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.
The concentration accepts up to 15 students annually. You are encouraged to declare the Global Financial Institutions Concentration during your sophomore year. Students with a demonstrated interest in the application of their academic discipline to the financial sector are encouraged to contact the Concentration Director.
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 338: Household Finance and Inequality
- 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.
- Smith College Investment Club (maintain active membership status)
- Lazarus Center Finance Resume and Cover Letters workshop (check dates on Handshake)
- Lazarus Center Mock Finance Interview Day (check dates on Handshake)
Declaration of Concentration
To join the concentration please fill out the declaration form after receiving approval from director.
Program of Study Declaration Form.
Practical Experience Forms
*The reuirements for the Practical Experiences are one Practicum and one internship or two internships
After discussing the proposed practical experience with their advisers, students need to fill out the corresponding practical experience approval form in order to have the experience count towards the concentration requirements:
- Summer Internship (100 hours or more)—Internship Credit Application
All students undertaking a summer internship of at least 100 hours are eligible to receive academic credit (0.25 credits per experience) that will appear on their transcript. We encourage all students who qualify to apply for internship credit. Students applying for Praxis funding don’t need to fill out this form, and should instead use the “Praxis with Credit” form below.
- Unpaid Summer Internship (220 hours or more)—Praxis with Credit Application
All Smith students are eligible to receive a stipend payment for one normally unpaid internship through the Praxis program at the Lazarus Center. These internships must take place during the summer, and must comprise at least 220 working hours. Students in Concentrations are eligible to apply for Praxis a second time– Praxis Plus. When applying for a Praxis internship, the applicant must specify if the internship counts towards a concentration and should fill out the “Praxis with Credit” application.
- Excel and Wall Street Prep Workshops
Only one learning experience (Wall Street Prep or Excel with Excel) may be counted toward fulfillment of GFIC requirements. Excel workshops will no longer be offered, but will continue to count for students who took it prior to Fall 2022.
- Retroactive Credit for an Experience
Students who completed a practical experience relevant to the concentration prior to declaration should discuss the experience with their concentration adviser as soon as possible. Once the experience is approved, students must fill out the Practical Experience Completion Form and check the ‘Retroactive Experience’ box on the form.
Advising Checklist for Graduation
Students are required to submit a completed Concentration Advising Checklist at the start of their final semester. This form documents the completed components of the concentration requirements, and must be signed by the student’s concentration adviser. Completed form should be sent to the Registrar's office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to the Administrative Coordinator for Concentrations (email@example.com).