Complete Guide on CFA Program – Scope, Eligibility, Syllabus, Jobs & More!


If you’re passionate about finance and dream of a career in investment management or financial analysis, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program stands as a beacon of excellence. This prestigious certification, offered by the CFA Institute, is recognized globally for its rigorous curriculum and high standards. Let’s delve into the CFA course details along with the CFA course syllabus, gain knowledge of what each level entails, and learn how you can navigate them successfully.

Watch our video to know CFA Course details

What Is CFA?

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Program is a global professional credential offered by the American Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, a premier international association of investment management professionals. It is one of the most reputed financial credentials that enjoys high trust and dependence among peers. The CFA Institute, with more than 60+ years of experience, is setting global standards with rigorous focus, integrity, and advanced finance and investment industry skills. This set of skills and knowledge will serve you well throughout your career in the finance/investment and capital markets.

Why Should You Pursue CFA? – Scope of CFA Globally

Today, over 1,78,000+ CFA Charter-holders influence business across 160+ markets globally. These charter-holders work as Portfolio Managers, Equity Research Analysts, Fund Managers, Wealth Managers, CFOs, and Risk Consultants. CFA qualification is recognized by regulators, universities, and certification programs in over 30+ countries, including India. CFA is a preferred qualification and a mark of distinction for more than 31,000+ employer investment firms to meet their ever-evolving needs. As per the information shared by the CFA Institute, their top 11 global employers include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, RBC, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, BlackRock, and Citigroup. With newer conventions introduced in the finance domain and globalization, the demand for CFAs will only increase in India and abroad.

Understanding the CFA Program Structure

In the CFA course details, the CFA program consists of three levels, each building upon the knowledge and skills acquired in the previous level. Here’s the detailed CFA course syllabus and an overview of what you can expect at each stage:

Level 1: Foundation of Financial Knowledge

1. Subjects Covered: Level 1 covers ten core subjects, including Ethics and Professional Standards, Quantitative Methods, Economics, Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA), Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, and Portfolio Management.

2. Exam Format: Level 1 is a multiple-choice exam divided into morning and afternoon sessions. It covers fundamental concepts in finance and tests your understanding of basic principles. It serves as a gateway to the subsequent levels.

Level 2: Deepening Analytical Skills

1. Subjects Covered: Building upon Level 1, Level 2 dives deeper into financial analysis and valuation techniques. It includes more complex topics within FRA, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, Corporate Finance, and Portfolio Management.

2. Exam Format: Level 2 introduces a mix of multiple-choice questions and item sets (also known as vignettes), which require a higher level of analysis and application of knowledge. This exam format assesses your ability to apply concepts rather than recall them.

Level 3: Mastery of Portfolio Management

1. Subjects Covered: Level 3 focuses extensively on portfolio management and wealth planning. Topics include advanced portfolio management techniques, asset allocation, risk management, derivatives for hedging purposes, and ethical and professional standards in investment management.

2. Exam Format: Level 3 is a culmination of the CFA journey, combining multiple-choice and constructed response (essay) questions. This level emphasizes integrating and applying knowledge across various finance domains, preparing candidates for real-world investment scenarios.

3. Specialised Pathways: Starting in 2025, the CFA Level III exam will offer specialized pathways in Private Wealth, Private Markets, and the traditional Portfolio Management. Each pathway includes a common core curriculum, supplemented by content specific to the chosen path, allowing candidates to tailor their studies to align with their career aspirations. This new structure provides a more targeted and relevant learning experience while maintaining the comprehensive investment management principles central to the CFA Program.

CFA Course Eligibility

To enroll in the CFA course, candidates must meet specific educational and professional CFA course eligibility in India, beginning from their undergraduate studies through to graduation and beyond. The CFA eligibility in India is as follows:

  • Level I Exam:

Undergraduate students with at least 23 months remaining in their undergraduate studies can register and take the CFA Level I exam.
(Eg, A student in 3 year graduation program can Register in their 1st Year for level 1 exams and give exam when they are in the 2nd year of their graduation)

  • Level 2 Exam:

Students can only take the Level II exam if they are within 11 months of their graduation.
(Eg, A student in 3 year graduation programme can Register in their 2nd Year for level 1 exams and give exam when they are in the 3rd year of their graduation)

  • Level 3 Exam:

Students can only take the Level III exam after graduation.

Stages for being a CFA

Format of Exam:

  • Level 1 – MCQ Multiple choice questions
  • Level 2 – Vignette-supported (Case Study Based) multiple-choice questions
  • Level 3 – Vignette-supported (Case Study Based) essay and multiple choice questions

CFA Level-wise topics weightage:

Exam Topic Area Weight Across Levels      
Subjects Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Ethical & Professional Standards 15 – 20 10- 15 10- 15
Quantitative Methods 6-9 5-10 0
Economics 6-9 5-10 5-10
Financial Statement Analysis 11-14 10-15 0
Corporate Issuers 6-9 5-10 0
Equity investments 11-14 10-15 10-15
Fixed Income 11-14 10-15 15-20
Derivatives 5-8 5-10 5-10
Alternative Investments 7-10 5-10 5-10
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 18-12 10-15 35-40
Specialized Pathways: (Level 3 only)(Choose Anyone)      
1. Portfolio Management 25-35
2. Private Markets 25-35
3. Private Wealth 25-35

CFA Course Fees in India

The CFA course fees in India depend on the registration period and the exam level. Here’s a breakdown of the approximate costs:
Early Registration: Approximately ₹78,000 (around $940)
Standard Registration: Approximately ₹1,03,000 (around $1,250)
Additionally, there is a one-time enrollment fee of approximately ₹29,000 (around $350) when registering for the Level I exam. For the most accurate and updated fee structure, it is advisable to check the CFA Institute’s official website or contact authorized learning partners​ (CFA Institute)​.

Key Considerations for Success

Understanding the CFA course details and navigating through the CFA course syllabus and CFA levels requires dedication, strategic preparation, and a thorough understanding of the exam structure:

1. Ethics Emphasis: Ethics is a cornerstone across all three levels, reflecting the importance of integrity and professional conduct in finance.

2. Progressive Difficulty: Each level increases in complexity, with Level 1 focusing on foundational knowledge, Level 2 requiring deeper analysis and application, and Level 3 emphasizing integration and strategic decision-making.

3. Exam Preparation: Utilize official CFA Institute materials, mock exams, and practice questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format and timing. Develop strong time management skills, especially for the item sets and constructed response questions in Levels 2 and 3.

4. Professional Relevance: The CFA designation is highly respected in the finance industry. It opens doors to investment banking, asset management, hedge funds, and more career opportunities. It demonstrates your commitment to excellence and proficiency in financial analysis.

Exam Logistics and Timeline

  1. Exam Frequency: 
    • Level 1 exams are held four times a year (February, May, August, November)
    • Level 2 exams are held three times a year (May, August, November) 
    • Level 3 exams are held two times a year (February and August).
  2. Pass Rates: Historically, Level 1 has the lowest pass rate, with Levels 2 and 3 showing higher rates due to fewer candidates and more experienced test-takers.

 10 Year average pass rates (From 2015-2024)

Level 1 40%
Level 2 45%
Level 3 52%

 Scoring: CFA exams are scored based on a percentile system, emphasizing relative performance compared to other candidates rather than a fixed passing score.

Career Impact and Opportunities

Earning the CFA charter signifies academic achievement, a commitment to continuous learning, and ethical practices in finance. It enhances your credibility as a financial professional and increases your marketability in a competitive job market.


Embarking on the CFA journey is a significant commitment that promises rich rewards regarding knowledge, career advancement, and professional recognition. Whether you’re just starting with Level 1 or progressing through Levels 2 and 3, thorough preparation and dedication will pave the way for success.
Prepare diligently, review this guide by Synthesis Learning on CFA course details, stay focused on your goals, and leverage your resources to excel in the CFA exams. Each level brings you closer to becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst—a distinction that opens doors to limitless opportunities in finance.

Studying the CFA Course with Synthesis Learning

At Synthesis Learning, we are dedicated to helping you succeed in the CFA course. Our students achieve top All India and World Ranks, demonstrating our dedication to excellence.Here’s why studying with us can benefit you:

Platinum Approved Partner: We are recognized for our high standards and exceptional training.

Flexible Learning Modes: We offer classroom, live online, and self-paced learning options to fit your schedule and style.

Expert Tutors: Learn from experienced professionals who guide you through every step of the CFA curriculum.

Proven Methodology: Our 4-step approach—Counseling, Coaching, Mentoring, and Placement—ensures comprehensive support throughout your CFA journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the CFA Course

1. What are the CFA course fees for all three exam levels?

The CFA course fees in India vary based on the registration period: Early Registration is approximately ₹78,000 ($940), Standard Registration is around ₹1,03,000 ($1,250). Additionally, there is a one-time enrollment fee of approximately ₹37,000 ($450) when registering for the Level I exam.

2. How is the CFA program different from CA?

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) program focuses on investment management, financial analysis, and portfolio management, emphasizing ethics and professional standards. In contrast, the CA (Chartered Accountant) qualification, typically offered by national institutes like ICAI in India, focuses on accounting, auditing, taxation, and financial management. The CFA is internationally recognized, while the CA is more region-specific.

3. How is the CFA Program different from CIMA?

The CFA program is geared towards investment management and financial analysis, while the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) certification focuses on management accounting, strategy, and risk management. CFA is preferred for investment banking and portfolio management careers, whereas CIMA is ideal for management accounting and business strategy roles.

4. What is the duration of the CFA course?

The CFA program typically takes at least three years to complete, with each level requiring about six months of preparation. Candidates must also accrue 4,000 hours of professional work experience, which can be completed before, during, or after the exams.

5. What are the career opportunities after completing the CFA?

CFA charter holders can pursue roles such as Portfolio Manager, Equity Research Analyst, Fund Manager, Wealth Manager, CFO, and Risk Consultant. Top financial institutions worldwide recognize the qualification, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and BlackRock.

6. Can the CFA course be completed online?

Yes, the CFA course can be studied online. Many providers, including the CFA Institute, offer extensive online resources, including study materials, practice exams, and virtual classes to support candidates’ preparation.

7. What are the eligibility criteria for the CFA course?

To enroll in the CFA program, candidates must be in the final year of their bachelor’s degree, have a bachelor’s degree, or have equivalent professional work experience. The CFA Institute’s official website provides specific eligibility details.

Becoming a CFA charter holder is a defining moment for any aspirational candidate in the finance and investment profession. Choose wisely! To join our upcoming LIVE Online CFA batches, click here

Explore Our Modes of Learning

To Know About Our Upcoming Batches

Our Extraordinary Success Stories

Send Us A Message

Explore Our Modes of Learning

To Know About Our Upcoming Batches

Our Extraordinary Success Stories

Related Posts

ACCA vs CFA : For ambitious individuals drawn to the intricate world of finance, choosing […]

Well, it depends! All accounting and finance qualifications emphasize that you have put in extra […]

Do you aspire to build a solid career with an excellent salary package? As per […]

Connect with us on Telegram / WhatsApp

Fill the form for
ACCA Revision Notes!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.