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Program Overview


Finance Certificate Program

A solid foundation in finance is required for many business careers and for admission into certain graduate schools of business administration. The Finance certificate consists of courses that provide core knowledge, ranging from basic concepts and models to corporate finance to investment theory.



About the Finance Certificate Program

Finance Goals and Courses

Additional Information

Students who have no previous finance course work must begin with Finance 202. The prerequisites for this course—College Algebra, Statistics, Financial Accounting, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, or equivalents—will ensure that all students are prepared for the complexity and challenge of the subject, which is typically taught to undergraduate students only after they have completed extensive prior course work.

Finance Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for the Finance Certificate Program

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Finance Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Find out more about the Finance Certificate Program

Program Courses:Course Detail
Public Finance <> ECON 309-CN

Market failures mean that an unregulated economy can bring a bad social outcome. To try to correct that, people in government make rules, collect taxes, and spend that tax revenue to try to bring a better outcome. In this course, we examine the way that governments tax and spend their budgets for purposes including handling problems of externalities, public goods, and income transfers. Prerequisites: ECON 281, 310-A,-B.

View ECON 309-CN Sections
International Finance <> ECON 362-CN

This course will cover many of the basic concepts and facts needed to understand the functioning of international financial markets, including determination of exchange rates, balance of payments, and international asset flows and prices; international transmission of macroeconomic disturbances. Prerequisite: ECON 281, 310-A,-B, or equivalent.

There is no available section.
Introduction to Finance <> FINANCE 202-CN

An introductory course covering the basic concepts and models used in finance. Explores the mathematics and spreadsheet modeling techniques used in evaluating various financial assets, including stocks and bonds. Also surveys the risk-return tradeoff in financial markets and how investors gauge risk, as well as the basic concepts of Markowitz's mean-variance portfolio theory. The nature and impact of interest-rate risk on financial institutions is considered, and the duration of a financial asset is introduced in this context. Introduces the efficient market hypothesis and its implications for personal investing and corporate finance.  Prerequisite: While there is not a formal prerequisite for this course, it is helpful for students to have a basic understanding of algebra and statistics, especially concepts such as standard deviation, correlation, covariance and regression. Also, some knowledge of accounting is helpful, such as familiarity with balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements.

There is no available section.
Introduction to Finance <> FINANCE 202-DL

The focus of this course will be on quantitative tools that are primarily used in the field of finance. In particular, we will put heavy emphasis on the mathematics of interest rates, including the tools used to value common stock and fixed rate bonds. We will discuss how rates of return for these instruments are measured. We will then look at the capital budgeting process and learn how managers determine in which projects to invest a firm’s limited resources. We will also study the probabilistic and statistical tools necessary to understand how investors and financial economists evaluate risk. Primary emphasis will be on an intuitive understanding of portfolio theory and its impact on estimating the expected return on an asset given its systematic risk through use of the Capital Asset Pricing Model. Prerequisite: While there is not a formal prerequisite for this course, it is helpful for students to have a basic understanding of algebra and statistics, especially concepts such as standard deviation, correlation, covariance and regression. Also, some knowledge of accounting is helpful, such as familiarity with balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements. The course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.

View FINANCE 202-DL Sections
Corporate Finance <> FINANCE 360-CN

This course covers capital budgeting, or how corporate managers determine where to invest a company's funds; how companies determine what an appropriate discount rate would be for a given capital investment; the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT) models used to estimate a firm's cost of equity, along with a detailed consideration of how beta is estimated for the CAPM; how a company derives its weighted average cost of capital (WACC); the dividend policy decision; and capital structure theory. Financial planning models will also be considered in depth. This course also covers the adjustments typically made to financial statement data to accommodate the needs and viewpoints of financial analysts and investors. Finally, we examine the topic of corporate risk management (hedging techniques). Prerequisite: FINANCE 202 or equivalent.

View FINANCE 360-CN Sections
Financial Markets and Institutions <> FINANCE 363-CN

The main objective of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the role of financial institutions and markets from a financial manager's perspective. Within this context, we focus on the process of financial intermediation within the economy. In particular, we consider how financial intermediaries facilitate the efficient flow of funds from savers to borrowers in such a way as to benefit the economy as a whole and the historical and regulatory development of financial institutions within the United States, comparing U.S. institutions with those in other countries. In so doing, we discover how problems facing managers of financial institutions have changed over time, thereby gaining a clearer understanding of how these institutions and markets have evolved and why. Financial managers of non-financial institutions also find this course of relevance, since they must deal with managers of financial markets and institutions on a daily basis. Since financial institutions are becoming more and more alike, the emphasis in this course is on basic principles that apply to all such institutions. Prerequisite: FINANCE 202.

There is no available section.
Investment Theory <> FINANCE 364-CN

This course examines the theory underlying the construction of a financial assets portfolio with the objective of maximizing expected return for a specified tolerable level of risk. Topics covered include, among others, risk aversion and utility functions; diversification; capital allocation to risky assets (the separation property); optimal risky portfolios; index models; the Capital Asset Pricing Model and multifactor models of risk and return; and the efficient market hypothesis. Although some of these topics are covered briefly in FINANCE 202, the focus in this course is on how these issues affect an investor's optimal portfolio choices. Prerequisite: FINANCE 202 or equivalent. 

This course has been cancelled.

There is no available section.
Portfolio Management <> FINANCE 365-CN

This course can be considered applied investment management. It will focus on academic studies and practice-based readings, how the two intersect in practice, and on an examination of investment styles of various famed investment managers. It will also cover popular investment vehicles—such as equities, fixed income, and options—and related strategies. Prerequisite: FINANCE 202 or equivalent.

There is no available section.
Options and Futures <> FINANCE 368-CN

In the last 35 years, exchange-traded options and futures contracts on financial assets and commodities have grown exponentially. A "future" is a binding, legal agreement to buy or sell a given asset or commodity. An "option" is a right--but not an obligation--to buy or sell an asset at a certain price in a given period. These derivative securities are used by individuals and companies for speculative gain and as a means to manage risk while reducing the cost of doing business. The growth in options and futures has been accompanied by innovative products, such as bundled portfolios of options, futures, and their underlying securities. This course provides students with the skills needed to value and use options, futures, and related financial contracts. Topics include arbitrage, hedging, spreading, pricing relations, models such as Black Scholes and cost of carry, and currency and interest-rate swaps. Prerequisites: FINANCE 202 or equivalent. 

There is no available section.
Special Topics: Entrepreneurial Finance FINANCE 390-CN

The focus of this class will be the financing of new companies. How do entrepreneurs formulate and formalize their ideas to get on their feet financially? Once on their feet how do they continue to sustain themselves? What are the metrics of new companies internally and for investors? What types of capital are available to entrepreneurs?

While some finance theory is presented, this course focuses on practical application of concepts and theory to starting a new business. Students will be challenged to conceptualize and develop a new business idea. Once conceptualized, the next step is a business plan. With this in place, the entrepreneur will be ready to identify and reach out to investors. Once funded, the entrepreneur will have the tools for managing the company from day-to-day and to guide the company through further rounds of financing. This course is also listed in CAESAR as ORG BEH 391 Topics in Management: Entrepreneurial Finance.

This course has been cancelled.

There is no available section.
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