15 Best Online PhD in Finance Programs [2020 Guide]

We’ve ranked the 15 Best Online PhD in Finance Programs. Some schools have no GRE and offer accelerated courses to help you finish faster.

accountants working in the office

A doctoral degree in finance may be your ticket to the career you’ve always wanted. With this online finance degree, you’ll be well-suited for an executive role or a teaching job related to accounting, banking, asset management, or financial policymaking.

Online PhD in Finance Programs

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.

Accounting and Finance

female accountant working in an office

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 an Online PhD in Accounting program.

Financial Management

financial managers having a meeting

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.

Personal Financial Planning

financial advisor talking to a couple

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 a PhD Financial Planning degree, you can help others manage their money, lead a financial advisement company, or teach future finance students.

Curriculum for Finance PhD Programs

Curriculum for Finance PhD Programs

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:

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

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. Part of your PhD in finance requirements will also likely include a dissertation or capstone project.

Choose programs with a capstone project if you’d like to finish your degree faster. Dissertations can often take 2-3 years more to complete after you finish your coursework.

Doctorate in Finance Salary

Doctorate in Finance Jobs & 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. Here are a few jobs you can look forward to, along with the job outlook and average salary information.

Budget Analyst

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

In this role, you might be responsible for setting an organization’s budget and helping the company stick to it. This is an enjoyable career path for those who want to understand all facets of a company – tracking and justifying where each penny goes. You’ll be able to make recommendations for investment and expenditure to boost your company’s profitability.

Financial Analyst

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

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. Rather than monitoring your business or organization, you’d be monitoring the economy as a whole. This career is ideal for those who find financial markets interesting and have a deep understanding of investments.

Personal Financial Advisor

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

Consider this career path if you want the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping others plan for their futures. You might also need to have a knack for marketing and sales as you attract and welcome new clients to your firm. In this role, you could work for a successful money management company or start your own practice.

Professor

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

You can pass your knowledge onto others by teaching students at the university level. Like many careers, you’ll need more than knowledge of the financial sector to be successful in this position. You’ll need organization and communication skills to be able to teach effectively. You’ll also need to be willing to prove your teaching effectiveness to your department via annual reviews.

If you enjoy teaching, researching, and discussing business, you’ll likely find yourself quite at home among the faculty of a business college.

DBA in Finance vs. 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 Finance, 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.

Think about what you want to do for your career, then choose the degree that best fits those goals.

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.

Accreditation for a Doctorate in Finance Online

logos of the 3 business school accreditors

Universities receive accreditation as proof that their programs provide a thorough educational experience for students. Therefore, when you’re looking for a doctor of finance 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 in quality.

A finance program may be accredited by:

The top finance PhD programs are accredited both regionally and programmatically by one of these specialty boards. You can find your chosen university’s accreditation by searching the US Department of Education’s accreditation database.

Financing a Finance Degree

professional shaking hands with his employer

As you begin looking into finance PhD programs, don’t forget to also look into financial aid opportunities. At the doctorate level, you are still eligible for federal financial aid as well as fellowships and scholarships from universities and scholarships from private organizations. Your employer might even have tuition assistance programs available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions PhD in Finance

Still wondering if an online PhD in finance is right for you? Here are our answers to some of the most common questions.

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 programs for a DBA or PhD in finance online. In these programs, you’ll engage in a computer-based educational experience as you work toward your degree.

List of Schools Offering Online PhD in Finance Programs

  1. Capella University
  2. City University of Seattle
  3. Creighton University
  4. George Fox University
  5. Hampton University
  6. Kansas State University
  7. Liberty University
  8. Northcentral University
  9. Rutgers University
  10. Sacred Heart University
  11. Saint Leo University
  12. Trident University
  13. University of Dallas
  14. University of South Carolina
  15. Walden University

Rankings Methodology

These accredited universities offer online doctoral programs in Finance or related fields. Both Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Business Administration programs have been included.

#1  Capella University

Capella University campus

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.

  • PhD in Accounting
  • DBA in Accounting

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle campus

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.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

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

#3  Creighton University

Creighton University campus

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.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  George Fox University

George Fox University campus

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.

  • DBA in Accounting

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

#5  Hampton University

Hampton University campus

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.

  • PhD in Business Administration

Hampton U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#6  Kansas State University

Kansas State University campus

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.

  • Hybrid PhD in Personal Financial Planning

Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

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.

  • DBA in Accounting

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

#8  Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

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.

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

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

#9  Rutgers University

Rutgers University campus

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.

  • PhD in Accounting

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

#10  Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University campus

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.

  • DBA in Finance

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

#11  Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University campus

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.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

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

#12  Trident University

Trident University campus

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.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Accounting

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

#13  University of Dallas

University of Dallas campus

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.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

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

#14  University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina campus

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.

  • Hybrid DBA in Business Administration – Finance

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

#15  Walden University

Walden University campus

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.

  • PhD in Accounting
  • DBA in Accounting

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Invest in Your Future!

accountant working in an office

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.

Use the above list of schools to narrow down the best finance PhD programs for you.

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