Establishing Proficiency in a Core Course

Establishing Proficiency Policy

The Stern Core courses are designed in order to provide all Stern MBA students with the strong business foundation necessary to excel both in and out of the Stern MBA classroom. In order to complete your degree, you are required to complete your program's Core requirements as outlined in the Full-Time or Langone Part-time program requirements.

Students with a background in any of the Core course areas, either academic or professional, may choose to establish proficiency in a Core course rather than repeat course material. In all cases, you must take a total of 60 credits for the MBA requirements. Any Core course in which you establish proficiency will be replaced by elective credits.

Methods for Establishing Proficiency in a Core Course

You may establish proficiency in a Core course through any of the following methods (details of each method are provided in the tabs above):

  1. By having earned an Undergraduate Major or Master's degree in that subject or having taken at least five courses in the subject (see tab #2 on this page)
  2. By passing a Stern Proficiency Exam (see tab #3 on this page)
  3. (For COR1-GB.1306 Financial Accounting and Reporting only) By demonstrating proof or verification of one of the following: a) a U.S. CPA License; b) a passing grade on the U.S. CPA exam; or c) a chartered accounting certification (see tab #4 on this page)


FINC-GB.2302 Corporate Finance (3.0 credits) 

Full-time and Langone Part-time MBA students are not required to take the Corporate Finance elective course.  However, a number of upper-level elective courses require Corporate Finance as a co-requisite or pre-requisite. Students who wish to establish proficiency in Corporate Finance as a co-requisite or pre-requisite may do so through the standard methods of establishing proficiency. 

COR2-GB.3101 Professional Responsibility (1.5 credits)

All students must take this capstone Core course. It is not possible to establish proficiency in this course.

Langone Core (MCOM-GB.2105 Business Communication, MGMT-GB.2159 Collaboration, Conflict and Negotiation)

Langone Part-time MBA students must take these two courses. It is not possible to establish proficiency in these courses.

Undergraduate Major or Master's Degree Proficiency Policy

Students who possess an undergraduate major or advanced degree in a Core discipline area, or who have taken five or more courses in the subject, may choose to establish proficiency in that respective Core course. In order to establish proficiency based on previous coursework, students should make a formal request through the Core Course Proficiency Site. Students are not automatically given proficiency in any Core course(s). 

Please refer to the chart below for more information regarding what undergraduate major, advanced degree, or course subject material qualifies a student to establish proficiency in each Core course:

Core Course

Undergrad Major, Advanced Degree, or Coursework

COR1-GB.1302 Leadership in Organizations Management*
COR1-GB.1303 Firms and Markets Economics
COR1-GB.1305 Statistics and Data Analysis Statistics
COR1-GB.1306 Financial Accounting and Reporting U.S. Accounting Majors, U.S. CPAs, Chartered Accountants** 
COR1-GB.2310 Marketing Marketing
COR1-GB.2311 Foundations of Finance Finance*** 
COR1-GB.2314 Operations Management  Industrial Engineering or Operations Management
COR1-GB.2303 The Global Economy Economics
FINC-GB.2302 Corporate Finance Finance****  

* Substantial coursework in Organizational Behavior or Theory required. Proficiency established upon review and approval of transcripts.
** Students who have a CFA designation are required to take the Proficiency Exam, per the Accounting Department's policy
*** Students who have a CFA designation are required to take the Proficiency Exam, per the Finance Department's policy
**** Students wishing to establish proficiency in Corporate Finance must have taken at least five courses in Finance, including at least one course in Corporate Finance.

Proficiency Exam Policy

Students who do not possess the necessary previous coursework to establish proficiency in a course, but still believe that they possess the knowledge to establish proficiency in a Core course, may take a proficiency exam to demonstrate Core course proficiency. 

In order to participate in a proficiency exam, you should first review the Core course topic lists provided below. If you feel that you are proficient in the topics listed, you should register for a proficiency exam on the Core Course Proficiency Site.

Proficiency Exam Details

  • Exams are offered throughout the year for all MBA students.
  • All exams are closed-book.
  • You have two hours for each exam.  
  • All proficiency exams are offered during each 2-hour exam session.
  • You may take only one exam per 2-hour exam session.
  • You may only take each proficiency exam once.
  • You are permitted to use standard or financial calculators.
  • You are not permitted to use iPhones, Blackberries, laptops or similar devices.
  • Exams are graded "Pass/Fail".
  • Exam grades may not be appealed.
  • Exam results will not be reviewed or discussed. 
  • Should you not pass an exam, you must register for and complete the Core course, if it is part of your Core requirements or to satisfy an elective pre-requisite.
  • If you pass, you may register for subsequent electives that require this course as a pre-requisite.
  • Establishing proficiency in a course does not reduce the number of credits required for the degree. In all cases you must take a total of 60 credits to earn your degree.
  • You are only eligible to sit for Core proficiency exams within the first year of your program. If, due to extenuating circumstances, you need to take a proficiency exam after the first year of your program, you must request permission from the Academic Policy Board.

Core Course Topic Lists

All Washington Square exams will be given in the Kaufman Management Center. 

CPA and Chartered Accountant Proficiency Policy

Students may establish proficiency in COR1-GB.1306 Financial Accounting and Reporting by demonstrating proof of any of the following:

  1. a U.S. CPA License
  2. a passing grade on the U.S. CPA exam
  3. a chartered accounting certification

Accounting licenses from countries other than the U.S. are not acceptable to establish proficiency.  If you have an accounting license from a  country other than the U.S., you will need to take and pass the proficiency exam in order to establish proficiency in COR1-GB.1306 Financial Accounting and Reporting.

Students should request to establish proficiency in Financial Accounting and Reporting through the Core Course Proficiency site