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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Financial Risk Management

Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Dr. Simon Pak
The School of Graduate Professional Studies
Penn State Great Valley
30 East Swedesford Road
Malvern, PA 19355
Phone 610-725-5343
Fax 610-725-5224

The Finance faculty in the Master of Finance program at the School of Graduate Professional Studies at Penn State Great Valley offers a four-course (12-credit) graduate certificate program in financial risk management.

Financial risk management involves identifying and quantifying risk exposure and controlling the risk exposure. This certificate program is designed to help prepare individuals to manage financial risk, including credit risk, market risk, interest rate risk, currency risk, and inflation risks using financial derivative instruments such as forwards, futures, swaps, and options. Course work emphasizes the development of competencies in the valuation of financial derivatives, fixed income securities, and quantitative methods in finance. Content is both theoretical and applied, with an emphasis on practical application of knowledge gained.

The program is ideal for individuals who wish to develop and expand their analytical, technical, evaluative, and communication skills and expertise in this particular area of finance. Individuals working or aspiring to work as financial risk managers and in related positions focusing on the area of derivatives and managing risk in organizations, including insurance companies, commercial and retail banks, asset management firms, and regulatory agencies, will find the program particularly valuable.

This certificate program is an attractive option for individuals who desire advanced education but who do not wish to pursue a master's degree at this time. It is valuable for recent college graduates and others who wish to enroll in courses to determine if they are interested in a complete master's degree program, as well as for professionals who already hold a master's degree and wish to update or expand their knowledge and skills. With program approval, the courses in this graduate certificate program may be applied to the Master of Finance degree program or the Master of Business Administration program at Great Valley.

Admission Requirements

Individuals wishing to enroll in this graduate certificate program must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution earned under residence and credit considerations substantially equivalent to those required by Penn State. Applicants are expected to have achieved a 3.0 (B) or higher undergraduate grade point average and should have satisfactorily completed some course work in Business Statistics, Financial Management/Corporate Finance, and Microeconomics.

Applicants holding a master's degree should have attained at least a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in previous graduate work. Professional experience will be taken into consideration for admission. Applicants should submit an online nondegree application, available at, and the application fee (payable online), along with supporting credentials. Supporting credentials include two official transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, and a statement of intent or career objective. Supporting credentials should be sent directly to the Admissions Office at Penn State Great Valley, 30 East Swedesford Road, Malvern, PA 19355.

Admission decisions are made by a faculty committee and are based on the quality of the applicant's credentials in relation to those of other applicants. Evaluation criteria include professional and academic accomplishments. Upon approval, certificate program students will enroll in course work on a nondegree basis. Students must complete each course with a grade of B or better in order to receive the certificate. Note that admission as a nondegree graduate student neither guarantees nor implies subsequent admission to a degree program. Nondegree students are not eligible to receive fellowships or graduate assistantships.

With adviser approval, all four courses in the certificate program may be applied to the master's degree program in Finance or the Master of Business Administration program at Great Valley. Certificate program students who wish to have the certificate courses applied to a master's degree program must formally be admitted to the master's degree program. Admission into the master's degree program is a separate step and is not guaranteed. Interested students should contact the Great Valley Admissions Office (telephone 610-648-3242 or email for more information about how to apply and make a change from nondegree to degree status. Once a certificate program student is admitted to the master's degree program and enrolls on a degree basis, certificate courses completed with a B or better will be "transferred" into the program.

Up to 15 credits of course work taken on a nondegree basis may be applied to a graduate degree program at Penn State. However, admission into a graduate program, and credit toward a graduate degree for specific courses taken on a nondegree basis, is up to the graduate program.

International Applicants

International applicants should consult with a program adviser prior to applying for admission for more information about admission and enrollment requirements. International applicants must satisfy all Graduate School requirements for admission. The language of instruction at Penn State is English.


The graduate certificate in financial risk management requires a total of four courses (12 graduate credits). Three of the courses are required (FIN 531, FIN 513, and BUSAD 525), and the fourth course is an elective selected from a list of two (BUSAD 527 or FIN 505). Students completing each of the four courses with a grade of B or better will be eligible to receive a graduate certificate. All courses are 3 graduate credits.

Prescribed Courses (9 credits)

Business Administration (BUSAD)

525. Quantitative Methods in Finance (3 credits)

Finance (FIN)

513. Speculative Markets (3 credits)
531. Financial Management (3 credits)

Elective Course: Choose one course from the following two (3 credits)

Business Administration (BUSAD)

527. Fixed Income Securities (3 credits)

Finance (FIN)

505. Multinational Managerial Finance (3 credits)

BUSAD course list
FIN course list

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Effective Date: Fall Semester 2011

Expiration Date: Summer Session 2016

Last reviewed by the Department: Summer Session 2011

Blue Sheet Item #: 40-03-103

Review Date: 11/08/2011


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