You need a finance degree that’s totally you. It should be flexible and affordable, with a high-quality curriculum. You’re paying for this, after all, and you deserve the best. You have the enthusiasm, and now you’re making the plan. We’re ready to help. We’ve researched online finance degree programs, and the ones highlighted below are sure to meet your expectations. They’re accredited and have the scheduling flexibility you need to complete your degree on your own terms. These three schools are just the beginning. We’ll have an entire list of rankings coming later this year, but in the meantime the information in this article will get you started on your journey into higher education.
Penn State University World Campus
Penn State’s World Campus offers students an online bachelor’s degree in finance that prepares them for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and/or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examinations. The program is not only accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) but it has also been accepted into the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, which is quite an accomplishment for an online program. The courses are presented in an asynchronous format through the Canvas learning management system.
With an online finance degree, students study all components of the financial field, including investments, corporate finance, and financial markets. After building a firm knowledge of the principles of business, economics, and accounting, students will be able to pursue an in-depth focus on issues and knowledge in finance and financial management that most suits their goals. In addition to core finance classes, online students have access to Penn State’s finance extra-curricular activities like the Investment Research Challenge Team, Financial Management Association, Financial Planning Club, and the Finance Speaker Series.
- Bachelor of Science in Finance
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $620/$664 per credit in-state | $620/$664 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; AACSB
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota (UM) Online offers a 120-credit bachelor’s degree in finance entirely online that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). There are also partially online/on-campus options you can choose from if you live nearby. This online finance degree program draws heavily from courses in business, general education, management, marketing, and accounting. This curriculum helps students understand matters of performance and risk relevant to financial services within a company; assess consumer financial needs; describe and apply financial concepts, theories, and tools; and prepare personal financial plans.
If you’ve already completed college credits, then you can request an unofficial evaluation of your transcripts by one of UM’s professional advisors. Examples of courses in the curriculum include microeconomics, corporate finance, principles of accounting, income tax, retirement and estate planning, and principles of management.
- Bachelor of Science in Finance
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $437 per credit in-state | $437 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online | Hybrid
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; ACBSP
Florida International University
The online finance bachelor’s degree at Florida International University is one of the most affordable in the United States, and is actually a bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in finance. It’s available completely online and is accredited by the prestigious AACSB. Every online undergraduate student is paired with a success coach once they begin their studies. Choose from three start dates each year (fall, spring, and summer semesters).
Students in the program learn the latest technology in the field and strengthen their abilities to gather and analyze financial information quickly and effectively. Theoretical and practical knowledge will be taught in areas including banking, corporate finance, financial risk management, financial engineering, and international finance. Students also learn to apply principles and tools from mathematics, statistics, economics, and accounting to financial decision-making.
Students select one specialization to focus their studies, which includes:
- Bachelor of Business Administration-Finance
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $229 per credit in-state | $346 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC); AACSB
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Finance Degree Program
As with every undergraduate degree, students first complete general education courses as well as any prerequisite courses necessary before starting on their finance core classes. Students take basic courses in accounting, statistics, and economics. Then they’ll take those basic skills and apply them in the world of finance as they learn about relevant technology and software, strategic management, financial markets and institutions, asset allocation and investments, and financial planning. These courses help students prepare for tests such as the CFA and/or CFP examinations, which are a popular next step for students with an online finance bachelor’s degree. More detailed topics are listed below.
- Financial planning for individuals and businesses
- Business and financial law
- Security analysis
- Business statistics
Lower Division (Years 1 and 2)
The lower division courses of your online finance degree help you create a base of knowledge around economics, accounting, marketing, management, and personal and corporate finance. You’ll start learning how all the segments work together in the world of finance on both a local and international scale and you’ll prepare to dive deeper into individual finance topics.
- Financial Accounting: This course for nonaccounting majors covers analysis of the various financial statements, their use, and limitations in making business decisions.
- Microeconomics: This course analyzes the economic principles that drive the behavior of individual consumers and business firms. Topics include the implications of government intervention, technological innovation, the advantages and disadvantages of different market structures, and income distribution and poverty.
- Business Law: This course introduces the fundamentals of the U.S. legal system in relation to business and teaches students about the everyday legal problems that businesses encounter. Topics touched on include the legal environment of business, torts and crimes, contracts, employment relations and law, and business organizations.
- Marketing: This course examines the use of marketing by an organization and the effects of marketing on society. Courses cover fundamental knowledge in areas including marketing planning and the marketing mix (products & services, distribution, promotion, pricing). Students will be able to describe the basic concepts of brand management, digital marketing, customer relationship management, and personal selling and negotiating.
- Management: This course offers an introductory look at the discipline of management and its context within the business environment. It covers the difference between leadership and management and provides an overview in the areas of strategic decision-making and operational planning, managerial budgeting, change management, human capital management, business ethics, daily management responsibilities, staff development, conflict management, and current management tools and resources.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
Once a finance foundation has been set, upper division courses in your online finance degree program help you dig deeper into topics that interest you and that will help you be an asset in the field of finance. Such courses cover financial institutions and the role of money, the analysis of financial statements, how to assess and solve financial problems, and the fundamentals of investing.
- Corporate Finance: This course provides a framework for understanding and analyzing the investment and financial decisions of corporations. A basic understanding of how financial assets are priced is necessary to understand how to make a good decision for the corporation. Students learn about the basic structures that set the environment for the day-to-day operations of a business, the factors that owners consider when they choose which structures to use, and the roles of shareholders and stakeholders. The course will also explain how to calculate the cost to finance a business, how to value stocks and bonds, and how to determine the value of the firm.
- Money and Banking: This course examines the structure of financial institutions and the roles of money, financial markets, and central banks in the context of the global economy. Students learn how the banking and business environment has changed, evaluate the money supply creation process, and analyze the impact of the Federal Reserve’s policies on local and international economies.
- Financial Statement Analysis: This course is designed to familiarize students with financial statements, valuation models, and other tools to be able to assess the value of a firm. Topics covered include financial ratio and cash flow analysis, accounting analysis and valuation, business strategy and valuation analysis, and forecasting and risk analysis.
- Financial Management: This course’s objective is to teach students to apply financial principles and concepts to assess and solve financial problems and make financial and corporate policies at the executive level. It covers ways to assess an organization’s financial health, company valuation, cost of capital, risk analysis, investment decisions, and financial systems and capital markets. Students will explore an enterprise’s capital structure and how equity and long-term debt are used to finance and sustain long-term fixed-asset projects. Techniques and decision methods discussed include net present value, internal rate of return, and payback period. Students also learn about equity capital and how the dividend policy is devised.
- Investments: This course examines investment markets, transactions, planning, and information. Also discussed are the principles and methods of investing in equity, fixed-income instruments, and derivatives. Students learn about investment risk and return measures, debt and equity instruments, evaluation techniques, hybrid and derivative securities, mutual funds, real estate investments, the mechanics of trading, tax planning and the investment process, and portfolio management.
Admissions: How to Get into a Top Online Finance Program
The process for applying for an online finance degree is straightforward, with most schools requiring similar things. Below is a list of requirements you’ll need to meet when you submit your application.
- Have a high school diploma/GED
- Be 18+ years old
- Submit a copy of a valid government-issued ID
- Submit any other official college transcripts (if applicable)
- Submit ACT/SAT test scores (if applicable)
- Pay the application fee (usually around $30 and nonrefundable)
- Fill out the application
Once you have your documents ready to go for your online finance bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to create an account with the school you’re applying to. Once logged in you’ll fill out the application with your general information, upload transcripts or be instructed to mail in official transcripts, and fill out brief personal essays; some applications might offer the option to upload one or more letters of recommendation.
While you can start some majors as soon as you are admitted to the college, others require you to complete certain prerequisite courses first. We’ve found online finance bachelor’s degree programs are offered both ways. If your particular program has prerequisites, you’ll fill out an application to apply to the university, get admitted, complete your prerequisites and some general education courses, and then fill out another application specifically for the finance program. A minimum GPA of 2.0-2.5 is typically required with this kind of application.
Funding Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Finance
As with any large investment, doing your due diligence to educate yourself and plan for your online finance bachelor’s degree is of the utmost importance. An online finance degree typically will cost you $30,000-$50,000 just in tuition. Plan on paying for course materials and potential class fees. Choosing to study online can help reduce or eliminate certain costs normally associated with higher education, such as on- or near-campus housing, transportation, facility fees, and the lost income from not being able to work.
Other factors that contribute to cost include whether you attend a private or public university, if you have prior college credits that you can transfer, if you’re a resident of the state the school is in, and if you have access to financial aid. Below we’ve listed five schools that offer online finance degree programs and their relative costs.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|Purdue University-Global||Public||180 (quarter credits)||$280/credit||$371/credit|
|Western Governors University||Private not-for-profit||120||$7,150/year||$7,150/year|
|University of Maryland-Global Campus||Public||120||$318/credit||$499/credit|
|Franklin University||Private not-for-profit||124||$398/credit||$398/credit|
|Colorado State University (CSU) Global||Public||120||$350/credit||$350/credit|
As you consider how to pay for your online finance degree program, you’ll discover that there are many financial aid opportunities that you can apply for from the federal level all the way down to your program level. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (commonly called the FAFSA) is the government’s financial aid program for degree-seeking students, and many states have state-wide scholarships based on academic, athletic, and talent-based performance. Schools have scholarships based on performance and need, such as the Mission Scholarship from CSU Global, and individual scholarships based on the student’s chosen field of study, such as the Gilbert Slomowitz Business Scholarship Fund from the University of Maryland Global Campus.
FAQs About Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree in Finance Online
Do online finance degrees require any campus visits?
Most online finance programs can be completed 100% online with no campus visits. This is mostly due to the nature of the degree—everything can be learned remotely or online asynchronously with little to no in-person, hands-on training needed.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in finance?
There are seven primary areas of employment for students with an online finance degree. Though it’s not an exhaustive list by any means, you’ll mainly find jobs in corporate finance, investment banking, commercial banking, asset management, real estate, personal financial planning, and insurance. Below are some example job titles that you might run across in your job search.
- Financial analyst
- Treasurer or controller
- Investment banker
- Risk management specialist
- Sales agent
- Financial planner
- Insurance agent
- Management consultant
- Fraud investigator
Is earning a finance degree worth it?
In short, yes! Job opportunities in the area of finance are projected to grow faster than average (some occupations as much as 21%) through the year 2031. Not only is the field growing, but financial managers, planners, analysts, and accountants are needed in every industry, allowing you to pursue finance in a way that means something to you. Salary potential is also very good for those with an online finance bachelor’s degree, with the potential to make over $130,000 per year as a financial manager. An added bonus is that the things you learn in your degree can also help you and those around you in your personal life.
What accreditation should my finance degree program have?
As with any college degree, you want to ensure that the institution offering your online finance degree is accredited. This means that they meet certain standards of quality that apply to the curriculum. These schoolwide accreditations are typically given through national or regional accrediting bodies. Taking it closer to home, your finance degree is probably offered through a business college, which means the best accreditation your finance degree could have is from the AACSB, the highest recognized business accreditation out there, both locally and internationally. Though not as prestigious, another business accreditation can be obtained through the ACBSP.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance?
A standard online finance bachelor’s degree requires the completion of 120 semester credits. An online finance degree follows this pattern; expect your degree to take around four years to complete. However, your timeline can change depending on your enrollment status (full- or part-time) and the number of previous credits you can transfer into your finance program, if any.
Job Market Outlook for Grads with a Finance Degree
Pursuing a career in finance has great salary potential, with lots of room for growth and diversification since finance is a part of every industry. No matter what job you choose, the growth for finance careers stretches from average (6%) to more than 20% (very high). Below we’ve listed five careers that showcase median salary ranges and job growth potential.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Personal Financial Advisor||$94,170||15%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics