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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.
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Prepare for Three Challenging Exams
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|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||15||10–15||0|
|Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning||6||10–15||35–40|
Content That Is Always Evolving
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.
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