15 Best Online PhD Finance Programs [2019 Edition]

Searching for the best online PhD finance programs?

If you’re a number and money whiz, then a doctoral degree in finance may be your ticket to the career you’ve always wanted. With this terminal degree, you’ll be well-suited for a leadership position, an executive role or a teaching job related to accounting, banking, asset management or financial policymaking.

students of phd in finance

DBA in Finance vs. PhD in Finance

When you have your sights set on a finance degree, there are two different doctoral routes you can take. You could earn a doctorate of business administration (DBA) in finance or pursue a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in finance. Although you’ll learn a great deal about numbers, money and economics, either way, the two different degrees will likely set you on divergent career tracks.

People often choose a professional doctorate, such as a DBA, if they want to put their education to work in the field — for example, working on Wall Street or in a Fortune 500 company.

A DBA in finance:

  • Is recommended for those who want to stay with their current company or work for another corporation.
  • May involve drawing from others’ data and research for the culminating project.
  • Is often pursued by those with several years of professional experience.

A PhD in finance is often recommended for people who want to work in an academic setting. You may find that a PhD program focuses more on the theoretical aspects of finance than the practical ones.

A PhD in finance:

  • Is recommended for people who want to conduct research, get published or teach.
  • Typically requires conducting original research.
  • May be good for those straight out of school, such as recent graduates of a master’s in finance or master’s in accounting program.

DBA / PhD in Finance Concentrations

If you have a particular area of interest within the world of finance, then you may want to select a corresponding degree concentration. You’ll take an array of courses designed to hone your knowledge on that particular topic.

Personal Financial Planning

Helping individuals do their best with their money is the goal behind a concentration in personal financial management. You’ll learn how to guide wise financial choices as you learn not only about asset management and investment growth but also about how to influence smart decision-making through relational know-how. With this degree, you can help others manage their money, lead a financial advisement company or teach future finance students.

Accounting and Finance

As a numbers person, there’s a good chance that you like accounting just as much as you enjoy general financial topics. This concentration allows you to explore both of these areas of study. You could put this degree to work in corporate or academic settings. You may also be interested in a PhD in Accounting program.

Financial Management

Being in charge of a company’s financial resources requires a special set of managerial leadership skills. You can gain those skills with a concentration in financial management. You’ll learn about topics like building a solid financial strategy and navigating international markets.


When pursuing an advanced degree in finance, you’ll take a variety of courses designed to equip you with a thorough understanding of financial matters and how they relate to decision-making for individuals and businesses.

Your classes may include:

  • Strategic Thinking for Decision-Making
  • Human Resource Development
  • Stochastic Foundations of Finance
  • Data Analysis for Investments
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Financial Management for International Business
  • Investment Portfolio Analysis
  • Managerial Finance
  • Money, Capital Markets & Economic Growth
  • Real Option Valuation
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Risk Management
  • Business Valuation
  • Mathematical Foundations for Finance
  • Quantitative Research Design & Methodology
  • Business Ethics
  • Accounting and Control for Nonprofit Organizations

Since your program will likely encourage you to take a mix of both foundational classes and specialized electives, the coursework listed above includes both core classes and electives.

Finance Careers & Salary

Earning your doctoral degree in finance may open many career paths to you. Once you graduate with this degree, you can work in an academic setting, a nonprofit organization, the corporate world or the public sector.

Financial Analyst

In this job, you’d be responsible for paying attention to the market in order to make recommendations on how people or businesses should invest their resources.

  • Outlook for job growth: 11 percent increase
  • Median salary per year: $85,660

Budget Analyst

In this role, you might be responsible for setting an organization’s budget and helping the company stick to it.

  • Outlook for job growth: 7 percent increase
  • Median salary per year: $76,220

Personal Financial Advisor

Consider this career path if you want the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping others plan for their futures.

  • Outlook for job growth: 15 percent increase
  • Median salary per year: $88,890


You can pass your knowledge onto others by teaching students at the university level.

  • Outlook for job growth: 15 percent increase
  • Median salary per year: $78,470


Universities receive accreditation as proof that their programs provide a thorough educational experience for students. Therefore, when you’re looking for a doctoral program, the school’s accreditation should be the first thing that you consider.

Every reputable university receives accreditation from a regional accrediting agency. These organizations give a broad stamp of approval to the entire school rather than to its individual programs. It is essential that you enroll in a school with regional accreditation.

In addition, there are several national and international organizations that provide accreditation specifically for business programs. Although this type of accreditation may not be absolutely essential, it’s certainly a valuable sign that the program is thorough, reputable and excellent.

A finance program may be accredited by:

Online vs. Traditional Finance Degree

When it comes to online versus traditional finance doctoral programs, the main difference is the format through which the material is presented. The content remains the same, and the rigor of the program does as well. You may choose a fully online program, an on-campus one or a hybrid mix.

Can I Get My PhD Online?

Yes, many universities offer online PhD and professional doctorate programs. This includes doctoral degrees in finance, public health, education, nursing and organizational leadership. This approach allows you to earn your advanced degree in a format that fits your schedule.

Is an Online PhD Respected and Credible?

In an online program, you’ll have to work just as hard as you do in an on-campus program. Additionally, your official records are unlikely to specify how you earned your degree. The important thing is not the format in which you completed your coursework but whether you attended an accredited university.

Are There Any Online PhD In Finance Programs?

Earning a doctoral degree in finance doesn’t have to require moving onto campus or uprooting your whole life. Rather, there are online programs for a PhD in finance or a DBA in finance. In these programs, you’ll engage in a computer-based educational experience as you work toward your degree.

To take your finance education to the highest level, it’s time for you to pursue a doctoral degree in this field, whether a PhD or a DBA. By completing your coursework online, you can receive a solid education in a format that fits your lifestyle, and you’ll be thoroughly prepared for the next step on your career path.

List of Colleges Offering Online PhD in Finance (or Accounting)

The following universities offer online doctoral programs in Finance or Accounting. Both Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Business Administration programs have been included.

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description

Capella University

With Capella University in Minnesota, you can study online to earn a DBA with a concentration in Accounting or a PhD in Business Management with a concentration in Accounting.

In these programs, you’ll learn about theories, methods, rules and ethical issues that influence accounting practice, and you’ll consider the implications of practicing accounting within a global marketplace.

Before graduation, DBA students complete two residencies and submit a major research project. PhD students do three residencies and complete a dissertation.

Both programs use Capella’s GuidedPath format with weekly discussions and specific deadlines for submitting assignments.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • PhD in Accounting
  • DBA in Accounting

City University of Seattle

When you study with City University of Seattle, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your own area of specialty for your DBA program.

Students who choose the Specialized Study concentration can submit a proposal for the graduate-level courses they would like to take as part of their studies.

If you’re interested in finance, you may be able to request courses on the topics of finance and accounting. During online classes, you’ll be able to engage in live conversations with faculty.

You must submit a dissertation during your doctoral studies, and you will complete three different residencies.

The City University of Seattle is Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

Creighton University

During your DBA studies at Creighton University, you can select classes like Applied Finance Research and Applied Accounting Research to prepare you for a high-level career in the finance sector.

Although the university’s program is a professional doctorate rather than a PhD, there is a large research component. Therefore, your degree can prepare you for both working in the field and teaching in higher education.

This is a hybrid program, meaning that much of the coursework is available online, but there are some times that you’ll need to report to the school’s Nebraska campus. In addition to classes, you’ll complete 14 different residencies.

Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

George Fox University

As you pursue a DBA with a concentration in Accounting from George Fox University, you will take classes like Advanced Applications of Ethical Reasoning and Compliance in Accounting and Advanced Topics in Accounting.

In addition, you’ll need to complete both a dissertation and a practicum for the program. During the practicum, you’ll have opportunities to try your hand at teaching or consulting.

Most of the work for this hybrid DBA program is online, but you’ll need to report to the school’s campus in Oregon a few times a year.

George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  • DBA in Accounting

Hampton University

If you’re interested in a PhD in Business Administration, check out Hampton University in Virginia. The program allows you to earn a concentration in Accounting and Finance by taking multiple credit hours of elective courses. These electives include classes like Financial Accounting and Reporting Research, Accounting Theory, Corporate and Financial Institutions and Behavior Finance. Students at this university take online courses during the traditional school year and come to campus for two summer residencies. This PhD program is appropriate for current professionals and for those straight out of a master’s program.

Hampton U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates and degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, professional, and doctoral levels.

  • PhD in Business Administration

Kansas State University

Do you believe that it is critical for individuals and families to have a solid financial plan for their future? If so, you may be interested in the PhD in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University.

You may choose to use this degree in the business world or spread your knowledge to others by working in an academic setting.

During the online doctoral program, you’ll come to the school’s Kansas campus for a few intensive sessions, and you’ll go overseas to expand your knowledge about global markets. A dissertation is required for this program.

Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Hybrid PhD in Personal Financial Planning

Liberty University

For those interested in numbers and money, Liberty University’s online DBA offers two concentration options: Accounting and Finance. Both programs begin with the same core courses, but Accounting students take specialized classes like Accounting for Decision Making and Advanced Auditing while Finance students focus on classes like Managerial Finance and Advanced Financial Statement Analysis.

Whichever track you choose, you will need to take a comprehensive exam and complete a dissertation before graduation from this Virginia university. Accounting graduates often work as auditors or budget supervisors, and Finance graduates may choose to become treasurers or financial managers.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • DBA in Accounting

Northcentral University

You can earn either a DBA or a PhD in Business Administration from Northcentral University, which is based in both California and Arizona.

The school encourages students of either program to pursue high-level leadership positions, but the PhD program is research-based, and the DBA involves the application of research findings that are already available.

Specialization options for both PhD and DBA students include Financial Management and Advanced Accounting. All faculty hold doctoral degrees, and many tracks can be completed fully online. Dissertations are required for PhD programs.

Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Advanced Accounting
  • DBA in Financial Management
  • DBA in Advanced Accounting

Rutgers University

This university offers a PhD in Management; concentrations include Finance, Accounting or Accounting Information Systems. To specialize in Finance, you’ll take courses like Investments, Corporate Finance, Theory of Corporate Disclosures, Control and Governance, and Econometrics. If your focus is Accounting, you will study Current Topics in Auditing and Empirical Analysis of Financial Reporting. Students take a qualifying exam and defend a dissertation before graduating from these programs. The school recommends that students have master’s-level education in mathematics, economics or computer science before applying for enrollment.

Rutgers University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  • PhD in Accounting

Sacred Heart University

Although Sacred Heart University does require DBA in Finance students to come to its Connecticut campus, the program is described as “low-residency,” and it is structured to fit the schedules of people who are already in the workforce. Each student is part of a cohort that provides opportunities for networking and group projects. During the course of the program, you’ll study topics like mathematics and global markets, and you’ll get choose an elective like Fixed Income Securities or Portfolio Management. You will also submit a dissertation before graduation. The school’s DBA graduates often find work in government, academia and corporations.

SHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  • DBA in Finance

Saint Leo University

You can get an online DBA from Saint Leo University in Florida. Your program will include classes like Analytics for Decision Making, Organizational Behavior and Social Responsibility, and A History of Applied Management Theory. You’ll acquire research skills and learn how to apply your findings to real-world business applications.

Before graduation, you will take a comprehensive exam, defend a dissertation and complete a practicum. This DBA course of study is particularly well-suited for students who want to go into consulting, but the school’s graduates also teach, work as CFOs, manage organizations and become investment analysts.

Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

Trident University

Whether you want to earn an online DBA or a PhD in Business Administration, you can get your degree from Trident University in California.

One available concentration for the PhD program is Accounting and Finance; students on that track will study topics like auditing, global markets, corporation finance and taxation.

The DBA is a generalist degree that doesn’t include specialization. If you go the PhD route, you’ll need to complete a dissertation, and if you choose a DBA, you will complete a doctoral study. To help you move through the online program, the university offers its Doctoral Positioning System tracker.

Trident University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Accounting

University of Dallas

When you study with the University of Dallas, you’ll earn your DBA through a mix of online classes and time on the school’s Texas campus.

This program is designed for those who already hold leadership positions in the business world and desire increased advancement, and its flexible nature allows working professionals to earn their doctoral degrees while remaining in their current jobs.

This generalist program includes classes like Agile Organizations and Emerging Technologies. If you choose this university, you will join a colloquium, defend a dissertation and have the option to complete a teaching practicum.

The University of Dallas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

University of South Carolina

LOCATIONSouth Carolina
The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina offers an on-campus program through which you can earn a PhD in Business Administration.

One available concentration for this program is Finance, and classes include Current Issues in Finance, Empirical Methods in Financial Research and Theory of Finance.

Faculty in this department have earned multiple recognitions, including the Alfred G. Smith, Jr. Excellence in Teaching Award and the Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award. A master’s degree is recommended before admission to the program, but it is not a requirement.

The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • Hybrid DBA in Business Administration – Finance

Walden University

Whether you’re interested in DBA or a PhD, you can earn it from Walden University. The DBA program offers concentrations like Accounting and Finance. On the path to earning a DBA, you can complete a doctoral study, assemble a portfolio or take part in a consultation program in which you work with a local organization or company.

If you would prefer to earn a PhD in Management, you can select a 21st Century Finance concentration, which requires the completion of a dissertation. Both the DBA and PhD tracks can be completed through online study.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • PhD in Accounting
  • DBA in Accounting


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