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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.

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

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The Best Online Doctorate in Finance Degree Programs

  1. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    The School of Business at Liberty University provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, both on-campus and online, in diverse fields of study. Incorporating the evangelical mission of Liberty University, the School of Business includes coursework in Christian principles at the core of its programs, and dedicates itself to developing Christian leaders in business.

    Through the Liberty University Online platform, the School of Business provides an online business doctoral with a finance concentration. The program provides advanced training in professional management, human resources, marketing, and other important fields of business.

    The DBA program allows students to focus on a finance concentration that will further expertise through research, examination, and application of your knowledge and provide opportunities to become essential contributor in the field. This online DBA program’s curriculum is geared towards financial leadership and the strategies best utilized to serve a company and its clients.

    The DBA program requires 60 credit hours and requires an average of 3.5 years for completion.

  2. City University of Seattle

    Seattle, WA

    City University of Seattle, established in 1973, is a nonprofit university with more than 7,600 students enrolled worldwide. The university has branches in several countries around the world, including Canada, China, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Greece and many other countries throughout the world.

    City University of Seattle offers online doctoral degrees in a host of subjects, including business administration and leadership. This 91-credit DBA program is designed for professionals to develop advanced skills in organization interventional thinking, agile business practices, leadership, and critical thinking while developing specialized business knowledge in the area of their choice. Students can take course online or onsite.

    Online student resources include 24/7 live online technical support, online tutoring and an online library.

  3. Kansas State University

    Manhattan, KS

    Located between Kansas City and Salina, KSU is the state’s oldest public university. Established in 1858 as a land- and space-grant agricultural institute, KSU now educates almost 23,000 students in 65 academic departments. The university’s Global Campus initiative features over 70 online degrees and professional programs, including a Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning.

    The 90-credit Ph.D. program is designed to provide talented and ambitious students with knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to achieve success as college and university faculty, and practitioners of financial planning. This hybrid program allows students to take online courses during the fall and spring semesters and participate in intensive 10-day summer experiences. During three consecutive summer residency sessions on the K-State campus, students will build a connection with faculty, peers and the university.

    For the final summer session, students will travel abroad as a group to see up-close how global markets work and how they affect financial planning in the United States and worldwide. The personal financial planning doctorate requires a summer face-to-face session, a capstone international experience and a dissertation.

    KSU accepts applications during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Applicants with more than 24 transfer credits must hold a GPA of 2.0 or higher, while prospective students transferring fewer than 24 college credits are required to meet KSU’s admissions standards for incoming freshmen. All students pay the same tuition costs per credit regardless of Kansas residency status.

  4. Trident University

    Cypress, CA

    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.

  5. Northcentral University

    San Diego, CA

    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.

  6. Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN

    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.

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.
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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

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