2020 Best Graduate Schools Badge

25 Best Master's in Finance Programs 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

Ranked below are the best 25 colleges for a Master's Degree in Finance, based on median salary one year after graduation. Vanderbilt University tops the list with a starting salary of $112,500 for Master's in Finance graduates. Texas A&M University-College Station graduates had a median student debt of $20,500, the lowest of all schools ranked on the list. Starting median salaries for graduates from the ranked schools range from $69,000-$112,500.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Nashville (TN) Nashville (TN) $53,722 $90,047 $112,500
#2 #2 Chestnut Hill (MA) Chestnut Hill (MA) $34,028 Not Reported $109,000
#3 #3 Madison (WI) Madison (WI) $25,577 Not Reported $103,500
#4 #4 Dallas (TX) Dallas (TX) $36,864 $74,677 $100,900
#5 #5 New Orleans (LA) New Orleans (LA) $63,244 $83,173 $96,800
#6 #6 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $57,049 $76,440 $90,500
#7 #7 Baltimore (MD) Baltimore (MD) $62,962 $52,895 $88,800
#8 #8 New York (NY) New York (NY) $20,882 $34,569 $87,600
#9 #9 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $33,984 Not Reported $86,700
#10 #10 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $23,985 - $27,359 $43,899 $86,100
#11 #11 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $61,924 $37,988 $82,400
#12 #12 State College (PA) State College (PA) $42,151 $35,272 $81,200
#13 #13 Boston (MA) Boston (MA) $40,078 $41,872 $80,900
#14 #14 Philadelphia (PA) Philadelphia (PA) $18,504 Not Reported $79,500
#15 #15 Rochester (NY) Rochester (NY) $42,668 $41,000 $78,400
#16 #16 Gainesville (FL) Gainesville (FL) $30,130 Not Reported $77,700
#17 #17 Portland (OR) Portland (OR) $22,296 $31,682 $77,500
#18 #18 Denver (CO) Denver (CO) $24,820 $42,488 $77,500
#19 #19 Waltham (MA) Waltham (MA) $43,440 $33,561 $76,000
#20 #20 Omaha (NE) Omaha (NE) $19,402 $45,750 $75,200
#21 #21 Thousand Oaks (CA) (and 2 others) Thousand Oaks (CA) (and 2 others) $20,600 $49,167 $75,000
#22 #22 College Station (TX) College Station (TX) $23,395 $20,500 $69,100
#24 #24 Austin (TX) Austin (TX) $22,952 $46,379 $67,300
#25 #25 Salt Lake City (UT) Salt Lake City (UT) $27,056 $29,176 $67,100

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Nashville (TN)
Median Salary $112,500
Median Debt $90,047
Annual Tuition $53,722

Vanderbilt University offers an on-campus Master of Science degree in Finance. Uniquely, it’s designed as an intense 10-month program. The entering class is small, and admission is highly competitive. The program uses the module system, each module lasting 7 weeks, with two per semester. The degree requires 33 credits in total.

The main focus is on technical skills in corporate finance, asset management, sales and trading and other areas in the field of finance. Students will learn financial analytics, finance theory, teamwork and understanding the workings of a fast-changing global market.

Courses in the program vary a great deal, with students having a choice in electives so as to tailor the program to their areas of interest. Sample courses include Financial Modeling and Econometrics. Approved electives include Corporate Restructuring, and International Financial Market and Instruments. Coursework also prepares students for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam.

Over a four year span, graduates had a 98% employment rate within three months of graduation. The class of 2019 had a 100% rate.

Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country.

Visit Vanderbilt University’s website.

Chestnut Hill (MA)
Median Salary $109,000
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $34,028

Boston College features a Master of Science in Finance. There is an option for a Quantitative track. This on-campus degree program can be completed in one year of full-time study, or 20 months part-time. Offered through BC’s Carroll School of Management, the program is rated by the Financial Times as 3rd in the country. Admission is very competitive and the students are very diverse.

The overall emphasis is to provide students with a thorough knowledge of finance and the skills to quickly respond to changes in the volatile global market. Students will deepen their knowledge of finance and economic theory and learn the analytical skills required for careers in finance and asset management. The Quantitative Track has a stronger emphasis on data analytics and econometrics.

Courses in the degree programs include Corporate Finance, Investments, Management of Financial Institutions, and Quantitative Portfolio Management. All students in the program are required to complete 10 hours of community service.

Boston College is a Jesuit institution, informed by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence grounded in ethics and service. The school is located in Chestnut Hill, in the Boston suburbs.

Visit Boston College's website.

Median Salary $103,500
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $25,577

Through its Wisconsin School of Business, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Master of Science in Finance in Applied Security Analysis. This degree is usually finished in a year, and requires a minimum of 27 credits. It is designed primarily for students at Wisconsin universities. The program is open to applicants with a BBA degree in any major, and for graduating UW-Madison economics majors. Many students enter the program the fall after getting their bachelor’s.

The program’s focus is on providing students with the theory and practical skills needed for a career in investment analysis. Students will learn the tools of research and analysis in all aspects of finance. Students obtain hands-on experience by participating in managing a real $20 million asset portfolio.

Among the course offerings are Analysis of Fixed Income Securities, Portfolio Management Responsibilities, and Applied Security Analysis and Management. Recent classes have achieved a remarkable 100% placement within three months of graduation.

UW-Madison is located in Madison, the state’s capital and second largest city.

Visit University of Wisconsin - Madison's website.

Median Salary $100,900
Median Debt $74,677
Annual Tuition $36,864

Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business offers a Master’s of Science in Finance. This on-campus program requires 30 credits, and may be finished in two semesters full-time, and four part-time. Classes are taught in 8-week modules, two per semester. There is also a STEM designated program, with a stronger focus on data and math.

The program has two unusual features. A summer boot camp is available to new students wanting to update their knowledge of economics before the fall semester begins. And students in the program actually manage a real, $10 million portfolio.

The degree is designed around four areas of competency: alternative assets, energy finance, real-time markets and trading, and investment portfolios. The program aims at an intensive education in all aspects of Finance. Students will learn analysis and valuation tools, data interpretation, and knowledge of global finance and energy markets.

Courses include Real Estate Development, Quantitative Trading Strategies, and Energy Project Valuation and Finance. There’s also a strong emphasis on real-world experience, assisted by SMU’s strong ties to the Dallas business community.

Southern Methodist is located in Dallas, Texas.

Visit Southern Methodist University's website.

New Orleans (LA)
Median Salary $96,800
Median Debt $83,173
Annual Tuition $63,244

Tulane University features a Master of Finance (MFin) degree. Housed in Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, the program is full-time on campus. There are two versions: a 10-month immersive program and an 18 month sequence. Both require 34 graduate credits. Two specializations are available, Banking and Financial Services, and TEnergy. The Banking and Financial Services is by invitation only. The Energy option is especially relevant to the energy sector in Louisiana. The 10-month option is designed for recent graduates and individuals with one or two years of experience.

The overall program focus is on financial analysis, communication and hands-on experience. Students participate is managing a portfolio of $5.8 million of Tulane’s endowment. They will learn theory and tools related to careers in finance. The program also prepares students for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam.

Courses offered include Investment and Asset Pricing, Risk Management and Applications to Energy Firms, and Financial Communications. Course work covers hedge funds, not usually considered in finance courses.

Tulane is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Founded in 1834, it is one of the oldest universities in the Southeast.

Visit Tulane University’s website.