Finance: From Personal Literacy to Global Markets

Earn a Certificate of Completion.

As the saying goes, “Time is money!” It’s never too early to become financially literate. USC’s Pre-College Online certificate course, “Finance: From Personal Literacy to Global Markets,” offers a deep dive into the fundamental concepts of finance. From personal finance to the corporate and global markets, this course will equip you to better understand your own finances, while also exploring possible careers in the finance industry.

June 3, 2024
June 17, 2024
July 1, 2024
July 15, 2024
July 29, 2024
August 5, 2024
August 19, 2024
September 2, 2024
September 16, 2024
September 30, 2024
October 14, 2024
October 28, 2024
November 11, 2024
November 25, 2024
December 9, 2024
December 23, 2024

Combined coursework of recorded lectures, readings, and assignments is approximately 20-25 -hours to be completed at the student’s own pace. Students are expected to complete the course in two to four weeks.

Students must be at least 14 years old or older and enrolled in a high school or secondary program.

Recent high school graduates, students taking a gap year or time off from college and are older than 18 can request an exemption to apply by emailing and include a short paragraph (no more than 200 words) stating your interest and how this program will add value to your academic or career plans.

$1990 USD
$35 application fee


Deciding whether to save for college, buy a car, or invest in stocks — finance factors into so many of our day-to-day decisions. Yet, finances are not often taught in high schools or even households.

This course will offer students the chance to learn the fundamentals of finance from the personal level to the corporate and global markets.

Students will explore how to manage their personal finances through planning and investing for their future goals. Then we will break down the basics of corporate finance, focusing on how companies raise money through stocks and bonds. Finally, the course will also introduce students to an exciting new frontier in finance — the world of digital currencies.

Through all of these topics, you will learn from USC Marshall professors as well as seasoned professionals. And not only will you earn a certificate of completion that can set you apart when applying for college, but you’ll gain a better sense of what areas of finance you might want to pursue in college and beyond.

Maybe you’d like to build a career as an analyst for an investment bank or become a personal wealth advisor? Whatever future path you take, this course will help you start that journey.

Featured Topics

  • Personal Finance and Financial Planning
  • Investing For Your Future
  • Understanding Corporate Finance
  • Raising Money: Stocks and Bonds
  • Investing: Digital Currencies

Learning Outcomes
This course provides a foundation for understanding essential concepts of personal and corporate finance. Following completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Utilize the financial planning process to build healthy finance habits
  • Strategize for saving and mitigating investment risks
  • Define key corporate financial concepts, including: time value of money, interest rates, and risk and returns
  • Understand how stocks operate and the importance of stock exchanges in the global economy
  • Understand trends in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies

Format and Course Length
The course consists of recorded lectures, analysis of financial formulas and calculations, industry connections, and activities. As students explore the fundamentals of personal and corporate finance, each topic focuses on specific concepts, terms, and technology.

Combined coursework of recorded lectures, readings, and assignments is approximately 20-25 -hours to be completed at the student’s own pace. Students are expected to complete the course in two to four weeks.


Mike Paranal
Mike Paranal Assistant Professor of Clinical Accounting
USC Marshall School of Business

Professor Michael Paranal, CPA is a lawyer admitted to practice in New York and California. He is also admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales. He worked as a capital markets attorney for Latham & Watkins in London, UK, and In 2015 was awarded the Robert Bosch Fellowship in Accounting and Securities Regulation. He joined the European Central Bank as the only non-EU citizen working in the Financial Law Division during the time of the European Debt Crisis. Professor Paranal is an alumnus of the USC MBT Program. He also earned his JD MBA at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law at the University of Oxford. He is currently part of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Tax Transaction Advisory Group.


Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants who submit a completed application can expect an admission decision within 3 – 5 business days.

  • Include basic contact information from you and your parent(s) or guardian.
  • Tell us why you want to take the course and a little about yourself through a short-answer essay.
  • Share a piece of writing, video or social media content that reveals something about yourself (optional).
  • Submit the $35 application fee.
  • Students must be at least 14 years old or older and enrolled in a high school or secondary program.


In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants are expected to be proficient in English. International students who successfully complete an online course will receive a digital Certificate of Completion and by request a USC Pre-College Program transcript at no additional cost.


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Monday, June 3, 2024Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Monday, July 1, 2024Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Monday, July 15, 2024Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Monday, July 29, 2024Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Monday, August 5, 2024Wednesday, July 31, 2024
Monday, August 19, 2024Wednesday, August 14, 2024
Monday, September 2, 2024Wednesday, August 28, 2024
Monday, September 16, 2024Wednesday, September 11, 2024
Monday, September 30, 2024Wednesday, September 25, 2024
Monday, October 14, 2024Wednesday, October 9, 2024
Monday, October 28, 2024Wednesday, October 23, 2024
Monday, November 11, 2024Wednesday, November 6, 2024
Monday, November 25, 2024Wednesday, November 20, 2024
Monday, December 9, 2024Wednesday, December 4, 2024
Monday, December 23, 2024Wednesday, December 18, 2024


Application fees are nonrefundable. All course cancellations requests must be made in writing to Any tuition paid to the university will be refunded, not including fees, if requested no more than three (3) days past the course start date. Requests to drop the course more than three (3) days after the start date will not be eligible for a refund.

The university will not refund tuition for Pre-College Online Exploration courses for students who are removed from the program due to a violation of our Letter of Understanding for Online Participation and our Student Code of Conduct.