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On March 12, the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University voted to approve a new interdisciplinary Minor in Finance for undergraduate students. The proposal was put forward by the Department of Economics under the leadership of Department Chair and Professor of Economics, Dan Richards with support from Professor Misha Kilmer (Mathematics), Erin Kelly (Philosophy), and Dean Jim Glaser. The new minor will consolidate a number of finance classes currently available to students in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering into a comprehensive academic program that promotes a more structured understanding of financial market theory and practice. The program will also serve as a point of intersection between various disciplines within Arts and Sciences (Economics, Mathematics, and Philosophy) and potentially, across schools, including learning opportunities at the Fletcher School and the Gordon Institute.

The Finance Minor will be a six-course interdisciplinary program that will include three core classes, two electives, and a capstone seminar. The core classes are: Economics 50, Introduction to Finance; Mathematics 32, Calculus 1, and either Philosophy 24: Introduction to Ethics, or Philosophy 38: Rational Choice. Students will choose two electives, which will address various topics in financial economic analysis. The final class will be a capstone experience requiring either a major research project or a combination of an internship and a significant research paper. The capstone will be rooted in a seminar class and coupled with a practicum, which will be led by the Economics Professor of the Practice in Finance, currently Chris Manos, for which the Tufts Finance Initiative has provided funding. It may also potentially involve students enrolled in Philosophy 197: Ethics, Law and Society.

Rationale for the Minor

“The study of financial markets and outcomes lies at the heart of much current academic and policy research,” stated Prof. Dan Richards, who was instrumental in the creation of the Finance Minor. “A full appreciation of the field of finance requires both a more focused and structured coursework program that acknowledges the field’s strong interdisciplinary links.”

Through creating a formal academic curriculum for the Finance Minor, Tufts students will now receive a long-sought academic option that places them on more equal footing with peer institutions, such as Dartmouth, Brown, Georgetown, and Penn that offer either an undergraduate major or minor (or both) in Finance. Currently in the School of Arts and Sciences, approximately 150-175 students are enrolled in financial economics classes each term, and this group has consistently requested a formal academic structure to guide their studies. Both students and alumni alike have rallied behind the creation of the Finance Minor, seeking explicit certification for Tufts students’ financial studies and their familiarity with key concepts, especially as they pursue competitive employment opportunities after graduation.

Tufts’ Minor in Finance will also serve as an interdisciplinary link across both university departments and schools. “The interdisciplinary nature of the program is partly reflected in the structure of the Finance Minor itself, as it includes both mathematics and philosophy classes. However, we also expect that over time, it will make sense to add new courses in innovative and creative curricular areas,” noted Prof. Richards. “There are already exciting opportunities to link the Finance Minor with classes at the Gordon Institute and the Fletcher School, including not only the Entrepreneurial Finance class in the ELS program, but also such classes as Global Investments, Islamic Finance, and others at Fletcher that have begun to offer new areas of learning that will appropriately prepare Tufts undergraduates in competitive and meaningful ways.”

The Minor in Finance is anticipated to be available to Tufts students beginning Fall of 2014.