Course Link pop-ups require javascript, but without, links simply open target page as expected
Header Photo

Master of Science in Financial Services Program

Rajneesh Sharma, Ph.D. Chair, Finance

David Benglian, Program Director

Program Objective

The goal of the Master of Science in Financial Services is to provide students with the specialized knowledge required to pursue a career in the financial services industry, as a financial planner, financial analyst, or investment analyst. The program is designed to provide interested students the academic background needed to sit for the CFA or CFP® examinations.

Admission Requirements

A completed application form

non-refundable $35 application fee

official transcripts indicating receipt of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;

International applicants are no longer required to submit a credentials evaluation—transcript evaluations will be performed by Admissions staff. However, applicants already possessing a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts are encouraged to submit this in place of original transcripts. For those who do not possess a course-by­course evaluation, an official record of all college and university academic studies and results of state and/or national examinations taken are required. Academic records must include the name of each individual course, the grade earned, and the grading scale used. Documents must be submitted in one’s native language with an official English translation. The Graduate Operations Office performs all international credential evaluations. Foreign documents, credentials and transcripts must be official (sealed and sent directly from the institution). Only originals or photocopies officially stamped and attested by a school official (Registrar, Principle, or Controller of Examinations) are accepted. Faxes, scanned or notarized copies or copies attested by a department head cannot be accepted as official. All credentials submitted to the Graduate Operations Office become property of the University and cannot be returned.

two (2) letters of recommendation from former professors and/or employers

a written statement or essay of academic and career goals

a resumé

official scores on Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE); Scores on the GMAT or GRE must have been taken within five years of the student’s application; applicants with at least three years of professional experience and a CFP® or a CFA professional certification will be exempt from the GMAT or GRE. Applicants holding a CPA will also be exempt. Applicants holding other professional certifications with at least five years of professional experience may request a personal interview as a substitute for the GMAT/GRE requirement. Applicants holding a CPA will also be exempt. Applicants holding other professional certifications with at least five years of professional experience may request a personal interview as a substitute for the GMAT/GRE requirement.

Foreign applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Arrangements should be make by writing directly to TOEFL, Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., 08541-6141. Students already in the Philadelphia area who do not have a TOEFL score may be admitted following satisfactory performance on the English test administered at the ELS Center on the Saint Joseph’s University campus. A minimum score of 550, internet based TOEFL 80, or 213 on computerized test on the TOEFL is required to take any course in the Program. An official IELTS score of 6.5 or an official PTE score of 60 is also acceptable. Qualified students who complete Level 112 at the ELS Language Center and receive a strong, positive letter of recommendation from the Center can begin their studies with the official TOEFL score. Applicants are required to register with the Word Education Services (WES) to have an official course-by-course evaluation of their undergraduate work. Additional information on WES transcript evaluation can be obtained by visiting them at Foreign applicants seeking an F-1 student visa must also supply a statement of financial support.

Retention Policies

Grading, Probation, Dismissal, and Failure

The grading system in effect at Saint Joseph’s University will apply to courses in the M.S. Program. Student advising will be the responsibility of the Program Director, but students are encouraged to share their academic and career expectations with members of the faculty who teach in the program.

As per university guidelines for graduate study, students enrolled in the M. S. in Financial Services Program who receive a single grade of C or below will receive a warning letter. Students who receive a grade of C or below for six (6) credit hours will be placed on academic probation and will be so notified in writing by the Program-Director. Students receiving a grade of C or below for nine (9) credit hours will be dismissed from the program.

To graduate, students must fulfill all credit hour requirements for the M. S. degree. Each candidate for graduation must have at least 3.0 cumulative GPA, no more than two grades below a C, and no F grades outstanding in order to be certified for graduation. The program director with support from the Registrar’s Office is responsible for monitoring student academic progress throughout the course of the program.

Retention Processes and Policies

Students enrolled in the M. S. in Financial Services Program have six years to complete their M.S. degree from Saint Joseph’s University. This six-year limit begins with the student’s first 5000 level course registration. Extensions beyond this limit can only be made with the approval of the Dean, and only for unusual and serious circumstances.

Students who exceed the time limit to complete the M.S. Program will be dismissed from the program. Such students may reapply for admission into the program as new students and start the program with no credit from the previous courses taken.

Graduation/Commencement Policies

Students must complete all course requirements prior to graduation. Upon petition to the Dean, students may be permitted to take part in commencement exercises if they will be completing their graduate studies by August.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available to students who have been admitted into the program. In exchange for carrying out assigned duties in the Department, students receive tuition assistance as well as a monthly stipend. For more information, please contact the Graduate Business Programs Office.


The Master of Science degree in Financial Services requires completion of 30 to 42 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in courses taken at SJU. The degree can be completed in 30 credits (10 classes) by completing the Advanced Program if the Foundation Requirements can be met through acceptable undergraduate transfer credit, challenge, or CLEP exams. Students granted a business administration bachelor’s degree from an AACSB accredited program within 10 years of beginning the MS program normally take 30 semester credits to complete their degree.

Courses carry three semester credits unless otherwise noted. All course prerequisites must be satisfied prior to enrolling in a given course; prerequisites are indicated in the section on Course Descriptions. Students may be admitted to Advanced Program courses before completion of the entire Foundation Program, but must complete the Foundation Program by the time that twelve (12) credits have been earned in the Advanced Program Students may transfer up to a maximum of nine credits from outside St. Joseph’s University. The Math Proficiency Requirement may be met by taking DSS 500 (one course), CLEP College Algebra exam, or a challenge exam.

Six courses in the MSFS program satisfy the education requirements of the CFP

® certification examination and have been registered as such by the CFP Board. These courses are ACC 601 Tax Planning for Management Decision-Making, FIN 601 Personal Financial Planning, FIN 602 Portfolio Management, FIN 604 Personal Insurance Planning, FIN 605 Pensions and Benefits Administration, and FIN 606 Estate Planning. The six courses cover the complete topic list required by the CFP Board. For maximum benefit, the courses should be taken so that the FIN 601 is first in the sequence, and the last two in the sequence are FIN 605 and FIN 606, in that order. The information contained in the first four courses is essential to make the completion of the retirement and estate courses both easier and more meaningful.

"Saint Joseph’s University does not certify individuals to use the CFP

®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and CFP® certification marks. CFP certification is granted only by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience and examination requirements."

Foundation Requirements:

ACC 500

Accounting Concepts

DSS 500

Math for Graduate Business Studies

DSS 510

Statistics Proficiency

FIN 500

Managerial Economics

FIN 503

Financial Management

Those students who do not have a proficiency in Mathematics will be required to successfully complete DSS 500, a one credit math workshop.

All students will be required to take the Aleks placement exam to measure their proficiency in statistics before the end of their first semester.

Students who have taken six credits of Business Math or three credits of Calculus and have scored sufficiently in the quantitative section of the GMAT/GRE will receive a waiver for DSS 500, Math for Graduate Business Studies.

Students who have received an 80% or above in the Aleks Placement exam will receive a waiver for DSS 510 Statistics Proficiency.

Advanced Program Requirements:

Core Requirements: 9 credits

FIN 550

Shareholder Value Management

FIN 600

Financial Institutions and Capital Markets

FIN 602

Portfolio Management

Finance Elective Courses: 15 credits (Any seven courses from the following list)

ACC 601

Tax Planning for Management Decision-Making

ACC 602

Financial Statement Analysis

FIN 601

Personal Financial Planning

FIN 604

Personal Insurance Planning

FIN 605

Pension and Benefits Administration

FIN 606

Estate Planning

FIN 607

Risk Management

FIN 608

Advanced Financial Management

FIN 609

International Finance

FIN 610

Security Analysis of Investments

FIN 611

Mergers and Acquisitions

FIN 612

Derivative Markets

FIN 613

Finance Study Tour

FIN 770

Topics in Finance

MGT 552

Stakeholder Theory and Social Responsibility