The Best Online Doctorate in Finance Programs

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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 advisors 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.

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The Best Online Doctorate in Finance Programs

Online Doctorate in Finance Ranking Guidelines: We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The Best Online Doctorate in Finance Degree Programs

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Trident University 

Cypress, CA Apply Now

About this school

Trident University was founded in 1998 with the mission of providing an exceptional online educational experience for its students – diverse adult learners including current and former members of the military family. Adhering to the highest standards of academic excellence, faculty and staff foster a learning community where students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to enhance their lives and advance their careers.

Trident offers a DBA with an Accounting and Finance Concentration that shapes individuals into innovators and thought leaders who will become tomorrow’s teachers, researchers, and scholars.

Learning in an all-online environment, students have support access to resources in an environment where they learn in small classes, engage with faculty members on significant research problems, personalize their program, and benefit from the opportunity to interact extensively with peers and faculty from five fields of study. Students will develop advanced research skills, as well as demonstrate and apply these skills toward the creation of new knowledge through a Ph.D. Dissertation.


Northcentral University 

San Diego, CA Apply Now

About this school

Northcentral University, an online, for-profit university established in 1996, offers an online Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Financial Management Specialization. The program develops a solid foundation in business administration principles, merged with advanced knowledge and financial management.

The online Ph.D. program requires 60 credit hours for completion, spread across 20 courses; it can be completed in 45 months of study. Students will explore research and development analyses used to manage and allocate financial resources, and develop effective strategic planning for projection and ROI issues.

Working with NCU’s professors, students will learn advanced finance skills, including financial statement analysis, advanced financial business decision models, investment selection techniques and how financial institutions generate earnings and manage risks. Northcentral finance Ph.D. graduates work as educators at the university level or pursue a variety of research or practitioner-oriented positions in statistics, investment banking, financial analysis and financial planning.


Walden University 

Minneapolis, MN Apply Now

About this school

Walden University, an online for-profit university established in 1970, offers numerous online degree programs, including an online Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Finance Concentration.

Students seeking a finance concentration in the DBA program will gain the finance tools that help managers maximize their firm’s value, including valuation, capital budgeting and structure, working capital management, multinational concepts, and Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). Students will also develop expertise in finance, explore more advanced theories such as option pricing, derivatives, and hedging.

Students are encouraged throughout the 49-credit program combine practice and theory in order to apply new knowledge to organizational problems. Coursework also focuses on the development of writing and critical-thinking skills at the doctoral level. Students must also complete 8 days of academic residency across two 4-day durations.


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Choosing an Online Doctorate in Finance 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.

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

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.

Careers with a Doctorate in Finance

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.

  1. 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%
  2. 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%
  3. Personal Financial Advisor:
    Personal financial advisors 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%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics