USF School of Management Master of Science in Financial Analysis - Professional
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How is the MSFA different from an MBA?

Unlike an MBA in Finance, the MSFA program is targeted at individuals who are looking to build up expertise in a specific field - investment management and financial analysis. MSFA students seek to increase their knowledge to compete and be successful in the financial profession. They receive training in all the areas deemed crucial by the investment management profession and embodied in the Chartered Financial Analyst CFA® designation by the CFA Institute®. The MSFA curriculum is structured around the areas of knowledge and skills necessary for this designation. MSFA students thus receive training in areas essential for practicing financial analysts and investors.

How is Financial Analysis different than Financial Engineering?

Financial Engineering is primarily focused on pricing Derivative instruments using sophisticated math (stochastic calculus) and computer programming (C++). It is an extremely narrow and technical degree with limited career options. Financial engineers typically hold undergraduate degrees in physics or electrical engineering, as opposed to one that is finance-related. Financial Analysis prepares graduates for a broader set of careers in finance. A curriculum incorporating economics, accounting, math and statistics produces students with keen insight into how the world, and financial markets work. MSFA graduates become Industry Analysts at investment firms, work in Mergers and Acquisitions at an investment bank, manage mutual funds or hedge fund investments, and advise high net worth clients and institutions on their investment strategies.

What types of professions do MSFA students pursue?

USF MSFA graduates work in professions such as equity analyst, bond analyst, portfolio manager, investment advisor, private wealth manager, securities trader, financial risk manager, compliance officer, investment banker, and venture capital investments, among others.

Is the MSFA program a CFA Program Partner?

Yes. As a CFA Program Partner, the USF MSFA program provides a coordinated, sequential approach to the tools and knowledge covered by the annual CFA exams by incorporating 70% or more of the CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge in the curriculum.

The MSFA curriculum is structured to provide students with the knowledge they need to take the exams of the CFA Program. Students are encouraged to take these exams while enrolled in the MSFA program or shortly after graduation. Significant self study or a CFA Exam Prep course are highly recommended to help prepare students for the CFA Program exams.

Are MSFA students required to take a CFA exam prep course?

No. however, MSFA students who plan to take one of the exams while enrolled in our program are encouraged to do so. CFA exam prep courses provide additional support for subject matter not extensively covered in the MSFA curriculum.

Are MSFA students required to take the CFA exams?

No, however, most MSFA students do take at least one level of the CFA Exam while enrolled or shortly after graduation.

Will the MSFA program ensure I pass the CFA® exams?

Though the USF MSFA is a CFA Program Partner, passing the exams is never guaranteed. In addition to the MSFA coursework, considerable self-study and/or a CFA exam prep course may be necessary for a student to prepare adequately for the form and specific content of any of the CFA exams.

How long is the program?

The Full-Time MSFA typically spans four consecutive semesters over about 18 months. Students complete five courses per semester.
The Part-Timel MSFA program typically spans four semesters over 22 months. Students complete four courses per semester.

When and where are classes held?

All MSFA classes are taught at the USF Downtown San Francisco Campus. Typically, Full-Time MSFA courses are held three days during the week, whereas Part-Time MSFA classes are held on Saturdays (all day). The schedule of classes may vary each semester, and from year-to-year.

What is the cost of the MSFA program? Are scholarships and financial aid available?

Please visit the Financing Your Education section of our website for current tuition rates.

A number of merit-based scholarships available for highly-competitive applicants. Both international and domestic applicants are considered and no separate application is required. Applicants are notified of their scholarship award at the time of admission.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be eligible for the Federal Student Loan program. The USF One Stop office is an excellent resource for further financial aid information. Financial Aid Discounts may be available to firms that commit to a minimum of three students in any cohort.

When are the admission deadlines?

Please visit the MSFA Admission section of our website for current application deadlines.

What foundational background is required to apply for the MSFA?

All students are required to have foundation courses in: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Accounting (financial accounting encouraged), Calculus, and Probability and Statistics prior to starting the MSFA program. Students with undergraduate degrees in Economics, Business, Finance or Accounting usually have enough courses as part of their major to satisfy the foundation requirements. Students who have not completed one or more of the foundation courses may be admitted conditionally to the MSFA program, pending successful completion of the missing foundation courses. If you want to have your transcripts reviewed to confirm successful completion of foundation courses, please contact to schedule an admissions advising appointment.

Who is the typical student in the Part-Time MSFA program?

The typical Part-Time MSFA student is a full-time working professional in the finance industry with at least two solid years of post undergraduate work experience.

Who is the typical student in the Full-Time MSFA programs?

The typical Full-Time MSFA student has the required academic background but does not have the required two years of work experience in the finance industry that is required for the Part-Time MSFA program.

What is the GMAT/GRE requirement?

A valid GMAT/GRE score is required for admission to the Full-Time MSFA program. Strong candidates for the USF MSFA typically score in the 80th percentile on the quantitative section of these exams.

Relevant work experience for Part-Timel MSFA applicants is required, in lieu of a GMAT/GRE score. However, applicants are welcome to submit score reports if they have taken either exam.

What is the typical cohort size?

The Full-Time MSFA typically enrolls 50-60 students.
The Professional MSFA typically enrolls 25-35 students.

What is the Dual MSFA/MBA Program?

Within their first year of the MSFA program, students may apply for admission to the USF MBA. This dual program offers a savings of both tuition and time. The MBA can be completed in just over one year (36 units). To be considered for the dual MSFA/MBA, students must have completed the first 19 units of MSFA coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Before applying, students should contact the Office of Graduate Recruiting and Admissions for further details.