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The program curriculum is designed to move quickly from financial theory to practice real-world applications. From articulately presenting a stock pitch to learning to create a well-designed, functional and dynamic financial model, you will develop both strong technical and communication skills.

Core Courses

The financial statement analysis component will provide students with a detailed discussion of the key accounting principles used in constructing the income statement, the balance sheet and the statement of cash flows, as well as covering financial ratio analysis. The emphasis will be on using this information to interpret and make adjustments to reported financial figures for use in financial analysis of companies. Topics include, but are not limited to a discussion of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) vs U.S. GAAP; a discussion of how the major components of the three financial statements are determined, including a discussion of the various accounting choices that are available to a reporting entity; estimation and interpretation of key financial ratios that can be used to assess a company’s financial health; and, a review of earnings quality issues that arise from various accounting choices. The core focus of the course is on ratio analysis, including the adjustments that an analyst must make to financial statements to data presented for inventories, fixed assets, deferred taxes, bonds, and leases.

The corporate finance component of MFIN 821 will introduce students to the basics of corporate finance including a “brief” review of financial statement analysis, and a detailed discussion of financial forecasting, the cost of capital, and capital budgeting. The emphasis will be on using this information to examine company decisions, and assess their future growth prospects and risks.

Whether we like it or not, as individuals and managers we evolve within various markets, and are subject to their rules. But how do world events shape our markets, decisions, and outcome predictions? This is the question we will address in our first theme, "Understanding Markets".

These markets are themselves part of the economy as a whole – Canadian and global. This economy goes through booms and busts over time – the business cycle – and these fluctuations have an important impact on prices, national output, unemployment, and indeed affect our daily lives. In our second theme, "Understanding the Economy", we will learn the tools necessary to understand business cycles and governments’ policy responses; and to form educated opinions about what we read on the subject in the news.

But beyond understanding markets and the economy, today’s managers face a myriad of economic issues when formulating strategies. Should we enter this market? Should we exit that one? What price should we charge? How much should we produce? Should we try and “deter” entry by a rival, or should we “accommodate”? In some markets – monopolistic markets – our ability to affect outcomes is strong. How can we use this market power to our advantage? Other markets are characterized by the fact that our actions affect, and are affected by, rivals’ actions and require a whole new set of tools – game theoretic tools. How can we use game theory to analyze these situations? These and other fundamental questions are addressed in our third theme, "Decision-Making in Market Environments".

The primary pedagogical objectives of the course are for students a) to familiarize themselves with important economic concepts, and b) to learn to use them as “tools” for efficient decision-making in business and other environments.

This course is an intensive program on financial modeling. During the course, participants will learn to create well-designed, functional and dynamic financial models. The course material includes model design, logic, construction, financial concepts, best practices and accounting treatment. Course topics include building financial statements, creating depreciation and tax schedules, forecasting and modelling working capital and capital structure, and creating discounted cash flow analysis.

This course will provide students with a brief review of the key principles of risk and return, modern portfolio theory, and market efficiency, which are critical inputs into both the corporate finance decision-making framework (through their impact on the cost of capital) and equity analysis (through their impact on the equity discount rate). Topics will include among others: risk and return; modern portfolio theory; capital market equilibrium models (including CAPM); fundamental economic, industry, and company analysis. Equity analysis will include a detailed and application-focused discussion of valuation models including the dividend discount model, free cash models and relative valuation approaches.

In addition to class assignments that will involve the analysis of real-world companies, students will also prepare a thorough analysis of an actual company to give them an opportunity to apply the concepts learned during the course to a real-life situation, and to assist in preparing them for the Toronto CFA Investment Research Challenge Competition.

This course will provide students a comprehensive overview of the fixed income markets, the main debt instruments traded, types of issuers and investors, and practices in the industry. Our main focus is on the cash debt markets, with coverage of derivatives to enhance analytic tools in the subject, and on risk-management. Our goal is to bridge the gap between theory and practice by illustrating how models and theories inform best trading and risk management practices in the fixed-income space.

Course Goals:

  1. Linking bond theory with practice – use of market simulations and ‘mini’ cases in class to demonstrate and apply theory to real market instruments
  2. Building knowledge of current fixed income markets and issues
  3. Building bond portfolios – ability to incorporate yield curve, credit, capital structure and other variables into a comprehensive approach to fixed income portfolio management
  4. Understanding of bond mathematics, bond pricing and relative value of product across the credit spectrum

This course will extend the principles of portfolio theory introduced in MFIN 823. Portfolio theory will be extended to cover topics including practical estimation of models; multiple factor equilibrium models; investment planning; asset allocation decisions; alternative asset classes and performance measurement. Application of these topics to both individual and institutional portfolios will be discussed. The class will take a “hands-on” approach with students having the opportunity to work with financial data, apply various estimation techniques, and evaluate portfolio performance.

Strong technical skills, a solid understanding of asset classes and financial instruments, and a deep grasp of how capital markets function are table stakes for a successful career in finance. In the hyper-competitive finance industry however, these attributes only get you a seat at a very, very long table. (And this is before you factor in the potential for innovative financial technology to replace a range of technical roles in the not too distant future.) Your ability to convey your knowledge and ideas to colleagues, clients and senior leaders in a compelling way that motivates them to take action is critical to your long-term success in the business.

This course is designed to help you develop and improve the communication skills that will set you apart from others and drive your career success.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the importance of effective communication skills as a key differentiator in the careers of successful financial professionals.
  2. Effectively deliver a strong personal branding statement that resonates in the financial industry.
  3. Knowledgeably discuss topical socio-political and economic issues and their relevance to the performance of capital markets
  4. Understand and effectively apply the principles of persuasion to the day-to-day activities of financial professionals (buy/sell recommendations, valuations, projections, etc).
  5. Understand how to effectively present financial ideas using slides/PowerPoint.
  6. Understand personal strengths and weaknesses as a presenter using video analysis and feedback, and develop a personalized improvement plan.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of derivatives and the markets in which they are traded. We implement the manufacturing process underpinning linear as well as non-linear instruments and, in this process, uncover the key relationships employed by market participants to value them. Furthermore, we explore how derivatives are used by financial institutions, as well as by non-financial firms, to manage unwanted risk exposures and/or to enhance investment yields. The course covers plain-vanilla derivatives (e.g. futures, forwards, FRAs, swaps, and options) as well as more recent innovations, such as exotic options and credit derivatives. We also explore best practices in enterprise-wide market and credit risk management, as well as recent developments in the regulatory environment surrounding the derivatives marketplace.

Elective Courses (choose two)

Technology has undeniably changed how financial markets and institutions function. Every part of the financial value chain is being “disrupted” by nimble technology based innovators. Credit decisions are automated, the payment system is digital and investment advisors are being replaced by algorithms. Where one-on-one relationships used to determine success and failure, the ability to process and act on massive amounts of data is taking over. Securities trading and origination typically the turf of large institutions is being taken over by technology. Not only has technology impacted finance – innovations like indexing and fee-based advisors are fast changing the market for advice. Technology and financial innovations can be used for good or not so good. It can be used to exploit behavioral biases such as underweighting catastrophic events - think of the financial crisis. Biases can also be used to help support positive behavior like automatic contributions to retirement funds. The course will study both the good and bad, regulatory aspects, and whether or not these innovations are exploiting or supporting “social welfare”. All of these aspects are changing the skills required to be successful in modern finance. We will also cover how finance has changed and is changing, the skills required to be successful and what the future may bring.

Introduction is an introduction to hedge funds, executing brokers and prime brokers, what they are, what they do and what risks are associated with them. This course is about the interrelationship between hedge funds, investment banks and their investors, with specific attention to prime brokers and executing brokers, and other service providers.

Also, the history of hedge funds will be explored, including the risks of failure of hedge funds, such as LTCM, and investment banks and brokers, such as Lehman Brothers, Refco, MF Global, and the distress of certain investment banks, such as Bear Stearns. Also, practical applications of launching and running a simulated hedge fund will demonstrate the challenges, risks and potential rewards of alternative investments to investors, hedge funds and their service providers.

This course is designed to provide an overview of investment banking. Key areas it will cover include: capital raising, valuation methodologies, mergers & acquisitions and an overview of other corporate restructurings such as leverage buyouts. Both private and public markets will be discussed, including private equity, within the current global context. Given the previous courses the students have already taken in the MFIN program, in-class cases will be an important part of illustrating selected investment banking topics.

AI has the potential to change the world and the world of finance. This statement is trite, but the concept of superintelligence applied to financial markets has both the potential to create unprecedented wealth, new businesses, and holds peril for humankind, professions and many jobs. This course is an overview of the future of finance in the broad areas of finance that are impacted by AI and various applications.

The course is designed to present students with a philosophical, financial and business lens on AI and the its future from an inter-disciplinary perspective. This course will provide a modern view on what will change and how to survive and excel in a disruptive period. This course is a juxtaposition of finance with technology, strategy, computer science, trading, banking, insurance, investments, human resources, risk management and the intended and unintended implications of artificial intelligence.

The financial sector plays a critical role in our sustainable future since it is responsible for allocating funds to its most productive use. It is therefore well positioned to direct investments to sustainable corporations, organizations and projects, and assist in making strategic decisions on trade-offs among sustainable goals. By financing sustainable companies and endeavors, the finance sector can accelerate the transition.

Financial system participants, such as investors, have the power to exert their influence to drive sustainable business practices within companies that they invest in. Most importantly, finance can help certain sectors of the economy that are vulnerable to climate change shocks (i.e. transportation, insurance, reinsurance) in understanding and pricing risks associated with environmental issues. The Canadian Expert Panel report states that “Sustainable finance is both about building resilience to those widespread impacts and preventing further exacerbation.”

This intensive course will cover the major financial implications associated with climate change. Specifically, the course will examine the business opportunities and risks associated with climate change and sustainability. The structure and role of the major elements of the finance industry and finance policy, and the resulting shifts will be the major focus.

Please note that not all electives are available both remotely and in person, and they are subject to change given the demand for each topic in a given year

Optional Workshops

  • CFA exam preparation: A four-day intensive review of topics covered in CFA Level 2 and 3
  • Merger Modeling
  • Capital Structure (LBO) Modeling

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning, or “learning by doing” is one of the most effective ways to learn. Students in Smith’s Master of Finance program not only master the theoretical concepts, but learn how to apply these concepts to real-life opportunities.

Case Competitions

  • CFA Research Challenge
  • CFA Ethics Challenge
  • Van Berkom Small Cap Case Competition
  • National Investment Banking Competition


  • Queen’s University Alternative Assets Fund
  • Class Executive
  • Smith Women in Finance
  • MFin Gives Back

Queen's University Alternative Assets Fund

QUAAF is the only student run hedge fund in North America and was the brainchild of four Master's students at Smith School of Business. The student management group consists of a mix of MBA and Master of Finance students that comprise an Executive Committee and teams of Analysts. They are supported by an Advisory Committee of industry professionals. This fund has been seeded with contributions from alumni and friends of Queen's, and all proceeds contribute to the maintenance and expansion of the fund.

Learn more about QUAAF

CFA Institute Research Challenge

As a Master of Finance student, you will have the opportunity to participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This is a competition between university-sponsored teams that involves researching a designated publicly traded company, preparing a written report on that company and presenting your findings to a panel of judges. Competition takes place at the national, regional and global level.

Julius Nyarko

“QUAAF allows students to take leadership roles in a capital markets’ environment. As a team, we’d meet weekly, do a market update, and then review our portfolios. As leaders of QUAAF, we were required to take a firm view of the financial markets and speak about them fluently. We were investing real money, so we had to do real research. When I came in as CEO, I wanted to ensure there was a process around everything. I used what we were doing as part of the CFA Research Challenge and brought it to QUAAF.”

Julius Nyarko, MFin
Fixed Income Credit Analyst
AGF Investments Inc.


Smith's Master of Finance is a proud partner of the CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analyst) and the CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association).

CFA Partner

The Chartered Financial Analyst charter is the gold standard for investment practice, demonstrating expertise, experience, current practice, timeless investment principles, and a commitment to exemplary ethical standards. CFA Program Partner status is awarded to high profile universities of global stature that embed a significant percentage of the CFA Program Candidate Body of KnowledgeTM (CBOKTM) into their degree programs.


CAIA Academic Partner

The CAIA Charter is the educational benchmark for the alternative investment industry, which includes hedge funds, commodities and managed futures, private equity, credit derivatives and real estate. The CAIA Association® academic partnerships are awarded to accredited academic institutions whose curriculum covers a significant portion of the subject matter addressed in the CAIA program.