Best Colleges for Finance Majors

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Each of the best finance schools in the United States has several winning features: faculty members who have proven accomplishments in the field; a strong national and international reputation; excellent facilities to support financial research and simulations; extensive opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience both on campus and through internships; and strong career outcomes.

Finance is almost always housed within a university's business school, so it shouldn't be a surprise that many of the schools listed below are also listed among the nation's best business schools for undergraduates. That said, finance is a specialized field with a focus on challenges such as investing, financial planning, and budgeting. A school that has strengths in business specialties such as marketing or entrepreneurship doesn't necessarily have a strong finance program.

Attending a top finance program can increase your chances of landing a lucrative and rewarding finance job upon graduation. Career prospects are strong in many areas of finance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal financial advisors have a median career pay of $89,330 a year, accountants average $73,560 a year, and financial analysts average $83,660 a year.

The programs below tend to top the national rankings of finance programs for undergraduate students. All have strong graduate programs as well, and the graduate programs often create research opportunities for undergraduates. The schools are listed alphabetically.

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Boston College

Gasson Hall on Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, MA
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The Carroll School of Management at Boston College is home to 34 full-time finance professors and another 20 part-time faculty members. Students major in business and then choose one or two areas of concentration from 11 options. Finance is one of the most popular and has six required courses: Financial Accounting, Fundamentals of Finance, Corporate Finance, Investments, and two electives.

All undergraduates in the Carroll School begin their studies with Portico, a three-credit course that emphasizes writing, self-reflection, group discussion, collaborative projects, and personalized advising.

Located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Boston College ranks among the nation's top Catholic universities, and the school's Jesuit roots mean the finance program encourages multi-disciplinary study focused on analytical and leadership skills as well as ethical aptitude.

Admission to BC is selective, and only a quarter of all applicants are admitted.

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Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University Campus
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Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business consistently does well in the national rankings and was recently ranked #7 by U.S. News & World Report. The school has 19 faculty members who specialize in finance. Like many schools on this list, finance is not a major but a concentration within the undergraduate business major. Students choosing the finance concentration need to take Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, and two finance-focused electives.

CMU is well known for its strengths in STEM fields, and the Tepper School capitalizes on those strengths by building programs focused on innovative technologies and advanced data analytics.

You'll need a strong academic record and winning application to be admitted: CMU's acceptance rate is just 17%.

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Georgetown University

Georgetown University
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Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business offers seven majors: Accounting, Finance, International Political Economy and Business, International Business Regional Studies, Management, Marketing, and Operations and Analytics. All finance students must complete six 1.5-credit courses: Corporate Valuation, Quantitative Investment Strategies, Machine Learning for Finance, Investments, Global Financial Institutions, and Derivatives. The major has a liberal arts core curriculum, so students will also a range of classes in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Georgetown's finance programs, both at the undergraduate and master's levels, are highly ranked in large part because of the university's excellent faculty and resources. The university is home to the Steers Center for Global Real Estate and the Center for Financial Markets and Policy. Finance has 16 tenure-line faculty members. and 15 part-time and teaching faculty members.

Georgetown's curriculum has a global focus, and McDonough students often participate in business case competitions around the globe. Students will also find many opportunities for internships, study abroad, and summer experiences across the globe.

Admission to Georgetown is highly selective with an acceptance rate of 17%.

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Indiana University

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With over 43,000 students, Indiana University in Bloomington is one of the larger universities on this list. As a public university, it is also one of the less expensive (before financial aid is taken into consideration), especially for in-state students. The Kelly School of Business has 30 tenure-line faculty members who teach finance, and another 31 clinical professors and lecturers.

The Kelly School takes pride in its global focus with its 59 study abroad programs in 29 countries. Over 60% of students participate in study abroad. In national rankings, the school has won high marks for both its undergraduate and MBA programs, and Princeton Review ranked the school #7 for the quality of its professors.

Students in the Kelly School of Business can choose from 18 majors. Undergraduates choosing Finance will explore four main areas of study: corporate finance, investments, banking, and international finance. The school also offers MBA and PhD programs with concentrations in finance.

Students can enter the Kelly School through direct admission or they can apply as a current IU student. Direct admit students will have a higher bar for admission than the university as a whole: they will need a 30 on the ACT or 1370 on the SAT, and they will also need a 3.8 GPA (weighted, on a 4.0 scale).

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Killian Court and the Great Dome at MIT.

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As one of the very best engineering schools in the world, MIT may not come to mind when thinking about the nation's top schools for studying finance. MIT's Sloan School of Management, however, frequently finds itself near the top of business school rankings. In MIT-speak, students who major in "Course 15" can focus on Management, Business Analytics, or Finance. Not surprisingly, all programs are heavily grounded in technology and quantitative analysis, and they are employ the scientific method to solve finance challenges. Many students double major in a business field and an engineering field, a powerful combination in the marketplace.

All Finance majors at MIT take Managerial Finance, Corporate Finance, Accounting, Microeconomics, Probability, and Statistics as well as seven relevant elective courses. MIT takes pride in its stellar job placement record, and undergraduates gain extensive hands-on experience through internships, externships, and undergraduate research. Many students have even started their own companies while students by taking advantage of the institute's innovation and entrepreneurship resources.

The admissions bar is high. MIT admits just 7% of applicants, and SAT math scores of 800 are common.

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New York University

College buildings at New York University in Greenwich Village
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City lovers will enjoy NYU's Greenwich Village location in New York City. The campus is near a global financial hub as well as a wealth of cultural and culinary opportunities. NYU's Finance Department is part of the highly regarded Stern School of Business. The department has over 40 full-time faculty members and both the undergraduate and MBA programs tend to find themselves very close to the top of national rankings.

Stern students earn a BS in Business, and the flexible curriculum allows them to choose from 13 concentrations including the popular finance track. All finance students take Foundations of Finance and Corporate Finance as well as numerous finance electives. 50% of students study away and take advantage of NYU's 13 other campuses around the globe.

NYU as a whole has an acceptance rate of 21%, and admission to Stern is even more selective. Applicants will need stellar grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular involvement to be admitted.

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University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley
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UC Berkeley, one of the most selective and prestigious of the nine University of California campuses, ranks as one of the nation's top public universities, and finance is part of the school's excellence. Undergraduates interested in studying finance will apply to the highly ranked Haas School of Business where they will major in Business and then take Introduction to Finance, Corporate Finance, and a range of electives related to finance. 37 faculty members contribute to the school's finance curriculum.

Haas has a global focus. Many courses have a global business perspective, and many students participate in study abroad or business-related trips, and others serve as overseas consultants. Students come from over 40 countries around the globe. Both the curriculum and many of the extracurricular opportunities emphasize hands-on learning. The school's outcomes are impressive, and Payscale has ranked Haas #1 for its return on investment.

Berkeley has a 17% acceptance rate, and the Haas School is even more selective than the university as a whole.

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University of Michigan

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Another of the nation's top public universities, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is well known for the strength of the Ross School of Business. Ross business majors get hired by nearly 200 companies each year, and they have a median starting salary of $85,000. Ross has a learn-by-doing approach to business, and they are proud of their "REAL" curriculum: Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning. Students have opportunities to enter business competitions, create start-up ventures, and conduct a professional capstone project.

Ross has a highly ranked PhD program in finance. At the undergraduate level, finance students major in business but chose elective courses relevant to finance.

Admission is extremely selective. Ross students have an average high school GPA of 3.91, average SAT score of 1480, and average ACT score of 34.

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University of Notre Dame

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One of three Catholic universities on this list, the University of Notre Dame is home to the highly regarded Mendoza College of Business. Mendoza students can choose from six majors: Accountancy, Business Analytics, Business Technology, Finance, Management Consulting, and Marketing. Finance students take classes such as Investment Theory and Managerial Economics, and they can attend seminars through the Clark Lecture Series—a program that brings guest financial experts to campus. The college takes pride in its collaborative learning environment and emphasis on experiential learning.

Students can also pursue their interests on the extracurricular front through the Investments Club, Real Estate Club, Wall Street Club, Corporate Finance Club, and Beta Gamma Sigma National Business Honor Society.

Notre Dame is highly selective with a 19% acceptance rate. Students who are admitted to Notre Dame but not the more selective Mendoza College of Business have the opportunity to transfer into the college during their first year at the university.

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University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
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One of the prestigious Ivy League schools, the University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia. Penn's Warton School frequently ranks first in the nation among business schools. Warton offers finance programs at the bachelor's, master's, and PhD levels. Undergraduates who choose the Finance Concentration can further specialize in one of several paths: Corporate Finance, Capital Markets and Banking, Private Equity and Venture Capital, Investments, and Quantitative Finance.

Warton's curriculum is flexible with opportunities for study abroad, double majoring, or getting a jump start on an MBA. The school values innovative, hands-on learning, and students participate in learning lab simulations that mirror real-world business situations.

Attending this top-ranked program isn't easy, for Penn has a single-digit acceptance rate. To get in, all parts of your application will need to be strong: academic record, standardized test scores, extracurricular involvement, recommendations, and application essays.

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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

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UNC's flagship campus in Chapel Hill is one of the top-ranked public universities in the country. In-state tuition is low and represents an exceptional value. Undergraduate business majors in the Kenan-Flagler Business School take 10 core courses and can customize their electives to complete one or to of the eight available areas of emphasis. Options include Investment Banking, Multinational Finance, and Real Estate. Students have plenty of flexibility to craft the specialization they want. For example, those who select the Multinational Finance area have well over 20 upper-level elective courses from which to choose.

UNC Chapel Hill students have plenty of opportunities to study in other countries. Students can do a semester program, summer program, or short-term immersion class in countries spanning the globe.

As with all schools on this list, admission is selective. The Kenan-Flagler Business School enrolls 350 students annually, and those who matriculate have a median SAT score of 1,380 and median high school GPA of 3.65.

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University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin.

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The University of Texas at Austin is home to the highly ranked McCombs School of Business. UT Austin is one of the nation's best public universities, and with over 51,000 students, it is also one of the biggest. The Finance Department has 26 tenure-line faculty members and another 35 lecturers and clinical faculty members. The school offers finance degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Undergraduate finance majors complete the Bachelor of Business Administration requirements as well as one required course, Business Finance. They will also take a range of electives in finance that cover subjects such as corporate finance, international finance, investments, money and capital markets, and real estate. They can expand their experiences further by participating in some of the 17 student organizations focused on business.

Admission to UT Austin is selective, and the bar is higher for out-of-state students than for Texas residents.

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Grove, Allen. "Best Colleges for Finance Majors." ThoughtCo, Jul. 14, 2021, Grove, Allen. (2021, July 14). Best Colleges for Finance Majors. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Best Colleges for Finance Majors." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).