Principles of Finance

Principles of Finance gives students a thorough introduction to the concepts, tools, and institutions of finance and serves as a foundation for the core courses offered by the Academy of Finance. Principles of Finance begins with the basics of financial literacy and the function of finance in society. Students then study income and wealth, including budgeting, personal banking, credit and borrowing, and planning for retirement. Next, students examine financial institutions and the role of finance in organizations. They learn about common methods by which businesses raise capital, and they study key investment-related terms and concepts, including the time value of money. Students also explore specific topics of importance in today’s world of finance, risk management, taxes, and ethics. They research how technological and international innovations have changed the financial services field.

As an integral part of the course, students also participate in an in-depth study of a particular finance topic. Students use a Project Based Learning approach to become personal finance experts and lead a schoolwide exhibition on issues critical to financial literacy. Working in groups of three or four, students choose a topic to investigate and examine their topic from various perspectives, including its importance to an individual’s understanding of finance as well as its relevance to the finance industry and society. Groups synthesize their learning and create a three-panel display, public service pamphlet, and talking points, all of which they present to an invited audience at a financial literacy fair.

Finally, students explore the types of careers that exist in finance today.

This course is expected to take a total of 69 50-minute class periods.

Course Scope & Sequence

The Scope & Sequence lists the learning objectives for each lesson, providing you with an overview of what your students will learn during the course. You can use these learning objectives as a guide to determine how the course enables your students to reach the requisite goals set for them.

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Lesson Descriptions

The Lesson Descriptions document includes a brief overview of every lesson in the course. This is the narrative companion to the course Scope & Sequence document.

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Course Support

If you have questions about this course, need a hand with a particular lesson, or just have a great idea to share, please contact Kevin English directly at We are available to support you in teaching the course while also gathering feedback to improve the NAF curriculum.

Culminating Project Overview

In every NAF course, students complete a culminating project and present it in the final lesson. Download the Project Overview to learn the details about the culminating project for this course and to find out what advance preparation the project entails.

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NAFTrack Certification Course Guide

NAFTrack Certification is a nationally recognized, standards-based set of tools developed by NAF to evaluate students’ readiness for college and career. By completing all NAFTrack Certification requirements, students demonstrate mastery of academic skills and career-related knowledge. The requirements are as follows: for each of four NAF courses, students complete all coursework, pass the end-of-course exam, and fulfill culminating project responsibilities, as evidenced by uploading key pieces of work.

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Correlations to the Common Core State Standards

This document identifies which of the ELA and Math Common Core State Standards are met by each lesson in the course. You can use these correlations as an aid to preparing your students for college and careers.

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We welcome questions and feedback about these course materials. For a prompt response, please email Kevin English directly at

The ZIP file below contains the current version of every file for this course. Be sure to download it before the start of each school year. If you just need a specific file or two, it's quicker to use the individual links listed on this page.

All Course Files (ZIP file)


Lesson 10: Forms of Business Ownership

Lesson 11: Ethics in Finance

Lesson 12: Today’s Business Environment


Lesson 13: Best Practices in Personal Finance

Lesson 14: Working in Finance

Lesson 15: Learning from Industry Experts

Lesson 16: Project Presentation and Course Closure

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