Degree Requirements

Required Courses

The Master of Liberal Arts, Finance degree field consists of 12 courses, four of which are required on campus; weekend options available.

12 Graduate Courses

  • 1 principles or managerial finance course
  • 1 financial or managerial accounting course
  • 1 organizational behavior or business rhetoric course
  • 1 financial statement analysis course
  • 1 investment theory course
  • 1 corporate finance course
  • 1 business valuation course
  • 1 strategy course
  • 4 finance electives

Search Finance Degree Courses

Admissions: Earn Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following three graduate-level degree courses:

  • 1 organizational behavior course or EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric
  • 1 principles or managerial finance course
  • 1 financial or managerial accounting course

The three courses don't need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Eligibility: You need to possess a four-year, US regionally accredited bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent before enrolling in any degree-applicable courses. You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master's degree in finance or related field.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester that you are completing the third course, submit the official application to the program. Don't delay! We have fall, spring, and summer admission cycles.

If you submit a complete application—which includes required Harvard courses, grades, and cumulative GPA—you'll be admitted. After which, you'll have nine more courses to take to earn the degree.

For more details about eligibility and the application process, visit Admissions.

Alternative Admission Pathways

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least four courses, which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

On-campus requirements can be completed through any combination of the following options. If you have limited flexibility, you can typically fulfill the requirement in four intensive weekends.

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. The accelerated pathway is typically four three-week summer sessions. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School. For more information, see International Student Study options page.

Executive Education On-Campus Option

Once you are admitted and have achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher, you can apply to participate in a noncredit, week-long, on-campus John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program. You'll earn an additional Harvard credential and have the entire on-campus requirement waived, allowing you to complete all of your coursework (12 courses) online. This option is ideal for international degree candidates. See Academic Opportunities.

    • 15-week fall or spring semester courses that meet only on campus. Courses with the format "on campus or online" do not fulfill this requirement.
    • Courses that combine weekly online classes over a semester with an intensive weekend on campus.
    • Three-week January courses that meet only on campus.
    • Three-week or seven-week summer courses that meet only on campus.

To complete your degree

Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher

Earn a B or higher in each of the degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher.

You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades before they affect your cumulative GPA.  Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

HBX CORe and Degree Requirements

HBX CORe does not count for credit toward the degree (even the credit version) and does not replace the principles of finance or accounting degree requirements, which you'll need to complete once admitted with a grade of B or higher. For the accounting requirement, you'll need to register for the non-HBX version of the Financial Accounting Principles course.

Deadline for Finishing Your Coursework

Harvard courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Further, you have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete your third degree-applicable course, whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program.

If you are admitted using HBX CORe, you have six years to complete your degree requirements. The six-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any one degree-applicable course, whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program. 

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your degree: Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Field: Finance. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May. 

Degree Guidelines and Policies

For information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, and policies, see Completing Your Degree.