United States Doctorate in Finance Programs

Earning a doctorate in finance, such as a PhD in Finance or DBA degree, could provide students with a strong foundation in the theoretical and empirical aspects of modern and global finance and economics. PhD in Finance and DBA - Finance degrees are terminal degrees, meaning they represent one of the highest achievements in business education.

Students in PhD finance programs receive in an depth education in statistics, financial mathematics and investments. They also may learn extensively about corporate finance, financial markets and products. Finally, PhD in Finance and DBA programs typically place a heavy emphasis on research, providing students with the opportunity to study research practices and pursue independent studies of their own.

PhD In Finance information

PhD in Finance vs DBA in Finance Programs

Are you drawn to academic research? Or, do you have a management oriented career in mind? There are different types of doctorate in finance programs which may help you accomplish these goals. The two most common options are the PhD in Finance and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs.

These two programs do have similarities. As doctorates they both require similar coursework, an exam, and a doctoral dissertation. Typically both doctorate in finance programs also ask applicants to have a comprehensive background in college level mathematics and economics and may take a full time student 4-5 years to complete.

However, the PhD in Finance and DBA have different approaches to the subject matter and distinct objectives.

PhD in Finance Degrees

PhD in Finance degrees are academic degrees and more theoretical in nature. While PhD research focuses on advancing business knowledge, the PhD in Finance is generally considered the route into an academic career as a professor and university researcher.i Graduates may also pursue careers in the public sector or advanced consulting or research roles in business or administration.

DBA in Finance Degrees

A DBA in Finance is a professional degree. As such, these programs may take a more practical approach. Typical DBA programs emphasize vocational training and applying research and theory to real world business problems. The emphasis of the coursework is more immediately applicable in corporate leadership and management, though graduates may be able to pursue a faculty position in a business school.i

These may not be the only doctorate in finance programs available. Individual programs may also vary from the descriptions above. That's why it's important to contact an admission advisor and speak with PhD finance programs directly.

Potential Curriculum in PhD in Finance Programs

Generally, doctorate in finance programs focus on empirical research, scholarly writing and financial theories as they affect global business, investment and capital markets. They seek to advance research in business and finance. PhD Finance programs are often interdisciplinary and touch on areas including economics, sociology, psychology, systems engineering, and mathematics. Some of the topics students might explore are listed below.

  • Ethics
  • Financial risks
  • Financial mathematics
  • Corporate finance
  • Advanced macro and micro economics
  • Financial models
  • Financial institutions, banking and monetary systems
  • Financial markets
  • International (Global) finance
  • Portfolio management
  • Financial asset prices

Potential Career Paths For Graduates With Doctorate in Finance Degrees

Finance PhD graduates could be prepared for a variety of positions in workplaces that range from colleges and universities, to government, consulting firms, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Is your goal is to become a postsecondary educator? A PhD in Finance program may prepare you to teach in business schools and colleges. At the post secondary level, work experience and a doctoral degree in the field you intend to teach are typically requisites for employment.i

For leadership minded management graduates, earning a doctorate in finance could be great preparation for the pursuit of top executive roles such as Chief Financial Officer. As a CFO, you might oversee the investment of funds or prepare budgets and direct an organization’s financial reporting. While a bachelors degree is considered the entry level education for many top executive positions, a doctorate degree could help you stand out and enhance your career. ii

Is finance, accounting, economics or business administration where your talents lie? If so, you might choose to pursue a career as a Financial Manager.iii As a Financial Manager, you may take on a role as a Controller for a business or government agency. You might also become a Financial Analyst if you are someone who enjoys helping others make investment decisions. Each of these positions require at least a bachelors degree for entry level positions, with advanced study potentially helping you jumpstart your career. iv

Always look into certifications, licenses and regulations as some securities related industries are regulated.

How To Choose a PhD In Finance Program: Campus, Hybrid or Online?

In addition to considering the type of doctorate in finance you'd like to earn, it's important to decide how you'll study. You will want to spend some time reflecting on whether you are looking for a campus or Online PhD Finance program.

Campus-based PhD Finance programs certainly offer face-to-face interactions with other students and your professors. PhD in Finance schools may also provide an opportunity to enrich your networks and take advantage of campus resources. This may be a good option for graduates with academic teaching or research aspirations.

Distance learning has the potential benefit of being flexible. You typically can log into your courses when it is convenient, and these tend to be more self paced. This might work for busy working professionals who cannot quit their jobs to advance their studies.

Some Online PhD Finance programs may also have a component that involves taking some courses on campus. This blended learning approach might work for someone who lives near enough to a campus but could not afford the time to be there full time. These are known as hybrid programs. 

Every school designs their PhD in Finance programs differently and may have distinct potential benefit. Therefore, its best to review a few programs before applying. To compare curriculum, admissions requirements, faculty, tuition and other details, request info from each school and keep the details on a list.

Ready To Pursue Doctorate In Finance?

Whether you are hoping to work in consulting, research or academia, a clear sense of direction will help you select a doctorate in finance degree. Why not start your search on GradSchools.com? You can review the DBA and PhD in Finance programs listed here. Or create a filtered list using the menu bars. Search by learning format or location. When you're ready, follow the link to learn more and contact schools with a simple form.

Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm

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