MSF - Master of Science in Finance | Curriculum
The prerequisites for the program are a three-credit-hour course in statistics, and one in economics. Students who do not meet these prerequisites at the time of applying will be required to take these courses by Summer 2013.
MSF Program Curriculum
The curriculum for the MSF Program consists of 36 credit hours, to be completed over approximately 10 months. All students in the program begin coursework in the summer session.
View the scheduled courses for each semester by clicking the appropriate tab.
Summer Session- 5 Credit Hours
- Financial Management
Major topics in the corporate core class include time value of money, project selection methods (NPV and IRR), and the basics of capital markets and pricing risky capital, all with a heavy emphasis on the use of excel spreadsheet models. On completion of the core corporate class students will be able to calculate the present and future value of cash flow streams, model projects and calculate project selection metrics such as NPV and IRR, and estimate discount rates for use in project analysis and valuation.
The valuation course focuses on the valuation of businesses using Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) modeling and comparable company multiples, and includes rigorous assignments involving estimating a firm’s cost of capital using comparable company returns and financial data, and constructing a complete DCF model and valuation for a publicly traded company of their choosing. On completion of the valuation course students will be able to construct and use rigorous valuation spreadsheet models for valuing businesses or major investment projects, estimate costs of capital and firm value using comparable company analysis, and consider real-world adjustments in value related to control premiums or liquidity discounts.
Fall Session- 16 Credit Hours
First Fall Module
- Financial Accounting
Introductory Financial Accounting provides an overview of the accrual accounting model, how corporate financial statements report particular economic events, and the economic incentives of corporate managers as they exercise their judgment to prepare financial statements. By the end of the course the students will feel comfortable reading the financial statements in published annual reports, and will be able to come to a reasoned conclusion about a company’s financial health.
- Statistics for Financial Applications
The course focuses on the use of data analytic, probability and statistics tools in financial applications. The main topics of the course are probability, conditional expectation, basic estimation concepts and regression analysis. Upon completion of the course, students will master basic statistics and learn how to use regression models to analyze real, applied problems. Emphasis is placed on analysis of actual datasets and the use of appropriate computational tools necessary for the analysis.
Second Fall Module
- Financial Statement and Security Analysis
Financial Statement Analysis provides an overview of the use of financial accounting information to (a) for evaluate past performance, (b) predict future performance, and (c) independently estimate the value of a company. By the end of the course the students will be able to conduct a complete financial analysis for a publicly-traded company, including ratio analysis, forecasted financial statements, and estimates of company value using on several alternative valuation models.
- Practicum in Finance (Part I)
Both Fall Modules
- Investment Theory and Practice
Major topics in Investment Theory and Practice include modern portfolio theory, asset allocation and the valuation and use of equities, fixed income, derivatives and mutual funds. On completion of this course, students will understand the relationship between risk and return, how decisions are made with respect to putting together a portfolio and how investors select and use different types of securities.
- Advanced Corporate Finance
Advanced Corporate Finance focuses on issues concerning raising capital (designing corporate capital structure, issuing equity, debt, convertibles, etc.) and investing it (project evaluation, budgeting, and acquisitions). The course provides an opportunity to acquire or improve useful financial skills such as computing cost of capital, pricing options, assessing and managing financial risk, and valuing acquisitions.
- Financial Markets and Institutions
Financial Markets & Institutions focuses on the microeconomics and macroeconomics of financial institutions, including banks, investment banks, and central banks. Students will be exposed to macroeconomic analysis of fiscal and monetary policy and the role of banks in the monetary system. The course also covers formal models of financial institutions, with a focus on the role of institutions in solving adverse selection and moral hazard problems. Additional topics include securitization of debt, the debate over market efficiency, and financial regulation.
Spring Session- 15 Credit Hours
First Spring Module
The Derivatives course covers the pricing of derivatives, or contingent claims, using the approach commonly known as the “no-arbitrage principle”. The course introduces the mathematical and statistical underpinnings of derivatives valuation, and upon completion students will be able to develop excel models for pricing many real-world contingent claims, from foreign-exchange forward contracts to commodity futures, and even executive stock options.
- Fixed Income Securities and Markets
The objectives of this Fixed-Income Analysis course are to introduce students to the role of fixed-income securities in the U. S. economy, and to methods of economic and financial analysis relevant to these markets. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to interpret market signals in the equity and credit markets; understand the fundamentals of bond valuation, hedging interest rate exposure, and valuation of interest-rate swaps; grasp the principles of interest rate-derivative claim valuation, hedging and uses; value the credit risk inherent in corporate bonds and Credit Default Swaps; and understand the design, valuation and uses of CPI-linked securities, structured notes and emerging-market debt.
- Advanced Valuation and Financial Modeling
Advanced Valuation and Financial Modeling covers a range of topics in the field of financial economics, each of which requires extensive modeling skills. Topics include loan amortization schedules, style analysis, optimal portfolio selection, valuation and takeovers, fixed income derivatives, and equity derivatives. Course work is based on cases studies, academic research, and practitioner research. This is a hands-on course that requires students to analyze data and participate in class discussions.
Second Spring Module
- Raising Capital
The objective of this course is to develop a better understanding of firm financing with a special focus on the decision and the process of raising capital. In particular, we will analyze the factors that inform treasurers’ and CFOs’ choices of capital raising techniques and sources of funds. More specifically, we will consider issues relative to the public equity markets (e.g., IPOs and SEOs) and private equity including venture capital. We will examine debt financing at length. Corporate bonds, bank financing, short-term finance (e.g., commercial paper and credit lines) and other forms of debt financing will be studied. Finally, we will discuss bankruptcy and financial restructuring and the decision to finance acquisitions.
- Alternative Investments
Alternative Investments provides an overview of the role and use of alternative investments as part of a portfolio. In addition to a discussion of portfolio theory and construction, the course will cover the main alternative investment categories, such as commodities, hedge funds, private equity and real estate. After the course, students will be have a better understanding of the ways in which an investor can use alternative investments to diversify or hedge against particular risks, or pursue better risk-adjusted returns.
- Risk Management
Risk Management exposes the student to current perspectives in operational and financial risk management, tax and regulatory details, and risk-mitigation strategies in private equity and venture capital (performance risk), public corporations (cash flow uncertainty, commodity and foreign exchange risk, investment flexibilities and merger price risk), financial institutions (capital adequacy, interest rate risk and gap management) and multinational firms (transactional, operational and translation risks). Upon completion of the course the student will have knowledge of various risk-management techniques including derivatives-based strategies, Monte Carlo simulation and Value-at-risk.
- Global Financial Strategies
Global Financial Strategies is a capstone course for the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program. It exposes students to the types of issues that they are likely to encounter as a financial professional in a corporate environment. Through case discussions of issues frequently encountered by financial decision-makers, students are provided with experience in the application of the theories and analytical tools that they have learned throughout the MSF program. The main emphasis is on the identification of value creating strategies and investments for the firm in a global environment.