CFA Program Overview


The CFA Program is a globally recognized, Masters (MS-Finance) level curriculum that provides you with a strong foundation of the real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills and practical knowledge you need in today’s investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards.

The CFA designation was first awarded in 1963. As of March 2012, CFA Institute has about 107,000 members in 138 countries around the world, including about 98,000 CFA charterholders. Regulatory bodies in 19 countries recognize the CFA charter as a proxy for meeting certain licensing requirements. More than 125 distinguished colleges and universities around the world have incorporated a majority of the CFA Program curriculum into their own courses, including the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School; New York University; INSEAD; Peking University; and Nanyang Technological University.


The curriculum for the CFA program is based on a Candidate Body of Knowledge established by CFA Institute. The curriculum comprises of the topic areas below, and there are three exams levels that test the academic portion of the CFA program. All three CFA levels have a strong emphasis on ethics, while the material differences among the exams are:

The CFA Level I study program emphasizes tools and inputs, and includes an introduction to asset valuation, financial reporting and analysis, and portfolio management techniques.

The CFA Level II study program emphasizes asset valuation, and includes applications of the tools and inputs (including economics, financial reporting and analysis, and quantitative methods) in asset valuation.

The CFA Level III study program emphasizes portfolio management, and includes strategies for applying the tools, inputs, and asset valuation models in managing equity, fixed income, and derivative investments for individuals and institutions.

For exams from 2008 onward, candidates automatically receive the curriculum readings from CFA Institute when they register for the exam. There is no possibility to register for the CFA exam without receiving the curriculum. There is also no possibility to order the curriculum separately. If the student fails an CFA exam and has the possibility to resit in the same year, CFA Institute offers a slight rebate and will not send the curriculum again (the curriculum only changes from one year to the next). However if the student resits in a year other than the year of failure, he will receive the curriculum again as it may have been changed. 

Download the following document for some important facts about the CFA Program (Source: CfaInstitute.Org):

                                                          Download: CFA Charter Fact Card (pdf)