Undergraduate Certificate in Finance
The rapidly-developing field of finance focuses on the pricing of financial assets, including equities, bonds, currencies, and derivative securities; portfolio management and the evaluation of financial risks; banking and financial intermediation; the financing of corporations; corporate governance; financial-market and banking regulation; and many other topics.
In addition to the obvious practical relevance of finance, the field contains both challenging intellectual problems and a distinctive formal framework within which those problems can be addressed. Knowledge of modern finance is also essential to the proper understanding of many other topics in economics and public policy, including the determination of exchange rates and international capital flows; the making of monetary and fiscal policy; the role of financial reform in developing and transition economies; the regulation and taxation of financial markets and financial instruments; and anti-trust policy, to give but a few examples.
Finally, modern finance is remarkably eclectic, drawing from many disciplines besides economics, including mathematics, operations research, engineering, computer science, psychology, politics, and history.
Under the auspices of the Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton undergraduates concentrating in any department may earn a certificate that attests to their proficiency in the discipline of finance. (A recent article in Science magazine mentions the undergraduate certificate program as a good option for students in areas such as physics.)
The certificate program in finance has four major requirements:
- First, there are prerequisites in mathematics, economics, and probability and statistics, as necessary for the study of finance at a sophisticated level. Advance planning is essential as these courses should be completed prior to the junior year.
- Second, two required core courses provide an integrated overview and background in modern finance.
- Third, students are required to take three elective courses.
- Fourth, a significant piece of independent work must relate to issues or methods of finance. This takes the form of a senior thesis, or for non-ECO or ORF majors only, if there is no possibility of finance content in their senior thesis or junior paper, a separate, shorter piece of independent work is required instead.
Increasing enrollments in the popular certificate program has made it necessary to impose a grade requirement, in order to cap the number of students at a level that will not overwhelm our advising resources.