Master of Science in Finance (STEM program)

We still have open seats for Fall 2019. Apply ASAP if you are interested!

The University of Kentucky's Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree prepares students for a professional career in the finance and banking industries. MSF students gain first-hand asset management experience by managing $5 million of real money, and by accessing real-time financial information from Bloomberg Terminals, Capital IQ and other sources in the state-of-the-art Seale Finance Learning Center. As an accepted member of the CFA Institute University Recognition Program since establishment, our program is designed to provide rigorous and focused training in finance, broadened 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.

University of Kentucky's MSF program is now a STEM program. This means international students are eligible for three years of OPT after graduation.

MSF classes are offered in our brand new state-of-the-art Finance Learning Center in our new Gatton Building, where students are able to access real-time financial information from Bloomberg Terminals, Capital IQ, 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 COBK 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.

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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, Harvard Business Review, 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 has taught FIN 685 in the MSF program and serves as a frequent guest lecturer, is often a guest on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. The videos below provide several examples:

Admission Requirements

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.

To apply, go to

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. 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 or CV

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.

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

Recent Placements

The MSF program is working closely with the finance department and the Gatton college to place our students, in order for our students to have a successful career in Finance. We have had some reasonable success in placing our MSF students. Here are some highlights:

Mitch Cooper will graduate in May 2019, and has accepted a position at VMG Heath in Texas. 

Hongtao Zhang will graduate in May 2019, and has accepted an offer from Scott Insurance in South Carolina. 

Jay Bhula will graduate in May 2019, and has accepted a position at Florida Financial Advisors. 

Michael Hornblower will graduate in May 2019, and has already successfully secured a job as a commercial banking associate at Citizens Bank in Boston. 

David Kelley graduated in December 2018, and was hired as a financial institution examiner for the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions.

Yitian Hou: An international student graduated in May 2018, was hired as a project analyst at Boston Innovation Growth Inc. 

Sagar Subedi: An international student graduated in May 2018, was hired at Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Joshua Barrett graduated in May 2018; was hired as an associate treasury analyst at Tempur-Sealy International.

Cameron Benim graduated in May 2018; was hired as an analyst at Venture First.

Other placements include Syneos Health, AT&T, Forge Innovation Development Corp, US Dept of Defense etc.


Degree Requirement

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 finish the program in one year. However, some MSF students can finish the MSF program in more than a year. International students in the program must take at least nine credit hours per semester in order to maintain the full-time student status.

Tuition and Fees

We have moved to a per credit hour tuition system starting Fall 2019, in order to create flexibility for students. This way, students can choose to finish in 2, 3, 4 semesters or even longer, and they can also enter the program in the Spring semester. The per credit hour rate is $858 for residents and $1213 for non-residents. This does not include the mandatory fees of $1524 per academic year. MSF students need 30 credit hours to graduate. Also, international students need at least 9 credit hours of course work per semester to maintain the full-time status.

Contact for More Information

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.

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