Top 10 Best Online Finance Degrees Of 2024

For people who are focused on making money, getting a finance degree can open doors to various high-demand jobs like financial analyst, financial examiner, or even chief financial officer.

The first thing to do is pick the right online finance degree program, but with so many options, it can be tough. Intelligent.com has done the work for you by reviewing lots of online finance degree programs. They looked at things like how many students stick with the program, graduation rates, cost, quality of faculty, rankings, and more. Based on this, they’ve put together a list of the best online finance degree programs for 2023.

Michelle Pickett, who is the director of Northern Illinois University’s Academic Advising Center, has also provided answers to common questions about online finance degrees. She covers topics like what you need to get in, the different things you can specialize in, how much it costs, how long it takes, and tips on choosing the right online finance degree program.

Online Finance Program Overview

With an undergraduate finance degree, students learn the basics of financial concepts and techniques. According to Michelle Pickett, the Director of Academic Advising at Northern Illinois University, those with finance degrees aim to master managing and growing money for individuals, companies, and organizations. Finance majors develop skills in risk management, investment strategies, data analytics, and important interpersonal skills. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance can pursue various careers such as financial analysts, budget analysts, account managers, and insurance underwriters.

Going further with a finance degree at the graduate level opens up advanced and specialized opportunities. Pickett notes that while many positions require a bachelor’s degree in finance, careers like Equity Trader or Investment Brokering may need a master’s degree or additional experience and training. With advanced knowledge, individuals can take on leadership roles in financial institutions, manage investment portfolios, conduct thorough economic research, or provide advice to multinational corporations on complex financial matters.

Regardless of the degree level, a finance education equips individuals with the skills needed to navigate the complexities of the financial world, contribute to economic growth, and make strategic financial decisions.

How long does it take to get a finance degree?

Type of DegreeAverage Completion TimePrerequisites
Undergraduate4 yearsGeneral education courses in mathematics, accounting, economics, and statistics
Graduate1-2 yearsA bachelor’s degree in Finance or a related field

For students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance, completing most online programs usually takes about four years if attending full-time. This typically involves taking around four classes during a 16-week semester. However, the timeframe can vary based on the program’s structure and the student’s course load. Before declaring their major, universities often require students to finish prerequisite courses in mathematics, accounting, economics, and statistics, typically completed in the first and second years.

At the graduate level, a master’s in finance typically takes one to two years of full-time study. Part-time options are available for working professionals, potentially extending the duration. To enroll in a graduate finance program, students generally need a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, such as economics or business administration. Some programs may also require foundational coursework in finance, accounting, and quantitative analysis.

The program’s learning format can impact completion time as well. As Michelle Pickett notes, online programs may offer synchronous or asynchronous class options. Asynchronous classes do not have a set time, allowing flexibility for students with full-time jobs or significant responsibilities. On the other hand, synchronous courses have a specific schedule, providing a more structured and supportive learning environment for those who prefer it.

How much does a finance degree cost?

The cost of a finance degree can vary based on factors like the degree level, the school, and the student’s residency. Typically, for a bachelor’s degree in finance, the tuition ranges from $10,000 to $40,000 per year on average. However, prestigious or private institutions may have higher costs.

For a master’s degree in finance at the graduate level, the cost usually falls within the range of $15,000 to $60,000 per year. This can vary depending on the program’s reputation and location.

Enrollment status also plays a role in costs. Full-time students typically pay the full annual tuition, while part-time students pay per credit. Choosing part-time enrollment might be more cost-effective for individuals juggling education with other responsibilities, such as parenting or a full-time job.

Residency status is another crucial factor impacting costs. In-state students often enjoy lower tuition rates at public institutions within their state, while out-of-state students may face higher rates. The cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be significant, sometimes exceeding twice the in-state rate.

For students considering a finance degree, thorough research and comparison of tuition rates at different institutions are essential. It’s crucial to factor in enrollment and residency status to make well-informed decisions about the educational investment.

What are the admission requirements for a finance degree?

Admission requirements for a finance degree may differ based on the school and program level. However, most programs generally share similar standard requirements.

BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN FINANCE

To apply for an undergraduate finance program, all applicants need a high school diploma or an equivalent like a GED. Additionally, most institutions will consider the following:

  1. Transcripts: Applicants must provide official high school transcripts showcasing academic performance.
  2. Standardized Test Scores: Some institutions may ask for SAT or ACT scores during the application process.
  3. Personal Statement: Most applications require a written essay or statement of purpose explaining the applicant’s interest in finance and career goals.
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Typically, schools request two to three letters from teachers, counselors, or mentors who can speak to the student’s potential for success in the program.
  5. Prerequisite Coursework: Some programs may have specific prerequisites, such as mathematics, economics, or accounting courses.

Admissions committees may also consider extracurricular activities or employment history as part of the application. Involvement in relevant activities, leadership roles, or work experience can significantly enhance a prospective student’s application, helping them stand out in the applicant pool.

The Top 10 Finance Degree Programs

Franklin University
Intelligent Score99.78
Rankings#1 Best Colleges
School InformationColumbus, OH
Graduation Rate41%
Admission Rate100%
UrbanicityCity
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per Credit$398
AccreditationInternational Accreditation Council for Business Education
Emailadmissions@franklin.edu
Phone614-797-4700
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate124
Texas A&M University at Commerce
Intelligent Score98.81
Rankings#2 Affordable Colleges, #2 Best Colleges
School InformationCommerce, TX
Graduation Rate55%
Admission Rate87%
UrbanicityTown
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per CreditResident: $718, Non-Resident: $1,126
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailadmissions@tamuc.edu
Phone903-886-5000
Delivery FormatOnline, On-Campus
Required Credits to Graduate120
Ottawa University
Intelligent Score96.73
Rankings#3 Best Colleges
School InformationOttawa, KS
Graduation Rate47%
Admission Rate67%
UrbanicityTown
School SizeSmall
Estimated Cost per Credit$886 – $1,329
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
Emailadmiss@ottawa.edu
Phone800-755-5200
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120
Western Carolina University
Intelligent Score96.54
Rankings#5 Best Colleges
School InformationCullowhee, NC
Graduation Rate65%
Admission Rate79%
UrbanicityTown
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per CreditResident: $304, Non-Resident: $471
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailadmiss@wcu.edu
Phone828-227-7317
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120
Florida International University
Intelligent Score95.86
Rankings#1 Affordable Colleges, #3 Great College Deals, #10 Best Colleges, #13 World Scholarship Vault
School InformationMiami, FL
Graduation Rate67%
Admission Rate64%
UrbanicitySuburban
School SizeLarge
Estimated Cost per CreditIn-State: $228, Out-of-State: $345
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailonlineprograms@fiu.edu
Phone855-782-1802
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120
Metropolitan State University
Intelligent Score95.83
Rankings#6 Best Colleges
School InformationSaint Paul, MN
Graduation Rate58%
Admission Rate67%
UrbanicityCity
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per Credit$285
AccreditationAccreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Emailadmissions@metrostate.edu
Phone651-793-1302
Delivery FormatOnline, On-Campus
Required Credits to Graduate120
University of Houston at Clear Lake
Intelligent Score95.56
Rankings#7 Best Colleges
School InformationHouston, TX
Graduation Rate68%
Admission Rate91%
UrbanicitySuburban
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per CreditResident: $498, Non-Resident: $1,052
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailadmissions@uhcl.edu
Phone281-283-2500
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120
Missouri State University
Intelligent Score94.62
Rankings#3 Affordable Colleges, #7 Great College Deals, #9 World Scholarship Vault
School InformationSpringfield, MO
Graduation Rate57%
Admission Rate94%
UrbanicityCity
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per Credit$687
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailadmissions@missouristate.edu
Phone417-836-5517
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120
Dickinson State University
Intelligent Score93.60
Rankings#1 Great College Deals, #15 World Scholarship Vault
School InformationDickinson, ND
Graduation Rate45%
Admission Rate99%
UrbanicityTown
School SizeSmall
Estimated Cost per CreditResident: $249, Non-Resident: $319
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
Emaildsu.hawk@dickinsonstate.edu
Phone701-502-4390
Delivery FormatOnline, On-Campus
Required Credits to Graduate120
University of Michigan at Flint
Intelligent Score92.75
Rankings#4 Great College Deals, #12 World Scholarship Vault
School InformationFlint, MI
Graduation Rate51%
Admission Rate74%
UrbanicityCity
School SizeMedium
Estimated Cost per CreditIn-State: $516, Out-of-State: $569
AccreditationAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Emailadmissions.flint@umich.edu
Phone810-762-3300
Delivery FormatOnline
Required Credits to Graduate120

How We Rank Schools

This list highlights some of the top online finance degree programs offered by well-established colleges across the United States. Each featured institution is a nonprofit, accredited school, either public or private, maintaining high academic standards. Many schools in the list are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which assesses the quality and effectiveness of business-related programs.

Our evaluation considered factors like tuition costs, admission processes, retention and graduation rates, faculty quality, reputation, and available resources for online students. We assigned an Intelligent Score ranging from 0 to 100 based on these criteria. You can learn more about our ranking methodology.

Furthermore, we cross-referenced this comprehensive list with aggregated college rankings from reputable sources such as the U.S. News & World Report, simplifying the college search process for students. We thoroughly examined these rankings to provide students with a reliable resource for their decision-making.

Finance Degree Concentrations

Is a specialized finance degree better than a general finance degree?

Both specialized and general finance degrees offer unique advantages, and your choice should align with your individual career goals.

A specialized finance degree focuses on in-depth expertise in a specific area, such as corporate finance, investment management, financial analysis, or risk management. This specialization can be advantageous, providing graduates with a competitive edge in pursuing careers within those specific fields. Employers looking for specialized skills may highly value this targeted knowledge.

Conversely, a general finance degree offers a broader foundation, covering a wide range of finance topics and concepts. This versatility is beneficial for individuals still exploring their career path within finance or those seeking flexibility to explore various finance-related roles. A general finance degree provides a well-rounded understanding of finance principles, creating opportunities for diverse career paths.

What are some common finance degree concentrations?

Finance degree programs often provide various concentrations or specializations, allowing students to tailor their studies to specific areas within the field. Some popular finance concentrations include:

  1. Corporate Finance:
  • Ideal for analytical students interested in financial management within corporations.
  • Focuses on financial planning, capital budgeting, risk management, and financial analysis.
  • Graduates often collaborate with different departments and work on cross-functional teams.
  1. Investment Management:
  • Suited for resilient, adaptable individuals with a quantitative aptitude.
  • Concentrates on investment strategies, portfolio management, asset valuation, securities analysis, and financial markets.
  • Requires the ability to make investment decisions in dynamic and volatile market conditions.
  1. Financial Planning:
  • Geared towards students interested in personal finance, wealth management, and assisting individuals and families in achieving financial goals.
  • Focuses on personal finance, retirement planning, estate planning, tax strategies, and wealth management.
  • Typically involves one-on-one client interactions in an office setting.
  1. Risk Management:
  • Ideal for natural problem-solvers interested in identifying, assessing, and mitigating financial risks within organizations.
  • Concentrates on navigating credit, market, and operational risks for companies or corporations.
  • Graduates often collaborate with cross-functional teams, senior management, and stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.
  1. International Finance:
  • Suited for enthusiastic students with a global perspective, multilingual and cultural awareness, and strong decision-making skills.
  • Focuses on financial management in a global context, covering international trade, foreign exchange markets, cross-border investments, and multinational financial analysis.

Career Opportunities for Finance Degree Graduates

Career trajectories

A finance degree can open doors to various career paths. Here are some common jobs pursued by finance degree holders:

  1. Financial Analyst:
  • Responsibilities include assessing investment opportunities, conducting economic research, analyzing financial data, and offering recommendations for informed financial decisions.
  • Median annual salary: $91,580
  1. Investment Banker:
  • Involved in helping companies raise capital, facilitating mergers and acquisitions, and providing financial advisory services.
  • Tasks include structuring deals, analyzing financial data, and negotiating transactions.
  • Median annual salary: $62,910
  1. Financial Planner:
  • Works closely with individuals and families to create comprehensive financial plans, covering budgeting, investment strategies, retirement planning, tax planning, and risk management.
  • Median annual salary: $94,170
  1. Risk Manager:
  • Identifies, assesses, and mitigates potential risks affecting an organization’s financial well-being.
  • Develops risk management strategies, implements mitigation measures, and ensures regulatory compliance.
  • Median annual salary: $121,126
  1. Corporate Treasurer:
  • Manages an organization’s financial resources, including cash flow, investments, and liquidity.
  • Develops financial strategies, oversees banking relationships, and manages financial risk within the company.
  • Median annual salary: $228,000

Is a finance degree worth it?

A finance degree is widely regarded as valuable, offering significant advantages for those entering the financial industry. According to Pickett, pursuing an online finance degree is an excellent choice for individuals seeking educational advancement, expanded job prospects, or a career change. Citing the Occupational Outlook Handbook, she notes that the job outlook for finance careers is expected to grow faster than the average for many occupations, with a projected 7% growth through 2031. This growth indicates a need for over half a million new financial professionals in the workforce over the next decade.

The benefits extend to the Return on Investment (ROI), where the potential financial rewards often surpass the tuition costs. Many finance careers boast a median income of $90,000 or more, nearly double the median for all occupations.

Furthermore, a finance degree equips individuals with versatile, transferable skills applicable across industries. Even if one decides to pursue a different career path after completing the program, ample employment opportunities exist. The analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills developed during the program are highly valued in various fields, including banking, investment management, consulting, and corporate finance.

How To Choose a Finance Degree Program

Choosing the right finance degree program is a crucial decision that significantly impacts your education quality, future job opportunities, and potential success in the field. Therefore, it’s essential to approach this choice with careful consideration. Here are some key factors to help guide you in selecting the program that aligns with your goals:

  1. Accreditation Check:
  • Look for finance programs accredited by recognized bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Accreditation ensures a quality education and may enhance job prospects.
  1. Curriculum Evaluation:
  • Review the curriculum and available specializations within the finance program. Consider how completing the program aligns with your personal and professional goals, focusing on specific areas of interest like corporate finance or investment management.
  1. Research Reputation and Rankings:
  • Consider the reputation and longevity of the institution and program. Longevity often correlates with quality. Rankings from reputable sources can provide insights into program quality, faculty expertise, and industry recognition.
  1. Financial Aid Review:
  • Assess the overall cost of the program and explore financial aid options, scholarships, and assistantship opportunities offered by the institution. Understanding the financial aspects will help you make an informed decision about managing the cost of your education.
  1. Explore Career Services:
  • Research the career services and support provided by the program, such as resume building, interview preparation, job placement assistance, and alumni mentorship programs. Strong career services can significantly aid in securing internships and job opportunities after graduation.
  1. Campus Exploration:
  • If possible, consider visiting campuses, attending virtual or in-person information sessions, and speaking with current students or alumni to gain additional insights before finalizing your decision.

By considering these factors and gathering comprehensive information, you can confidently choose a program that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

5 Steps To Earning an Online Finance Degree

  1. Ensure it’s the Right Choice:
    Making the right degree choice is crucial for your future. When considering a finance degree, ensure it aligns with your aspirations and interests. Explore the finance field, its specializations, and career paths. Assess your comfort with numbers, analytical thinking, and problem-solving through informational interviews, job shadowing, or internships. Consider if you thrive in a fast-paced and competitive environment, essential for many roles in finance.
  2. Research Schools and Programs:
    Once confident in choosing finance, research schools to find the best fit for your goals. Use online resources, university websites, and reputable rankings. Explore curriculum details, faculty profiles, and available specializations. Look for programs with industry connections, guest lectures, or internships. Seek insights from current students or alumni through forums, social media, and attend virtual or in-person sessions to understand the institution’s environment.
  3. Prepare for Tests and Applications:
    Prepare strategically for tests and applications to stand out among applicants. Research requirements and deadlines, and study for standardized tests like SAT, ACT, GMAT, or GRE. Utilize study materials and practice tests. Craft a compelling personal statement emphasizing your passion, experiences, and goals. Seek recommendations from professors or mentors. Organize and proofread your application materials before submitting them on time.
  4. Determine Funding Options:
    Determine how to finance your degree by exploring scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. Look for opportunities aligned with your field of study and overall criteria. Complete the FAFSA to assess eligibility for federal aid, work-study programs, and loans. Create a comprehensive budget and explore part-time employment options to ease the financial burden of higher education.
  5. Select Your Program:
    After thorough research, preparation, and understanding your financial options, selecting the finance degree program is the final step. Evaluate how each program aligns with your career goals and personal interests. Choose the program resonating most with your aspirations, offering valuable resources, and paving the way to success in the finance industry.