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online phd in finance, online finance degree, online college, online phdFinance is a very popular degree program given the vital role that graduates play in business. There is some overlap with an accounting degree program, but the career trajectory is different, and you will play another important part in making sure a business is financially sound with this degree. It also has more career opportunities for you to choose from. The career outlook for those with a finance degree is great as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow at a rate of 12% over the next decade, which is a rate significantly higher than the national average. In 2014, there were more than a quarter of a million jobs open in the field.

Students studying in Finance will cover a broad range of topics that are designed to provide them with a strong foundation on which to build a successful career. Some of the types of classes that a Finance program will cover include classes on such topics as International Finance, Financial Risk and Mitigation, Financial Planning, Financial Markets, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Investing and Global Financing among others. Additionally, students may choose to pursue a more tailor-suited degree path for specializing in areas such as Financial Planning Emphasis, Real Estate Emphasis, Corporate Finance Emphasis, and Financial Services Emphasis. Depending on whether or not you choose to have more specialized education, you could take more focused courses as opposed to just the broader topics that you will have to complete in order to satisfy the requirements of a generalized Finance degree program’s curriculum.

Some of the jobs that you might be interested in pursuing with a degree in Finance could cover a wide variety of different corporate or not-for-profit company jobs, such as: being a Financial Planner, a Financial Analyst, an Investor Relations Associate or a Budget Analyst among many more. Every employer has the needs of the skills and know-how that an employee with a background in Finance can offer.

Earning a PhD in Finance Online

By completing a PhD in Finance online, you will be provided with the necessary skills and knowledge that will be required to pursue a top career in the field of Finance. A PhD in Finance program that is available online is arguably one the best ways to obtain the upper hand to jumpstart your career in Finance, as it is an incredibly flexible way to obtain a degree, and is often significantly more affordable when compared to a more traditional in-person degree program that will require you to not only live near the university that you desire to become an alumni of but will also have many more costs that you might not first consider. These costs include the cost of travel, the cost of physical textbooks, and paying for the space that is required in a physical classroom.

Due to the flexibility and cost efficiency of enrolling in an online PhD in Finance program, you will have much less to worry about than your peers that chose to attend an on-campus Finance degree program, allowing you to better focus on your education. This will allow you to make the absolute most of your Finance education. Due to this, you are more apt to have an edge on your peers when it comes time to start applying for those most oft sought-after positions in the field of Finance. This will be a great benefit to you, as you will be able to offer the employers that are seeking the best-of-the-best exactly what they are looking for in an employee.

Additionally, by choosing to enroll in a PhD program in Finance, you will be able to better tailor your education to not only your lifestyle but to your professional desires as well. This is due to the fact that–with the huge amount of flexibility that an online degree program offers–you will be able to supplement your education with various online courses that will greatly benefit you as a Finance major, such as taking courses that have a greater focus on Sociology, Socioeconomics, Psychology and Technical Writing. All of these courses can greatly benefit a Finance major and can often be more difficult to find time for these courses while attending more traditional on-campus courses.


To rank the best online PhDs in Finance, we started by collecting a list of schools that met a few initial ranking criteria. Due to the lack of relevant programs, any school that offered a doctoral program in finance in an online or blended format was considered. Those schools must also be based in the United States, hold proper accreditation, and must not operate in a for-profit manner.

Each school on the list was then scored according to the following.

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ of final score)
  • Graduate Rate (⅓ of final score)
  • Affordability (⅓ of final score)

Each school could receive a maximum of 300 points. They are presented according to the final score they received below. All of the information used to score and discuss the degree programs was collected from the website of each school whenever it was available. Additional resources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report,, and were also used. If sufficient data could not be found, a school could have been omitted that would have otherwise placed among these programs.

We are confident that our methodology is thorough and clear and that these results are repeatable. No school is ever given preferential treatment in our rankings for any reason. Some schools may not appear in our rankings per their own request.

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  1. MERIT: 196
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,112

    Doctor of Business Administration in Finance

    Liberty University offers an online DBA in Finance that you can take entirely online. There are no on-campus requirements associated with the program, which consists of 60 credits in total. The university has a generous transfer policy that allows you to bring in as much as 15 credits to apply towards your degree and the classes are condensed down to eight weeks each. These two factors contribute to the accelerated rate at which you could graduate; most students finish the program in three years.

    This online doctorate in finance is great for online students because it is supremely flexible. There are six start dates to choose from throughout the year, and all of the courses are presented asynchronously. This is a degree that you can truly earn on your own time. You will also have access to a wide variety of resources provided by Liberty and be able to benefit from financial aid. Liberty University has also frozen their tuition so rates will not increase while you’re there.

    The finance specialization will prepare you for jobs as a financial manager, a chief sustainability officer, treasurer, and controller, and more. You will also be able to conduct research as you study that aligns with your goals and can help bolster your resume. On top of business and research classes, you’ll take courses in finance like Managerial Finance, Business Valuation, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Investments and Derivatives, among others.

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  2. MERIT: 195
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,659

    2 City-logo

    Doctor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance

    The online DBA in Finance offered at the City University of Seattle is designed specifically for professionals. It is designed to help you advance your goals without disrupting your professional life, and it is very flexible. There are 91 required credits in total, and you can earn your degree almost entirely online. There are three required residencies throughout the program; there are also optional onsite courses and activities for those of you who would like to travel to campus more frequently.

    The program uses a blend of asynchronous and synchronous components. You will complete various readings and assignments on your own, and there is a live meeting every other week where you will interact with your professor and the other students in your cohort. CityU uses Blackboard to deliver their classes. You can finish this program in three or four years time depending on things like transfer credits, the pace at which you study, and the time it will take you to complete your dissertation.

    One thing that is unique about this DBA is that there are no pre-constructed programs of study for particular concentrations. Instead, you work closely with an academic advisor to create a program that meets your needs. The curriculum will include your concentration courses, as well as a business administration core and a research core. The program will culminate in a dissertation.

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What Is a Degree in Finance?

Finance in the simplest terms is defined as money management. However, in more complicated terms, it centers around the allocation of assets and liabilities over a determined period, it also deals with these actions under conditions of risk. Degrees in finance are offered at all levels, though they are most often available at the bachelor’s and master’s levels as a specialization in a business administration program. The topics you will cover in a finance degree program include financial markets, investing, risk management, and more.

At the associate level, there are not a lot of finance programs, but a business administration degree will cover some of the basics in finance like Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Principles of Financial Management. This type of degree will provide you with a very fundamental understanding of finance and can help you land entry-level jobs; however, most organizations prefer at least a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree in finance is where you will be able to really start to get your head in the game. This type of degree will get you employment ready, and you will take courses that teach you how to use financial management tools, analyze markets, understand the concepts of investment practices, and more. Some of the courses you may encounter while you’re earning a bachelors degree in finance include Capital Planning, Asset and Debt Management, and Financial Analysis.

A Master of Finance or an MBA in Finance are where you really start to be able to specialize your education and study the areas of finance that you are most interested in. Upper-level positions tend to require this degree as a minimum for consideration for the job. There is a higher emphasis placed on strategy at this level, and you will dig even deeper with courses like Economics for Global Management, Theory of Corporate Finance, Derivatives, and Corporate Governance.

Doctorate degrees put you ahead of the pack because they are the highest academic degrees in any given field. A doctorate degree in finance prepares you for very high-level careers, teaching positions, entrepreneurship, and more. They also focus more on the business management side of things as well as developing strong research skills. Courses may include Organizational Psychology, Fiscal Leadership in a Global Environment, Personal Income Taxation, Money and Relationships, and Introduction to Financial Therapy.

How Hard is a Finance Degree?

No degree program is truly easy, but measuring their difficulty is completely subjective. There are some complicated courses in a finance degree program, and it does take a sharp mind. With that said, we don’t think it’s anything that you can’t handle. Some of the things you need to perform well in the field of finance include strong communication skills, the ability to take initiative, having a passion for learning and being innately inquisitive, being able to solve problems effectively, and it also helps to be a little bit of a people person. You may think of finance as a field where you crunch numbers all day, but the truth is, you’ll spend a lot of time interacting with clients and handling one of the most important things in their lives: their money.

There may be some tough courses along the way. Accounting is a very technical field, and you will have to cover some of that material. You are also likely to have to take statistics courses, algebra, business calculus, probability, or some similar list. There is not a lot of math required, but it is a strong component of the curriculum, and some people just struggle with numbers. You may have to take extra time to study or really push yourself, but it is absolutely worth it to reach your career goals.

Of course, maybe you love math and won’t have any trouble at all! Other complex topics you’ll study include economic theory, analytics, and some psychology courses, among others. How difficult the degree is for you to earn depends on how your brain works. The main thing to remember is that your only limit is yourself when it comes to meeting your goals. If you are struggling academically, plenty of colleges offer student support programs to help you out. In addition, there are thousands of resources online, including free ones, that can give you the boost you need to stay on track.

Accounting or Finance Degree: Which is Better?

Accounting and finance are often lumped together, but they are truly very different. So, to say which one is better is going to be another very subjective question. Which one is best for you? It depends on the career you want, the things you’re interested in, and what type of work you feel like you will excel in.

Finance is the science of planning the distribution of company assets. On the other hand, accounting is the art of summarizing, recording, and reporting all of the transactions that take place within the business. Finance is a career that you can do with a business administration degree, an economics degree, or a mathematics degree. To have a career in accounting, you have to study accounting. It is a very precise and technical field even though the term accounting is incredibly broad.

Both degrees are versatile in that you can fill a variety of roles with them. Finance degrees allow you to focus in broader areas, though, which may allow you to have more diverse career options. The primary functions of someone in a finance career are to source funds, make financial decisions, ensure funds are properly distributed, and to communicate financial information and strategy to company executives. The primary functions of someone working in accounting are to monitor where financial assets are going, ensure contracts are being properly fulfilled, ensure that payments are flowing in and out of the business appropriately, and maintain paperwork and file taxes for a business.

Both relate to money, but they are vastly different. The career growth and salary information are comparable across both fields. Is finance better than accounting? Yes, if that is the career path that appeals to you the most.

What Can You Do With a Finance Degree?

The background you receive when you are earning your finance degree will give you a variety of career options to choose from. You will learn about how businesses function, how to analyze situations and make decisions, the most effective way to build financial strategies and execute them, and so much more. You will also pick up other skills along the way, in different areas of business, using different types of software, and so on. Most of the careers you will be able to get are in the field of business, but there are still plenty of different options out there for you.

You could be a financial planner. Someone in this job is responsible for deciphering market trends and planning ways to use the client’s assets in the most effective way to move them towards the desired outcome. You will have to use what you know about accounting, sales, and communication in order to succeed in a job like this.

You could be a financial analyst. This is one of the more common positions, and the job growth for this area is very positive. A financial analyst researches stocks, bonds, industries, and more in order to help their clients with mergers, acquisitions, bond offerings, restructuring the corporation, as well as corporate expansions. You will need to conduct complex analyses, so research skills, along with being able to dissect financial information, are crucial to this role.

You could take your skills in finance into fields you may not have considered as well. Real estate agents, attorneys, business teachers, credit analysts, and even project managers have landed their careers with a finance degree, and you certainly can too. The best way to make sure that you’re prepared for the career you want to pursue in finance is to talk to your academic advisor and plan a program of study that is relevant to your goals.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate or PhD in Finance?

With a PhD in Finance or some other finance doctorate degree, you are going to be a highly sought after candidate for a variety of jobs because you have the highest level of academic preparation available. You will be recognized as an expert in your field and that is very attractive to potential employers. Because of that, there are not many limits on the job you could do in business if you have a PhD in Finance. You could teach a business-related course at a college or university; you could hold a high-level executive position. The possibilities for you are endless.

There are some more common career options with a PhD in Finance, though. That is what we’re going to touch on here, but this is in no way a comprehensive list! Investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, and a host of other corporations are seeking doctoral-prepared finance graduates to fill positions like equity researchers, quantitative analysts, and more.

You could secure a job as an investment researcher. In this position, you would conduct research fixed income investments, work with mathematical models to determine whether or not the company you work for is able to take advantage of arbitrage pricing in areas such as the commodities or credit equities markets, and other related tasks.

You could be a government economist. Your responsibilities here could include analyzing how events affect the national economy, you could influence public policy, and you could work at the state or federal level using your knowledge and expertise to promote the financial health of your community or the country as a whole.

You could take your degree into the private sector and start your own company; you could secure a career at a global economic institution, or devote your knowledge entirely to research. Whatever you aspire to in the field of finance, a PhD in Finance is going to help you to hit the ground running and give you everything you need to climb straight to the top.

How Much Can You Make With a Finance Degree?

It is no secret that finance degrees lead to very lucrative careers. Money makes the world go ’round, as they say. People who have the technical skill required to help that process to continue and foster financial growth from small businesses to entire nations are going to be well-compensated for what they do. From Wall Street banks and insurance companies to financial-planning firms and universities, the career options stretch far and wide — that means that salary does too.

The amount of money that you make is going to depend on the job that you have, your level of education, geographic location, and a host of other factors. The average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance is reported as $60,000 per year by Payscale. The average salary for finance professionals with a master’s degree is significantly higher at $80,310 per year.

Some common jobs that you could hold with a finance degree and their average salaries are listed below.

  • Accountant: $119,000
  • Corporate Finance Professional: $117,450
  • Financial Analyst: $85,660
  • Financial Planner: $88,890
  • Investment Banker: between $150,000 and $350,000
  • Loan Officer: $63,040
  • Management Consultant: $83,610
  • Wealth Manager: $94,231

One thing that we would like to note is that these are just averages and some of these careers have incredible earning potential based on your education and experience. Average base salary does not account for any bonuses you could receive from your employer either. Things like benefits, bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing are not part of your base pay, but they do have a significant effect on how much money you make. That additional income that isn’t factored can be upwards of $20,000 in some cases. There is high earning potential in the world of finance if you are driven enough to do so.