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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 TheBestSchools.org, 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 AcademicInfluence.com, 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.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

The Best Online Doctorate in Finance Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Doctorates in Finance

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The doctor of business administration in finance program at Liberty University offers a flexible route to a doctorate. The private university provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students receive research support throughout the program.

In the online program, learners complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced skills. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete an original dissertation that contributes to the field. With a doctorate, professionals may work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the finance program to learn about the enrollment process and start dates.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 78,511

Online Master's Programs: 67

Online Doctoral Programs: 9

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,980

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Doctorates in Finance

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The personal financial planning doctorate at Kansas State University offers an online option for doctoral students. Thanks to a flexible format, the public institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students benefit from support services like career advising.

Doctoral candidates move through the program by passing exams and researching a dissertation project. With a doctorate, professionals may work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the program to learn about admission requirements.

Kansas State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,850

Online Master's Programs: 26

Online Doctoral Programs: 4

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,212

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,735
Out-of-state
$25,251
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
21,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Doctorates in Finance

Northcentral University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Northcentral University offers an online Ph.D. in financial management. At the private institution, degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible environment. Doctoral students receive research support and participate in scholarly events.

In the online program, learners take advanced doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. As the terminal degree in finance, the program leads to career opportunities in academia, research, and industry.

At the accredited institution, online doctoral students qualify for scholarships, federal loans, and other forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

Northcentral University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: Data not available

Online Master's Programs: 26

Online Doctoral Programs: 15

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,983

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,064
Out-of-state
$11,064
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,223
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Best Online Doctorates in Finance

Walden University

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online

The online doctor of business administration in finance program at Walden University ranks as one of the best degrees in the finance field. At the private university, degree-seekers engage in online classes to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students participate in career counseling and benefit from research support.

During the online program, learners complete at least 49 credits of advanced coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates choose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. As the highest degree in finance, the doctorate trains graduates for academic, research, and leadership careers.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program for more about financial aid and admission requirements.

Walden University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: Data not available

Online Master's Programs: 39

Online Doctoral Programs: 20

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,039

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,428
Out-of-state
$10,428
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
48,420
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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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