Is a Finance Degree Right for You? [Find Out]

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If you are considering a degree in Finance or Accounting, you may first be wondering what the difference between the two is. Initially, it might seem like both degrees are the same since they both relate to money. But digging a little deeper we find that a finance degree is focused on the management and handling or the actual use of money while an accounting degree is focused more on oversight and tracking of money management measures.

Now that you have a basic idea of the difference between the two degree types, you can start to shop around for a degree plan that concentrates on more of what interests you in money management. But pay attention to the course curriculum for the programs that catch your eye. Sometimes, even though a degree is specifically listed as a finance degree, it might have more of a concentration on accounting subjects. Likewise, many accounting degrees place more emphasis on the finance courses within their curriculum.

As an example (not as an endorsement), Rutgers University requires the following courses for its Finance Major and Accounting Major:

Finance Accounting
Required Required

  • Futures and Options
  • Investment Analysis



  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Concepts of Auditing
  • Cost Accounting
  • Income Tax Accounting
  • Intermediate Accounting, I
  • Intermediate Accounting, II


Electives Electives

  • Advanced Corporate Finance
  • Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Asset Pricing and Portfolio Analysis
  • Corporate Risk Management
  • Financial Analysis, Planning & Forecasting
  • Fixed Income
  • Global Capital Markets
  • Global Money Markets & Institutions
  • Intermediate Accounting, I
  • Investment Banking Analysis
  • Pension Fund Investment & Management
  • Real Estate Finance & Mortgage Backed Securities
  • Research in Finance
  • Research in Finance
  • Working Capital Management



  • Business Ethics
  • Business Law II



As you can see, there is quite a difference between the two majors as far as the required courses and electives. And other colleges and universities will have their own different requirements as you will see during your college search.

Really, though, you’ll make the decision based on your personality and the kind of work you think you’d like to do. If you enjoy interacting with people regularly, finance is a good choice. Alternatively, if you’d rather work on you own while you crunch numbers, accounting might be more to your liking. According to the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the prospects for a career as a financial analyst looks optimistic with a 12% projected increase in jobs by 2024. Likewise, Accounting careers look just as favorable with an expected 11% increase in jobs by 2024.

As far as salaries go, the median income in 2016 for Accountants and Auditors as noted by the DOL was $68,150 per year or roughly $32.76 per hour. On the other hand, Financial Analysts earned a median income of $81,760 in 2016. Both career fields offer excellent living wages, but the latter requires more client interaction and work to earn the higher pay rate.



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