Finance Programs and Careers in Iowa

This guide is designed to help students explore their options for finance studies in the state of Iowa. Iowa schools offer programs in finance from undergraduate certificates to master’s degrees. Students have the opportunity to pursue their own paths and focus on the finance courses that will best help them achieve their goals. Programs in Iowa also allow flexibility for working students by offering full-time, part-time, and online options. Below, prospective finance students and graduates will find useful information about schools, employers, professional organizations, and salary levels across the state.

Quick Facts

  • There are 14 colleges and universities with finance degree programs in Iowa.1
  • 7 schools offer a certificate in finance.1
  • 2 schools offer an associate’s degree in finance.1
  • 12 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in finance.1
  • 5 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in finance.1
  • No schools ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • 1 school ranked in Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Business and Finance Majors 2020.3
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Finance Programs 2020.4
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Finance Programs 2021.5

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

Table of Contents

Iowa Finance Program Comparison

We have developed the following table to help you compare all of the finance programs in Iowa 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.

SchoolAccreditationFinance Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
Cornell CollegeCertificate-Financial Management;
Certificate-Financial Success for Nonprofits;
Certificate-Commercial Real Estate;
Certificate-Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management;
BA-Business: Actuarial Science;
BA-Business: Finance
Dordt UniversityBA-Business Administration: Finance;
BA-Actuarial Science
Drake UniversityAACSBBS-Business Administration (BSBA): Actuarial Science;
BS-Business Administration (BSBA): Finance;
BS-Business Administration (BSBA): Actuarial Science/Finance;
Minor-Actuarial Science;
Minor-Risk Management and Insurance;
Graduate Certificate-Financial Asset Analysis;
Graduate Certificate-Financial Decision Making;
Graduate Certificate-Real Estate;
Graduate Certificate-Risk Management & Insurance;
MBA-Financial Management
Grand View UniversityBA-Business Administration: FinanceN.Av.55%Yes$18,000$19,035
Iowa State UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Graduate Certificate-Finance;
Master of Finance (MFIN);
Master of Real Estate Development (MRED)
Kirkwood Community CollegeAAS-Financial ServicesN.Av.32%$6,500$9,824
Loras CollegeBA-Finance;
Minor-Financial Planning and Wealth Management
Northeast Iowa Community CollegeCertificate-Agriculture Business: Agriculture Finance;
AAS-Agriculture Finance;
Northwestern CollegeIACBEBA-Business Administration: FinanceN.Av.68%$19,500$24,085
Saint Ambrose UniversityACBSPBA-Finance;
University of IowaAACSBBBA-Actuarial Science;
Master of Finance;
Master of Accounting (MAc)-Financial Accounting/Auditing
University of Northern IowaAACSBCertificate-Financial Analysis;
Certificate-Financial and Real Estate Sales for Business Majors;
BA-Real Estate;
Minor-Real Estate;
Minor-Real Estate: Business
Upper Iowa UniversityBS-Business Administration: Finance;
BS-Financial Management;
Minor-Financial Management;
Postgraduate Certificate-Corporate Financial Management;
MBA-Corporate Financial Management

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

Top-Ranked Schools with Finance Programs in Iowa

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.

  • Drake University (#223; $1,185,000)
  • University of Iowa (#317; $1,104,000)
  • Iowa State University (#353; $1,080,000)
  • Saint Ambrose University (#724; $957,000)
  • Mount Mercy University (#792; $944,000)
  • University of Northern Iowa (#827; $936,000)
  • Loras College (#866; $927,000)
  • Grand View University (#1,017; $896,000)
  • Upper Iowa University (#1,198; $862,000)
  • Cornell College (#1,256; $853,000)7

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

  • Iowa State University

Select Schools in Iowa with Finance Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Cornell College

Cornell College offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business with a Finance concentration that can help students prepare for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 exam. The four-year degree focuses on experiential learning with opportunities for off-campus study and internships in large cities and abroad. Classes are delivered through Cornell’s “One Course at a Time,” in which students take a single course at a time in a block schedule. The 31-course degree requires students to take 12 courses towards the Business major, including finance courses such as Financial Accounting, Introduction to Financial Management, Investments, and Asset Valuation. Admission to Cornell requires the submission of a high school transcript and a personal essay. ACT or SAT scores are optional. Business students seeking careers in Finance may also be interested in the school’s BA in Business with a Business Analytics concentration.

Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University offers students a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance that seeks to prepare students for careers across the finance field by tying together instruction on current practices, theory, and professional standards. The full-time, four-year program is designed to help students prepare for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. Mount Mercy’s Finance curriculum requires 36 credit hours of core business courses and 18 credit hours of coursework towards the finance major. Finance courses offered include Risk Management, Cases in Finance, Securities Analysis, and Applied Financial Reporting. To graduate from the program, students must have a minimum of a C- in all finance courses and specific business core courses. Students applying to Mount Mercy must have a high school GPA of at least 2.75 and a minimum ACT composite score of 20.

St. Ambrose University

St. Ambrose University (SAU) hosts a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Finance that will immerse students in finance and business and allow them to tailor the curriculum to meet specific career goals. The four-year curriculum is offered full-time and requires students to complete 24 credits towards the Finance major. Finance students can pursue concentrations in Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurial, Financial Analyst, Financial Planning, or Financial Investment. All Finance majors must complete major courses such as Investment in a Global Environment, Derivatives, Corporate Finance, and a final Finance Capstone that will allow students to shadow industry professionals and apply learning in a case study. Students applying to SAU must have a high school GPA of at least 2.5. SAU students from other majors may be interested in pursuing a Finance minor to supplement their education.

Traditional Master’s Programs

Iowa State University

Iowa State University’s Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business offers a 30-credit Master of Finance (MFin), which can be completed in one year. The STEM-designated program emphasizes quantitative methods and finance skills beyond what a traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) typically offers. The 30-credit hour curriculum includes six core courses and three electives. Subjects covered include corporate finance, financial analysis, derivatives, and real estate. Enrollment in the MFin requires a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable GMAT score. The GMAT requirement may be waived for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or above. Iowa State offers MFin students career services designed for business and finance students, including personalized career advising, career development workshops, and access to employer databases for job searching. A dual-degree program is also available for students interested in seeking an MBA.

University of Iowa

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa (UIowa) offers a STEM-designated Master of Finance (MFIN) that offers hands-on experience managing investment funds and providing consulting services. The MFIN requires 45 credit hours and can be completed in as little as three semesters when taken full-time. The curriculum consists of core courses and regular and experiential learning electives. Courses include Corporate Financial Reporting; Managerial Finance; and Financial Modeling and Firm Valuation. MFIN students will have the opportunity to advise and potentially manage one of UIowa’s two student-managed funds, the Henry Fund and the Hart Fund, which collectively control more than six million dollars. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. For students seeking a broader education, UIowa offers a Master of Finance and Business Analytics joint degree.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Grand View University

Grand View University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration with a Finance concentration that can be completed entirely online. The program is available either full-time or part-time through evening and weekend classes and seeks to help students connect finance theory to hands-on applications. Coursework for the degree program is broken up into 14 credits of prerequisite courses, 33 credits towards the Business Administration major, and 15 credits towards the Finance concentration. The curriculum includes classes such as Investments, Corporate Finance, and Financial Accounting. Students must have a 2.2 or higher GPA in all major coursework to graduate. Applicants to the program must provide academic transcripts any previous post-secondary schools attended. Applicants with fewer than 24 college credits must provide a high school transcript and an ACT or SAT score.

Drake University

The Drake University Zimpleman College of Business offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Financial Management that can be taken as a hybrid program with approximately 50% of the program being delivered online. The 39-credit hour program will help students hone business skills such as analytics and project management and develop the skills necessary to take leadership roles. Courses consist of 27 credits of required courses including Leading with Data and Project Management; nine credits towards the Finance concentration such as Financial Statement Analysis and Equity Evaluation; and three, one-credit professional development seminars. A bachelor’s degree and either a GMAT or GRE score are required for admission to the MBA program. The testing requirement may be waived for applicants with a 3.25 or higher undergraduate GPA and five years of professional experience or a terminal degree with at least a 3.0 GPA; or current or recent Drake business students with a 3.25 GPA or better. Students may also be interested in Drake’s graduate certificate programs in Real Estate; Risk Management & Insurance; or Financial Decision Making.

Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University (UIU) offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Corporate Financial Management that can be completed partially or entirely online. The 36-credit MBA program is structured to teach business skills students can apply in a variety of fields. Students may enroll part-time or full-time, with full-time students able to complete the program in as little as one year. The core MBA curriculum consists of five courses and an MBA capstone course in which students will research, develop, and present a business proposal or report. The Corporate Financial Management emphasis requires six further courses in topics such as risk management, financial strategy, and managing investments. Graduation from the MBA program requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA and a 3.0 GPA on the most recent 60 hours of coursework. UIU also offers a Post-graduate Certificate in Corporate Financial Management for students not ready to commit to a degree program.

Iowa Finance Careers and Salary Outlook

Recent graduates in Iowa have many opportunities for employment in the state. Agriculture and food production are top industries in Iowa, making it headquarters to large companies such as A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing Company and Hy-Vee, which rely on finance- and business-savvy employees. Many banks and financial institutions are also located in the state of Iowa. Principal Financial Group is headquartered in Des Moines, managing approximately $701 billion with a workforce of nearly 18,000 people. Large financial companies have offices in Iowa, such as TransAmerica’s Cedar Rapids office. Other large banks in Iowa include United Bank of Iowa in Ida Grove and Bank Iowa in West Des Moines.

Finance jobs in Iowa are on the rise, with most financial positions projected to grow faster than the national average over the next 10 years.8 The Des Moines area is a hub for financial professionals, currently seeing the fourth-highest concentration of loan officers in the country with 4.56 of every thousand jobs, and the fifth-highest concentration of financial managers among metropolitan areas in the US with 9.38 of every 1,000 jobs.9,10 Projections Central forecasts financial manager positions in Iowa are projected to grow by 21.6% through 2028 compared to the national average of 16%.8 Financial examiners will also see significant job growth, with an 11.1% increase in jobs projected in Iowa compared to 7.1% nationally.8 Financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 12.2% in Iowa through 2028 compared to the national average rate of 6.2%.8 Iowa sees high employment in nonmetropolitan areas among some financial professions. Southeast Iowa ranks second in the nation for nonmetropolitan employment of financial managers, with 900 professionals, and ranks fourth in the US for the employment of personal finance managers in nonmetropolitan areas, with 200 personal finance managers working in the region.9,11 While job growth is projected to be high in Iowa, salaries tend to be lower than the national average. For example, financial examiners in Iowa earn an average of $68,580 as compared to $92,330 nationally.12,13

Iowa Finance Job Information

OccupationNumber Employed12Average Salary12
Business and Financial Operations Occupations74,630$67,5780
Financial and Investment Analysts and Other Specialists4,160$79,910
Financial Examiners1,180$68,580
Financial Managers8,630$116,590
Loan Officers4,670$68,420
Personal Financial Advisors1,620$86,480

Finance Associations in Iowa

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. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113031.htm
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Loan Officers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132072.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Personal Financial Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132052.htm
12. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Iowa: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ia.htm
13. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Financial Examiners: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132061.htm