Monday, June 18, 2012

What to Expect in an Online Masters in Finance Degree

If you are interested in moving into the very complex and complicated world of financial advising and investing then an advanced level degree needs to be in your future. In order to continue to work and gain valuable experience in this very exciting field taking an online Masters in Finance is a great option. In this type of course, which is designed for the currently working professional, you will use real world application, data and information to make the coursework relevant to your actual career.

Typically most students enrolled in an online Masters in Finance degree should expect to spend between fifteen to twenty hours per week in study. This can include reading, online work with your cohort group and instructors, watching streaming videos or presentations and responding to posts, forums and discussions. Although many people assume that an online program is rather isolated, there is a requirement that students interact with each other as well as with faculty, really enhancing understanding and the learning process. For many students this adds to the motivation to get work done and also provides excellent networking possibilities with other working professionals in the same field.

As with traditional types of classes an online Masters in Finance degree will include completion of a variety of individual and group projects, requirements to log in and comment on class discussions and forums as well as examinations, quizzes and research projects. Each course will have its own requirement as per assignments and work, just like in a traditional university or college learning environment. Classes begin at staggered times during the school year and several programs offer three to five start times per year. Classes run eight weeks with most students that are working full time taking one course per the eight week session. There may be options, pending your schedule, to take more than one course and graduate earlier, but this depends on the specific guidelines established by the school.

Students will take core courses and electives in the online Master in Finance degree. The program of study is done completely online with no requirement for in person training to complete the degree. Classes typically include topics such as ethics and professional standards, understanding international trade and portfolio management, fixed income and derivates, financial statement analysis and equity analysis.

Since the online faculty strives to provide online students with the same level of interaction and educational opportunities the classes are intentionally kept small, even though they are really virtual classes. Students can interact with the instructor and are actually encouraged to ask questions, post discussions and become involved in the elearning experience. The instructors are typically more than just academics; they are also well known and respected professionals in the field of finance and investment. The real world experience that they bring to their classes provides students with scenarios, applications and ideas about how to handle a wide variety of different situations.

Once students have completed their core course and their elective in the online Masters in Finance degree they are then prepared to take the CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst examination. This is done over and above the educational coursework and degree offered by the online university. This exam is developed, administrated, scored and monitored by the CFA Institute which is nationally and internationally recognized. While not all graduates of the Master's program will go on to complete the exam many will, enhancing their professional resume and opening job opportunities within the investment and financial world.

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