Master's in Finance Frequently Asked Questions

Master's in Finance Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree at The University of Arizona is an intense, immersive program of either 12 months (August to August; Fall semester through Summer II semester) or 16 months (Fall, Spring, Fall semesters) in length. 

Admission Criteria and Procedures

You must have a US equivalent Bachelors degree (i.e., 16 years of education), preferably in a business-related field, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Please review this Graduate College website for detailed information on international requirements.

No, you can apply during your last year for Fall admittance. Proof of degree and official final transcripts will be required prior to start of the MSF program for a student receiving a Bachelors degree from a school other than The University of Arizona.

No, though you may be required to two online prerequisite modules covering accounting, statistics and finance during the Summer semester before beginning the MSF program if you have a Bachelors degree in another field. The modules are offered through the Eller Executive Education for an additional cost and details on the modules are provided by the Finance Department.

Work experience is not required for our program, and many students start the program directly after completing their Bachelors degree. Other students have work experience and wish to refine their technical and analytical skills before entering the job market. Students benefit from a diversity of age, gender, culture, work experience and background in the program.

There is no minimum GMAT score required for admission to the program, though the desired score is 600 or above. If your score is below 600, you will not be automatically excluded from the applicant pool. The department admissions group considers all parts of your application, including your statement and letters of recommendation, in addition to your GPA and test scores.

The GRE can be accepted in lieu of the GMAT, but average scores are not available. Generally, the admissions committee will look for a quantitative score in the 70th percentile or higher.

The University of Arizona Graduate College minimum GPA requirement is at least a 3.0 on your last 60 units of credit from your undergraduate degree or a 3.0 for 12 credit units of graduate courses. This GPA requirement is strictly enforced, with the rare exception of a student with other strong credentials and a GPA over a 2.95.

Due to enrollment limits, the Eller School does not find it possible to admit all applicants who meet the minimum entrance requirements. The Eller School, therefore, reserves the right to:

  • Refuse admission to any applicant, and
  • Require withdrawal of any student whose condition endangers his or her well-being or the well-being of others, and
  • Require the withdrawal of any student whose condition precludes him or her from doing the required work.

You can find a listing of the application package requirements on the Admissions Package Requirements page of Master's in Finance website. Information for prospective students is available at The University of Arizona Graduate College website. You will need to complete the UA Graduate College online application, pay the required application fee and submit your application material online before your application will be considered.

Do not send hard copy documents or money for the application fee to the Finance Department.  All application requirements will be completed online.

You should have original GMAT and TOEFL results sent to School Code #4832. No other designation is required.

Specific Application Requirements

The GMAT is the preferred standardized exam for admittance to the MSF program. The GMAT score must be less than five years old at the time you take your first class in the MSF program. The GRE results are accepted in lieu of the GMAT.

TOEFL is the standardized exam required for international students. Unofficial scores may be submitted with your application package, but current official scores are necessary for your official admission to UA.

Alternatives to the TEOFL can be found at the Graduate College website: International Applicants | The University of Arizona Graduate College

Your letters of recommendation can be written by a person in academia or in industry (for example, a professor in a relevant course or employer). Because the MSF program is quite technical and analytical and requires full-time dedicated study, you may ask that the letters address these qualities.

You will be asked to input the name and email of your recommenders in the UA Graduate College online application system. It is strongly suggested that you ask your recommenders if they will write a letter for you before you submit their contact information with your application.

You are required to submit an original transcript from all of the institutions, other than The University of Arizona, that you attended previous to applying to our program. International students must submit official transcripts and diploma in the original language as well as an English translation. The official transcript should be stamped by The University issuing the transcript and be submitted in a sealed envelope. Transcripts are not required for courses or degrees from The University of Arizona.

E-Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the institution or transcript service to either University of Arizona department personnel or the Graduate College transcripts inbox at sends e-mail).  PDF is the required delivery format.  Electronic transcripts that require the use of an .exe file to open will not be accepted and an alternate delivery method must be chosen. (

International Applicants

Yes, just remember that the preferred application deadlines are prior to February 1 for the following Fall semester, though your application will be accepted through April 15. Additional information for International Students is available at the UA International Student Programs and Services website and at the UA Graduate College Prospective Student Admissions website.

Yes, you must apply as an international student; a student must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident to apply as a domestic student.

In addition, students whose native language is not English must meet the minimum required iBT TOEFL score of 100 or an IELTS score of 7.0 overall (with a 6.0 or higher in each section). This requirement is waived only if you have completed a four-year Bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university and have not returned to your home country for an extended period of time.

The TOEFL score must be less than 2 years old at the time you take your first class in the MSF program, unless you have been living and studying in the United States since taking the TOEFL. The Eller College of Management requires international students to have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based test).

The UA Graduate College requires an overall score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS exam, with a score of 6.0 or better in each section. The institution code for the IELTS is 4832, though your official results may need to be mailed to the Finance Department Doctoral Program office.

The English proficiency requirement (TOEFL or IELTS) is waived if you have completed a degree program in the U.S.

Yes, students on non-immigrant visas must certify that they possess adequate financial resources to support themselves (and their families if they accompany the student to the U.S.) while in residence at The University of Arizona. The financial guarantee is not needed by the application deadline. If you are admitted, you will then have to submit a guarantee for the appropriate amount to the UA Graduate College. Send all bank statements and/or letters of support with the financial guarantee to the UA Graduate College Admissions Office as soon as requested. Delays could hold up the processing of your admission and I-20 form.

Financial Guarantee Requirement | Arizona Global

Application Cycle

The deadlines for applications are:

  • October 15: Round 1 (Early Admission)
  • December 1: Round 2
  • February 1: Round 3 
  • April 1: Round 4
  • May 31: International Deadline
  • May 31: Final admissions date

Spring 2024 (for January 2024 admittance)
16-month program only
Must have finance and accounting prerequisites fulfilled for consideration

  • October 1: International Deadline
  • November 15: All Applications

All applications will be reviewed at one time, following the application deadlines above, but you may apply as early as October 1.

No, however applications are not considered complete until all paperwork is received. If you are scheduled to take the GMAT or TOEFL exams after the submission deadline, please include a note and the scheduled exam date with your application. Similarly, for recommendations and official transcripts, include a note indicating the school or reference and that these have been requested to be sent directly to our office. Once scores or transcripts are received, please email the documents to to be added with your application.

Course of Study

The MSF program normally takes 12 to 16 months to complete. Students start in the fall semester and have two options for the program length - a 12-month and 16-month option.  Students electing the 12-month option begin the program in midAugust and graduate the next August.  For the 16-month option, students begin the program in mid August and graduate the next December, normally leaving Tucson during the summer between the first year and final semester.

12-month option or 30 credit hours of coursework plus a summer project: The first fall semester you will take five classes, both courses required for your track of choice and electives. The second spring semester you will also take five classes, comprised of required courses for your track of choice and electives. During the summer, you take six credit hours for your Master's project, which may be completed in pairs, with your final presentation of the project to faculty in early August.

16-month option or 36 credit hours of coursework: The first fall semester you will take four classes, both courses required for your track of choice and electives. The second spring semester you will also take four classes, comprised of required courses for your track of choice and electives. During the final fall semester, you will also take four classes, comprised of any remaining required courses for your track of choice and optional electives.

Students in the 16-month option are not required to complete the six credit hour summer project.  However, if you do, a completed project will count as the equivalent of six credits toward your coursework requirement. As for students choosing the 12-month option, you will complete the project during the summer semester.  You take six credit hours for your Master's project, which may be completed in pairs, with your final presentation of the project to faculty in early August.  You will then only need to take two courses during your final fall semester of the program.

MSF vs. BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance

By pursuing the MSF degree, you distinguish yourself from other graduates by your willingness to immerse yourself in the year long analytical study of finance, demonstrating that you are truly interested in the study and application of financial skills. Company recruiters understand the dedication and commitment you required to complete a Masters degree in finance.

Because of the advanced analytical and technical financial skills you will develop in the year long program, the MSF degree places you in greater demand by company recruiters, such as investment management firms that need staff analysts with more technical training than you received in your undergraduate program. The MSF degree allows you to provide needed detailed analysis to decisions making managers, without the longer work experience and curriculum requirements of other graduate degrees.

The professional credential of an MSF may also position you to pursue a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation. Since the MSF program does not require prior work experience, you can complete and obtain a masters degree without major life disruption.

The MSF program is a very intensive, technical and analytical program and requires full-time focus on your part. Students who succeed in the program live and breathe the coursework, financial topics and current business, economic and market events. Compared to your undergraduate program, you will find the coursework more difficult, more demanding and much more time consuming. The reward is that you will be technically proficient in financial analysis in a broad-range of finance industries and positioned for advancement after you graduate.


The degree is aimed at producing trained finance professionals to work in money management and investment, capital markets and risk management, corporate finance in industrial and service organizations, banking, real estate finance and investment, and international organizations. Unlike more specialized Masters degree programs, the UA MSF program is not geared to a specific industry but rather is a broad general finance program that trains people to work in all areas of finance.

Our program graduates are working as financial professionals at Hewlett-Packard, UniSource Energy Corp., Barclays Global Investors, Honeywell, the United Nations, Morgan-Stanley, BlackRock, Equity Methods, Goldman Sachs, and Raytheon, to name some of the organizations.  Recent grads have also gone into corporate finance positions at Intel, Google, and Amazon.

Program Miscellaneous

The MSF degree is designed for people who wish to gain in-depth technical knowledge in the field of Finance. The MBA is a broader degree, with a focus on general business knowledge and management. MBAs can choose Master level Finance courses as electives. However, MBAs do not get the same level of exposure to technical financial analysis as those students pursuing an MSF.

Students may also obtain an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. This course of study allows students to meet the requirements of both programs. For more information on the MBA with a concentration in Finance, please visit the Eller Graduate School of Management full-time Eller MBA website.

The difference in focus between the MSF and MBA degrees is also seen in the admissions requirements. MSF applicants have often very recently completed a Bachelors degree. The focus in the MSF program is on strengthening and adding to the technical and analytical skills gained in undergraduate school and/or technical financial work experience. MBA applicants generally have at least three years of managerial work experience. Training in the MBA program builds on this work experience to develop the students' broad perspective of business, enhancing the students' managerial skills.

The most current information on funding your education and the cost of the program is available on our Return on Investment webpage.

You may contact the University of Arizona Office of Financial Aid for information on available financial aid and scholarships. You can also check the International Student Office website for additional information.

The rules and regulations for establishing Arizona residency are approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. Please visit the UA Graduate College website and the Arizona Board of Regents website for details on establishing residency.

The International Student Orientation : This orientation is mandatory for international students and is now available online through UA Global. The online international orientation can be completed during the summer and must be completed by early August. Once you are admitted, you can visit the International Student Programs and Services website for registration information at: Graduate Students | Arizona Global

Optional UA Graduate Orientation : For students new to campus, you may also wish to attend the Graduate College Orientation on one day in the middle of August, the week prior to the start of Fall semester. This orientation is hosted by the Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Council.  More information can be found on the Graduate College's website

Mandatory MSF Orientation : This orientation is generally held in mid- to late-August, before the start of classes for the Fall semester. The sessions will give you a chance to get to know your fellow students, meet the faculty, and to help with your career development and job search process. Business casual attire is recommended for both days. 

Housing and Transportation

The UA offers housing on campus to graduate students at La Aldea, a graduate student dorm approximately 1/2 mile from McClelland Hall, where all doctoral finance courses are held.

The most current information about off-campus housing is available through the UA Student Union ( It provides an up-to-date list of housing options and availability.

The University of Arizona campus and surrounding area is a dynamic part of Tucson's urban fabric. You'll find lots of information About the University of Arizona.

Tucson is a multicultural and evolving city in the Sonoran desert. Learn more about living in Tucson.

A number of options are available to students and described on the Parking and Transportation Options page.