Learn about Smeal's Finance major. Gain information about activities, careers, and faculty.

Contact Information

Smeal College of Business
The Pennsylvania State University
352 Business Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-863-0486
On the Web:

Finance Handout

Finance Major Video

Career Overview

Finance focuses on how individuals and business organizations raise money and capital, and how those resources are allocated among competing investment and consumption opportunities. The field focuses on domestic and international financial economies and the role of financial markets and institutions key to the movement of savings and investment capital from lenders to borrowers. It also deals with how individuals and corporate managers evaluate alternative investment and savings opportunities and how they choose among various financial instruments.

Employment Prospects

Finance is a broad field that prepares students for positions in banking, investments, insurance, corporations, and government. Careers include positions in securities analysis and investment management, retail and commercial bank management, corporate financial analysis and management, retail investment brokerage, and financial advising and consulting.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry to the finance field, but higher-level certifications (CFA, CFC, etc.) and post-undergraduate degrees (MBA, Ph.D.) are very desirable. A doctoral degree is usually necessary to teach finance at the university level.

Preparing to Enroll in the Major

Enrollment in the Finance (FIN) major is contingent upon several criteria, which include the timing and completion of a specified range of cumulative credits at Penn State. Students apply for the major once they have earned a minimum of 40 but no more than 59 cumulative credits. These credits include required business foundation and related courses. In addition to the course and credit window requirements, students must attain an overall competitive GPA in all courses.

Top Employers of Finance Majors

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Citigroup
  • Ernst & Young
  • General Electric
  • Goldman Sachs & Company
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • PNC Financial Services Group
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • UBS Financial Services, Inc.
  • Vanguard

Finance Major Requirements

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.

Prescribed FIN Courses (9 credits)

FIN 305W (3) Financial Management of the Business Enterprise (Prerequisite: FIN 301)

FIN 406 (3) Security Analysis and Portfolio Management (Prerequisite: FIN 301)

FIN 408 (3) Financial Markets and Institutions (Prerequisite: FIN 301)

Finance Elective Courses (6 credits) Select two courses from the following

FIN 405 (3) Advanced Financial Management (Prerequisite: FIN 305W)

FIN 407 (3) Multinational Financial Management (Prerequisite: FIN 305W)

FIN 410 (3) Speculative Markets (Prerequisite: FIN 406)

FIN 414 (3) Financial Trading and Applications (Prerequisite: FIN 305W, FIN 406)

FIN 415 (3) Advanced Financial Modeling (Prerequisite: FIN 406)

FIN (RM) 460 (3) Real Estate Financial Analysis (Prerequisites: FIN 305W)

FIN (RM) 470 (3) Real Estate and Capital Markets (Prerequisites: FIN 305W)

Select a Two-Piece Sequence (6 credits) from one of the areas below or complete a designated University minor:

  • Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Business Sustainability
  • Corporate Diversity
  • Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Information Systems Management
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Risk Management
  • Supply Chain and Information Systems

Finance Highlights

Consider some of the other factors that help to enhance the environment for Finance students at the Smeal College of Business.

Rogers Family Trading Room

The Trading Room at Smeal replicates a real-world trading experience and functions as a classroom and a laboratory. Each of the more than 50 workstations in the facility is equipped with two monitors, a powerful computer, and the software needed for simulated trading, deal capture, settlement, analytics, pricing, portfolio management, derivatives pricing, and other finance related challenges.

Nittany Lion Fund

The multi-million-dollar fund allows student managers to oversee millions of dollars from real investors. The Nittany Lion Fund regularly outperforms the S&P 500 and the placement rate for graduating seniors reaches 100 percent.

Top Ranked

Penn State and Smeal have consistently received top rankings from employers. Recruiters surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek have continually ranked Smeal in the top ten in recent years, and the Finance major ranks No. 6 overall among U.S. universities according to The Wall Street Journal.

Key Department Contacts

Department Chair

William Kracaw

Administrative Support

Stacey Spicher