A fintech master’s degree is a great way to pursue exciting emerging careers at the intersection of technology and finance. This guide introduces what pursuing a master’s degree in fintech looks like and covers where to get started.
Can you imagine not being able to use an app on your phone to transfer money from one bank account to another to pay your rent or mortgage on time? Or picture this: You’re out to dinner with your friends, the bill comes, and you realize you forgot your wallet at home. Instead of signing into Venmo right then and there, you write an IOU for $38 like it’s 1997.
That’s where we would be today if it weren’t for the advancements in financial technology or fintech. Fintech is continuously developing new and innovative ways to handle and predict finances for consumers and businesses.
What is a Master’s in Fintech?
A master’s degree in fintech is an excellent opportunity to get a head start in the financial services industry. Students will receive the tools and knowledge to focus on the growing use of technology in finance and how to leverage those tools and convert them into solutions for businesses and clients.
Although they vary from institution to institution, master’s courses include the following:
- digital banking and finance
- electronic payments
- online lending
- peer-to-peer lending
- investments and securities trading
- digital financial management
The sky’s the limit with financial technology, and people working to build a career in the industry are introducing themselves to a field that is in high demand and constantly evolving. With the financial services industry focusing on convenience and transparency, personal banking is becoming less of a headache for the everyday person.
Professionals pursuing a career in fintech research new, groundbreaking ideas to make financial services and personal banking easier and more convenient.
Online Fintech Master’s Programs
In recent years, earning an online master’s degree online has become more of a reality. With the flexibility, ease, and convenience online courses provide, earning a master’s degree is more common. Many institutions offer on-campus, online, or even hybrid options for students. Though many schools offer online master’s fintech programs, not all do. We’ll highlight a few later in the article.
Some may argue that earning a master’s degree online is more accessible than a traditional on-campus or in-classroom program. Though it may be easier for some, the course curriculum and workload are the same. The only difference between the two is the physical setting in which the course takes place.
In both circumstances, the student studies the same course content and material. Regardless of where or how the courses are structured, students still have to put the work in to participate, complete assignments, and pass exams.
In today’s digital age, an online program is respected as much as a traditional on-site program. Online courses give students an added advantage after they receive their degree. These advantages include:
Experience with digital fintech tools: Since courses are entirely online, students will have the opportunity to learn the digital tools and learn how to apply them in their coursework.
Independent thinking and research: By studying coursework online, students don’t have the opportunity to work and collaborate with peers and professors. Therefore, they must learn to communicate digitally and learn and do research on their own.
Communication skills: Not being able to raise your hand and ask the professor a question or having the option to check with your neighbor about something can make learning difficult for some students. Online learning gives the student the skills to develop well-thought-out responses, questions, or opinions.
Responsibility balance: Many students who opt for an online program often have other responsibilities. Since online courses are usually self-paced, students must learn to balance work, life, and school responsibilities.
With all this in mind, it is still important to ensure that the program you are enrolling in is with an accredited institution. To enhance your chances for success, be sure to research the school you wish to attend.
Overview of a Master’s in Fintech Programs
The course curriculum consists of a full introduction to financial technology, specifically today’s (and tomorrow’s) way of banking. Along with other types of financial management that can be delivered via computer or mobile app, students earning a master’s in fintech can expect to learn the ins and outs of all the different areas of the industry, including:
- Digital banking and finance
- Electronic payments
- Online lending
- Peer-to-peer lending
- Investments and securities trading
Since fintech has changed drastically over the years, many institutions require their students to complete a series of projects to explore the field more independently. A few topics that may be researched in these projects include:
- Digital Transformation and Financial Services
- Digital Payments and Marketplace Lending
- Personal Banking and AI
- Insurtech and Real Estate Tech
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
- Financial Regulation
Financial technology is a constantly evolving field. Today’s students will introduce us to the technology of tomorrow. While studying for their Master’s degree, students will be required to do extensive research to discover new ways to impact the world of business and the banking industry.
An important part of the program’s curriculum is to give the students first-hand work experience in the field. Along with the projects, weekly assignments, and exams, students will be required to complete internships and fieldwork. Along with the actual work experience, there are many benefits of students participating in internships and fieldwork.
Here are some benefits of doing an internship or fieldwork:
- First-hand perspective of the day-to-day responsibilities
- Gain professional work experience
- Build skills from exposure to work profile
- Potentially convert an internship into a pre-placement offer
- Network with and learn from other fintech professionals
Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarships
One of the most intimidating components of considering any higher education degree program is, “how much is a master’s in fintech going to cost?” and rightfully so.
Since the cost for a degree can vary significantly, such as institution, program type, enrollment status, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student, it’s challenging to provide an accurate estimate. It’s safe to assume the average tuition cost ranges between $10,000 to $30,000 per year for a master’s in fintech.
If those numbers strike fear in your heart, here’s some good news! You may not have to pay 100 percent of those costs out of pocket. There are many different options, such as financial aid, student loans, and scholarships, that you may qualify for.
School-based scholarships and grants: Most institutions offer scholarships or grants that you can apply for to get a financial break. These usually depend on the student’s financial needs or previous accomplishments.
Assistantships and work-study programs: Work-study programs are a great way for students to work on campus to contribute to their tuition. This mainly applies to full-time and part-time students who have some physical presence on campus.
Third-party or private scholarships: Unlike the institution-offered scholarships and grants we previously mentioned, these are distributed by outside organizations that offer scholarship programs for specific groups, interests, or achievements in areas such as sports, theater, music, or math clubs. Other organizations offer scholarships for single and working parents.
Company sponsorship: For students currently employed full-time for a company, consider participating in a tuition reimbursement program.
Federal student aid: Though most must be repaid over time, federal student aid typically has varying interest rates and repayment terms. They are still great options for those who don’t have money on hand but can afford to pay for their education in installments over time.
Master’s in Fintech Career Outlook
As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, the financial technology industry is only expected to grow over the coming decades. With a master’s in fintech, you can explore the following roles and career paths with their average salaries:
- Blockchain developer – $154,550
- Financial analyst – $67,900
- Product manager – $119,000
- Compliance expert – $69,638
- Cybersecurity analyst – $76,336
Fintech Master’s Degree FAQs
A master’s degree in fintech is an excellent opportunity to get a head start in the financial services industry. Students will learn the vast array of digital tools used for everything from cryptocurrency to personal banking and how to apply those technologies as real-world solutions.
Aspiring professionals who want to build a career in fintech are immersing themselves in an impactful career path, which is in high demand, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Yes, though not every institution offers an online program. Some offer in-class programs, others offer online programs, and few offer hybrid programs.
Yes, just about every institution or program will require you to participate in and fulfill internship or fieldwork requirements before completing the program. These internships are a great way to receive hands-on experience within the industry. Check your desired program or institution to understand these requirements before enrolling.
Determining the cost of a master’s in fintech can be complicated and overwhelming. Consider the following factors: institution, program type, enrollment status, and in-state versus out-of-state.