Finance and Business Economics

Elective Course Guide

Students focusing in Finance and Business Economics will develop the skills necessary to work at a high level of expertise in various areas of finance, including commercial and investment banking, corporate finance management, asset and wealth management, management consulting, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and real estate.

The field of finance is changing rapidly, and students taking courses in finance will develop the basic tools and skills to be able to learn and adapt to these changes. The emphasis will be on how to think of creative, practical and efficient solutions to the new financial challenges facing our society.

The Marshall School's top-ranked Finance and Business Economics (FBE) Department consists of faculty members who are leading authorities in microeconomics, macroeconomics, corporate finance, investments, financial institutions, financial markets, and real estate finance. These academic disciplines are important for business planning and consulting, evaluation of capital investments and corporate strategies, and securities investment analysis, advising, and trading.

Professors from FBE and course instructors from the financial industry offer a range of elective courses preparing Marshall graduate students for a variety of careers. Possible finance careers include:

  • Investment Banking
  • Private Equity
  • Hedge Funds
  • Corporate (Company) Finance
  • Venture Capital
  • Commercial Banking
  • Real Estate

If you have a strong interest in finance but have not identified a particular career path in the field, consider concentrating on General Financial Management. To properly prepare for any of the seven career choices listed above, or for General Financial Management, you should successfully complete at least four courses from the lists provided in the FBE Elective Course Guide.

A complete copy of the Finance and Business Economics Elective Course Guide for Marshall Graduate Students, including a detailed description of possible careers in Finance and course selection recommendations, is available in word or as a pdf file.

Student Investment Fund (SIF) - The Seminar in Applied Portfolio Management

Individuals seriously dedicated to investing and investment management may wish to consider applying for the Marshall Student Investment Fund program. For more information about this one-year commitment, visit the Center for Investment Studies website.

The Graduate Certificate in Financial Analysis and Valuation

Students who wish to receive formal recognition of their dedication to a career in finance, expertise in the field, and exceptional academic performance should consider applying for admission to the Graduate Certificate program in Financial Analysis and Valuation.

This program is available to those exceptional students who have earned a GPA of at least 3.5 for their finance-related fundamentals coursework and are able to complete a structured curriculum of 15 units with a GPA of 3.6 for those units.

The structure of the Graduate Certificate in Financial Analysis and Valuation curriculum is closely related to the career-related recommendations provided in the FBE Elective Course Guide.

Units earned in the process of completing the certificate can be applied to the MBA, MMS, MSBA and some other master's degree programs at USC as long as the certificate is completed before or in the same semester as the master's degree. Successful completion of the Graduate Certificate program is documented on the graduate's USC transcript and acknowledged with a diploma issued by USC.

NOTE: Completion of this program requires a formal application and admission. For more information visit

ALSO NOTE: The Graduate Certificate in Financial Analysis and Valuation is an academic certificate, NOT a professional licensing or "certification" program. It is NOT the same thing as the Chartered Financial Analyst Review Program. For more information about the CFA program please click here.

Master of Science in Finance

For individuals interested in even more in-depth study of finance, Marshall offers a Master of Science in Finance. For more information visit


Nine-unit Limit:

Students earning a Marshall master's degree are expected to complete their graduate electives within the Marshall School of Business by taking courses that begin with prefixes ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, DSO, FBE, GSBA, MKT, and MOR.

MBA students: Unless the student is completing a dual degree program, MBA students may complete up to nine units of graduate-level course work at USC outside the Marshall School of Business for elective credit. A request for an exception to take a non-Marshall course must be submitted via petition (Marshall General Petition Form) to the student's program office prior to registering for the course. Units beyond the maximum 9.0 units are not counted toward the student’s MBA degree.

  • An exception is made for those students completing the Business of Entertainment Certificate through the School of Cinematic Arts, which requires 4 Cinema courses (16.0 non-Marshall units). 
  • For MBA students who participate in Marshall’s International Exchange Program, a maximum of 15.0 units of USC-500O may be applied to the MBA degree.  No other non-Marshall coursework may be applied to the MBA degree.
  • Further exceptions to the maximum 9.0 units of non-Marshall course policy are rarely approved, and only if the student is on the Dean’s List with a minimum GPA of 3.60, coupled with a compelling reason for why the course uniquely aligns with their academic and career goals. 
  • Only courses beginning with the Marshall prefixes may be applied to the Marshall portion of a dual degree program.

MS, MMS, and Graduate Certificate students: Students in MS, the MMS, and Graduate Certificate programs may not apply non-Marshall courses to their degree unless (a) the courses are included in the published curriculum of the program or (b) permission is granted by the Academic Director of the program prior to taking the course. A request for an exception must be submitted via petition (Marshall General Petition Form) to the student's program office prior to registering for the course.