Master of Science in Finance

The University of Kentucky's Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree prepares students for a professional career in the finance and banking industries. The program is designed to provide rigorous and focused training in finance, broaden opportunities in your career, and sharpened skills for the fast-changing and competitive world of modern finance.  

Job candidates with MSF degrees are highly desired in finance-specialized industries, particularly investment banking and asset management companies such as mutual funds, hedge funds, and pension funds. They are also sought after by corporate treasury departments. The job opportunities in these industries are substantial, intellectually stimulating, and high-paying.  

All MSF classes will be offered in our brand new state-of-the-art Finance Learning Center in our new Gatton Building, where students will be able to access real-time financial information from Bloomberg Terminals and other sources. As an MSF student, you will gain first-hand asset portfolio management experience by participating in our $5 million student-managed investment fund (SMIF). Your graduate course work will take you to a much higher learning level in your technical, communication, and analytical skills with more advanced material throughout each course. The program delivery is structured to provide the necessary skills set to achieve success in the finance profession.

Our Finance Department has been accepted into CFA Institute University Recognition Program since 2012. Our newly established MSF program has been added to the CFA Institute University Recognition Program starting August 4, 2017. This status is granted to institutions whose degree programs incorporate at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (COBK). We provide students with a solid grounding in the CBOK and position them well to sit for the CFA exams. Each year, the CFA Institute will allot ten scholarships to students (MSF or undergraduate) in our Finance Department. Students with scholarships will be able to access CFA preparation materials for free and take CFA exams at a significantly lowered rate.

Our Graham Office of Career Management will assist students in their career development process and employment success by working closely with employers who seek world-ready interns and graduates. We will also assist our students who wish to pursue Ph.D. education in finance or related areas at top U.S. universities.

Our finance faculty are highly regarded scholars and recognized leaders in the field, with articles appearing in the most prestigious finance journals in the world such as Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. Our faculty are frequently cited by the Wall Street Journal and other financial media. We urge you to visit our Finance Faculty link on the left to see brief bios, profiles, and publication links for a more detailed presentation of our faculty's many academic and professional achievements. In particular, Dr. Brad Jordan is the coauthor of many popular finance textbooks such as Fundamentals of Investments and Essentials of Corporate Finance. Quint Tatro, who teaches FIN 685 in the MSF program, is a frequent guest on CNBC. The link below provides a video of his appearance on CNBC with Kelly Evens talking about Facebook stock price:

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Admission Guidelines

Students applying for admission will be evaluated primarily on standardized test scores (GMAT or GRE; either will be accepted) and undergraduate grades and major. The TOEFL or IELTS will be required for non-native English-speakers who do not have a degree from an English-speaking university, though this requirement may be waived based on an interview or other considerations. Work experience is not required. There are no specific course pre-requisites other than college-level math and introductory statistics. 

Degree Requirements

The MSF program is a nine-month program. The 30-credit-hour curriculum consists of ten courses, in the following sequence:

Fall Semester

  • FIN 600 - Corporate financial policy
  • FIN 650 - Investments
  • ECO 491G - Applied econometrics
  • ACC 621 - Understanding financial statements
  • FIN 685-1 - Investments practicum I

Spring Semester

  • FIN 623 - International financial management
  • FIN 630 - Financial modeling and analysis
  • FIN 645 - Corporate investment and financial policy
  • FIN 685-2 - Investments practicum II
  • FIN 691 - Current issues in finance

The majority of our MSF students are full-time students and they finish the program in nine months. However, some MSF students can finish the MSF program on a part-time basis (our tuition is by program so the total tuition is the same no matter students fininsh in one, two, or three years). We have the following class schedule for part-time students, based on a two-year and a three-year plan.

For a two-year plan, students take classes as follows:

Fall semester

Spring Semester

Year 1

FIN 600, ECO 491G

FIN 623, FIN 630, FIN 691

Year 2

FIN 650, ACC 621, FIN 685-1

FIN 645, FIN 685-2

For a three-year plan, students take classes as follows:

Fall semester

Spring Semester

Year 1

FIN 600, ECO 491G

FIN 623, FIN 630

Year 2

FIN 650, ACC 621

FIN 645, FIN 691

Year 3

FIN 685-1

FIN 685-2

2018-2019 Tuition

Kentucky Resident Non-Resident
MSF Tuition $25,000 $35,000
Mandatory Fees* $1,538 $1,538
Total Cost For Program $26,538 $36,538

*Mandatory fees are subject to change.

Financial Assistance

All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships based on their academic performance, such as GPA, GMAT/GRE scores, and other factors. The scholarships are very competitive and typically cover only partial tuition costs.

Application Process

Prospective students must apply online at the Graduate School: ( All applications and supporting documents, including the GMAT/GRE scores, should be submitted to the Graduate School. Application deadline is June 30 for all students. Please note the MSF program does not require letters of recommendation. Spring admission is considered if either one of the following two conditions is met: (1) the applicant plans to finish the program in more than two semesters; or (2) the applicant's undergraduate major is finance with a GPA>3.2.

Completion of the application does not guarantee admission into the MSF program. Applicants will be evaluated primarily based on their undergraduate grade point average (GPA), their GMAT/GRE scores, and their TOEFL/IELTS scores.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Resume
  • Official GMAT or GRE score (the institutional code for UK Graduate School is 1837 when sending your GMAT or GRE score to us)
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score if you are an international student (the TOEFL Institution Code for the UK Graduate School is 1837, and IELTS scores should be sent directly to us from the International English Language Testing Service specifying the University of Kentucky Graduate School, Lexington, Kentucky as the recipient institution. )
  • Official undergraduate transcript 

The minimum undergraduate GPA requirement is 2.75. We accept either GRE or GMAT. The minimum for GMAT is 550. The minimum for GRE is 300 (V+Q+writing). We accept either TOEFL or IELTS: minimum TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based) 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. However, the TOEFL/IELTS minimum requirement can be waived through a Skype interview.

The GMAT/GRE exams may be waived by the MSF Admissions Committee as part of the graduate test requirement. Sole discretion of any GMAT/GRE waiver remains with the MSF Admissions Committee and any waiver granted does not guarantee acceptance. The GMAT or GRE can still be recommended by the MSF Admissions Committee to strengthen the overall competitiveness of the applicant. 

If you meet any of the following criteria, you may be considered for a waiver:

• If the applicant has been awarded a Masters, Doctorate, or a terminal degree such as in Law, Dentistry, Medicine or Pharmacy Doctorate, or presently enrolled in such programs and in good standing
• If the applicant has an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher
• If the applicant has professional work experience with heavy emphasis on finance, position(s) held, tenure, professional responsibilities and specific accomplishments in finance. Combined with career experience, additional considerations will be given to those who have demonstrated prior academic achievement and/or those who have obtained additional professional certifications (such as CPA, CFA, or FRM), professional trainings/courses and/or credentials.

To be considered for the waiver, email an updated resume and supporting documents to

Application Deadline: June 30 for all students (though most decisions will be made before that)

To apply, go to

The Graduate School address is: 

UK Graduate School
106 Gillis Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0033
United States of America

More details may be obtained from the Graduate School or the Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods at the address below:

Dr. Mark Liu, MSF Director
Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods
345J Gatton College of Business and Economics
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0034
United States of America

Policy Changes

All statements made here are announcements of present policy only and are subject to change at any time without prior notice.