Frequently Asked Questions

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree at The University of Arizona is an intense one calendar year program (August to August; Fall semester through Summer II semester). Effective Fall 2013, the degree was changed to an MS in Finance.

Admission Criteria and Procedures

What are the prerequisites of the program?

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.

Do I have to graduate and receive my Bachelors degree before I can apply?

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.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting?

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 UA Outreach College and details on the modules are provided by the Finance Department.

Is work experience required?

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.

What GMAT (or GRE) score do I need for admission?

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.

What if my GPA and(/or) GMAT are not high enough, but I still want to enroll?

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.

Where do I get an application package and what do I need to apply?

You can find a listing of the application package requirements on the Admissions Package Requirements page of Finance Departments 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. The Finance Department should receive one copy of your official transcripts (in sealed, stamped envelopes). All other application requirements will be completed online.

You should have original GMAT and TOEFL results sent to School Code #4832, Program Code 5ZT-9Z-04.

Specific Application Requirements

What standardized exams do you accept and how old can my score be?

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.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

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.

Do I need to send original transcripts?

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 envelop. Transcripts are not required for courses or degrees from The University of Arizona.

International Applicants

Do you accept International Students?

Yes, just remember that the preferred application deadline is December 1 for the following Fall semester. 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.

I am not a United States citizen but am living in the United States. Do I need to apply as an international student?

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. 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.

Do I need to take the TOEFL and how old can my score be?

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). For applicants taking the IELTS, please check the requirements at The UA Graduate College website.

Is a financial guarantee required?

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.

Application Cycle

When is my application due? When is the earliest I can apply for the program?

The deadlines for applications are:

December 1:   Early deadline.  Preferred for International Applications. 
Includes those currently studying in the U.S.

February 1:     Normal deadline, including Domestic Applications. 
U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.

All applications will be reviewed at one time, but you may apply as early as October 1.

Does my application need to be complete to apply?

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.

Course of Study

How long will it take to finish the MSF degree?

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 late August and graduate the next August.  For the 16-month option, students begin the program in late August and graduate the next December, normally leaving Tucson during the summer between the first year and final semester.

How many classes does a student take each 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 both six week summer semesters, you take three credit hours (a total of 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 both six week summer semesters.  You take three credit hours (a total of 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

I will be graduating with a BS - Finance, why should I pursue an MSF?

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.

What is the difference between the life of an MSF student and a Finance undergraduate student?

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.

Dual MBA/MSF Degree

What is the application process for applying to dual degree?

Students need to apply to each program and generally start with the MBA coursework. To obtain a dual MBA and MSF degree, the student must satisfy all requirements for the MBA degree, which includes a minimum of 55 units of coursework. The student must complete a minimum of an additional 18 units of coursework in the Finance Department.

How long will it take to finish the Dual degree?

The Dual MBA/MSF degree will normally take two to two and a half years to complete, or a total of four or five semesters not counting an internship under the MBA program.  The master's project for the MSF degree is normally completed in the summer of the second year, after the MBA degree is completed.

Dual degree MBA/MSF students normally complete the MBA and MSF coursework requirements by May of the second year, receiving their MBA degree that month.  The MSF degree is received in August of the second year after completing the finance master's project.

What courses count in both programs?

You will be allowed to count 18 units of MBA Finance elective courses toward the 36 units required for the MSF degree. To obtain the second degree (MSF) and dual MBA/MSF degrees, the student must complete an additional 18 units of coursework, including 12 units of coursework in the Finance Department plus the 6 units of MSF project requirement completed during the summer after graduation from the MBA program. [Note that neither FIN 510 (Survey of Finance) nor FIN 511 (Introduction to Finance), core requirements in the MBA programs, count toward the 36 units required for the MSF degree.]


What types of jobs can I apply for with my MSF degree?

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 degreed 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.

Where are past MSF graduates working?

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, and Raytheon, to name some of the organizations.

Program Miscellaneous

What is the difference between the MSF and MBA with a concentration in Finance?

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 website.

What is the difference between the MSF and MBA at admissions?

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.

How much does it cost for the MSF degree program? How do I obtain financial aid?

The most current information on funding your education and the cost of the program is available on our Funding Your Education 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.

How do I become an Arizona resident for university tuition purposes?

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 (

Are there mandatory orientations or other programs once I am admitted to the program?

The International Student Orientation : This orientation is mandatory for international students and takes place on campus two days during the second week of August.  Once you are admitted, you can visit the International Student Programs and Services website for registration information at:  

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.  Registration will be available at

Mandatory MSF Orientation : This orientation is generally held in late August, the Tuesday and Thursday 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 the day. 

Housing and Transportation

Where can I find information about the UA Graduate College dorm, La Aldea?

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 Master's in Finance courses are held.

Where can I find information about off-campus housing?

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.

What is it like at the UA?

The University of Arizona campus and surrounding area is a dynamic part of Tucson's urban fabric. You'll find lots of information at UA Future Students - Graduate & Professional Students.

What is it like living in Tucson?

Tucson is a multicultural and evolving city in the Sonoran desert. The Eller College MBA website provides a good overview at Living in Tucson.

What parking and transportation options are available?

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


For additional information, please contact us.