Master of Science in Finance

The advanced study in the M.S. in Finance (MSF) program provides the tools and skills to prepare you for a career in a variety of fields, including investment and commercial banking, asset and wealth management, insurance, trading, and corporate finance and treasury functions. Small M.S. finance classes, as well as courses taken with MBA students, maximize interaction and learning throughout the program. Concentrations that reflect the current demands of the job market offer the flexibility to tailor students' learning experience to their career goals.

  • Full- or part-time program consisting of 10 courses
Admissions Criteria

Admission to the M.S. in Finance program is competitive, and you are expected to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with at least 15 semester hours in finance or department approval.
    • Adjustments may be granted for CFA charterholders.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (based on a 4.00 system) at the baccalaureate institution.
    • Or a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in the last 60 hours of the baccalaureate program.
    • Or the completion of 15 or more semester hours of graduate work at an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.20.
  • A recent completed GMAT score. (GMAT waiver is available after application upon request to
  • Leadership and communication skills as documented in a goals statement and resume.
  • A minimum of two letters of recommendation.
  • Submission of results on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all applicants whose native language is not English.

Strong applicants have an undergraduate GPA over 3.40 and a total GMAT score over 600.

Applications received after the posted graduate school deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

STEM Designation

We are pleased to announce that the M.S. in Finance is a STEM-designated program. The Department of Homeland Security grants this designation to programs that produce graduates educated in fields essential to the nation's economic, scientific and technological competitiveness - i.e., programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM). International students who earn degrees from STEM-designated programs can qualify to extend their post-graduation stay in the United States. Under the traditional Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, international students who graduate from colleges and universities in the U.S. are able to remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students - such as NIU MSF students - who graduate from a STEM-designated degree program can remain for an additional 24 months on an OPT STEM Extension.

GARP Academic Partnership

Our M.S. in Finance program is now an academic partner with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), joining more than 40 other top graduate business schools from around the world.

GARP is a not-for-profit organization and the only globally recognized association for risk managers. It offers certification for financial risk management leading to a Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation, which is the field's most respected and widely recognized certification. Demand for this certification has grown rapidly with registrations topping 56,500 in 2017 (representing an average annual increase of 21 percent since 2003). The FRM is the global standard in professional risk management certification, with over 35,000 certified FRMs in 150 countries and territories across the globe.

Affiliated schools incorporate the FRM curriculum into their course of study. By aligning an academic program with the FRM content matter, rigorous academic instruction can be coupled with practitioner-driven insight and certification. Through this academic partnership, you are better prepared to succeed in the challenging field of risk management.

Program Costs

While NIU has a national reputation for quality and excellence, our M.S. in Finance program is reasonably priced and costs less than other similar programs in Illinois. The Graduate School provides more detailed information about program-level tuition.

Graduate M.S. Finance *

Total Program Cost
(IL State Resident)
Northern Illinois University $25,793
University of Illinois Chicago $36,639
DePaul University $55,108
Loyola University Chicago $60,100
Illinois Institute of Technology $60,246
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $72,963

* These rates are for comparison purposes only and are not reflective of current rates at any institution.

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