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2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master's in Finance

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 8/28/2023
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An online master’s in finance provides students with a foundational knowledge of finance concepts. This online graduate program is designed for students who are also working professionals who require flexibility to further their education. Prospective students can expect to learn about economics, financial management, accounting, and marketing with an online master's in finance. Some of the affordable master's programs on our list require students to complete a master’s in business administration (MBA) core curriculum alongside a finance concentration and either a related capstone project, thesis proposal, or research project. Graduates with an online master's in finance may enter careers as budget analysts, accountants, and actuaries, to name a few possibilities.

View our methodology for details about rankings, or learn about us. You can also check out our list of the most affordable online degrees for more inspiration. 

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg (MA) $4,934
# 2 #2 Northeastern State University Tahlequah (OK) $5,095
# 3 #3 Youngstown State University Youngstown (OH) $5,577
# 4 #4 Arkansas State University Jonesboro (AR) $5,958
# 5 #5 Columbia Southern University Orange Beach (AL) $6,030
# 6 #6 Ohio University - Main Campus Athens (OH) $6,324
# 7 #7 Adams State University Alamosa (CO) $6,525
# 8 #8 Cameron University Lawton (OK) $6,600
# 9 #9 University of South Dakota Vermillion (SD) $7,057
# 10 #10 California State University-San Bernardino San Bernardino (CA) $7,176
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934

Fitchburg State University is a public institution that offers an online Master of Business Administration in Finance requiring 30 credit hours. The finance concentration requires nine credit hours. Overall, it can take students 1-2 years to complete this finance degree online.

At Fitchburg State, online students complete coursework in asynchronous and synchronous formats on Blackboard. A master’s in finance prepares students to pursue careers in finance. Sample courses include Marketing Management, Corporate Finance, and Entrepreneurial Finance. Graduates may pursue careers like personal financial advisors, financial analysts, and management consultants.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 385
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,402
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
Annual Tuition: $5,095
Annual Tuition: $5,095
Annual Tuition: $5,095

Northeastern State University (NSU) is a public institution offering an online Master of Business Administration in Managerial Accounting and Finance that totals 36 credit hours. Students can add certificates, like Health Informatics and Data Analytics, to their program if they choose. Full-time students typically spend at least two years finishing this program.

NSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online through the learning management system Blackboard. This online master's in finance and accounting delivers advanced classes on a variety of business topics, including economics. Some of the program’s courses include Managerial Finance, Marketing Strategy, and Project Management. A capstone practicum is also required for graduation. Prospective careers for graduates include financial analysts, wealth managers, and personal financial officers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Average SATs: 896 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,241
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 412
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Youngstown State University

Youngstown (OH)
Annual Tuition: $5,577
Annual Tuition: $5,577
Annual Tuition: $5,577

At the public institution of Youngstown State University (YSU), students can pursue an online Master of Arts in Financial Economics requiring 33 credit hours. They can choose a thesis or nonthesis track for this program. In general, prospective students can expect to spend two years finishing this graduate degree.

YSU’s online students complete coursework in both asynchronous and synchronous formats through the learning platform Blackboard. This program helps students advance their skills in both accounting and finance. Some courses include Econometrics, Macroeconomic Theory, and Financial Statement Analysis. Additionally, students may be required to complete a research seminar and thesis proposal. Potential career options are valuation managers, chief financial officers, and vice presidents of finance.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Average SATs: 970 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 516
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 287
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro (AR)
Annual Tuition: $5,958
Annual Tuition: $5,958
Annual Tuition: $5,958

Arkansas State University (A-State) is a public institution that offers an online Master of Business Administration in Finance totaling 33 credit hours. This online master's program provides flexibility for students who are also working professionals furthering their education. Even with a full class schedule, it may take two years to complete it.

At A-State, online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously through Blackboard. A master’s in business finance provides an in-depth overview of financial management and analytics. Sample courses are Corporate Financial Management, Strategic Management, and Business Analytics. The program also requires students to complete a directed individual study in order to graduate. Alums may pursue careers that range from portfolio managers and actuaries to finance and insurance managers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Average SATs: 1013 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,064
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,414
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach (AL)
Annual Tuition: $6,030
Annual Tuition: $6,030
Annual Tuition: $6,030

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private, for-profit institution offering an online Master of Business Administration - Finance that equates to 36 credit hours. Online students must take 12 credit hours in the Finance concentration alone. Full-time students can expect to spend at least two years completing this program.

CSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous classes online through the learning management system Blackboard. The program helps students learn about the fundamentals of finance through courses such as International Finance, Public Finance and Budgeting, and Advanced Financial Management. Potential career options for graduates are management analysts, loss prevention managers, and investment fund managers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 14,364
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,670
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC

Overview of Online Finance Master’s Degrees

An online master's in finance degree is a postgraduate program that provides students with advanced training in the financial field. The degree typically requires around 18 to 36 months of full-time study, although accelerated programs may be available at some institutions.

Online programs often offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate working professionals, including fully asynchronous coursework. The online format is especially attractive to working professionals, who appreciate the flexibility of learning at their own pace and on their own schedule. Still, some online programs may require in-person attendance one or several times, and/or an internship in a finance setting. When that’s the case, they connect students with businesses in their area. 

Admission requirements for online finance master's programs often include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some programs may prefer candidates with a degree in finance, economics, statistics, or related fields. GRE or GMAT scores may be required. Other schools may accept students with diverse academic backgrounds. That said, students without a finance-related bachelor's degree may still find it helpful to take foundational courses before enrolling.

A finance master’s degree program usually includes a mix of core courses and electives. Core courses cover fundamental concepts in finance, such as financial analysis, investment management, risk management, and corporate finance. Students can often tailor their degree to fit their specific interests and goals by selecting a specialization, such as financial planning, corporate finance, investment banking, or risk management. 

Common Courses

When pursuing an online finance degree at the master’s level, students take courses that help them deepen their knowledge of economics, data, ethics, statistics, and more. Below are a few examples of common courses:

Financial Reporting

This course covers topics like financial statement analysis, accounting standards, revenue recognition, and asset valuation. Students in this course gain an understanding of how organizations convey their financial performance to stakeholders.

Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management

Students learn about investment strategies and portfolio management in this class. They develop knowledge of different asset classes, risk-return trade-offs, and the methodologies used to construct and rebalance investment portfolios. Coursework includes simulations and case studies to give students real-world experience in evaluating securities, managing risk, and building investment portfolios.

Corporate Finance

This course provides an in-depth look at the financial decisions that corporations must make, with a focus on capital budgeting, financing options, and valuation techniques. It also explores the factors and valuation models used by companies to assess potential mergers, acquisitions, and investment projects.

Additionally, students can expect to take classes in macroeconomics, risk management, financial modeling, quantitative methods, and others. 

Funding an Online Finance Degree

The costs associated with earning a master’s in finance degree can vary, depending on factors like the chosen institution, program duration, and the student’s personal circumstances. While there are plenty of affordable online finance degrees, some programs may require a significant financial commitment. There are several strategies that can help cover these expenses.

First, it pays to consider multiple options. Some universities offer competitive pricing for online degrees, making them an affordable choice. 

Many students balance the costs of their degree by maintaining part-time or full-time employment. By doing so, they earn a steady income stream to cover living expenses and offset tuition costs. With this approach, good time management is essential to a healthy work-study balance.

One way to reduce costs is to explore the use of open educational resources (OERs) and digital libraries as alternatives to traditional textbooks and course materials. Further, opting for a program that offers credit for prior learning or work experience might result in lower overall program costs.

Finally, scholarships, grants, loans, and employer tuition reimbursement programs can provide significant help in financing an education.

Financial Aid

When it comes to paying for college, students have a variety of financial aid options available, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Each type of aid has its own benefits and requirements, and the best option for a given student depends on their specific situation.

Here, we'll explore some common forms of financial aid and how students can use them:

Scholarships and grants

Scholarships and grants are forms of financial aid that don’t require repayment. Students can qualify based on a variety of factors, including their academic record, financial need, or unique circumstances such as their background or field of study. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial aid, and it's worth exploring all of the options available. Schools may offer their own scholarship or grant opportunities or assist students in finding funding outside of financial aid.

Employer tuition assistance

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement or assistance programs as a perk of employment. These programs often come with certain requirements. For instance, students may need to maintain a minimum GPA and continue to work for the employer for a specific period after graduation. On the bright side, employer assistance can make it much more affordable to earn a graduate degree. 

Federal and private loans

Loans are funds that students borrow to cover educational costs and repay with interest. Federal loans offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options. Private loans can be a good option for students who don't qualify for federal loans or who need additional funds beyond what's available through federal aid. 

After completing their degree, students with loans will typically have a grace period before they must start repayment. It's important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of each loan before taking on debt.

What Can You Do With an Online Finance Degree?

An online master's in finance can lead to many career options in the finance industry. Graduates can find work in investment banks, corporate finance departments, financial analysis firms, risk management companies, and more. Additionally, they can opt to continue their education with postgraduate or certification programs.

Below are some common career options for master's in finance graduates, with the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Financial Analysts

Median Annual Salary: $95,570
Job Growth: 9%

Financial analysts assess market trends and analyze financial data to provide insights for investment decisions.

Financial Managers

Median Annual Salary: $131,710
Job Growth: 17%

Financial managers oversee an organization's financial strategies and operations. Their median annual pay is, according to BLS. The expected job growth of 17% from 2021 to 2031 is much quicker than for other positions, which average around 5% projected annual growth.

Personal Financial Advisors

Median Annual Salary: $94,170
Job Growth: 15%

Personal financial advisors help their clients make sound financial decisions and plan for the future. They provide personalized guidance on topics like investing, saving, and debt management. 

For those interested in furthering their education, a PhD in finance or a doctorate-related fields, like a PhD in business, can open up doors to academia, investment research, and consulting. This advanced degree can provide more specialized and advanced career opportunities. For finance professionals looking to boost their career prospects, there are many industry-specific certifications available. For example, the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) are highly sought-after credentials that demonstrate expertise in specific areas of finance. 

FAQs About Online Finance Degrees

How Do I Choose a Master's in Finance?

When choosing a master's in finance program, it helps to consider the program’s reputation, curriculum, specialization options, faculty expertise, as well as the institution’s accreditation. For working professionals looking to study while maintaining employment, the program’s flexibility can also be a factor. Even certain remote programs may require in-person attendance once or several times.

Research various programs to find the one that aligns with your career goals, learning preferences, and schedule. Look for programs with solid industry connections, practical learning opportunities, and a track record of successful graduates. Reading reviews, talking to current students or alumni, and comparing different options can help you make an informed decision.

How Much Does a Master's in Finance Make?

Salaries for graduates with a master’s degree in finance can vary widely. Some deciding factors include job role, location, industry, experience, and company size. All in all, the degree provides competitive earning potential. Roles like traders, equity researchers, asset managers, and others can pay well into six figures. 

Is a Master's in Finance as Good as an MBA?

Both a master's in finance and an online MBA offer unique advantages and valuable credentials in the business and finance sectors. An MBA provides a broader understanding of business management across various functions. A master's in finance, on the other hand, offers a more specialized focus on finance-related concepts and skills. 

If your interests lie in specific areas of finance — think financial analysis, risk management, and investments — then a master's degree in finance could be the best choice for you. But with an MBA, you can gain versatile skills for various management roles across industries. 

An MBA in finance is another option. While there may be an overlap in courses with a master’s in finance, an MBA with this specialization is more likely to lead to leadership positions in the finance industry. 

Is It Worth Getting a Master’s in Finance?

A master’s in finance can be a worthwhile investment for those looking to advance in the finance industry. This online graduate degree equips students with a deep understanding of financial principles, analytical skills, and specialized knowledge highly valued in the competitive finance job market. 

An online master's in finance can be an especially good choice for working professionals, allowing them to advance their education without sacrificing their current responsibilities. Financial aid options, scholarships, and employer assistance programs can also make the program more affordable. 

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