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MSF - Master of Science in Finance | Curriculum

MSF Curriculum 2014-2015

The MSF program will introduce several elective offerings for students beginning Summer 2013.

If you want to focus on Energy Finance, Corporate Finance or Consulting, or Asset and Investment Management, you can follow a suggested curriculum path to best meet your needs. 

Program Prerequisites

  • A three-credit-hour course in statistics
  • A three-credit-hour course in economics

If you don't meet these prerequisites at the time you apply, you must take these courses by Summer 2014.

MSF Program Curriculum

The curriculum for the MSF Program consists of 36 credit hours. Most students complete it in about 10 months. All students in the program begin coursework in the summer session.


(5 credit hours over approximately 3 weeks, beginning late July)

  • 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.
  • 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 Term (7 Weeks)

  • 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 Term (7 Weeks)

  • 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 (14 Weeks)

  • 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.
  • Managerial Economics
    Managerial Economics focuses on the microeconomics and macroeconomic forces that influence an organizations decisions, including interest rates, business cycles, financial systems, input demand and supply, industry factors, market structure, and externalities.

Spring Session - 15 Credit Hours

First Spring Term (7 Weeks)

  • Practicum in Finance
    The Practicum is an intensive program spanning the last half of the fall semester and the first half of the spring semester, during which students work directly with sponsoring companies on a wide variety of finance problems.
  • Intermediate Accounting
  • Portfolio Management
    Portfolio Management addresses modern practices in managing investment portfolios, portfolio optimization methods, asset management for individual and institutional investors, and valuation of equity securities.
Choose 1
  • Fixed Income
    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.
  • Energy Technologies
    Offers an introduction to the legal, engineering, business, and financial aspects of energy development and operations.

Second Spring Term (7 Weeks)

  • Advanced Valuation and 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.
Choose 3
  • Derivatives
    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.
  • Energy Derivatives
    Analysis and pricing of derivative securities, including forwards, futures, and options, with emphasis on derivatives related to the energy industry.
  • Quantitative Trading Strategies
  • 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.
  • Financial Strategies and Risk Management
    Studies how firms manage their financial risk exposures and how they use derivative securities.
  • Advanced Accounting

Curriculum Paths

All students take the required summer and fall curriculum paths and may choose the following spring curriculum paths:

Energy Finance

Corporate Finance or Consulting

Asset or Investment Management

Intermediate Accounting
Intermediate Accounting  Intermediate Accounting 
Portfolio Management  Portfolio Management  Portfolio Management 
Energy Technologies  Fixed Income  Fixed Income 
Advanced Modeling and Valuation  Advanced Modeling and Valuation Advanced Modeling and Valuation
Energy Derivatives Raising Capital Derivatives 
Raising Capital  Financial Strategies and Risk Management  Quantitative Trading Strategies 
Quantitative Trading Strategies (for energy traders) OR Advanced Accounting (for energy IB)  Advanced Accounting                                                                                                                  
Raising Capital OR Financial Strategies and Risk Management