The Bachelor of Science in Financial Technology offers tracks in actuarial science and financial engineering. The program provides quantitatively oriented students the opportunity to apply mathematical, statistical and programming tools to the financial, risk management and actuarial disciplines. Designed to meet the growing need for quantitative modeling and analysis in finance, risk management and actuarial science, the program is technical and interdisciplinary in nature. The curriculum emphasizes courses in finance, statistics and mathematics with supporting courses in related areas.

The financial engineering track offers opportunities in areas such as derivative instruments, securities, hedging, financial risk assessment/management, quantitative trading and arbitrage, and asset/liability management. Students who complete the financial engineering track may choose to continue their education by enrolling in master’s programs in financial engineering and mathematical finance, or by entering directly into doctoral-level study in finance and related areas.

Learning goals

  • To support career advancement over time by giving our students the academic foundation in information systems needed for continued professional development.

  • To help students develop the professional skills that will be needed by the businesses and organizations that hire our graduates.

  • To help our students develop ethical awareness so that they are able to deal with an ethical dilemma in the workplace.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Graduates will be able to understand the role of information systems and information technology in the organization, especially as a source of information.
  • Graduates will be able to understand the value of, and be able to use, financial/accounting data to make decisions at both strategic and operating levels within the context of their discipline-specific knowledge.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Graduates will be able to understand the importance to themselves, their organization and the larger community of working effectively in teams.
  • Graduates will be able to use the appropriate quantitative/statistical analysis and reasoning to make business decisions.
  • Graduates will be able to demonstrate an ability to respond appropriately to ethical dilemmas in business. From a scenario (i.e., what is good for some consumers might not be good for society as a whole), the student will be required to identify both sides of the dilemma, state what action they would recommend and incorporate the marketing concept and the American Marketing Association Code of Ethics in developing their recommendation.
  • This program is to provide cutting-edge quantitative skills with mathematical, statistical and programming tools.
  • Graduates will be able to explain and use terminology identified with risk management, demonstrate competence in the use of risk modeling and prepare corporate risk management plans.
  • Graduates will be able to apply mathematical, statistical and programming tools to finance, risk management and actuarial disciplines.
  • In recognition of the growing demand for communication of complex financial information, graduates will be able to clearly articulate financial analysis information in writing and in presentations.
  • Graduates will be able to estimate Value at Risk-VaR (financial/operational) for a business situation and recommend optimal hedging strategies.

Special requirements

To complete a degree, a minimum of 123 credits is required with no more than four of those credits in physical education and no more than another four credits from INFO   160INFO   161, INFO   162INFO   163INFO   164INFO   165INFO   166INFO   167INFO   168 and INFO   169.All students entering junior-level business and economics courses are expected to have competency in computer-based word processing and spreadsheet skills. Students are required to complete the INFO   160 course in the freshman year either through testing out or completing the course.

Students admitted into this program must place into MATH   200 to continue in the program. Students in the financial technology program must attain a minimum grade of C in UNIV   112UNIV   200 all MATH/STAT and 300/400 level courses. A student receiving a grade below C may repeat the course one time to raise the grade to the required level. In addition, a minimum GPA of 2.5 must be maintained. Students who fall below a GPA of 2.5 will be placed on program probation and will be given one semester to return to the minimum GPA of 2.5. Students who do not return to the required GPA will be advised out of the program. A student must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to graduate from the program. At least 30 hours of the required business courses for the Bachelor of Science must be taken at VCU.

Many courses are offered irregularly, please work with an adviser for optimal course sequencing.

Degree requirements for Financial Technology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in financial engineering

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours22-24
Business General Education requirements
BUSN   225Winning Presentations3
ECON   210
ECON   211
Principles of Microeconomics
and Principles of Macroeconomics
6
MATH   200Calculus with Analytic Geometry (satisfies quantitative literacy)-
MATH   201Calculus with Analytic Geometry4
MATH   211Mathematical Structures3
MATH   307Multivariate Calculus4
MATH   310Linear Algebra3
Approved General Education elective3
Any additional Tier II University Core Education CUrriculum approved course
Any AFAM, ANTH, ANTZ, ARTH, BIOL, BIOZ, CHEM, CHEZ, CRJS, DANC, ENGL, ENVS, FRSC, FRSZ, HIST, INNO, INSC, INTL (except INTL   493), MASC, MATH, PHIL, PHYS, PHYZ, POLI, PSYC (except PSYC   214), RELS, SOCS, SOCY, URSP or WRLD course
Any foreign language course
Any honors-designated course taught outside of the School of Business
Total Hours26

Major courses

ACCT   203Introduction to Accounting I3
ACCT   204Introduction to Accounting II3
ECON   403Introduction to Mathematical Economics3
ECON   501Introduction to Econometrics3
FIRE   309Risk and Insurance3
or FIRE   419 Advanced Risk and Insurance
FIRE   311Financial Management3
FIRE   312Financial Modeling3
FIRE   317Investments3
FIRE   321Intermediate Financial Management3
FIRE   417Security Analysis and Portfolio Management3
FIRE   441Funds Management in Financial Institutions3
FIRE   451Options, Futures and Swaps3
FIRE   479Managing Financial Risk3
INFO   202Introduction to E-business Technologies3
INFO   350Intermediate Programming3
INFO   361Systems Analysis and Design3
INFO   364Database Systems3
INFO   450Advanced Programming3
MATH/STAT 3093
MATH   3273
SCMA   325Organizational Communication3
STAT   212Concepts of Statistics3
or SCMA   301 Business Statistics I
STAT   321Introduction to Statistical Computing3
STAT   403Introduction to Stochastic Processes3
Approved financial engineering elective3
Intermediate Accounting I
Cost Accounting
Accounting Systems
International Financial Management
Topics in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
Independent Study in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
Internship in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (requires departmental approval)
Information Technology Infrastructure
Introduction to Analytics
Legal Environment of Business
Total Hours75

Total minimum requirement 123 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ECON   210 Principles of Microeconomics 3
MATH   200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry (satisfies University Core quantitative literacy) 4
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Approved University Core humanities/fine arts 3
Approved University Core natural/physical sciences 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
BUSN   225 Winning Presentations 3
ECON   211 Principles of Macroeconomics 3
MATH   201 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 4
MATH   211 Mathematical Structures 3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
ACCT   203 Introduction to Accounting I 3
INFO   202 Introduction to E-business Technologies 3
MATH   307 Multivariate Calculus 4
STAT   212 Concepts of Statistics 3
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
ACCT   204 Introduction to Accounting II 3
FIRE   311 Financial Management 3
INFO   350 Intermediate Programming 3
MATH   310 Linear Algebra 3
Approved University Core social/behavioral sciences 3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
FIRE   309
Risk and Insurance
or Advanced Risk and Insurance
3
INFO   450 Advanced Programming 3
MATH   309
3
SCMA   325 Organizational Communication 3
Approved General Education elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
ECON   403 Introduction to Mathematical Economics 3
ECON   501 Introduction to Econometrics 3
FIRE   312 Financial Modeling 3
FIRE   317 Investments 3
INFO   364 Database Systems 3
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
FIRE   441 Funds Management in Financial Institutions 3
FIRE   451 Options, Futures and Swaps 3
INFO   361 Systems Analysis and Design 3
MATH   327
3
STAT   321 Introduction to Statistical Computing 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FIRE   321 Intermediate Financial Management 3
FIRE   417 Security Analysis and Portfolio Management 3
FIRE   479 Managing Financial Risk 3
STAT   403 Introduction to Stochastic Processes 3
Approved financial engineering elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 123

FIRE   291. Topics in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. 1-3 Hours.

Variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 3 credits per topic. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. An in-depth study of selected business topics. Graded as pass/fail at the option of the department.

FIRE   301. Personal Financial Planning. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Designed to assist households and those providing financial services and advice to households in making complex financial decisions. Units include income and expenditure, credit, borrowing, banking, savings, insurance, home buying, investment, and estate planning.

FIRE   305. Principles of Real Estate. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Focuses on the language, principles, practices and laws that govern the real estate enterprise, including property rights, legal elements, physical aspects of location and production, brokerage, valuation, ethical dimensions, development, financing and land use.

FIRE   306. Regulatory Aspects of Safety and Risk Control. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Examines political, scientific and social concepts of risk that influence the regulation of certain societal hazards and threats. Includes a survey of federal and state laws, regulations and standards that impact upon employment, the environment, industrial security, consumer protection and occupational safety and health.

FIRE   307. System Safety. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Addresses the concepts and practices of system safety; included are basic system concepts, application of system safety techniques, qualitative and quantitative applications such as fault-free, failure-mode-and-effects, MORT and cost-benefit analyses.

FIRE   308. Incident Investigation and Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Reviews various conceptual and analytical models used in accident/incident investigation strategies and reporting systems, report formats, data collection methods, causal inferences, problem identification and data analysis; in-depth case studies and epidemiological reviews of recent events will be emphasized.

FIRE   309. Risk and Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Nature of risk; insurance and other risk-handling methods; examination of basic life, health, property and liability principles and coverages.

FIRE   311. Financial Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: MGMT 212, MATH   200 or SCMA   212; and ACCT   203 or ACCT   202 (for non-business majors). This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing) or 24 credits with minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Principles of optimal financial policy in the procurement and management of wealth by profit-seeking enterprises; the application of theory to financial decisions involving cash flow, capital structure and capital budgeting.

FIRE   312. Financial Modeling. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE 311 with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). This course is designed to introduce students to a wide array of primarily Excel techniques used in financial model building. Students will be introduced to techniques such as data tables, solver, matrix manipulation, array formulas, pivot tables, etc., to create financial models that are common in the areas of finance, risk management and real estate finance.

FIRE   313. Financial Management for Small Business. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   311. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). This course emphasizes financial management needs for entrepreneurs or persons who expect to be employed in closely held corporations.

FIRE   315. Real Property Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Real property economics, planning, construction, marketing and management of leased properties.

FIRE   316. International Financial Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   311. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Financial management of business in an international environment. Emphasis on tools and techniques to prepare financial managers of multinational firms to effectively respond to the challenges of the international environment. Crosslisted as: INTL   416.

FIRE   317. Investments. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FIRE   311; and SCMA   301, STAT   210, STAT   212, STAT 312 or STAT 541. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). An analysis of the market for long-term corporate securities. Emphasis is given to the valuation of bonds, common stocks, options and convertible securities, and portfolio concepts. Designed to provide an understanding of the functioning of an efficient market.

FIRE   321. Intermediate Financial Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   312 with a minimum grade of C. Pre- or corequisite: SCMA   302, MATH/STAT   309, STAT   314 or STAT   321. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Advanced topics in financial management with emphasis on the theoretical bases for the valuation of the firm.

FIRE   325. Real Estate Law. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Legal fundamentals of real estate including contracts, risk management, environmental and ethical issues, concepts of title, title examination, easements, conveyances, liens and recording statutes affecting real estate.

FIRE   329. E-business Risk Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: INFO   202. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). An analysis of the risks associated with e-business and the practice of e-commerce.

FIRE   359. Issues in Risk Management and Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing. The course focuses on timely issues in the field of risk management and insurance. Students will consider the role of government and the insurance industry as well as the use of other financial solutions in handling risks faced by businesses and individuals. The topics covered change to reflect current societal and industry issues and to explore new risk management innovations.

FIRE   413. Comparative Financial Systems. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   311. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). An analysis of the structure and functioning of financial systems in different parts of the world. Emphasis is on the evolution of such systems in relation to the U.S. financial system. Different regions of the world may be studied in different semesters. Crosslisted as: INTL   413.

FIRE   417. Security Analysis and Portfolio Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FIRE   317 with a minimum grade of C; and SCMA   302, MATH 309/STAT   309, STAT   314 or STAT   321. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). A detailed analysis of stocks and bonds as well as options and futures. Emphasis is on models for portfolio selection, revision and performance evaluation.

FIRE   419. Advanced Risk and Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   311. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). It is a risk and insurance course with emphasis on more mathematical computations and analysis. Market, credit and operational risks are covered, along with legal and catastrophic risk assessments. Sustainability is important to this course. Topics covered include (but not limited to) forecasting of losses -- loss triangles and computations of reserves; risk mapping and the risk management matrix; cost/benefit and risk/award analyses; pricing; capital structure, risk-based capital and economic capital; financial statements using audit techniques (accounting); insurance regulation; life cycle financial risks; insurance solutions to property/casualty and life/health risks.

FIRE   424. Property and Liability Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   309. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Property and liability risk identification and measurement. Major commercial line coverages including fire, marine, automobile, general liability, worker's compensation, fidelity and surety bonds.

FIRE   425. Real Estate Appraisal. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   305 or FIRE   316. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Theory and practice of real property valuation from fundamental concepts to complex income-producing properties and partial-interest valuations. Technology-related tools are employed in the course, including financial modeling with various software programs.

FIRE   429. Property and Liability Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   309 or FIRE 333. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Property and liability risk identification and measurement. Major commercial line coverages including fire, marine, automobile, general liability, worker’s compensation, fidelity and surety bonds.

FIRE   435. Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Corequisite: FIRE   311. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Instruments, techniques and institutions of real estate finance; the mortgage market; financing process; mortgage risk analysis; creative financing; emphasis on policies and procedures used in financing residential and commercial properties and their interaction with the capital markets. Technology-related tools are employed in the course, including financial modeling with various software programs.

FIRE   439. Life and Health Insurance. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing. The function, nature and uses of life and health insurance and annuities; operational aspects of life insurance companies. The course covers insurance solutions for life cycle risks: death; health and longevity – sustainability; legal and tax aspects. Full-time students who pass this course can receive credit for the CLU HS323 examination from the American College. See instructor for details.

FIRE   441. Funds Management in Financial Institutions. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   312 with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Funds management techniques for selected financial institutions including investment companies (mutual funds), life and casualty insurers, savings and loans, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, and pension funds.

FIRE   444. Occupational Safety, Health and Security. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Covers the principles and practices, and regulatory dimensions of occupational safety, health and security. Causes of workplace health hazard exposures, accidents and domestic and international industrial violence are studied with an emphasis on prevention. Characteristics of effective occupational safety, health and workplace security programs are studied to facilitate understanding and application in the workplace. Crosslisted as: MGMT   444.

FIRE   445. Real Estate Investment Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FIRE   425 and FIRE   435. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). This is the capstone course for real estate majors and covers the analytical methods and tools useful for analyzing commercial real estate investments, including a multidisciplinary approach to financial, spatial and social economics, which builds a cohesive framework for analyzing complex investment decisions emphasizing fundamentals of property and financial markets.

FIRE   449. Employee Benefit Planning. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Management of group life, health, disability and retirement plans. Governmental and employers' solutions to life cycle risks -- sustainability through social insurance programs, group insurance and innovations. The course reflects the dynamic nature of this field and requires cost/benefits analysis, best solutions to risks and a complete portfolio project of plan design, cost considerations, funding, regulation and tax considerations.

FIRE   451. Options, Futures and Swaps. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   321 with a minimum grade of C or FIRE   317 with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Analysis and valuation of speculative securities and markets, including options, futures and swaps, with emphasis on their use for hedging and speculative purposes. Major valuation models and term structure models are discussed with applications to problems in finance considered.

FIRE   459. Insurance Law. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing. The course covers the legal concepts and doctrines applicable to insurance. Fundamental legal aspects of all risks and aspects of sustainability. The course provides legislative issues for all solutions to life cycles risks: life and health insurance, pensions, catastrophes (natural and man-made such as terrorism) and property and liability insurance.

FIRE   461. Cases in Financial Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   321 with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Cases involving financial decisions for various forms of business enterprises.

FIRE   469. Advanced Property/Casualty Insurance: Alternative Markets. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FIRE   309 or FIRE   419. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Property and liability risk with emphasis on alternative, less-regulated insurance solutions to all types of risks. The course includes sustainability issues and the way to mitigate natural and man-made catastrophes including sophisticated modeling and techniques. The course covers Lloyds of London; excess and surplus lines carriers; risk retention group, self-insurance, captives and shadow insurance; reinsurance; multilayers of coverage; catastrophe bonds; terrorism; regulation; liability issues globally; social responsibility.

FIRE   479. Managing Financial Risk. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FIRE   309 and FIRE   317. This course is restricted to students who have completed at least 54 credit hours (junior standing). Sources of financial risk. Measurement and uses of enterprisewide financial risk techniques. A variety of analytical tools will be used to learn about value at risk, credit risk, stress testing, financial risk management and actuarial models, and how to manage financial risk.

FIRE   491. Topics in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 3 credits per course; maximum total of 6 credits for all topic courses. Prerequisite: junior standing. An in-depth study of a selected business topic, to be announced in advance.

FIRE   492. Independent Study in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 credits. Maximum total of 3 credits. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing as a major in a business curriculum and approval of adviser and department chair prior to course registration. Intensive study under supervision of a faculty member in an area not covered in-depth or contained in the regular curriculum.

FIRE   493. Internship in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits. Course restricted to students with junior standing and a concentration in finance or risk management and insurance or a declared major in financial technology or real estate, a minimum GPA of 2.5, and permission of the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate chair or the director of the insurance or real estate programs. Involves students in a meaningful experience in finance, insurance or real estate. Intention to enroll must be indicated to the chair or appropriate program director.