A frequency-domain finite element technique is presented that enables the complete characterization of a finite-sized scatterer using a minimum number of separate model executions and a relatively small spatial modeling domain. The technique is implemented using a commercial finite element package. A certain forcing profile is applied at a set of points surrounding the scatterer to cause a uni-modal plane wave to be incident on the scatterer from a specified direction. The scattered field is recorded and decomposed first into modes and then into far-field scattering coefficients in different directions. The data obtained from the model are represented in a scattering matrix that describes the far-field scattering response for all combinations of incident and scattering angles. The information in the scattering matrix can be efficiently represented in the Fourier domain by another matrix containing a finite number of Fourier coefficients. It is shown how the complete scattering behavior in both the near- and far-field can be extracted from the matrix of Fourier coefficients. Modeling accuracy is examined in various ways, including a comparison with the analytical solution for a circular cavity, and guidelines for the selection of modeling parameters are given.