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Are you wondering if an online Ph.D. in finance is right for you? Looking for the best online Ph.D. in finance programs? This article features the top finance Ph.D. programs available.

A Ph.D. in finance is the highest level of education you can complete in the field of finance. By pursuing an online PhD in finance, you’ll be prepared for some of the highest-level careers in the financial sector.



Students will be exposed to advanced concepts in these programs. Some of the skills you can learn in an online Ph.D. in finance program include:

Data Analysis

Predicting and detecting changes in financial events is an essential skill for online PhD in finance students to have. They will need to organize huge amounts of information and explore vast amounts of data. Therefore, understanding data analysis is critical for staying up-to-date in the finance industry.

Communication Skills

Ph.D. in finance students need to learn to communicate effectively. Conveying complicated concepts or interacting with other professionals make such skills essential. In addition, they help people make thoughtful word choices and play a role in how knowledge is presented.

Critical Thinking Skills

Those with an online Ph.D. in finance are some of the top thinkers in the finance industry. Critical thinking skills are a big part of that. It’s essential to know how to sort through complex information.

And it is equally important to understand how to find practical solutions to problems. Many classes in advanced online PhD in finance programs teach critical thinking and research skills.

Analytical Software Skills

It’s more important than ever that finance PhDs understand today’s financial software.

Software in this industry is geared toward e-business, education, statistics, and more. Having strong knowledge of these programs will ensure you stay on top of things in the world of finance. And an online PhD in finance program can give you those skills.

Economics and Accounting Skills

During an online PhD in finance program, students learn advanced economics and accounting skills. These programs cover accounting processes in all areas of finance. That includes everything from executive-level roles to research positions.

Courses may cover topics in both global economics and the U.S. marketplace. And you will learn high-level skills like advanced financial statement analysis.

Management and Leadership Skills

Students in an online Ph.D. in finance program may also cover management skills. These skills will be necessary for leadership roles when managing personnel. No matter what position you fill, these “people” skills can help with communication in the professional world.

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What’s the difference between a Ph.D. in Finance and a DBA in Finance?

online Ph.D. in finance programs

You can pursue two different doctoral routes if you aim for an online Ph.D. in finance. A doctor of business administration (DBA) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in finance are both options. Which one should you choose? It depends on your academic and career goals. Both are respected degrees that represent the highest level of academic achievement you can pursue. So what’s the difference?

Ph.D. in Finance

A Ph.D. in finance is an academic doctorate. For example, if you want to work in research or education, you would probably choose an online Ph.D. in finance. These programs tend to concentrate more on finance theories rather than practical applications. An online Ph.D. in finance is also focused on contributing to the field of finance with knowledge. PhDs in finance typically work in research centers or universities.

Doctorate in Business Administration in Finance

With a doctor of business administration degree in finance, you focus more on real-world finance and business topics. Unlike the online Ph.D. in finance, This degree is for those looking for a career in finance or consulting. Some DBAs do work in education. However, if you aspire to work with a Fortune 500 company or on Wall Street, for example, you would choose the Doctorate in Business Administration in Finance.


Online PhD in Finance Methodology

For students who want to pursue an online PhD in finance, we have compiled a list of the top programs available. These programs have been selected for this ranking based upon a scoring system that considers the cost of tuition and length of the program. They are ordered from highest to lowest score.

All of the online PhD in finance programs are from nonprofit colleges. And each is accredited by a nationally recognized board. The listed tuition is from the school’s published prices and is based on yearly costs.

See also: For Profit vs. Non Profit Colleges: What’s the Difference? (

Best Online PhD in Finance: Students Before Profits

Liberty University$7,847100
University of Maryland Global Campus$9,07299.75
Kansas State University$10,29499.50
City University of Seattle$11,81299.25
California Baptist University$13,59099
George Fox University$14,15898.75
Johnson & Wales University$14,70698.50
Franklin University$16,08098.25
Cambridge College$16,40998.00
Northcentral University $16,88197.75
Rutgers University$18,16897.50

#1. Liberty University

Online Doctor of Business Administration – Finance

Lynchburg, Virginia

The first online PhD in finance program on our list is a 100 percent online Doctor of Business Administration–Finance degree. It is offered through Liberty University. Students in this program of study will work to expand their knowledge of business finance. Some of the topics in the program include:

  • Managerial Finance
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Investments & Derivatives
  • Business Valuation
  • Financial Management

Liberty has been ranked among the top online colleges in the nation by various publications. And this program is accredited by  ACBSP. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs is an elite organization. Only three percent of business schools in the world have earned this accreditation. We find this is one of the best online PhD programs in finance.

You’ll need 60 credit hours to complete the program. Doctorate in Business Administration students can finish online in as little as three years, and tuition is quite reasonable. The school has frozen tuition rates for the past several years. The cost per credit hour for this online doctor of business administration program is only $595 for full-time students.

Online students can take full advantage of many online resources while pursuing the program. These include technical support, an online writing center, online tutoring, and more. Students are also encouraged to visit any of Liberty’s campuses and participate in the school’s clubs, activities, and events. Some of these include:

  • The LaHaye Ice Center
  • Equestrian Center
  • Montview Bowling Alley
  • The Gun Club
  • Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $7,847

Score: 100

#2. University of Maryland

Online Doctorate in Business Administration

College Park, Maryland

The University of Maryland offers an online doctor of business administration designed for working professionals. To complete this degree program, students must earn a total of 48 credits. UMGC is an excellent option for students who want to further their careers in finance. Students will study topics ranging from investment banking to econometrics and more. Topics include:

  • Interpreting and Translating Management Theory in Practice
  • Evidence-Based Research Methods
  • Data Analytics in Practice
  • Designing Evidence-Based Management Solutions
  • Producing Original Management Ideas that Influence: Publishing and Conferencing 
  • Managerial Finance

Students are expected to have demonstrated leadership skills and management experience. There is a lot of writing involved in this program, so the school’s Graduate Writing Skills (ASC 601) is recommended. Applicants should be motivated and intellectually curious. Online students at UMGC can also take advantage of a wide range of services. These include:

  • Academic advisors and success coaches
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring
  • Military & veteran support
  • The UMGC Library
  • Technical support Help Center 
  • Writing center
  • Lifetime career support
  • One-on-one career planning and tools
  • Global Campus student organizations

The University of Maryland has a wide range of grants, scholarships, and other financial assistance programs. Additionally, the school offers an interest-free monthly payment plan. UMCG is the second most affordable online PhD programs on our list.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $9,072

Score: 99.75

#3. Kansas State University

Online Doctorate in Personal Financial Planning

Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State University offers an online Doctorate in Personal Financial Planning. This program is designed to be completed in a hybrid format. While many of the courses are offered online, students must take some of them at the Kansas State University campus. These on-campus experiences consist of three consecutive summer residency sessions in Manhattan, Kansas. During these residencies, students in the personal financial planning program will build connections with their peers and instructors.

This is one of the only PhD in financial planning online programs in the country. A total of 90 credit hours are needed to complete the doctorate in personal financial planning. And the cost at Kansas State University is $635.60 per credit hour. Students can transfer up to 30 credit hours into the doctoral program. Some of the courses include:

  • Estate Planning for Families 
  • Insurance Planning for Families 
  • Personal Income Taxation
  • Financial Planning Case Studies 
  • Introduction to Financial Therapy 
  • Money and Relationships
  • Applied Behavioral Finance
  • Financial Therapy Theory and Research
  • Financial Ethics and Mediation 
  • Financial Management

K-State uses Canvas for its online learning management system. Whether online or on-campus, you’ll get the same high-quality instruction. Students can complete this flexible personal financial planning degree program on their own schedule. You’ll do your weekly readings, discussions, and assignments at a time that is convenient for you. 

Online PhD financial planning students are invited to participate in commencement activities on campus. However, if you can’t make it to the University, a remote commencement ceremony is offered. In addition, online students can take advantage of all the services Kansas State University offers, including:

  • Academic Advising
  • Academic Coaching
  • Student Access Center
  • Tutoring
  • Writing Center
  • Library Services

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $10,294

Score: 99.50

#4. City University of Seattle

Doctorate in Business Administration with Specialized Study Concentration

River Forest, Illinois

The City University of Seattle offers an online doctor of business administration with a specialized study concentration. The concentration consists of 12 credits taken in a specific area of focus. Students can propose a particular industry to the program director. In this case, a student could transfer finance courses from another institution. They could also choose to do an independent study or choose from existing course offerings. Some of the courses include:

  • Financial Decision Making
  • Industry Analysis and Market Innovation
  • Business Process Analysis and Strategic Management
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Research Fundamentals
  • Organizational Development Theories and Trends
  • Technology Implementation and Change Management
  • Organizational Identity and Culture
  • Financial Management

This program consists of 91 credit hours and has no residency requirements. This is a very affordable Ph.D. in finance online at $765 per credit. City University students can expect to complete the program in three to four years. All of the school’s degree programs qualify for scholarships and financial aid. As a result, it is one of the top online finance PhD programs on our list. Additionally, the school offers many opportunities to connect with faculty members. These instructors are already working professionally in the field.

With this Ph.D. in finance online, students utilize Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This allows for an interactive experience. You’ll interact together online with your classmates and instructors every other week. Other online services at City University of Seattle include:

  • Library website
  • Writing Center 
  • Unlimited free tutoring through Smarthinking
  • Technical help via Brightspace Help Desk and the Student Help Center
  • Career counseling
  • Mental health counseling

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $11,812

Score: 99.25

#5. California Baptist University

Online Doctor of Business Administration 

Riverside, California

California Baptist University has an Online Doctor of Business Administration program. Students can expect to complete this 56-credit-hour program in about three years. The courses in this program are delivered in an eight-week format. So students will study one course every eight weeks. This concentrated format ensures that students can devote all of their energies to learning one topic at a time. Some of the courses in this program include:

  • Foundations of Organization and Management
  • Ethics in Organizations and Management
  • Financial Analysis for Decision Making
  • Applying Economic Theory to Business
  • International Finance
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Topics in Human Resource Management
  • Research Design
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Quantitative Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Financial Management

Students at California Baptist University can take advantage of many exclusive services:

  • Dedicated Personal Enrollment Counselor
  • One-Stop Student Service Advisor
  • Academic Success Center
  • Smarthinking 24/7 Online Tutoring Support

Online Career Services 

CBU uses the Blackboard 9.1 learning platform. And they aim to employ the latest technologies in remote education. As a result, they have also been named one of the top online colleges by U.S. News and World Report. 

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges 

Tuition: $13,590

Score: 99.00

#6. George Fox University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Newberg, Oregon

This next program is one of the best finance Ph.D. programs available. George Fox University offers a hybrid Doctorate in Business Administration with two concentrations. Students can choose management or business analytics. Both programs introduce students to advanced finance concepts. So your choice will depend on your specific goals. George Fox has one of the best finance PhD programs on our list.

This online Ph.D. in finance requires two in-person sessions per year. So you’ll want to be sure your schedule allows for this. George Fox University estimates that students can complete this rigorous degree program in four to five years. The cost is $980 per credit hour before financial aid.

This program is ideal for working professionals. In addition, it’s beneficial for those who want to develop their financial knowledge further to advance their careers. The program itself is accredited by the ACBSP. Some of the courses you may take include:

  • Leading in Organizations
  • Foundations of Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Conceptual Foundations of Economics
  • Conceptual Foundations of Finance
  • International Business
  • Business Analytics: Analytic Thinking and Decisions
  • Seminar in Accounting
  • Business Analytics: Descriptive Analytics and Forecasting
  • Business Analytics: Applied Analytics and Predictions
  • Business Analytics: Prescriptive Analytics and Modeling

This finance Ph.D. program functions around a cohort model. This model allows students to interact and network with their instructor and peers. This gives them a way to connect with other professionals across the country and even across the world. Online students have a variety of services at their disposal, including:

  • Writing circles
  • Academic Resource Center (ARC) 
  • Career Services (IDEA Center) 
  • Student Jobs on Campus (Handshake) 
  • Athletics 
  • Clubs 
  • Spiritual Life Groups
  • Music Ensembles 
  • Student Publications 
  • Theatre Performances 
  • Bruin Community Pantry 
  • Diversity Initiatives & Programs 
  • Health & Counseling Center
  • Intercultural Resource Center 
  • Student Support Network 
  • Writing Center 

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $14,158

Score: 98.75

#7. Johnson & Wales University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Providence, Rhode Island

Johnson & Wales University online Doctor of Business Administration degree program is one of the best finance programs on this list. Students enrolled in the program will develop the financial acumen for high-paying careers in finance. And they will be prepared for roles such as:

  • Executive-level organizational leaders
  • Industry innovators
  • Consultants
  • Policymakers

Additionally, for those pursuing a career in education, the Doctorate in Business Administration is recognized as a terminal degree. 

A total of 60 credit hours are needed to complete the program. It takes approximately three years to finish. Courses are offered in eight-week formats, which means students focus on only one topic at a time. That allows you to fully understand the material before moving on to the next learning area. This degree has definitely earned its spot among our top finance Ph.D. rankings. Courses in the program include:

  • Contemporary Issues in Finance and Accounting
  • Advanced Strategies in Organization Development
  • Problems and Methods in Marketing Management
  • Business Analytics and Intelligence
  • Research Design
  • Financial Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Innovation and Change
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Contemporary Leadership Issues
  • Advanced Strategies in Organization Development
  • Leadership and Managing Large Scale Transformation

The program is offered in collaboration with JWU’s College of Business. It is entirely online with no residency requirements. 

Accreditation:  New England Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $14,706

Score: 98.50

#8. Franklin University

Online Doctor of Business Administration – Accounting

Columbus, Ohio

 Franklin University offers a 100 percent online Doctorate in Business Administration-Accounting degree. The program is designed to teach students to become problem-solving business leaders. While not a Ph.D. in Finance, you can customize this degree with several electives. This allows students to advance their knowledge of finance topics such as:

  • Advanced Accounting
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Accounting Research and Analysis
  • Financial Planning
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Financial & Managerial Accounting
  • Management Control Processes & Systems
  • Introduction to Tax Research
  • C-Corporation Taxation
  • Enterprise Risk Analysis & Management
  • Financial Management

The program requires a total of 58 credit hours, and students can complete it in as little as three years. The cost per credit is $748. However, Franklin University offers many financial aid resources. These include scholarships, grants, and other forms of assistance. They also have installment payment plans and deferred tuition reimbursement.

Franklin has a generous transfer program as well. Doctoral students can transfer up to 24 credits. And the school will work diligently to ensure you maximize all the credits you can. 

Students studying finance online at Franklin have plenty of support services, too. All students have a personal advisor to help them one-on-one with questions or concerns. In addition, tutoring, writing help, research help, library services, and more are also available. 

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $16,080

Score: 98.25

#9. Cambridge College

Online Doctor of Business Administration – Quality Systems Management

Boston, Massachusetts

This next program is offered through the New England Institute of Business at Cambridge College. It’s an online DBA Administration Quality Systems Management degree. This online Ph.D. in finance is ideal for students who want to gain the knowledge and expertise to build a career in certain finance professions.

A total of 60 credit hours are needed to complete this program, and the cost is $658 per credit hour. Military members, first responders, and veterans are entitled to a discount. The school anticipates that students can complete the program in three years. Some of the courses related to finance in this program include:

  • Financial Management and Fiscal Leadership
  • Benchmarking, Reengineering, and Cost of Quality
  • Business Analytics and Strategic Decision Making
  • Innovation, Strategic Technologies, and Sustainability
  • Business Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Strategic Management and Globalization

The online Doctorate in Business Administration has two required residency courses. Students must attend each of these in full. There is one four-day residency and one three-day residency. If you have special circumstances, you must notify the school in advance.

Students pursuing finance online are entitled to the same services as their peers on campus, including:

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education 

Tuition: $16,409

Score: 98.00

#10. Northcentral University

Doctor of Business Administration with a Specialization in Financial Management

San Diego, California

Northcentral University offers an Online Doctorate in Business Administration with several specializations. The one we’re discussing here is the financial management specialization. It’s a 48-credit-hour program designed to be completed entirely online.

This finance degree is a great option for students looking for an affordable Ph.D. in finance online. It is staffed by a 100 percent doctorate faculty. And you can complete the program in approximately 34 months. The entire program is asynchronous and starts every Monday. There are no residency or GRE/GMAT requirements. Topics in the financial management specialization include:

  • Advanced skills in fiscal analysis, budgeting, and spending for public and private organizations
  • Domestic and international finance
  • Causes of fluctuations in interest and monetary exchange rates
  • Advanced business financial decision models
  • Investment selection techniques 
  • How financial institutions generate earnings and manage risk
  • Financial Management
  • Corporate Finance

At NCU, students can interact one-to-one with their professors. And they will receive personalized mentoring. The school has a Virtual Education Support Center where you can access plenty of resources. Plus, students studying finance online can take advantage of a Virtual Center for Health and Wellness.

Graduates of this program will be ready for a variety of careers. A few of those include:

  • Economist
  • Financial Research Specialist
  • Statistician
  • Financial Analyst
  • Budget Analyst
  • Loan Officer
  • Financial Manager
  • Financial Planner
  • Investment Banker

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Tuition: $16,881

Score: 97.75

#11. Rutgers University

Online PhD in Management – Finance Concentration

Newark, New Jersey

Students at Rutgers University can enroll in the school’s Online Ph.D. in Management and choose a finance concentration. This program is one of the top finance Ph.D. programs on our list. And it’s ideal for working professionals who want to further their careers in finance. You’ll need to earn a total of 72 credits to complete the program. Courses include:

  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Optimization Models in Finance 
  • Math Methods in Economics
  • Introduction to Probability
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Game Theory
  • Macroeconomics
  • Modern Statistics
  • Investments
  • Corporate Finance
  • Accounting Theory I: Theory of Corporate Disclosures, Control, and Governance
  • Floating Finance Seminar
  • Econometrics 

This finance degree program is via the Department of Finance & Economics of Rutgers Business School. The business school is a member of AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. There are five research centers associated with this department:

  • Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for Pharmaceutical Management
  • Center for Real Estate
  • Center for Research in Regulated Industries
  • Rutgers Financial Institutions Center
  • Whitcomb Center for Research in Financial Services

Although not required, it’s a plus if you have a master’s in computer science, economics, or mathematics. However, if your background in finance or economics is limited, the school suggests taking an additional course. This would be the Master of Quantitative Finance course. While this doesn’t guarantee admission, it can benefit you in your studies. 

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $18,168

Score: 97.50

Related: Largest Nonprofit Online Universities

Why Should You Pursue an Online PhD in Finance?

best online Ph.D. in finance degrees

A doctoral degree in finance represents the highest academic level you can reach in college. And it puts you in an elite group of students. Only around 181,000 students earn a Ph.D. each year. You might think that is a lot. But over 800,000 students get their master’s degrees. And nearly two million students graduate with a bachelor’s degree every year. 

When you graduate with a Ph.D. in Finance online, you are considered an expert in the field of finance. Your credentials open up many possibilities for careers others can only dream about. You can also reach more of your personal and financial goals.

Are Online PhD in Finance Programs Legit?

When looking for the best school for PhD finance programs, one of your main concerns should be credibility. There are a few for-profit schools offering these degrees, but many of them have some shady practices. You should avoid these “diploma mills” at all costs. Many are not even accredited. 

You’ll want to look for programs offered at reputable nonprofit colleges and universities. Nonprofits can be public or private. And they invest all their earnings back into educational programs. Nonprofits do not exist to make money. At Nonprofit Colleges Online, we only feature universities and colleges that are not for profit. 

We also look for accreditation. Each of the schools we review is accredited by a national or regional accrediting body. Accreditation is crucial when looking for the best online Ph.D. in finance. When a school is accredited, it meets certain academic standards for rigor, quality, and other factors. In fact, some employers won’t even consider hiring a candidate who has not attended an accredited program. 


On-Campus vs. Online PhD in Finance Programs

Online PhD in Finance programs are getting more and more popular each year. But are they really as good as the on-campus versions? First, let’s look at a few things that are not different about pursuing an online degree program.

1. Online degree programs are just as academically rigorous as their on-campus counterparts.

You’ll focus on the same curriculum when studying online. You will take the same exams and quizzes. And you will complete the same research and assignments. 

2. Online PhD in Finance programs have the same esteemed instructors.

The online version of a Ph.D. program will almost always have the same faculty members. You can expect to meet the same respected professors and instructors that teach in the classroom.

3. Online PhD in Finance degrees look no different than those earned on campus.

Your degree will not specify that you earned it online. Instead, you will have the same diploma as students who attended an on-campus program. And only you will know you earned your degree online.


What Is Different About Online Ph.D. in Finance Programs?

Ph.D. in finance degree programs online

Online and on-campus Ph.D. programs have two significant differences—pace and schedule. When students attend on-campus programs, there are a specified number of courses to finish. Class begins and ends at a particular time, and assignments all need to be completed by a specific date. You usually can’t go at a faster pace since everyone is taking the course at once. And if you lag behind, you may fail the course or have to complete it again.

With online programs, there is much more flexibility. For example, you’ll have the same number of courses and the same assignments, lectures, readings, etc. But you can usually progress at your own pace. When taking online courses, you don’t need to show up to class at a specific time. You can log in and complete your assignments whenever it is convenient.


How Many Years Does It Take to Earn a Ph.D. in Finance?

The credit hours needed for earning an online Ph.D. in finance can vary significantly. Often, it depends on the school you choose and how rigorous the program is. The number of credits can be between 50 to 90, with 60 being about average. For full-time students, most online doctoral programs can be finished in three to four years. 

This concludes our ranking of the top online PhD in finance degree programs.

NPCO Staff