Curriculum That Is Always Relevant 

Gain the advantage of an education developed by the world’s leading financial institute. We enlist the industry’s brightest minds to continuously improve the program so it always remains relevant. Our rigorous curriculum prepares you to be an effective and ethical investment management professional in today's modern market.
Explore Curriculum
  • For the safety of our global community, CFA Institute has made the decision to postpone the June 2020 CFA Exam administration.

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Expand Your Knowledge, Advance Your Career

Keeping the Curriculum Relevant and Rigorous

We continuously evolve CFA® Program by connecting with practicing investment management professionals to determine the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities that are needed in an investment role today. We call this method our Program Practice Analysis process and it plays a key role in establishing CFA Program as the global “gold standard” of investment credentials.

Industry Practitioner Input at Every Stage

CFA Program curriculum is developed through an Education Advisory Committee that involves industry wealth market practitioners, security market regulators, university faculty, and policymakers. Involving financial thought leaders ensures that we provide skills that are sought after within the industry and maintain a relevant curriculum.

Education that Evolves with the Market

CFA Institute researches and identifies trends that significantly impact the investment industry. This research and insight informs updates to our curriculum to reflect current practices and ensure charterholders are ready to enter a constantly changing market.

Explore Core Curriculum Topics 

This topic introduces ethics, related challenges to ethical behavior, and the role played by ethics and professionalism in the investment industry. A framework to support ethical decision making is provided to help guide behavior. CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct is examined, as well as the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®).

Introduces quantitative concepts and techniques used in financial analysis and investment decision making. Descriptive statistics used for conveying important data attributes such as central tendency, location, and dispersion are presented. Characteristics of return distributions are introduced. Probability theory and its application quantifying risk in investment decision making is considered.

Introduces fundamental concepts of supply and demand analysis for individual consumers and firms. Also covered are the various market structures in which firms operate. Key macroeconomic concepts and principles are covered, including aggregate output and income measurement, aggregate demand and supply analysis, and analysis of economic growth factors. The topic concludes with coverage of the business cycle and its effect on economic activity.

Offers a thorough explanation of financial reporting procedures and the standards that govern financial reporting disclosure. Emphasis is on basic financial statements and how alternative accounting methods affect those statement and the analysis of them. Primary financial statements are examined, along with a general framework for conducting financial statement analysis.

Provides an introduction to corporate governance and investing and financing decisions. An overview of corporate governance is presented along with a framework for understanding and analyzing corporate governance and stakeholder management. The growing impact of environmental and social considerations in investing is also highlighted. Coverage is given on how companies make use of leverage and manage their working capital to meet short-term operational needs.

Learn to describe characteristics of equity investments, security markets, and indexes. Analyze industries, companies and equity securities, and the use of basic equity valuation models. Global equities are defined as an important class for meeting longer-term growth and diversification objectives.

Learn to describe fixed income securities and their markets, yield measures, risk factors, and valuation measurements and drivers. Calculating yields and values of fixed income securities will be covered. How to understand securitization of assets, the fundamentals of bond returns and risks, and basic principles of credit analysis are included.

Builds the conceptual framework for understanding the basic derivatives and derivative markets. Essential features and valuation concepts for forward commitments such as forwards, futures, and swaps and contingent claims are introduced. Arbitrage is discussed, a critical concept that link derivative pricing to the price of the underlying.

There is discussion of alternative investments, including hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, and infrastructure. The use of alternative investments for diversifications and higher returns is covered. The curriculum defines what alternative investments include, and the characteristics that they have in common.

Explains and demonstrates the use of fundamentals of portfolio and risk management, including return and risk measurement, and portfolio planning and construction. The needs of both individual and institutional investors are examined, along with the range of available investment solutions. CAPM is used to identify optimal risk in portfolios.

Study Smarter with Personalized Learning Tools

Registered candidates have access to our Learning Ecosystem, a customized online learning tool that delivers the entire CFA Program curriculum, and makes studying engaging, efficient, and effective. The Learning Ecosystem adapts to your needs and serves you the right material at the right time, focusing on areas where you need the most work so you are prepared for the exams. Get a study support platform that offers: 
  • Accelerated and Personalized Learning 
  • More Engaging Study Resources
  • Improved Knowledge Retention

Prepare for Three Challenging Exams

The CFA Program curriculum increases in complexity as you move through the three levels. Below is a chart representing how much weight is given to various exam topics across each level. All exam questions are based on the content in the corresponding curriculum for that level and exam questions are based explicitly on Learning Outcome Statements (LOS). You should be able to accurately answer exam questions if you can accomplish the learning outcomes described by the command words within the LOS. 

Each level is organized into study sessions, with assigned readings, Learning Outcome Statements, and practice problem sets. Start learning today by viewing all study session outlines.

Level I Level II Level III
Ethical and Professional Standards 15 10–15 10–15
Quantitative Methods 10 5–10 0
Economics 10 5–10 5–10
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15 10–15 0
Corporate Finance 10 5–10 0
Equity Investments 11 10–15 10–15
Fixed Income 11 10–15 15–20
Derivatives 6 5–10 5–10
Alternative Investments 6 5–10 5–10
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 6 10–15 35–40
Total 100 100 100

Content That Is Always Evolving

Explore Curriculum

We regularly update our curriculum to ensure that it is relevant to modern financial practices and that candidates can apply their knowledge to real world scenarios. Check out the Program Practice Analysis Fact Sheet and Where Theory Meets Practice for a more in-depth look at how we develop CFA Program. 

Program Practice Analysis (PDF)
Discover how we work with practicing professionals to keep curriculum current. 

Where Theory Meets Practice (PDF)
Learn more about CFA Program process in detail, how the curriculum is established, and how the exams are developed and structured.

Are You Ready for Level I? (Quiz)

Unlock Helpful Study Tools and Curriculum Materials

Registered candidates have access to helpful study materials and support tools as part of our Candidate Resources. Prepare for exams with the official CFA Program curriculum, in addition to study sessions for each level and custom study plans to help keep you on track for success. 

  • Learning Ecosystem

    A hub of educational content, curriculum material, and study tools.

    • Unlock helpful study resources 
    • Access the digital curriculum or order a printed copy
    • Tools to track your learning progress
  • Mock Exams

    Practice designed to mimic the exam-day experience.

    • Timed and structured like the real exam
    • Same topic areas and difficulty level
    • Questions based on the current curriculum
  • Custom Study Plans

    Get personalized study plans that are designed to prepare you for the exams. 

    • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses
    • Get a plan designed just for you
    • Perform better on the exams

Take the Next Step in Your Career

Ready to earn a charter and join the ranks of elite investment professionals? If you are registering for the Level I exam for the first time, you must enroll in CFA Program as part of exam registration. Follow the below link to create an account, and we will connect you with everything you need to prepare.

Enroll and Register

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