Finance Schools in California

This guide provides information on master’s in finance degrees in California to help you make an informed decision to reach your educational goals. California’s finance degree programs provide an opportunity for an in-depth understanding of financial practices within the business world. Many of these programs are accelerated and can be completed in under two-years. Some, such as California Lutheran University and Golden Gate University San Francisco, are offered fully online or through hybrid programs. Finance schools in California are nestled in close proximity to major financial institutions, making them ideal for students to enter the business world after graduation. If you are ready to search for finance jobs in California, see our up-to-date job listings. If you are a working professional and are interested in earning your degree online, you may want to read our Guide to Earning a Master’s Degree Online.

Finance Program Stats

  • There are 23 four-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with finance degree programs in California.1
  • 16 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in finance.1

Institution-Wide Facts

  • Highest graduation rate*: Claremont McKenna College, 93%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Point Loma Nazarene University, 26%.1
  • Highest net price per year*: Loyola Marymount University $40,946.1
  • Lowest net price per year*: California State University-Northridge $6,574.1
  • Annual undergraduate in-state tuition range for finance programs in California: $6,587-$52,283.1
  • 5 schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2016: Chapman University (#34) University of California – Berkeley (#36), Santa Clara University (#51), University of San Diego (#53), California Polytechnic State University (#59).2
  • 9 schools in the US News Best Business Graduate Schools in 2017 (top 100): Stanford University Graduate School of Business (#4), University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business (#7), University of California-Los Angeles Anderson School of Management (#15), University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (#24), University of California-Davis Graduate School of Management (#42), University of California-Irvine Paul Merage School of Business (#44), Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School (#65), University of California-San Diego Rady School of Management (#82), University of California-Riverside A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (#93).3

*For not-for-profit 4-year colleges and universities that offer a finance degree program.

Schools in California with Master’s in Finance Degrees

Traditional Master’s in Finance Programs

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business offers a Master of Science in Finance (MSF). This full-time, accelerated program is designed to be completed in three terms, beginning during the summer semester with graduation the following May. The program starts with a week-long orientation designed to promote team building and alumni networking. This orientation also features an intensive math course to prepare students for classes in risk analysis and portfolio management. The master’s degree in finance at USC provides specialized career advising, including peer-to-peer mentoring, on-campus career fairs, and connections to global sector leads. Priority for merit-based scholarships is given to those who apply by January, with a final deadline in March. An undergraduate degree from an accredited university and GRE/GMAT scores are required to apply. The acceptance rate is around 8% and each class is approximately 60-75 students.

University of California San Diego

The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego offers a “STEM Designated” Master of Finance program. The 10-month, full-time curriculum is designed to prepare students for the Chartered Financial Analyst exam and a variety of careers in finance. Featured classes range from Financial Econometrics and Empirical Methods, Business Forecasting, and Real Estate Finance. This master’s in finance curriculum also includes a course entitled Capstone: Applied Finance Project, a project-based course that gives students hands-on financial project management experience. Students can participate in organizations such as the Student Finance Association and the Graduate Business Student Association, along with business based fraternities like Alpha Kappa Psi and Delta Sigma Pi. Post-university work, internship, and research experience is recommended before applying, as well as previous coursework in linear algebra, differential equations, and advanced statistics and probability. Early decision is available for applicants before November 1 and a final deadline of June 1 (April 1 for international applicants) for Fall semester.

Santa Clara University

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is a flexible program that can be completed either part-time or full-time. The foundation classes are accelerated and full-time students can complete the degree in one year. Classes include Financial Accounting, Statistical Methods, and Investments. Non-finance electives are also available for students in their final two quarters. Notable alumni work for corporations such as Maxim Integrated, Tibco Software, and Apple. Application deadlines for the Fall semester are in April and June. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, as well as GMAT or GRE scores, is required for admittance. The average undergraduate GPA for incoming students is 3.21 and an average GMAT/GRE score of 603/309. All accepted students are eligible for a merit-based scholarship as well as federal and private loans.

Online Master’s in Finance Programs

California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Financial Planning that is available fully online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Online courses are structured in five eight-week terms. This 45-unit program MBA can be completed in 12-36 months and offers two tracks, one designed to prepare students for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam and one designed for students who already have CFP certification. Both tracks offer courses in Business Ethics and Law, Macroeconomics for Investments, and Behavioral Finance. Admitted students may begin the MBA in Financial Planning program during any term. California Lutheran University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University also offers an MBA with a specialization in finance. The finance track features courses in Buyouts and Acquisitions, Behavioral Finance, and Real Estate Investments. This MBA program can be completed entirely online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format and takes 12-36 months to complete. This finance degree requires eight core courses, two emphasis courses, and four courses aligned with their chosen professional track. Applicants are accepted year-round and require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and GMAT scores. The university holds regular special networking events, including the Entrepreneur Speakers Series and the New Venture Competition. Graduates from this finance school have gone on to work at financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch.

Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University in San Francisco offers an online or hybrid Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree. Hybrid courses are offered at the campus in San Francisco. This master’s in finance degree has three different concentrations: general finance, corporate finance, and investment management, all requiring 18 units (or six courses). Unlike an MBA, this curriculum does not give a broad overview of business practices, but instead focuses on financial matters particular to finance careers such as corporate banking and financial analysis. Golden Gate University’s online class portal allows students to confer with one another and with faculty 24 hours a day. Courses include Accounting for Managers, Corporate Finance, Financial Modeling, and Investments. GMAT or GRE scores are required to apply. Golden Gate University offers an Alumni Career Network, LinkedIn Group, and online tools and eLearning opportunities.

California Career Opportunities for Graduates

California is leading the country in economic growth and the financial sector is a prominent one in the state. Many financial institutions are headquartered in California, including Wells Fargo, Bank of California, and Omni Bank. San Francisco and Los Angeles also hold regional headquarters to major commercial and investment banks, such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, making it a leading financial center in the west coast. These prominent financial institutions are creating a healthy job growth throughout the state, making California ideal for graduates to start a financial career.

California Finance Job Information

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Salary
Business and Financial Operations Occupations938,330$82,910
Financial Analysts34,100$109,650
Financial Examiners4,300$103,340
Financial Managers70,540$152,650
Financial Specialists, All Other14,390$80,390
Loan Officers38,100$85,110
Personal Financial Advisors24,580$143,570

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2017.4

California Salary and Job Outlook

The financial sector offers promising job growth and good salaries in California. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for all business and financial operations jobs in California in 2016 was $82,910.5 Specifically, financial analysts in California earned an average of $109,650 a year, higher than the national average of $97,640; and personal financial advisors earn $143,570, well over the national average of $123,100.6,7 California is also one of the largest employers of financial analysts and personal financial advisors in the country, second only to New York.6,7 It is the third-highest paying state in the country for financial analysts as well as the second-highest paying state for personal financial advisors.6,7 The state has the highest concentration of financial managers and financial specialists (all other) in the country.8,9 The California financial sector is expected to continue to prosper, with an expected 13% job growth for financial managers and 19.7% for financial analysts over the 10-year period between 2014 and 2024.10

Additional Resources

Directory of California Master’s in Finance Programs

California Lutheran University
60 W Olsen Rd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
(805) 492-2411

Chapman University
1 University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 997-6815

Claremont Graduate University
150 E 10th St
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-8000

Claremont McKenna College
888 Columbia Ave
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-8000

Golden Gate University San Francisco
536 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 442-7000

Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 436-1000

La Sierra University
4500 Riverwalk Pkwy
Riverside, CA 92505
(951) 785-2000

Lincoln University
401 15t St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 628-8010

National University
9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(800) 628-8648

Saint Mary’s College of California
1928 St Marys Rd
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000

Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
(408) 554-4000

University of California – Riverside
900 University Ave
Riverside, CA 92521
(951) 827-1012

University of California – San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr
La Jolla, CA 92093
(858) 534-2230

University of La Verne
1950 3rd St
La Verne, CA 91750
(909) 593-3511

University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600

University of Southern California
3551 Trousdale Pkwy
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-2311

1. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/. Bloomberg, Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-best-undergrad-business-schools/
3. US News & World Report, Best Business Schools in 2017: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016, Financial Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132051.htm
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016, Personal Financial Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132052.htm
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113031.htm
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016, Financial Specialists, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132099.htm
10. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: