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Finance Schools in Illinois

Illinois is home to 12.8 million people, over 300,000 of whom are employed in the business and financial operations industries.1 This guide outlines information for prospective students in Illinois looking to obtain their master’s degree in finance. Students pursuing a graduate finance degree in Illinois have many online and residential options from highly esteemed universities offering Master of Science in Finance (MSF) programs or Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with finance specializations. Specialization options vary from analytic finance to mathematical finance to corporate finance to financial engineering. Many of these programs are flexible and can be completed with a part-time or evening schedule. Some online master’s in finance school options include special opportunities the like University of Illinois’s internship program or Southern Illinois University’s study abroad accompaniment.

Finance Program Stats

  • There are 29 four-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with finance degree programs in Illinois.2
  • 12 schools offer a master’s or advanced degrees in finance.2

Institution-Wide Facts

  • Highest graduation rate*: Northwestern University and University of Chicago, 94%.2
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Roosevelt University 47%.2
  • Highest net price per year*: Loyola University Chicago $34,934.2
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Illinois at Chicago $11,571.2
  • Annual undergraduate in-state tuition range for finance programs in Illinois*: $10,138-$53,649.2
  • 5 schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2016: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#37), Bradley University Foster College of Business (#42), Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business (#63), Illinois State University College of Business (#75), Northern Illinois University College of Business (#79).3
  • 4 schools in the US News Best Business Graduate Schools in 2017 (top 100): University of Chicago Booth School of Business (#3), Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (#4), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#40), DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business (#93).4

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

Schools in Illinois with Master’s in Finance Programs

Traditional Master’s in Finance Programs

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago‘s Booth School of Business offers more advanced finance classes than any other business school. Full-time graduate students interested in obtaining their finance master’s may choose to enroll in Chicago Booth’s Full-Time MBA program with a concentration in finance. The Finance concentration incorporates both corporate finance and investments, teaching risk and reward evaluation in a hands-on environment. The Analytic Finance concentration delves deeper into financial theories and their many applications for solving business problems. In 2016, 98.4% of Chicago Booth’s full-time MBA students received job offers within three months of graduation. Coursework is divided into foundation courses, functions, management, and business environment courses, electives, and one required leadership class. The Full-Time MBA comprises 20 total classes in addition to the Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) class.

Northwestern University

Graduate students in the Finance Department of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University can choose from the finance or analytical finance major (AFIN) as part of their MBA program. Northwestern offers both a Full-Time MBA in Finance and an Evening & Weekend MBA in Finance, which is ideal for working students. The Finance major serves as an excellent foundation for a multitude of careers, including money management, treasury roles, real estate, investment banking, insurance, venture capital, and corporate control positions and is broken into two primary areas, including Corporate Finance and Capital Markets. The AFIN major is designed to impart a more technical understanding of financial markets to students interested in more specialized finance careers. Northwestern’s Finance Department also offers accelerated options through waivers offered to students who have a solid background in finance and are able to pass two qualifying written waiver exams, one Accelerated Corporate Finance exam, one Finance I exam, and one Finance 2 exam.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who are interested in finance can enroll in the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) or the Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MSFE) program. The MSF is a 40-credit, 15-month program, and the MSFE is 48-credit, three-semester, resident degree program with a summer internship opportunity. While the MSF program covers a broad range of finance studies, the MSFE is particular to the financial asset sector. Financial engineering (FE) is a relatively young field that brings together two disciplines, providing an engineering approach to the management and analysis of financial issues. The MSFE program at Illinois is run by both the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE) in the College of Engineering and the Department of Finance in the College of Business. A bachelor’s degree and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required for admittance into the MSF program and a minimum GPA of 3.25 for the last two years of undergraduate study is required for admittance into the MSFE program.

Online Master’s in Finance Programs

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago‘s Quinlan School of Business offers a Master of Science (MSF) that can be completed in a hybrid format, with a combination of weekday evening classes in downtown Chicago and online classes. The MSF degree operates on a 10-week quarter system, and students can join the program during any quarter. Loyola’s MSF program prepares graduates to work in investment banking, insurance, and nonprofits and it connects students with a network of successful Chicago-area alumni. The program stands out from others because of its STEM designation, which is granted to programs that teach complex problem-solving in the field using both quantitative and technological tools, including coding. Loyola’s MSF consists of 12 courses, with required courses including Investment Management, Derivative Securities, and Credit Risk Management and Structured Finance. GRE or GMAT scores, a professional resume, and two letters of recommendation are required to apply. Loyola also offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA), an Executive MBA, and a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA).

University of St. Francis

The University of St. Francis offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Finance that is completed with a combination of on-campus and online courses and can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months. Students at USF are able to immediately dive into the finance concentration, which offers required courses such as Entrepreneurship Small Business Finance, International Finance, and Derivatives Valuation. Graduates should be prepared to enter career paths into positions like account analyst, comptroller, financial consultant, operations manager, and commercial lender. School of Business at USF is Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredited and also offers second master’s degrees including a Master of Science in Management (MSM) to MBA degree, an MBA to Master of Science in Training and Development (MSTD), and a Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) to MBA degree.

Illinois Career Opportunities for Graduates

Illinois is a major financial hub with no shortage of opportunities for recent finance graduates. Over 35,000 financial managers call Illinois home, making it the third-highest financial management employment state in the country.1,5 Financial institutions like Northern Trust, Wintrust Financial, Chase, LaSalle Bank, and State Farm Insurance are all based in Illinois, along with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)—one of the world’s largest futures exchanges. PepsiCo also has a strong presence in Illinois, relying on financial analysts to examine its vending and product offerings for risk and profitability. Other large companies that have headquarters in Illinois include Boeing, State Farm Insurance, Caterpillar Inc., and Brewer Investment Group. Master’s in finance graduates may find positions in large enterprises such as these or in smaller companies that make their home in the state.

Illinois Finance Job Information

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Salary
Business and Financial Operations Occupations323,350$73,730
Financial Analysts13,840$96,350
Financial Examiners2,030$100,300
Financial Managers35,170$127,710
Financial Specialists, All Other6,850$89,210
Loan Officers13,380$74,180
Personal Financial Advisors12,890$116,110

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2017.1

Illinois Salary and Job Outlook

At the state level, financial analysts in Illinois make an average annual salary of $96,350, while financial advisors earn an average of $116,110, and financial managers earn $127,710 annually.1 In 2016, the average national salary of financial analysts was $97,640, $123,100 for financial advisors, and $139,720 for financial managers, so Illinois financial professionals lag slightly behind.6 Illinois boasts the fourth-highest concentration of both financial managers and financial analysts.5,7 The Chicago metropolitan area has the second-highest employment level for both financial managers and financial analysts, and the Bloomington metropolitan area has the second-highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for both positions.5,7 Projections Central predicts that financial analyst jobs should grow by 7% in the 10-year period between 2014 and 2024, which is less than the national projected rate of 11.7%.8 Personal financial advisors are expected to grow by 18.9% in the state, which is high, but still not as high as the nation-wide projection of 29.6% growth in that industry.8

Additional Resources

  • Illinois Financial Services Association – A not-for-profit organization established to maintain and improve the industry of financial operations and services for consumers in Illinois.
  • Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Illinois – With councils in Chicago, North Shore, Northwest, West Suburban, and South Suburban, the FPA of Illinois has the largest membership of any FPA. It exists to support the financial planning industry and provide support to its members.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Chicago – The CFA Society Chicago is the first investment analysts’ society in the world and works with its members to promote ethical leadership, community, industry knowledge, professional excellence, and the greater good.
  • Graduate Finance Association (GFA) of Illinois – For students in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs who are interested in finance, the GFA works with the CFA of Chicago to offer opportunities, seminars, and exclusive interactions within the field.

Directory of Schools with Master’s in Finance Programs in Illinois

Bradley University
1501 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61625
(309) 676-7611
https://www.bradley.edu/

DePaul University
1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000
https://www.depaul.edu/Pages/default.aspx

Illinois Institute of Technology
10 W 35th St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 567-3000
https://web.iit.edu/

Lewis University
1 University Pkwy
Romeoville, IL 60446
(815) 838-0500
http://www.lewisu.edu/

Loyola University Chicago
1032 W Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000
https://www.luc.edu/

National Louis University
122 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(888) 658-8632
https://www.nl.edu/

Northwestern University
633 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 491-3741
http://www.northwestern.edu/

Saint Xavier University
3700 W 103rd St
Chicago, IL 60655
(844) 468-6798
http://www.sxu.edu/

University of Chicago
5801 S Ellis Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-1234
https://www.uchicago.edu/

University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-7000
https://www.uic.edu/

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-1000
http://illinois.edu/

University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 740-3400
https://www.stfrancis.edu/

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