Finance / Master of Science

The Master of Science in Finance degree is specifically designed to prepare individuals to assume positions in investment analysis, portfolio management and financial services. The degree is intended for those who are focused in their field and possess the drive and motivation to succeed in the program.

Students will also be exposed to coursework in related fields, such as economics and accounting, as analysts need a complete view of capital markets from a macroeconomic perspective down to the reporting of an individual firm’s financial performance.

Utilizing the CFA Institute Candidate Body of Knowledge® as guidance, coursework in the degree will assist individuals desiring to take the CFA Level I exam. Whenever possible, texts and materials used in the CFA Program will be used. The CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research) is the leading organization of investment analyst professionals with over 80,000 members in approximately 125 countries.

Program Benefits

  • Provides students with an in-depth understanding of the role of finance in a domestic and global context.
  • Establishes conceptual and innovative abilities to apply analytical financial tools to a variety of investment situations.
  • Develops critical thinking and functional knowledge across various disciplines that impact investment decisions.
  • Learn how to leverage data and information to guide your clients' (or your own) organization's financial and other strategic decisions.
  • Provides the critical knowledge base necessary to prepare for the CFA® Level I exam.
  • Develops expertise for a wide spectrum of strategically important postions in finance.

Admission Requirements

To be accepted for admission into the program, a student must present the following credentials:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  2. An application for graduate admission, including a non-refundable application fee. Apply online by visiting
  3. Professional resume.
  4. Undergraduate GPA ≥ 3.0 or GMAT ≥ 550 (conditional admission available to those with GPA < 3.0 - see Student-at-Large/Conditional Admission).
  5. Official transcripts from all educational institutions attended. (Not required for Alumni.)
  6. Provide two recommendation forms, available from the Graduate School of Management online at or by phone at (815) 836-5348.  (One required for Alumni.) Letters of recommendation are also accepted.
  7. Complete orientation checklist with a member of the Graduate School of Management.


A student whose cumulative undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0 will be required to take three specified Foundation level courses and obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.33 after the completion of these courses. Students must meet this requirement on their first attempt. No further courses will be allowed if the GPA requirement is not met.

If a student has already taken a required Foundation course as an undergraduate, and earned a grade of B or higher, they then choose from the following three Core courses: 66-550 Managerial Accounting; 66-554 Managerial Economics, or 66-572 Managerial Finance.

Visiting Student

An applicant with an undergraduate bachelor’s degree may enroll in MSF courses  as a visiting student with the approval of the MSF program director.

A visiting student may take a maximum of six graduate credit hours and must have:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Submitted a completed application form with the appropriate non-refundable application fee. Apply online by visiting
  3. An official transcript from each college/university attended sent directly to the MSF Admissions Committee of the Graduate School of Management.
  4. Complete the orientation checklist with a member of the Graduate School of Management.
  5. An undergraduate GPA ≥ 3.0 or GMAT ≥ 550.

Students Educated Outside of the United States

International applicants must satisfy specific requirements before the application will be considered, and before an I-20 will be issued. The requirements include:

  1. U.S. bachelor’s equivalent if a bachelor’s degree was obtained outside the U.S., and official transcript evaluation by One Earth Evaluations, W.E.S. ,E.C.E or Educational Perspectives.
  2. A minimum score of 550 on the paper based TOEFL or 79 on Internet-based, or IELTS score of 6.0.
  3. Students with a cumulative undergraduate GPA below 3.0 must fulfill the admission criteria required for full degree candidacy (see Student-at-Large/Conditional). Students who are educated outside of the U.S. who have obtained U.S. citizenship or resident alien status are not required to fulfill full degree candidacy prior to beginning the program, but may be required to show English proficiency.
  4. Submission of all financial documentation and requirements of issuance of I-20.


MSF students must achieve a 3.0 GPA (B average) overall for MSF coursework. If any grade of D is received for any MSF course, the grade will not count toward degree requirements and the course must be repeated.

Students whose GPA falls below the required 3.0 minimum will be placed on probation for the following eight-week session.  Students who do not successfully increase their GPA to 3.0 after the probationary eight-week session will be subject to academic dismissal.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

A student entering the Lewis MSF program with appropriate prior graduate coursework in finance may have a maximum of six credit hours beyond the foundation level applied to Lewis MSF course requirements.

Course credits eligible for transfer consideration must meet the following criteria:

  1. All transfer credit must have been earned within an eight-year period prior to matriculation in the Lewis MSF program.
  2. The coursework must have been completed at a regionally accredited graduate school.
  3. A minimum grade of B must have been earned for the course.
  4. The coursework must have an equivalent in the Lewis MSF curriculum.

Time Commitment

Graduate level study requires a significant commitment of time. Because of the concentrated, eight-week course schedule, it is crucial that students attend all class meetings. Students should expect two to three hours of homework for every class hour. Thus, a three-credit-hour class may result in a substantial number of study hours.

Assignments must be submitted on time, or a course grade could be jeopardized. Although most instructors will try to make arrangements for a student whose work demands travel, this may not be possible in all cases. Students are responsible for informing instructors in advance of known absences and as soon as possible in the case of emergencies. Two or more unexcused absences in an 8-week session can result in a grade of F .

Course Load

The Graduate School of Management strongly recommends that students who are employed full-time enroll in no more than one course each eight-week session, for a total of six credit hours per semester.

A course load of three classes (nine credit hours) each semester is considered full-time, and is only advised for students who are not employed or are only minimally employed.


Please see Immunization Law.

Outcomes Assessment

The program reserves the right to require students to participate in institutional testing programs as part of ongoing assessment of student outcomes. All MBA and MSF students must complete the Major Field Test (MFT) exam during the last semester prior to graduation.

Course Meetings/Times

Classes usually meet once a week during weekday evenings or on Saturday mornings. Some courses are offered online.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend scheduled classes regularly. This expectation presumes a mature student’s interest in maximizing the opportunity to profit from the instructor’s expertise, planned class activities, and the interchange with peers. It also presumes the student’s responsibility to contribute to the quality of intellectual interaction in the class. Each instructor specifies the class attendance policy in the course syllabus at the beginning of each course.

Time Frame for Completion of Degree Requirements

Attending classes part-time, an MSF student generally completes all degree requirements in two to three years (including summers). A full-time student should be able to complete all degree requirements in one to two years. The maximum time allowed to complete all degree requirements is seven consecutive years from the date of matriculation.

Withdrawing from a Course

Students should consult with the GSM advisor and the course instructor when considering withdrawal from a course. Please see Withdrawal Policies.

Incomplete Grade

Please see Incomplete Grade.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 36 graduate credits in the program to earn the Master of Science in Finance degree. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA while in the program. If the student’s GPA falls below 3.0, there will be a grace period of one eight-week session after which the student must bring the GPA up to the 3.0. Six hours of equivalent graduate coursework can be transferred into the program.

Degree Offered: Master of Science

Total Credit Hours Required: 36


I. Foundation Courses (9)

Students who have not completed a business undergraduate degree will be required to take the following Phase I coursework:

66-501Financial Accounting


66-502Business Economics


66-512Financing the Business Enterprise


II. Core Courses (30)

In addition to the above, the following courses are requirements for the Master of Science in Finance degree:

66-572Managerial Finance


66-550Managerial Accounting


66-554Managerial Economics


66-604Quantitative Techniques for Financial Markets


66-579Investment Analysis


66-586International Finance


66-584Derivatives I


66-602Fixed Income Analysis


66-603Financial Statement Analysis


66-585Financial Management Strategies (Capstone)


64-696Major Field Test (Non-Credit Business Assessment)


III. Electives (6)

The following courses may be used as electives. Courses other than those listed below may be used as electives if approved by the Academic Program Director.

59-640Accounting Ethics


59-644Advanced Tax Topics


59-505Introduction to Information Security


59-545International Economics


59-561Strategic Outsourcing


59-560Principles of Six Sigma


59-588Employment Law


59-599Derivatives II


59-600Portfolio Management


59-642International Accountancy


59-670Healthcare Finance and Economics