Finance Programs and Careers in Illinois

This guide outlines information for prospective students in Illinois looking to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance. Students pursuing a finance degree in Illinois have many online and on-campus options from highly esteemed universities offering Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Master of Science (MS) in Finance programs, as well as 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. Continue reading to learn more about these options for earning a finance degree in Illinois, as well as employment possibilities in the state for finance graduates.

Quick Facts

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with finance degree programs.

Table of Contents
Comparison of Finance Programs
Top-Ranked Schools with Finance Programs in Illinois
Select Schools in Illinois with Finance Degrees
Illinois Finance Careers and Salary Outlook
Finance Associations in Illinois

Illinois Finance Program Comparison

We have developed the following table to help you compare all of the finance programs in Illinois from not-for-profit schools that offer programs with a concentration in finance. In addition to allowing you to compare the business school’s accreditation, finance degrees that appear in bold are Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute University Affiliation Programs, those that have been recognized for curricula aligned to preparing for the CFA Exam.

School NameAccreditationFinance Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
Augustana CollegeBA-Business Administration: FinanceN.Av.83%$25,617$24,706
Aurora UniversityBS-FinanceN.Av.54%$15,750$17,906
Benedictine UniversityBBA-Finance;
MBA-Financial Management
Bradley UniversityAACSBBachelor of Finance;
Concordia University-ChicagoACBSPMBA-FinanceN.Av.47%Yes$15,678$17,051
DePaul UniversityAACSBBSB-Finance;
MS-Computational Finance;
Dominican UniversityAACSBBBA-Finance;
Eastern Illinois UniversityAACSBBSB-Finance;
Elmhurst UniversityBachelor of Finance;
Illinois CollegeBachelor of FinanceN.Av.63%$22,300$17,594
Illinois Institute of TechnologyAACSBMS-Finance;
MAS-Mathmatical Finance;
MBA-Corporate Finance
Illinois State UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Minor-Financial Planning
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityBA-Finance;
Lake Forest CollegeBachelor of Finance;
Lewis UniversityACBSPBS-Finance;
Loyola University ChicagoAACSBBBA-Finance;
Millikin UniversityACBSPBachelor of Finance;
North Central CollegeBBA-Finance;
North Park UniversityIACBEBS-Business: FinanceN.Av.62%$19,000$20,068
Northeastern Illinois UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Northern Illinois UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
UG Cert-Finance;
UG Cert-Financial Planning;
Grad Cert-Finance;
Grad Cert-Financial Risk Management;
Grad Cert-Fintech
Northwestern UniversityAACSBMBA-Finance27%94%$16,500$26,196
Quincy UniversityBS-Business: FinanceN.Av.53%$13,000$17,423
Roosevelt UniversityACBSPBSBA-FinanceN.Av.41%$18,459$24,036
Saint Xavier UniversityAACSBMBA-Finance;
MBA-Financial Fraud Examination & Management
Southern Illinois UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Trinity Christian CollegeACBSPBS-FinanceN.Av.67%$20,500$23,177
University of ChicagoAACSBMBA-Analytic Finance;
University of Illinois at ChicagoAACSBBS-Finance;
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignAACSBBS-Finance;
MS-Financial Engineering;
MBA-Financal Management
University of St. FrancisACBSPBBA-Finance;
Grad Cert-Finance
Western Illinois UniversityAACSBBachelor of Business-Finance;

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Top-Ranked Schools with Finance Programs in Illinois

Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019

  • The University of Chicago (#1)
  • Northwestern University (#3)

Georgetown CEW’s ROI Ranking by Long-Term Net Present Value 2019

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) has compared 4,500 colleges and universities on graduates’ return on investment (ROI). We use their net present value (NPV) ranking, which is the current dollar value of earning a four-year degree from the school over a 40-year horizon.

  • Illinois Institute of Technology (#59; $1,462,000)
  • Northwestern University (#61; $1,455,000)
  • University of Chicago (#70; $1,420,000)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#112; $1,299,000)
  • Illinois Wesleyan University; (#210 $1,196,000)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (#252; $1,156,000)
  • University of St. Francis (#297; $1,117,000)
  • Bradley University (#333; $1,092,000)
  • Loyola University Chicago (#377; $1,066,000)
  • DePaul University (#399; $1,059,000)7

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Business and Finance Majors 2020

  • Bradley University
  • DePaul University
  • Northwestern University
  • The University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

US News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Finance Programs 2021

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#16 tie)

US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Finance Programs 2021

  • The University of Chicago (#2)
  • Northwestern University (#13 tie)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#31 tie)

Select Schools in Illinois with Finance Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Aurora University

Aurora University (AU) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance. Students also have the option to pursue a double major with a BS in Finance plus either Business Administration or Actuarial Science. Experiential learning is emphasized in the analytically-oriented curriculum, which also offers competitive internship opportunities with major companies in the Chicago business corridor. Students can expect to take courses such as Principles of Financial Accounting; Financial Markets and Institutions; Investments and Portfolio Management; and Advanced Corporate Finance. For students interested in graduate study, AU also offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Plus One program, allowing students who complete the BS in Finance to earn an AU MBA with a specialization in finance with just one additional year of study.

Southern Illinois University

At Southern Illinois University (SIU) students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance with a specialization in Financial Management; Financial Institutions; or Investments. All tracks allow room in the plan of study for students to pursue areas of particular interest such as real estate or risk management through the selection of electives. Graduates are prepared to pursue entry-level finance roles in business and government as well as for graduate study. SIU also offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Finance (MFIN), and a Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF). The SIU College of Business and Analytics, in which the undergraduate and graduate finance programs are housed, is widely recognized for its academic rigor and faculty contributions to research. Students also benefit from access to an academic and career advising team dedicated to business school students.

Traditional Master’s Programs

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business offers a full-time Master of Business Administration (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 optional Analytic Finance concentration delves deeper into financial theories and their many applications for solving business problems. 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

Northwestern University’s (Northwestern) Kellogg School of Management offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Finance (FIN) or Analytical Finance (AFIN). Northwestern offers both a Full-Time MBA in Finance and an Evening & Weekend MBA in Finance, which is ideal for working students. The Finance concentration 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, Corporate Finance and Capital Markets. The Analytical Finance concentration 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 qualifying written exams in finance and corporate finance.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) 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 a 48-credit, three-semester program with a summer internship. While the MSF program covers a broad range of finance topics, 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 UIUC 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 and Hybrid Programs

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago’s (Loyola) Quinlan School of Business offers a Master of Science (MSF) that can be completed in a hybrid format with a combination of online and weekday evening classes in downtown Chicago. 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 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 (USF) 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 begin taking finance-specific courses during the first semester. Required courses include Entrepreneurship; Small Business Finance; International Finance; and Derivatives Valuation. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers like account analyst, comptroller, financial consultant, operations manager, and commercial lender. The School of Business at USF is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The school also offers dual master’s degrees including a Master of Science in Management (MSM) to Master of Business Administration (MBA), an MBA to Master of Science in Training and Development (MSTD), and a Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) to MBA degree.

Illinois Finance Careers and Salary Outlook

Illinois is a major financial hub with no shortage of opportunities for recent finance graduates. Financial institutions like Northern Trust, Cushman & Wakefield, Wintrust Financial, Chase, LaSalle Bank, and State Farm Insurance are all based in Illinois. 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 United Airlines, Grant Thornton, and Brewer Investment Group. Finance graduates may find positions in large enterprises such as these or in smaller companies across the state.

At the state level, personal financial advisors in Illinois make an average annual salary of $142,440, while financial managers earn an average of $146,350 annually.8 For comparison, as of 2019, the national average salary for personal financial advisors was $119,290 and for financial managers, $147,530.9,10 Illinois boasts the fourth-highest employment level of financial managers and the third-highest average salary for personal financial advisors, nationally.9,10 The Chicago metropolitan area has the third-highest employment level for financial managers out of all metro areas in the US as well as the third-highest employment level for loan officers.9,11

Predictions suggest that financial analyst jobs in Illinois should grow by 3.8% in the 10-year period between 2018 and 2028, though this is less than the national projected rate of 6.2%.12 Jobs for personal financial advisors are expected to grow by 5.9% in the state during the same time period, compared to the nationwide projection of 7% growth for this occupation.12

Illinois Finance Salary Information

OccupationNumber Employed8Average Salary8
Business and Financial Operations Occupations343,380$77,420
Financial and Investment Analysts and Other Specialists20,510$91,110
Financial Examiners2,010$100,540
Financial Managers41,900$146,350
Loan Officers12,310$78,740
Personal Financial Advisors7,800$142,440

Finance Associations in Illinois

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Finance Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-finance
5. US News & World Report Best Graduate Finance Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/finance-rankings
6. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools
7. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking ROI of 4,500 US Colleges and Universities: https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/CollegeROI/
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Illinois: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Personal Financial Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132052.htm
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113031.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Loan Officers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2018/may/oes132072.htm
12. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm