The Finance Emphasis is designed to prepare students for careers in the financial services industry including banks, brokerages, investment advisors and insurance.

Why get a degree in Finance at Western

The financial services industry is one of the most attractive areas in business.  With high salaries and strong demand for graduates, finance is a very popular choice for students.  Western is located several hours from Denver and Colorado Springs which has a vibrant financial sector and recent graduates have been placed with firms including Charles Schwab, Factset, Wells Fargo and Northwest Mutual. 

What will you learn by studying Finance? What skills will you acquire?

The coursework in the finance major will allow you to learn how to:

  • Prepare, analyze, and interpret financial information
  • Apply financial theories to make sound business decisions
  • Apply the basic principles of security markets to create, evaluate, and manage security portfolios
  • Value cash-flows, businesses, capital projects, and financial securities, and how to make investment decisions.
  • Research and interpret data by applying appropriate technology tools to solve business problems
  • Understand the risk reward relationships that go into every financial decision

After Graduation

The School of Business at Western works closely with employers to ensure that our students have access to the top corporations around the country.  According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, due to a “growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions” finance positions are growing faster than the average for employment in the United States.

Students with a finance degree have the opportunity to seek positions in the following positions:

  • Financial Analysts
  • Financial Consultant
  • Finance Manager
  • Money Managers 
  • Financial Planners
  • Corporate Finance 
  • Investment Banking
  • Real Estate


Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Finance Program in The School of Business, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Faculty & Staff


Dr. Jim Harriss headshot
Associate Professor of Finance; Graduate Faculty in Outdoor Industry MBA
B.B.A. Sam Houston State University, MBA Sam Houston State University, D.B.A. Mississippi State University
Phone: (970) 943.3005
Office Location: Borick Business Building 215


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 BUAD 315 - Business Law (3 credits)

Study includes: sales, commercial paper, secured transactions, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and agency. Prerequisite: BUAD 210.

 BUAD 322 - Financial Planning (3 credits)

An exploration of the fundamental issues of financial planning. Students gain an understanding of the concepts of the financial planning process, the economic environment, the time value of money, the legal environment, financial analysis, and ethical and professional considerations in financial planning. Prerequisite: Completion of Base Curriculum.

 BUAD 461 - Investments (3 credits)

A study of the many investments available for individual portfolios. Emphasis is placed on the risks inherent in investments and the methods and techniques of analysis used in selecting securities for investments. Prerequisite: completion of Base Curriculum; BUAD 360; or instructor permission.

 BUAD 491 - Strategic Management (3 credits)

The formal analysis of an organizationÕs macro and industry environment; its mission and goals; and strategy formulation, implementation, and control. This is a capstone course which integrates the studentÕs knowledge from the areas of accounting, finance, marketing, and management. Students are encouraged to take this course during their last semester; graduating seniors are given priority in enrollment. Prerequisites: completion of Base Curriculum; BUAD 309; BUAD 333 or 350; BUAD 360; and senior standing.

 ECON 201 - Macroeconomics (3 credits)

An introduction to the methods, models, and approaches used by economists to analyze and interpret events and policies related to the overall operation of the economy. The course endeavors to make sense of unemployment, inflation, recessions, debt and deficits, economic growth, the expanding role of the Federal Reserve, and policies to provide stability to the economy. Additional attention is given to the making of economic policy in an era of globalization. Finally, students are exposed to multiple schools of thought regarding macroeconomic reasoning. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or university-level math requirement with a minimum grade of C-. Prerequisite or corequisite: ENG 102.

 ECON 361 - Money, Banking and Financial Markets (3 credits)

A survey of the core topics relating to the monetary sector of the economy. This includes an examination of the role and nature of money, financial institutions and markets, banking structure and regulation, determinants of interest rates, central bank policy, exchange rates, and the international monetary system. Attention is also given to particular monetary episodes such as the Great Depression, the Latin American debt crisis, the collapse of the Mexican Peso, and the Asian monetary collapse. Prerequisites: MATH 140, MATH 141, or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ó; ECON 201.