The MS Finance Program takes an applied approach to financial analysis, focusing on both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the field. It is also a part of the CFA Institute's University Recognition Program and as such we cover more than 70% of the CBOK (Candidate Body of Knowledge) needed for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. We go deep into the curriculum so that you have a complete understanding of the material, and are fully prepared to take all three levels of the exam upon completion of your Master's degree.


The M.S. in Finance program begins in Summer/July on our Moraga campus. This is a 15-month part-time program delivered in a hybrid format (both online and in-class) allowing participants to work full-time while attending classes.

How It Works

The hybrid format classes meet via live web conferencing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the week from 6pm - 8pm. Additionally students meet face-to-face on Saint Mary’s campus in Moraga on alternate Saturdays.

You and your classmates will advance through the curriculum together by attending two courses each 10 Week Term.

Add on MBA with a Finance Concentration

Should you wish to continue your education, the courses you completed for your M.S. in Finance can be applied towards a Saint Mary's MBA with a concentration in Finance. This fast-track program enables you to obtain an MBA by finishing four foundation courses and seven core courses listed below.

You may qualify to have the three foundation courses waived based on tests or academic transcriptions.

International Advantage


To meet criteria such as visa requirements and qualify as a full-time student, you have the option to enroll in an MBA course concurrently with the M.S. in Finance Program. This enables you to fulfill MBA requirements within three to six months after obtaining your M.S. degree. For international students, successfully completing the required two courses per Academic Term in the M.S. Finance program will fulfill the course-load requirement for a student visa.

Foundation Courses

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Operations Management
  • Management Communication
  • Legal Aspects of Business

Core Courses

  • Organizational Behavior and Management
  • Marketing Management
  • International Business
  • Ethics and Social Issues of Business
  • Industry Analysis
  • Business Strategy
  • New Business Development

Course Description

This course covers accounting concepts and principles that underlie corporate financial statements, including balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. This core course in Financial Accounting covers the accounting principles and methods (US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ‘GAAP’ and International Financial Reporting Standards ‘IFRS’) used in preparing the three principal financial statements—the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. This course emphasizes the rationale for and implications of the fundamental accounting concepts. We use problems to enhance the learning of these concepts and to bridge the gap between the preparation of financial statements and their interpretation and use in various decision situations.

This course covers concepts and analytical techniques from microeconomics and macroeconomics including market structures, fiscal and monetary policy, international trade, international financial markets, spot and forward exchange rates, interest rate parity and purchasing power parity.

This course covers analytical methods for data analysis including discrete and continuous probability distributions, descriptive statistics, sampling and statistical inference, correlation, simple and multiple linear regression, and time series analysis.

This course introduces the principles of corporate finance and their application in business today. It focuses on the measurement and creation of value in a corporation. Topics include financial markets, financial statements, free cash flow forecasting, present value analysis, the theory of risk and return, portfolio theory, asset pricing models, cost of capital, capital budgeting, capital structure, and value based management.

This course builds on the introduction of accounting principles by covering a selection of advanced accounting concepts applied in financial statement reporting and analysis. In addition, the course builds on the introduction of valuation models and valuation techniques by covering additional valuation models and techniques. The course gives students an opportunity to apply the financial statement reporting, analysis, and valuation models and valuation techniques covered in the course by valuing actual companies.

This course provides an overview of domestic and global securities markets, portfolio theory, portfolio management, and concepts of equity analysis. It introduces the models that are used to estimate the expected return and risk of securities and focuses on theoretical and practical aspects of working with securities data, portfolio optimization for constructing portfolios, and portfolio performance attribution and evaluation.

This course introduces the principles of valuation and portfolio management techniques for fixed income securities including types and characteristics of bonds, the term structure of interest rates, yield spreads, spot rates and forward rates, measurement of interest rate risk using duration and convexity, mortgage– backed securities and prepayment risk, asset– backed securities, international bonds, and credit analysis.


This course introduces the principles of derivatives, the mechanics of how they work, the models used to value them, the markets they are traded in, and how they can be used for risk management. Derivatives include options, forwards, futures, and swaps. Derivatives markets are very large in volume and derivatives are traded by financial institutions and non– financial corporations; derivatives trading can affect other markets as well so it is critical to understand what they are and how they work.

This course covers portfolio management which is the process of constructing, managing, and monitoring investment portfolios for individuals and for institutions (e.g. pension plans and university endowment funds). The course covers a broad range of topics including the use of equity / fixed income / alternative investments / derivatives, asset allocation, passive and active equity and fixed income strategies, behavioral finance, investment policy statements, portfolio immunization, the regulatory environment, taxes, international investing, performance measurement / benchmarking / attribution, and ethical application of portfolio management.

This course covers Risk Management which is the process of identifying, quantifying, and adjusting the risk(s) in a portfolio and/or business operation to the desired risk levels. The course takes a mathematical approach to recognize, quantify, and manage three primary forms of financial risk: interest rate risk, equity market risk, and foreign exchange risk. The course covers how to use derivatives including Futures, Forwards, Options, and Swaps to manage portfolio risk. The course will also discuss various other sources of risk such as liquidity risk and commodity risk.

This course provides a basic introduction to business ethics, specifically examining the ethical and professional responsibilities required by the CFA Institute as presented in its Code of Ethics (the “Code”), Standards of Professional Conduct (the “Standards”), and related best practices guidelines. The Code and the Standards represent the most widely– accepted international attempt to create a unified set of standards for conduct in the finance industry. A thorough knowledge of the Code and the Standards is helpful for any finance professional to navigate the particularities of ethics in the finance industry and to evaluate and implement his or her own firm’s code of ethics. The course curriculum is designed around the CFA Program and the Learning Outcome Statements indicated in the CFA Institute Candidate Body of Knowledge which are covered in all three levels of CFA exams. A solid understanding of the Code and Standards is critical to successful completion of the CFA Program and responsible financial management.