Global Financial Institutions
The Global Financial Institutions Concentration (GFIC) will expose students to the workings of global financial markets, their key institutional features and the theoretical underpinnings of their design. Students will learn about the structure and operation of U.S. and world financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, private financial firms and central banks around the world, as well as related financial regulations. Students will also gain an understanding of different types of financial securities as well as their relative advantages and disadvantages.
The GFIC comprises a sequence of six courses and a combination of internships and workshops to develop appropriate computer skills. Students typically complete the requirements of the GFIC in three years.
Important Academic Information for Spring 2020
In response to COVID-19, Smith College has implemented alternate modes of instruction for all academic courses for the remainder of the spring semester, as of March 30, 2020. Guidelines and information for academic continuity are available below. For general information, read the college’s FAQ about COVID-19 and visit the digital support for spring 2020 website.
The concentration accepts up to 15 students annually. You are encouraged to apply for participation in the Global Financial Institutions Concentration during your sophomore year. Applications will not be accepted from first-year students. Preference is given to students with a demonstrated interest in the application of their academic discipline to the financial sector.
Eligible applicants will already have completed the gateway course and one approved elective course (see the list below). Applications will be reviewed by the Global Financial Institutions Concentration Advisory Committee. Accepted students will be assigned an adviser who will oversee their progress through the concentration and will track their work.
Some students may choose to pursue the concentration in addition to a second major or a minor. This would occur when the concentration serves to logically unify and reinforce a particular program of study. Such decisions should be made in consultation with the your adviser, and must be approved by the Global Financial Institutions Concentration Advisory Committee.
GFX 100: Introduction to Global Financial Markets
This eight-week lecture series is offered each fall. GFX100 provides an overview of the financial system and the role of financial institutions in the global economy; domestic and international regulation; domestic and international banking. Faculty and guest lecturers also reflect on contemporary developments and challenges within their fields.
1 credit, S/U only.
Mahnaz Mahdavi (Economics)
Required Elective Course
All concentrators are required to take ACC 223: Financial Accounting (offered every spring).
Students are required to take three other electives drawn from at least two different departments. Students can select from the approved list of Smith and Five College courses detailed below, one of which must be a Smith Economics course.
No more than two elective courses that fulfill the requirements for a student’s major and one from a student’s minor will be counted toward fulfillment of the concentration.
Concentrators may choose to focus on a specific region (Africa, Asia, Europe or the Americas) by selecting courses on that region and doing research in their capstone seminar related to the region. Concentrators focusing on a region are strongly urged to study a language spoken in that region. Language courses will not be counted towards fulfillment of the concentration.
Smith College Electives
East Asian Studies
Middle East Studies
Statistical and Data Science
Study of Women and Gender
Five College Electives
Mount Holyoke College
Recommended for regional focus
**Only one statistics course will be counted towards the Global Financial Institutions Concentration
Students fulfill the capstone requirement for the concentration by taking one seminar selected from the list of approved seminars (see below). Such seminars are drawn from disciplines in which global finance research is already featured, such as economics, government and public policy. Concentrators must gain approval for their seminar paper topic from the concentration director and present their research during the annual Celebrating Collaborations event in April.
Approved Capstone Courses
- ECO 311: Topics in Economic Development: The Economic Development of India
- ECO 314: Industrial Organization and Antitrust Policy
- ECO 324: Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources
- ECO 375: The Theory and Practice of Central Banking
- ECO 396: International Financial Markets
- ENV 323: Climate and Energy Policy
- CSC 325: Responsible Computing
- GOV 343: Corruption and Global Governance
- PRS 318: Religion of the Marketplace: A Demystification
- SDS 390: Topics in Statistical and Data Science: Advanced Programming for Data Science
- SOC 333: Social Justice, the Environment, and the Corporation
Students are required to complete at least one summer internship (approved 10-week programs) prior to the senior year; Praxis may be used to fund one of these opportunities. The Global Financial Institutions Concentration director, in collaboration with the Lazarus Center for Career Development, can assist with identifying relevant internships.
First-year students are strongly encouraged to use their first summer to gain work experience designed to develop required professional skills including technology, programming and market-related communication.
In order to enhance knowledge of financial markets and language, concentrators are required to participate in one of the following approved activities and are strongly encouraged to participate in more than one.
Concentrators are required to submit a completed Global Financial Institutions Concentration Checklist, signed by your GFIC adviser, indicating that you have completed all of the concentration requirements. Completed advising checklist forms are due in the registrar’s office no later than the end of the first week of your final semester at Smith.
The Practical Experience Pre-Approval Form must be completed and signed by your GFIC adviser prior to completing your practical experience. Only one learning experience (Wall Street Prep or Excel with Excel) may be counted toward fulfillment of GFIC requirements.
The appropriate form must be signed and submitted after completing your practical experiences.