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Finance Programs and Careers in Washington DC

Schools in Washington DC offer a number of different finance degrees, from business programs with concentrations in finance to more focused finance programs. Some universities also offer specialization tracks or preparation for professional designation examinations such as Certified Financial Analyst (CFA). Students can choose from full-time, part-time, on-campus, and online formats, allowing them to find programs that fit their schedules. Graduates with degrees in finance may find numerous opportunities to work in Washington DC after finishing their studies.

Quick Facts

  • There are 7 colleges and universities with finance degree programs in Washington DC.1
  • 3 schools offer a certificate in finance.1
  • No schools offer an associate’s degree in finance.1
  • 7 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in finance.1
  • 4 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in finance.1
  • 1 school ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • No schools ranked in Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Business and Finance Majors 2020.3
  • 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Finance Programs 2021.4
  • 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
Comparison of Finance Programs
Top-Ranked Schools with Finance Programs in Washington DC
Select Schools in Washington DC with Finance Degrees
Washington DC Finance Careers and Salary Outlook
Finance Associations in Washington DC

Washington DC Finance Program Comparison

We have developed the following table to help you compare all of the finance programs in Washington DC 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
American UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Minor-Finance;
Graduate Certificate-Islamic Finance;
Graduate Certificate-Real Estate;
Graduate Certificate-Public Financial Management;
MPA-Public Financial Management;
MA-Economics: Financial Economics;
MS-Finance;
MS-Real Estate
56.9%79%$19,926$40,469
Catholic University of AmericaBS-Business Administration-Finance;
BS-International Economics and Finance;
Minor-Actuarial Science;
Minor-Finance;
N.Av.72%$23,987$36,331
Gallaudet UniversityACBSPBS-Business Administration: Finance;
BS-Risk Management and Insurance
N.Av.51%$10,250$15,639
George Washington UniversityAACSBBS-Finance;
Graduate Certificate-Budget and Public Finance;
Graduate Certificate-Financial Management;
MPA-Budget and Public Finance;
MPP-Budget and Public Finance;
MS-Applied Finance;
MS-Finance
40.1%82%Yes$21,500$38,829
Georgetown UniversityAACSBCertificate-Budget and Finance;
Certificate-Managerial Finance;
BS-Business Administration: Finance;
MA-Economics:Financial Economics;
MS-Finance (MSF);
MPS-Real Estate
60.4%95%Yes$14,750$28,442
Howard UniversityAACSBBBA-Finance;
MS-Finance (MSF)
41.9%65%$23,000$21,428
University of the District of ColumbiaACBSPBBA-Business Management: FinanceN.Av.13%$11,500$15,886

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

Top-Ranked Schools with Finance Programs in Washington DC

Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019

  • Georgetown University (#31)

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.

  • Georgetown University (#9; $1,950,000)
  • George Washington University (#71; $1,418,000)
  • American University (#205; $1,199,000)
  • Catholic University of America (#272; $1,135,000)
  • Howard University (#570; $997,000)
  • University of the District of Columbia (#2,347; $712,000)
  • Gallaudet University (#2,978; $634,000)7

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

  • Georgetown University (#16 tie)
    • Select Schools in Washington DC with Finance Degrees

      Traditional Undergraduate Programs

      Gallaudet University

      Gallaudet University confers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) that is designed to provide students with a knowledge of the resources necessary to identify and manage risk for financial institutions and recommend appropriate insurance options. The RMI program requires 120 credit hours, of which 88 credits are taken from the RMI coursework. Students in the four-year program must maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 to remain in the program. RMI major requirements include classes such as Enterprise Risk Management, Underwriting, Insurance Company Operations, and at least one internship in the field. Applicants to the program must have a high school diploma or equivalent and take the ACT or SAT. Gallaudet also offers a BS in Business Administration with a Finance major.

      Catholic University of America

      The Catholic University of America (CUA) grants a Bachelor of Science (BS) in International Economics and Finance that seeks to provide students with a solid financial background and an understanding of the global economy. The four-year program is available to honors students, who must maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA to remain in the program. The International Finance and Economics curriculum requires 120 credit hours, including 18 credits of core business and economics courses and 30 credits towards the International Economics and Finance concentration. Classes in the program cover topics such as data economics, international trade, and corporate finance, leading to a comprehensive exam taken in the program’s final year. Applicants to the program must have graduated high school and completed a college preparatory curriculum.

      University of the District of Columbia

      The School of Business and Public Administration at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Business Management with a concentration in Finance that will help students learn how to evaluate and analyze financial statements and understand how the principles of economics and finance apply internationally. The Finance major is a full-time, four-year program that requires 125 credit hours to complete, including a capstone class in the final semester. Coursework is divided between general education, business core, business elective, and finance courses. UDC’s Finance curriculum incorporates subjects like Financial Institutions and Capital Markets; International Finance, Security Analysis; and Financial Management. Admission to the BBA program requires a high school diploma or equivalent with a GPA of at least 2.0 and a sufficient ACT or SAT score. Finance students and graduates have access to Handshake, UDC’s career services portal.

      Traditional Master’s Programs

      American University

      American University’s Kogod School of Business has a Master of Science (MS) in Finance program designed for students seeking professional certification, career advancement, or to expand their understanding of finance. The program helps students prepare for professional certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). Courses such as Fixed Income Analysis; Financial Intermediation in Emerging Markets; and Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management are available in the 33-credit hour curriculum. Students can also gain real-world experience by participating in the Student Managed Investment Fund Program, managing over $500,000 in assets, or on the virtual trading floor in the Financial Services and IT Lab. Applicants to the program without prior business coursework may need to take up to 15 credits of prerequisite courses. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree and a satisfactory score on the GMAT or GRE.

      George Washington University

      The School of Business at George Washington University (GWU) offers a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree that combines quantitative and computer skills with financial theory. The 48-credit hour program can be completed on a full-time basis in 12 months or on a 24-month track with courses held in the evenings and on Saturdays developed for working professionals. MSF students will take 12 required courses, including Financial Theory and Research; Global Financial Markets; and Financial Engineering and Derivative Securities. Students can take advantage of the Graduate Career Center to find resources for career opportunities and networking events. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and have the option to submit a GMAT score. Students without a background in business or economics may need to complete additional prerequisites. GWU also offers an MS in Applied Finance.

      Howard University

      Howard University offers a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) to help students develop the skills needed to solve complex financial problems and practical issues in finance and risk management. The program is offered full-time and takes one year to complete on either a two-semester or three-semester track. Most students will need to take 10 required classes to complete the degree, but Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholders may waive Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management, completing the degree with only nine classes. Other courses in the MSF curriculum include Macroeconomics for Business; Financial Markets and Institutions; and Financial Statement Analysis. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an acceptable GMAT score. It is recommended that applicants have one to three years of professional experience. No GMAT is required for CFA Charterholders.

      Online and Hybrid Programs

      Georgetown University

      Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business offers a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree that can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format. The program is structured for working professionals interested in advancing their business and technical finance skills. The program is presented in a blended format, combining synchronous and independent study classes. Students can study on either a part-time or a full-time track, and full-time students can switch to the part-time track should an employment opportunity arise. The degree requires 21 months and at least 32 credit hours to complete. Despite being a primarily online program, the MSF does require some in-person study, including a week-long on-campus residency near the start of the program and a Global Consulting Residency capstone in the program’s final spring. The curriculum includes core classes such as Financial Markets, Corporate Finance, Financial Econometrics, and Principled Financial Leadership. Enrollment in the MSF program requires a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable score on either the GMAT or GRE.

      Washington DC Finance Careers and Salary Outlook

      Washington DC provides many different opportunities for finance graduates. One of Washington DC’s main employers is the federal government and industries based around the federal government’s work. Graduates may find opportunities to work as government financial officers or in associated financial or accounting roles. Many national professional and trade associations such as the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), non-profit organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and research groups such as the Smithsonian Institute are based in Washington DC and offer positions in finance and administration. The DC area is home to many large national and international financial institutions, such as Capital One and Freddie Mac, and investment firms, such as The Carlyle Group and Strategic Investment Group. Students in finance schools in DC may be able to secure internships or job placements in the public or private sector.

      Washington DC is home to over 16,000 financial professionals.8 The District of Columbia has a higher average salary for financial managers than any state aside from New York and New Jersey.9 The wider DC metro area ranks fifth in the nation for average financial manager salaries among US metropolitan areas.9 Financial manager positions earn an average of $172,680 annually in DC, higher than the national average of $147,530.9 Financial examiners in Washington DC are also some of the highest-paid in the nation, earning an average of $163,460 annually, a higher average salary than any state in the country.10 The DC metro area has the third-highest employment levels for financial analysts among US metro areas, with 19,000 financial analysts; and the seventh-highest employment levels for loan officers in the country, at 7,000 positions.11,12 Financial analyst positions in Washington DC are projected to grow by 17.6% through 2028, faster than the projected national rate of growth of 6.2%.13 Personal financial advisor growth in Washington DC is also expected to outpace the national average through 2028, growing at a rate of 17.9% as opposed to an expected 7% for the US as a whole.13

      Washington DC Finance Salary Information

      OccupationNumber Employed8Average Salary8
      Business and Financial Operations Occupations109,420$100,310
      Financial and Investment Analysts and Other Specialists7,360$106,490
      Financial Examiners650$163,460
      Financial Managers7,200$172,680
      Loan Officers430$86,880
      Personal Financial Advisors810$150,310

      Finance Associations in Washington DC

      References:
      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, District of Columbia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_dc.htm
      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, Financial Examiners: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132061.htm
      11. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Financial and Investment Analysts, Financial Risk Specialists, and Financial Specialists, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132098.htm
      12. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Loan Officers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132072.htm
      13. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm