going full-time generally means you’ll complete your program faster, while part-time students might need more time to balance their studies with work or other commitments.

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7. Research and Thesis/Dissertation

For master’s and Ph.D. programs, the time spent on research and writing a thesis or dissertation can be a game-changer.

Depending on the complexity of your research project, this phase can significantly impact your graduation timeline.

8. Dual Degrees and Combined Programs

If you’re up for a challenge, some universities offer dual-degree or combined programs.

These can allow you to earn two degrees at once, which is pretty cool and can save you time in the long run.

9. Summer Sessions and Accelerated Terms

Keep an eye out for programs that offer summer sessions or accelerated terms.

These give you the chance to take extra courses during breaks, which can help you graduate more quickly.

10. Personal Commitments and Work Schedule

Lastly, don’t forget about your personal life and work commitments.

If you have a full-time job or other responsibilities, it might be a bit tricky to maintain a full course load.

That could extend the time needed to complete your degree.


Overall, the time it takes to earn a finance degree isn’t set in stone.

It depends on a mix of factors, including the type of program, your course load, prerequisites, and your personal situation.

So, take some time to weigh these factors and plan your educational journey accordingly.

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What Finance Degree Program Should You Go For?

Choosing the right finance degree program depends on your career goals, educational background, and personal circumstances.

However, here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Bachelor’s Degree (B.S. or B.A. in Finance)

So, you’re just getting started in the finance world? A bachelor’s degree might be the way to go.

It’s like your entry ticket to the finance arena.

You’ll get a solid foundation in finance principles, which can open up doors to entry-level positions in finance, banking, or related fields.

Do you have any specific career goals in mind?

If you’re eyeing roles in financial analysis, banking, or corporate finance, a bachelor’s degree can be a great fit.

But keep in mind that if you’re aiming for more specialized positions down the road, like investment banking or portfolio management, you might need to consider advanced degrees.

One cool thing about a bachelor’s program is that it’s flexible.

You get to explore various aspects of finance, figuring out what really sparks your interest.

2. Master’s Degree (M.S. or M.A. in Finance or Related Field)

Ready to take things up a notch? A master’s degree could be your next move.

It’s fantastic for career advancement, especially if you’re eyeing those higher-paying gigs in finance.

Think investment banking, portfolio management, or financial analysis.

What’s neat about master’s programs is that they often allow you to specialize.

You can dive deep into areas like financial planning, investment management, or quantitative finance.

That way, you’re honing in on exactly what you want to do.

Time can be a factor here. Master’s programs are typically shorter than bachelor’s degrees, which means you’re on the fast track to your career goals.

3. Ph.D. in Finance

Now, if you’re seriously committed to finance research, academia, or top-tier finance roles, a Ph.D. in finance might be calling your name.

This is like the pinnacle of finance education.

Ph.D. programs offer an incredibly deep dive into finance theories and methodologies.

They’re perfect for people who want to make a significant contribution to the academic world or work in high-level finance research and analysis.

But, a word of warning, these programs are a long-term commitment.

They can take several years to complete, so be ready for the marathon, not just a sprint.

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4. Online vs. On-Campus

Choosing between online and on-campus programs is like deciding between flexibility and structure.

Online programs are fantastic if you’re juggling work or other commitments.

Just make sure the online program you choose is accredited, so you’re getting a quality education.

On-campus programs provide that classic in-person learning experience.

It’s structured, and you’ll have that face-to-face interaction with professors and peers.

5. Consider Your Interests and Strengths

Your interests and strengths should guide your decision.

What aspects of finance get you excited? Are you a numbers whiz, or do you prefer the human side of finance, like helping people with their financial plans?

Your personal interests and strengths are your North Star here.

6. Career Research

Always, always do your homework. Check out the job market to understand what’s in demand.

Some finance roles might need a bachelor’s degree, while others might require a master’s or even a Ph.D.

Don’t forget networking!

Some programs offer fantastic networking opportunities that can give your career a major boost.


Overall, the finance degree program you pick should match your career dreams and provide the knowledge and skills you need.

Think about your long-term goals, your preferred learning style, and the resources available to you as you make your choice.

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What Are the Best Finance Schools in the USA?

The United States is home to many prestigious universities and colleges offering top-notch finance programs.

While “best” can vary depending on your specific criteria, here are some best finance schools in the USA known for their excellence in finance education:

1. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School consistently ranks among the top business schools in the world.

It’s known for its comprehensive finance curriculum, esteemed faculty, and access to extensive resources for finance research and networking.

2. Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School is globally recognized for its MBA program and finance offerings.

It boasts influential faculty, strong corporate connections, and a robust finance curriculum.

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3. Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is known for its rigorous finance programs, including the famous Booth School of Business Finance Lab.

It emphasizes data-driven finance and quantitative analysis.

4. Stern School of Business, New York University (NYU)

NYU’s Stern School of Business is strategically located in the financial hub of New York City.

It offers various finance concentrations and strong ties to Wall Street.

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5. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT Sloan is renowned for its quantitative finance programs and research.

It’s a hub for cutting-edge financial technology and innovation.

6. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers a comprehensive finance curriculum with a strong emphasis on experiential learning and global opportunities.

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7. Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth offers a small, close-knit community with a strong finance program and a focus on leadership development.

8. Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Columbia Business School, located in the heart of New York City, offers a diverse range of finance courses and extensive networking opportunities in the finance industry.

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9. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is known for its finance faculty and its real-world learning experiences through the Ross Investment Fund.

10. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business offers a strong finance curriculum with a focus on sustainability and innovation in finance.

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11. Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University

Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University is known for its finance programs, including the Fisher College of Business Financial Markets Institute.

12. McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin

The McCombs School of Business offers finance specializations and strong connections to the vibrant business community in Texas.


Remember that the “best” school for you depends on your personal goals, preferences, and career aspirations.

Factors such as location, program focus, alumni network, and scholarship opportunities should also be considered when choosing the right finance school for your education.

It’s essential to research each school thoroughly and align your choice with your individual needs and objectives.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Many Degrees Are There in Finance?

There are various finance degrees to choose from.

You’ve got bachelor’s degrees, like a B.S. or B.A. in Finance, for your basic foundation.

If you’re looking to up your game, master’s degrees like an M.S. or M.A. in Finance are great for specialization.

Then, if you’re going all in on research or academia, there’s the Ph.D. in Finance.

Plus, you’ve got MBA programs with finance concentrations and certifications like CFA or CFP for added expertise.

The key is picking the one that matches your career goals and interests!

What Is the Difference Between Accounting and Finance Degrees?

Accounting is like the record-keeper of finances, dealing with tracking transactions and preparing statements.

It’s detail-oriented and focuses on past data.

Finance, on the other hand, is all about managing money, making investment calls, and planning for the future.

It’s forward-looking and strategic.

In terms of careers, accountants often go into auditing or tax work, while finance folks head into investment banking, corporate finance, or financial planning.

It’s all about your interests and where you see yourself in the financial world!

Is Finance Harder than Accounting?

The difficulty between finance and accounting is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Finance involves complex math, risk management, and strategy, which can be challenging for some.

Accounting, on the other hand, is meticulous work centered on recording and reporting.

It’s more about following specific rules. It really depends on your strengths and interests.

Some might find finance tougher due to its abstract concepts, while others might struggle with accounting’s strict regulations.

So, it’s kind of a personal preference, and there’s no definitive answer to which one is “harder.”

It’s all about what clicks with you.

Which is Better Finance or Marketing?

Choosing between finance and marketing boils down to your interests and career preferences.

Finance revolves around managing money, investments, and risk—think banking or financial planning.

On the flip side, marketing is all about promoting products, understanding consumer behavior, and building brands—picture advertising or digital marketing.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer; it’s about what clicks with you.

If you love numbers, financial strategy, and analysis, finance might be your jam.

On the other hand, if you’re creative, customer-focused, and enjoy communication, marketing could be your calling.

It’s about finding your passion in the business world.

What Pays More Marketing or Finance in the USA?

In the USA, whether marketing or finance pays more is like a seesaw.

Finance, especially in roles like investment banking, often comes with high starting salaries and hefty bonuses.

But hold on, marketing isn’t far behind.

If you’ve got specialized skills in digital marketing or data analytics, you can rake in a pretty penny too.

In the long run, finance careers often have the potential for substantial income growth.

Still, marketing can also offer competitive salaries, especially for seasoned professionals in leadership roles or with specialized expertise.

So, it’s a bit of a toss-up, and both fields can be financially rewarding.


The time it will take you to earn a finance degree varies depending on the level of the degree, the program format, and personal situations.

However, to get a finance degree, you can expect to spend anywhere from several months to several years.

The journey to getting a finance degree can be quite intensive but trust me, it’s surely worth it.

There’s always a high demand for competent financial experts and with your finance degree, you can fit into diverse finance roles.

Overall, if you are passionate about finance and want to get a finance degree, be ready to go through a rigorous finance education and training.

This is to prepare you thoroughly to be able to take on any financial role at all.

If you have any inquiries or questions, do not forget to drop them in the comment section and I will respond swiftly.

Best of luck!

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  • Grace Williams

    Grace Williams is a retired teacher with over 30 years of experience when it comes to teaching and education in general. She has decided to share her wealth of knowledge on Schoolcrib.

Grace Williams

Grace Williams is a retired teacher with over 30 years of experience when it comes to teaching and education in general. She has decided to share her wealth of knowledge on Schoolcrib.

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