What You Need to Know About Becoming a Finance and Financial Management Services Major

Finance majors learn how money flows through markets and how individuals and organizations can manage their funds. Students who major in finance can qualify for a range of jobs in fields that involve managing money, such as insurance and banking. Many companies employ finance degree holders to help guide their money decisions.

What Is a Finance and Financial Management Services Major?

A finance or financial management services major provides students with a solid background in the management of money. In the normal course of business, organizations and individuals may borrow, lend, save and invest money. To do so effectively, they should understand the forces that shape financial markets. This major provides students with the basic knowledge needed for a role related to finance, which they can apply while working in a bank, corporation or government agency, among other employers.

What is the difference between a finance and an economics major? 

Although understanding economic principles is crucial to this field, and finance majors should expect to do coursework in economics, majoring in finance is different from majoring in economics. An economics major explores the basic principles underlying the economy and is more oriented toward research and analysis across a variety of economic topics. A finance major is more specifically focused on the use of financial resources. This degree path includes more coursework about applying economic principles to real-world banking and investment decisions.

Common Coursework Finance and Financial Services Majors Can Expect

In addition to general undergraduate education courses, students majoring in finance or financial management services typically take classes about money management. Beyond classroom studies, schools may provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience with the kind of work they might be interested in pursuing after graduation.

Core coursework

Finance majors can typically expect to take courses in:

  • Accounting. 
  • Economics. 
  • Statistics.
  • Capital markets.
  • Investments and investment analysis.
  • Asset pricing and portfolio analysis.
  • Business and finance ethics.
  • Business law.
  • Real estate finance.
  • Marketing and communication.

Students may also take courses in topics such as:

  • Corporate finance. 
  • Personal finance. 
  • Organizational behavior. 
  • Information systems. 
  • Operations management.

Concentrations

You may be able to choose a concentration within a finance major. Available concentrations vary by institution but may include:

  • Corporate finance. 
  • Investment management and analysis.
  • Banking and financial services.
  • Real estate.
  • Risk management.

At some institutions, finance is a concentration within a broader program of study, such as business or business administration.

How long does it take to complete a finance degree?

Is Finance a Good Major For Me?

A finance major may be a good choice for you if you’re drawn to business or financial management and enjoy analyzing complex problems that can make a big difference for organizations and individuals. Understanding money is central to the finance major, so you should be detail-oriented and comfortable working with numbers. At the same time, work in finance also involves a lot of interaction with other people, so communication skills are also important.

What Can I Do With a Finance or Financial Services Major?

Career choices for finance majors include working with organizations or individuals. Places finance degree-holders often work include financial institutions and banks, and insurance companies. Depending on your undergraduate studies, you may also find a job in a related field as a financial manager or financial planning expert. Here are five common jobs graduates with finance degrees can pursue, with the average salary ranging from around $84,000 to nearly $140,000.

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In addition to a college degree, finance professionals also may pursue certifications that demonstrate their expertise in specialized fields. One such credential is Certified Financial Planner, for those who advise clients in financial management. Another popular certification is Chartered Financial Analyst, for work in investment analysis.

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What Finance Majors Say

“I am very glad I chose finance as one of my majors especially because of its versatility. It offers a wide range of career opportunities. Being a finance major has allowed me to dive into numerous industries ranging from asset management and wealth management, all the way to private equity.” – Justin Marks, University of Delaware class of 2024

“Financial professionals are constantly staying up to date on the markets and world events, so it is important for college students to start doing that now. Signing up for various news outlets and reading a good deal every morning is a good practice to start when you are young. Overall, being a finance major is much more than running models or calculating new stock prices. It can be strenuous and difficult, but for some, it will be important work that you truly enjoy.” – Isabella Floreani, University of Florida class of 2025

“My generic business classes that I take, people just look at numbers and that’s all they see. What is so nice about being a finance major is, not only do you look at these numbers and the ratios, you know how to analyze them. You know how it fits into the broader role of the business. You learn how to understand: what is the company doing to produce these ratios? Or: how does it compare to comparable companies and the industry as a whole?” – Lindsey Campbell, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, class of 2024

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Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL #1 in Regional Colleges Midwest
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The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC #2 in Regional Universities South
Ohio Northern University Ada, OH #2 in Regional Colleges Midwest