The Masters in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis is a full-time three-semester STEM-designated program. It focuses on active, fundamental investing with an emphasis of handling accounting information in investment analysis. Students are exposed to up-to-date research to give them an edge as investors. Research insights and quantitative skills are developed at the PhD level, followed by practical application to equity analysis, credit analysis and investment advisory.

Program Overview

The program begins in early September. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 10 full-term courses (30 credits) along with a thesis (3 credits). During the fall and spring terms, students enroll in a full course load. In the summer term, students will take reduced coursework and complete the thesis requirement. Students are expected to submit their thesis by the end of the summer so that they can meet the requirements in time for an October graduation. Students who wish to complete industry internships over the summer will be allowed to delay a portion of their coursework and the thesis until the fall term.

Expected Coursework

Students must complete a minimum of 10 full-term courses (30 credits) and a thesis (3 credits). Students must select three courses from the fundamental analysis kernel (15 credits). Two of the courses must be Accounting PhD seminars. Students take two courses in statistics and econometrics (6 credits) and a PhD-level course offered by the Finance or Economics Division (3 credits).

Fundamental Analysis Kernel (15 credits)

  • Earnings Quality and Fundamental Analysis (B8008)
  • Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation (B8009)
  • Fundamental Analysis for Investors, Managers, and Entrepreneurs (B8010)
  • Accounting for Value (B8022)
  • Accounting for Consultants (B8122)
  • Sovereign Risk Assessment (B8024)  (1.5 credits)
  • Applied Fundamental Analysis with Alternative Data (B8026) (1.5 credits)

PhD Seminars (6 credits)

The PhD seminars provide the training and exposure that are critical for students as they work on their MS thesis.

  • The first PhD Seminar, Valuation and Financial Statement Analysis (B9010), exposes students to empirical research in accounting as applied to valuation, fundamental analysis, and investing.
  • The second PhD Seminar is chosen from: PhD Seminar on Research on Investing with Fundamental Information (B9020) or PhD Seminar Topics in Accounting Research (B9019)

Together, these courses make the MS candidates attractive to hedge funds, investment management firms, and consulting firms who seek quantitatively trained professionals well trained in the state of art in academic research.

Training in Statistics, Finance and Economics (9 credits)

Students take two courses in statistics and econometrics (6 credits). These courses could be the existing PhD level courses offered by the Decisions, Risk, and Operations group in the Business School or equivalent courses elsewhere in the university.

Students also take a PhD-level course in Economics or Finance offered by the Finance and Economics group of the business school (3 credits).

Additional Electives (at least 6 credits)

Students take two additional electives in an allied discipline such as Economics or Finance or an additional PhD seminar in Accounting. Examples of relevant electives include

  • Capital Markets Regulation (B8326)
  • Advanced Corporate Finance (B8307)
  • An additional PhD seminar in Accounting, Finance or Economics


All MSAFA students must complete a substantial research project under the supervision of a faculty member. They will get ideas for a research project from the PhD seminar courses and the skills to execute it from their statistics classes.

The thesis will be guided by a faculty member who will assign a grade to your work. Over the summer, students meet at regular intervals with their thesis advisor to discuss their progress and provide feedback.

The expectation is that students will submit their thesis and complete the program by the end of the summer semester. However, students also have the option to complete a summer internship, delaying completion of their thesis to the following fall.


The MSAFA program offers an opportunity to learn Accounting, Fundamental Analysis, Statistics, Finance, and Economics from renowned faculty who tackle  accounting’s biggest challenges while defining the future of the discipline. They are innovators and influencers on business practices and strategies, continuing Columbia Business School’s legacy of creating cutting-edge models and applications adopted by educators and worldwide businesses. Our faculty are invested in student success and have a collaborative culture that challenges students to push the boundaries of their analytical problem-solving abilities.

Trevor Harris

Trevor Harris

Arthur J. Samberg Professor Emeritus of Professional Practice, Accounting Division

Doron Nissim

Doron Nissim

Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting & Finance, Accounting Division

Stephen Penman

Stephen Penman

George O. May Professor of Financial Accounting Accounting, Accounting Division

Director, MSAFA Program

Shivaram Rajgopal

Shivaram Rajgopal

Roy Bernard Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing, Accounting Division