Whether your career interests lie in academia or business, graduating with a doctoral degree in finance opens doors to advanced job opportunities and earning potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that popular finance careers like finance managers and personal finance advisers may grow by 15%-19% between 2016 and 2026. These occupations boast median incomes of $125,080 and $90,640, respectively. Doctors in finance also frequently find employment as college professors, educating students and conducting research for scholarly publications. With a variety of online degree options available from top schools around the country, it has never been easier to earn your doctorate in finance.
Choosing a Program
Two main avenues exist for earning an online doctorate in finance: an academic route and an industry route. Students who want to apply their finance expertise to an industry job should consider earning a doctorate of business administration (DBA) in finance. Students looking to enter the academic profession as faculty should consider a Ph.D. finance program. While they may seem similar on the surface, these two finance doctorate pathways require different coursework and produce different learning outcomes. Carefully consider which path works best for your own goals.
An industry-focused program provides you with a firm foundation of quantitative financial skills and trains you to apply theory to real-world business scenarios. Additional concentrations may also let you further tailor your focus. Academic-focused programs require more intensive study of research and theory but offer fewer opportunities to hone mathematical finance skills. These programs also require dissertations, while industry-focused programs more commonly require a thesis. Finally, getting into an academic Ph.D. finance program may prove more difficult than a DBA program. While DBA programs often allow for cohorts of about 10 students, Ph.D. programs may only offer enrollment to one or two students per year.
For career information, skip down:
- What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Finance Program?
- Online Doctorate in Finance Careers
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Finance Program?
The information below intends to provide a representative look at the potential curriculum content of a doctorate of finance. The specifics can vary, depending on the school and program you select. Different programs align with different career goals, in industry or academia, and offer courses according to these specific learning outcomes.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Finance
Accounting and Finance: Combination accounting and finance doctoral programs provide a solid foundation in each related discipline. Generally geared toward individuals interested in a university faculty career, these degree plans require completion of a dissertation and focus more on mastering research methods and processes rather than direct industry training in mathematical and financial concepts.
Careers this concentration prepares for: College Professor, Accountant, Auditor
Financial Management: In this business administration concentration, students learn advanced finance skills, explore analytical research and development techniques, and develop effective strategies for creating projections and facing ROI issues. Course knowledge builds from a solid foundation of current industry theory, ensuring students' ability to succeed in the complex global finance environment.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Finance Manager, Executive
Personal Financial Planning: Students in a personal financial planning doctorate program develop an interdisciplinary skill set that combines empirical statistics and research, financial planning theories, and an understanding of how human social contexts, cultures, and relationships can impact financial planning processes and outcomes. This program prepares graduates for industry work or academic endeavors.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Personal Financial Adviser, College Professor
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Finance
- Introduction to Empirical Methods: These introductory courses develop a foundational knowledge of academic and theoretical research methods by exploring a range of techniques and quantitative tools used for finance and economic analysis.
- Topics in Macroeconomics: Macroeconomics topics courses typically focus on two or three main areas of modern research, such as economic growth or wage inequality. Students read literature on the course topics and participate in discussions.
- Finance Theory: Expect to complete a few finance theory courses for your doctorate in finance online. From introductory levels to advanced courses, students develop an understanding of single period and dynamic models.
- Economic Analysis: Typically part of a sequence of multiple microeconomics theory courses, economic analysis courses focus on topics including consumer and producer choice and the nature of equilibrium in competitive markets.
- Applied Behavioral Finance: Through lectures, active discussion, and written assignments students learn to apply current behavioral finance theory and research to real-world scenarios like financial planning and business practice.
Online Doctorate in Finance Careers
Earning an online doctorate in finance prepares an individual to work either inside or outside of the finance industry. Graduates' analytical skills and advanced knowledge of financial principles allow them to hold high-level positions in major companies, in the government, or in academia.
Postsecondary Teacher: Postsecondary teachers work in colleges and universities, developing course syllabi and content, teaching students, and completing original, scholarly research for inclusion in journals or books. Nearly all college professor jobs require candidates to hold a doctoral degree in the field in which they aspire to teach.
Median Annual Salary: $76,000
Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Financial Manager: The responsibility for the financial health of an organization or business falls to the financial manager, who monitors and reviews activity, supervises others in the finance department, forecasts future data, analyzes trends, and helps executives make final decisions regarding expenses and profits.
Median Annual Salary: $125,080
Projected Growth Rate: 19%
Personal Financial Adviser: Personal financial advisers work one-on-one with clients, assessing their needs and advising them on topics like investments, savings, taxes, or insurance. Clients may specialize in a single area, like retirement planning, portfolio building, or risk management, or they may handle a variety of cases from day to day.
Median Annual Salary: $90,640
Projected Growth Rate: 15%