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Best online finance degrees 2021: Top picks

We ranked the best online finance degrees to help you find your ideal program in this highly applicable and in-demand field.

A finance degree equips graduates with the expertise and credentials to pursue positions including financial advisory, examiner, and analyst careers. 

The ever-increasing complexities of the financial world has created a demand that can only be satisfied by trained financial professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the addition of more than 750,000 business and financial occupations 2020-30. 

Here, we take a look at the best online finance degrees that could help meet the growing demand in the field.

The best online bachelor's in finance degrees

To provide the most relevant rankings for readers, we pull publicly available data from the most reputable sources. Read ZDnet's ranking methodology to find out what information we used to create the below ranking of the best online bachelor's in finance degrees. 

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: FIU's 120-credit online finance degree combines theoretical and practical training in financial engineering, corporate finance, and international finance. The degree also prepares graduates to solve complex financial problems using the latest technologies.

Acceptance rate: 65%

Graduation rate: 58%

Annual net price: $7,296

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 570-650

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Penn State World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

About the program: Penn State's online finance degree features 120 credits of training in fields such as capital management, personal finance, and financial analysis. The program prepares graduates for certified financial planner and chartered financial analyst certifications.

Acceptance rate: 76%

Graduation rate: 73%

Annual net price: $27,372

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: 540-640

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Penn State World Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, Texas

About the program: TAMUC's online finance degree includes 120 credits of studies in investment and portfolio management, capital management, and financial institutions. The training prepares graduates to earn industry certifications. 

Acceptance rate: 43%

Graduation rate: 55%

Annual net price: $13,017

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 480-580

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: Texas A&M University-Commerce is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin

About the program: UWW's 120-credit online finance degree covers corporate financial management, real estate, banking, and insurance. The program also includes a 20-hour community service practicum.

Acceptance rate: 79%

Graduation rate: 63%

Annual net price: $15,249

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin Whitewater is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. University of Minnesota Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

About the program: UMC's online finance degree features 120 credits of training in tax, insurance, investments, and corporate finance. Students also acquire technology and business analytics skills.

Acceptance rate: 68%

Graduation rate: 56%

Annual net price: $10,952

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Varies

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Minnesota Crookston is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

About the program: UMass Amherst's 120-credit online finance degree includes training in bank management, financial modeling, and advanced corporate finance. 

Acceptance rate: 64%

Graduation rate: 77%

Annual net price: $22,501

Years to degree: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 590-680

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Four

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Massachusetts Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

7. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama

About the program: UAB's online finance degree provides training in financial analysis, real estate investment, and portfolio management. The business school emphasizes leadership and innovation.

Acceptance rate: 74%

Graduation rate: 55%

Annual net price: $16,953

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 560-680

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8. SUNY Canton

Canton, New York

About the program: SUNY Canton's online finance degree features 121 credits of classroom and hands-on instruction, including training in global investments and managerial accounting.

Acceptance rate: 85%

Graduation rate: 47%

Annual net price: $13,864

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 460-550

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: SUNY Canton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

9. Louisiana State University in Shreveport

Shreveport, Louisiana

About the program: LSUS' 120-credit online finance degree has a financial analysis concentration and features courses in business finance, international finance, and investments.

Acceptance rate: 84%

Graduation rate: 35%

Annual net price: $8,952

Years to degree: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 493-583

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Louisiana State University in Shreveport is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

10. Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

About the program: MSU's online finance degree features tracks for financial planning and corporate and investment finance. The program prepares graduates for the chartered financial analyst certification exam.

Acceptance rate: 88%

Graduation rate: 57%

Annual net price: $16,725

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 520-620

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

11. University of Houston-Downtown

Houston, Texas

About the program: UHD's online finance degree includes courses in small business finance and treasury risk management. The program prepares graduates for the certified treasury professional, chartered financial planners, and chartered financial analysts certifications.

Acceptance rate: 89%

Graduation rate: 43%

Annual net price: $6,848

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 460-540

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Houston-Downtown is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

12. University of Houston-Clear Lake

Houston, Texas

About the program: UHCL's 120-credit online finance degree focuses on corporate investing, valuation, and budgeting. The program offers various practical opportunities, including internships.

Acceptance rate: 74%

Graduation rate: 70%

Annual net price: $10,612

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 510-600

Minimum GPA: Varies

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation:

The University of Houston-Clear Lake is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

13. Dickinson State University

Dickinson, North Dakota

About the program: DSU's 117-credit online finance degree combines training in mathematics, accounting, finance, and business. Courses include financial markets, international finance, and investments.

Acceptance rate: 100%

Graduation rate: 35%

Annual net price: $10,855

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 490-560

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Dickinson State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

14. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

About the program: SNHU's online finance degree features 120 credits of training in financial planning, forecasting, and decision-making. 

Acceptance rate: 88%

Graduation rate: 47%

Annual net price: $41,095

Years to degree: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

15. Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

About the program: ODU's 120-credit online finance degree features courses in financial decision-making, international financial management, and portfolio management. 

Acceptance rate: 89%

Graduation rate: 58%

Annual net price: $16,493

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: 500-600

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Old Dominion University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

16. Regis University

Denver, Colorado

About the program: Regis' 120-credit online finance degree provides training in financial analysis, forecasting, planning, and management. 

Acceptance rate: 71%

Graduation rate: 57%

Annual net price: $25,483

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 520-630

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

17. Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, New Jersey

About the program: TESU's online finance degree features 120 credits of training, focusing on investments, financial markets and institutions, and financial management. 

Acceptance rate: Not publicly available

Graduation rate: 46%

Annual net price: Not publicly available

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

18. Metropolitan State University

St. Paul, Minnesota

About the program: Metropolitan State's 120-credit online finance degree emphasizes training in investments, portfolio and asset management, financial analysis and decision-making. 

Acceptance rate: 56%

Graduation rate: 57%

Annual net price: $15,225

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Metropolitan State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, Oklahoma

About the program: ORU's 120-credit online finance degree offers courses in federal income tax accounting, capital markets, and principles of estate planning. 

Acceptance rate: 68%

Graduation rate: 46%

Annual net price: $22,248

Years to degree: 3.5 (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: 498-630

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Oral Roberts University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20. LeTourneau University

Longview, Texas

About the program: LETU's 120-credit online finance degree focuses on financial modeling and provides training in capital budgeting analysis, risk management and insurance, and value securities. 

Acceptance rate: 45%

Graduation rate: 56%

Annual net price: $23,196

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT Range: 550-650

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

21. Albertus Magnus College

New Haven, Connecticut

About the program: Albertus' online finance degree prepares graduates for the personal financial planning and corporate finance fields. The program features courses in business, accounting, and financial management.

Acceptance rate: 83%

Graduation rate: 65%

Annual net price: $26,015

Years to degree: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: 430-560

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Two

Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Albertus Magnus College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

22. University of Maryland Global Campus

Largo, Maryland

About the program: UMGC's online finance degree features 120 credits of theoretical and practical training in financial information analysis, security markets, and business decision-making. The program prepares graduates for the certified financial planner certification. 

Acceptance rate: Not publicly available

Graduation rate: 28%

Annual net price: $14,288

Years to degree: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Maryland Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

23. Columbia College

Columbia, Missouri

About the program: CC's online finance degree provides 120 credits of training in individual, small business, and corporate finance. Students also learn about the markets and investments. 

Acceptance rate: Not publicly available

Graduation rate: 32%

Annual net price: $26,730

Years to degree: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Columbia College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

24. Davenport University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

About the program: DU's 120-credit online finance degree includes courses in data analysis, budgeting, and international business and controls. A financial planning specialty is available.

Acceptance rate: 82%

Graduation rate: 27%

Annual net price: $16,098

Years to degree: Four (part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Six

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

25. National University

San Diego, California

About the program: NU's online financial management degree includes training in tax laws and regulations, corporate finance, and financial decision-making. 

Acceptance rate: 89%

Graduation rate: 34%

Annual net price: Not publicly available

Years to degree: Three to four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT Range: 370-600

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: National University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

Insights from a finance graduate

Lea Landaverde, a Latina with bobbed hair wearing an all-black outfit, poses on a pedestrian bridge.

Lea Landaverde is a first-generation, queer Latina.  She received her bachelor's degree in finance from Dixie State University. She is the founder of The Riqueza Collective, a wealth coaching business; podcast host of Mi Riqueza Podcast; and a financial literacy professor for incarcerated youth. 

Lea has six-plus years of experience in the financial industry, including wealth management, investment banking, and financial literacy education. Her mission is to break generational money curses for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ through finding building wealth. Lea is also an advocate for mental health, immigrants, and BIPOC and LGBTQ+ rights.

ZDNet: What's a typical day for you, working in finance?

Lea Landaverde: I coach clients to create relationships with money. Together, we implement healing mechanisms for their money mindsets, create budgets, identify spending habits, and create saving plans and debt strategies. However, when I'm not working with clients, I'm creating content for them through social media platforms with either collaborations or independent content. Additionally, I'm a professor who teaches basic personal finance topics like budgeting, career planning, and college planning.

I use a lot of concepts of personal finance and investing theory. I also use my corporate finance knowledge from school, especially when working on my own financial reporting with my business. 

I am an entrepreneur, so I make my schedule. I like to keep it 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or I split my days 9 a.m. to noon and noon to 5 p.m., depending on how busy I am. 

ZDNet: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

LL: The most rewarding aspect of my career is that finance has so many aspects it touches on. I've been in wealth management through retirement planning and investment banking through client onboarding. I've gotten to work on building tech for the firm. Especially now, I get to work in education with coaching and teaching, and I've fallen in love with it. Find your niche that you enjoy!

The most challenging aspect of my career is that the industry is made to be intimidating, which then pushes out minorities and women. The percentage of women and people of color in finance is small, but the more of us that enter, the more we challenge this system and fear of finance.

ZDNet: What misconceptions do people have about majoring in finance, and what would you tell them? 

LL: Many people think there is just one sector of finance and that it has to do with investing, but that's not the case. There are various sub-industries in finance, such as corporate finance, financial services, financial coaching, investment banking, financial operations, financial tech, wealth management, and many others. 

ZDNet: What was the most challenging course you took as a finance major? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

LL: The most challenging course I took was investing, especially when we got into the theory of returns on investments. A lot of statistics ends up being involved with portfolio returns and individual stock returns. My advice would be:

  • Decimals matter in formulas.

  • The theory can be intimidating, but the application of it in one's life or in a job doesn't always get that technical, unless if you're a financial engineer or in quantitative analysis.

  • Most importantly, take time to study it. Don't rush the concept.

What to expect in an online bachelor's in finance degree program

Though bachelor's in finance programs vary by specialization and teaching methods,most feature training in taxation, investments, and financial decision-making. 

Completing an online finance degree requires independent work, though classroom collaborations, practical assignments, and internships may still play a significant role. Online learners need to be self-motivated, proactive, and detail oriented. 

Finance degrees often combine theoretical and practical training, along with traditional instruction, group projects, presentations, and exams. 

In addition to electives, which allow learners to customize their training, many programs offer specialization paths such as international finance, financial management, and capital markets. 

Finance courses

The following list highlights common courses found in finance degrees at the bachelor's level.

Financial accounting

This course covers basic operations and processes involved in the typical accounting cycle. Students learn about financial statements, transactions, and general financial and accounting concepts.

Income taxes

In this course, students learn tax policies for individuals and organizations. They master preparing tax returns, analyzing taxes, and making adjustments.

Financial planning principles

This course teaches how to help individuals and organizations arrange their finances and plan for the future. The training delves into savings and investment strategies, asset management, and taxation.

Investments

In this course, learners look at investment strategies for individuals and corporations. The training examines portfolio management, diversification, security trading, and international investments.

Finance degree levels

Prospective students should set their sights on the degree that best fits their goals.

Below, we provide details on various finance degree levels, highlighting what they offer and where they might lead.

Associate in finance

Length: Two years

Cost: $11,389 per year

Post-grad careers: Claims adjuster, accounting clerk, and insurance sales agent

An associate finance degree usually covers the field's fundamentals, preparing graduates for entry-level careers and further education. Students learn how to complete many basic financial duties within an organization and how to use finances to improve businesses' operations and decision-making. 

Associate degrees often emphasize business foundations and general education, widely applicable training that can provide transfer credits if needed. 

Bachelor's in finance

Length: Four years

Cost: $28,123 per year

Post-grad careers: Accountant, financial examiner, and financial manager

A finance bachelor's degree prepares graduates for many entry-level business and financial occupations. The training at this level often explores business fundamentals so learners can apply their financial expertise to business operations.

In addition to traditional instruction, these programs typically feature practical components, such as internships and simulations. Many bachelor's programs also offer specialization options, allowing learners to channel their training toward a certain field or career. 

Master's in finance

Length: Two years

Cost: $19,792 per year

Post-grad careers: Budget analyst, financial analyst, and management analyst

A finance degree at the master's level delves into advanced financial theory, financial reporting, mathematics, and analysis. Students learn to support businesses through investing, financial decision-making, and different forms of analysis. 

A finance master's usually incorporates research and practical components. Learners can typically choose a specialization. Graduates can pursue leadership positions, certifications, or further training.

Doctorate in finance

Length: 4-6 years

Cost: $19,792 per year

Post-grad careers: Postsecondary teacher, top executive, and compensation and benefits manager

A doctoral finance degree focuses on theoretical and empirical research. Students search for new theories, approaches, and practical applications. Graduates can pursue teaching or research positions in academia, and leadership positions in business and regulatory environments. 

Ph.D. students usually concentrate their efforts and research on a specialization.

In conclusion

A finance degree offers flexibility in curricula, teaching methods, specializations, and career paths. 

Graduates can pursue professions in business, healthcare, or the government. Their knowledge can improve decisions, operations, and financial outcomes.