Required Courses For A Finance Major

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Accounting
    Virtually anyone who decides to pursue a finance major will take, at a minimum, one or two introductory courses in accounting that will generally cover basic accounting concepts and principles as they apply to the understanding and preparation of financial statements. Other topics covered usually include the valuation of assets, how businesses handle debt and equity issues, how accounting principles affect business management decisions, budgeting, what it takes for a business to “break even” financially, standard and variable business costs, ratio analysis, inventory control, transfer pricing, and an introduction to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

While a finance major does not necessarily need the depth of accounting knowledge required to become a certified public accountant (CPA), a solid understanding of basic accounting concepts and principles is critical for most professions a finance degree candidate would be likely to pursue upon graduation.

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Bonds A crucial component of a finance major's program of study involves investment analysis. A significant part of investment analysis involves an understanding of bonds and what makes them work in the way that they do. A finance major will study bonds and the markets in which they are traded. The decision process involved with the various investment opportunities that bonds offer is an integral part of this study.

Most finance degree candidates will also study financial derivatives as a part of their course work. An introduction to financial derivatives usually involves analyzing the mechanics, pricing, and use of bonds and their relationship to major investment markets, including the U.S. Treasury, the European Union, and the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 Index.

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Corporate Finance The study of the principles and methods of corporate finance is a core component of the curriculum of any finance major. The valuation, analysis, and management of corporate finances will be discussed in great detail. You will learn to evaluate a corporation's business projects using financial criteria and the different financing choices at your disposal will be reviewed. Courses discussing corporate finance typically provide an overview of financial markets and the investment and financing opportunities available to both corporations and individuals. In most cases, there will be an emphasis on the frame work and methods involved in financial decision-making at the corporate level.
  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Economics Economics and finance are almost indelibly intertwined. A finance major cannot possibly hope to succeed in finance-related professions without a solid understanding of economics and economic principles. Several economics courses will certainly be required for completion of a finance degree. Topics to be studied will most likely include the laws of supply and demand and how they affect pricing and product decisions, the role of the government in the economy, what determines overall economic activity and growth, determination of income, employment and how economic conditions affect employment, banking, and international economics. If the finance degree program allows for more in-depth economic study, a finance major may take courses on how economic conditions affect managerial decision-making and the use of economic models and statistical techniques in corporate decision-making. If this topic is covered, students will be expected to grasp the benefits and limitations of economic models and statistical techniques in business decision-making.
  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Statistics Whether you love statistics or hate them, you will study statistics if you decide to become a finance major. You will receive an introduction to statistical methods used in the analysis of business decisions. Descriptive statistics will be covered. The use of probability in business decisions will be reviewed. You will get an introduction to sampling and sampling distribution, statistical estimation, and statistical inference, including hypothesis testing. Analysis of variance and simple linear regression should also be covered.

While statistics may not be the most enjoyable topic of study for many finance majors, it is necessary, as statistical analysis will most likely be part of your job once you enter the “real world.”

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Portfolio Management It is very likely that a finance major, after completing the finance degree, will at some point in a career be entrusted with managing someone else's money. It would be very unwise to have all of one person's funds in one type of investment. Think of it as the “eggs in one basket” scenario come to life. This is where portfolio management comes into play. You will study stocks, bonds, convertibles, and options, and the markets in which they are traded. In more advanced courses, you may study futures and hedging techniques. At this stage in your degree program, emphasis will most likely be on the application of concepts to investment strategies. You may learn to manage an investment portfolio, evaluate performance, and prepare reports based on the results. As a final capstone course, you may learn how to manage investments in a manner that is both ethically and socially responsible.
  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Marketing While the worlds of finance and marketing may not be as closely linked as those of, say, finance and economics or finance and portfolio management, it is still important for a finance major to have a good grasp on the basic fundamentals of marketing. Successful marketing campaigns bring in new customers, which increase a company's revenue. Thus, a solid understanding of marketing basics will be to a finance major's benefit.

An introductory marketing course will generally examine the marketing process in the operations of both profit and not-for-profit companies. Consumer characteristics, government regulation, and social aspects are often explored. The process of how firms develop market strategies in relation to target market selection, segmentation, and other variables such as product development, promotional methods, price determination, and channels of distribution are emphasized. The ethical aspects of marketing are also given consideration.

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Business Management If you are considering becoming a finance major, chances are good that you have at least given some thought to or aspired to become a manager in a business setting. With this in mind, business management is usually a component in a finance major's program of study.

Because a successful manager must understand people, the study of management involves examining the behavior of people, both individually and in groups. This includes analyzing how people effectively communicate, motivational tools, and how a manager can best supervise to maximize productivity of employees.

More advanced study of management may include an overview of social, political, and legal opportunities and constraints that influence business decision-making; social trends and underlying causes, patterns of change in social, geographic, and economic bases; and a comprehensive analysis of the management decision-making process.

  • Required Courses For A Finance Major: Information Systems While not all-encompassing, knowledge in information systems (also known as information technology or IT) is still important for a finance major to touch upon during a course of study. We are all increasingly dependent on computer technology in this information age, and financial professionals are certainly no exception.

Most finance majors will take a rudimentary course in information systems that includes a broad overview of information systems theory. Topics of study typically include the impact of technology on business, group software, the systems development life cycle, databases, hardware, telecommunications, and the application of information technology and its impact in other function areas of business.

Last Updated: 06/08/2014

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