Finance (Smeal)

Graduate Program HeadWilliam Kracaw
Program CodeFIN
Campus(es)University Park (M.Fin.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Finance (M.Fin.)
The Graduate Faculty


The Master of Finance in Finance program prepares graduates to stand out in a competitive job market by studying at a highly reputed business school with some of the world’s leading academic thinkers in finance and industry experts. This program provides students with the analytical skills grounded in finance and economics needed to successfully engage as strategic managers. Students will gain the skills needed to succeed in today’s dynamic work environments, gain a firm understanding of issues and problems facing management, develop an understanding and appreciation for leading edge research in finance, and be prepared to become a successful leader. World-class professors who are specialists in finance and economics will teach in the program. A solid foundation in finance, decision analysis, project management, accounting, valuation, market analysis, econometrics, and investment analysis will make the target audience more attractive to hiring managers and enable graduates to advance more rapidly into management and leadership positions.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Educational Background

Applicants must:

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Core Application Packet

Degree Requirements

Master of Finance (M.Fin.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The number of total credits required for the FIN program is 30 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level, with at least 18 credits at the 500 or 800 level, and at least 6 credits at the 500 level.

Required Courses
BA 512Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making2
BA 817Communication Skills for Management2
BA 821Foundation in Managerial Accounting2
BA 831Foundations in Finance2
FIN 550Financial Analysis and Valuation2
FIN 577Financial Engineering and Corporate Strategy2
FIN 855Global Finance2
FIN 871Strategic Financial Management2
FIN 881Fundamentals of Financial Markets2
FIN 883Modern Portfolio Management: Theory and Practice2
MGMT 861Global Strategy and Organization2
REST 575Quantitative Analysis for Real Estate3
Select 3 credits of electives from a list of approved courses maintained by the program office. 3
Culminating Experience
FIN 880Corporate Finance Analytical Research Projects (Capstone Course)2
Total Credits30

The FIN program culminates with the capstone course, FIN 880 Corporate Finance Analytical Research Projects. FIN 880 combines multidisciplinary critical analysis and problem solving of strategy in the context of a challenging business environment. The capstone course integrates all of the essential concepts involved in financial decision making cultivated throughout the program.

The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the skills they have developed throughout their course work. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program goals and requirements. The projects students tackle will mirror what they’ll encounter on the job as a significant member of the planning strategic management team. The course integrates topics and methodologies analyzed throughout the program, leading students to understand that strategic analysis, and ultimately, the firm’s ability to enhance shareholder value, is a holistic and multifaceted analytical process.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Refer to the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School's website. Students in this program are not eligible for graduate assistantships.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 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.

Business Administration (BA) Course List

Finance (FIN) Course List

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Finance in Corporate Finance Program Learning Goals and Objectives include:

  1. Broad Core of Finance Knowledge
    CFIN graduates will master a broad core of financial and economic knowledge and be able to integrate and apply this knowledge to business situations as corporate managers and strategic partners in industries requiring interdisciplinary skills and global perspectives.
    Learning Objectives:
    • CFIN graduates will demonstrate advanced competency in the underlying concepts, theory, and tools taught in core finance and economics programs.
    • CFIN graduates will be prepared to apply their knowledge of finance, economics and markets to identify, analyze, and recommend solutions to complex corporate strategic problems and projects requiring interdisciplinary and global perspectives.

    Assessment Method:  Course-embedded measure (FIN 550, BA 831, FIN 855)

  2. Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills
    CFIN graduates will develop analytical and critical thinking skills needed to excel in today’s business environment.
    Learning Objectives:
    • CFIN graduates will acquire the analytical and critical thinking skills needed to identify, analyze, and evaluate alternative solutions to problems and projects facing today’s corporate managers and strategic planners.
    • CFIN graduates will develop the skills needed to craft and implement unique and “cutting edge” strategic and tactical plans.
    • CFIN graduates will be able to articulate and defend their analysis and recommended solutions to multiple audiences from business, government, and the community.
    • CFIN graduates will be able to integrate findings and analysis from cutting edge academic and practitioner research to problems and projects confronting corporate America.

    Assessment Method:  Course-embedded measure (FIN 550, FIN 880, MGMT 861)

  3. Interpersonal Skills
    CFIN graduates will possess the interpersonal skills needed to impress hiring managers and become effective corporate managers and leaders.
    Learning Objectives:
    • CFIN graduates will be skilled at leadership, team building, interpersonal influence, and the management of change.
    • CFIN graduates will be able to communicate and work effectively with others in work settings involving cultural and demographic diversity.
    • CFIN graduates will become natural team leaders with the unique ability to identify and limit the phenomenon of “group think” that often plagues underperforming corporations. Graduates will draw out the high potential from their team members, leveraging the team’s ability to analyze problems from many points of reference.

    Assessment Method:  Course-embedded measure (BA 817, MGMT 861)

  4. Value System
    CFIN graduates will be able to evaluate the ethical and societal implications of the corporate strategic decision-making for which they are involved and responsible.
    Learning Objectives:
    • CFIN graduates will be skilled at evaluating the impact of various courses of action on multiple stakeholders, including investors, lenders, customers, and the broader community.

    Assessment Method: Course-embedded measure (FIN 883)

These learning outcomes will be achieved by a combination of lectures by faculty and invited guest lecturers, reading of key literature, individual and team projects, and practical involvement in a corporate finance capstone experience.


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head William Kracaw
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Jason Jason Lunn
Program Contact

Andrea Lyn Murphy-Faust
220 Business Building
University Park PA 16802
(814) 863-0474

Program Website View