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2023 Best Online Bachelor's in Finance Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 5/29/2023
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Finance Badge

An online bachelor's degree in finance is versatile, preparing graduates for a diverse range of career opportunities. Some of the many possibilities include financial analyst, personal financial planner, loan officer, and securities, commodities, and financial services salesperson. A bachelor's degree also provides a firm foundation for a master's degree in finance, which may be required for some occupations.

Some of the important learning outcomes of online bachelor's programs in finance include knowing how to evaluate data found in financial statements and other documents, use technological tools to study investments and manage portfolios, and make smart business decisions. Above all, students discover how real-world legal and economic influences impact monetary systems. 

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2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Finance Badge
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Online Finance Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Bachelor's in Finance Degrees

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 University of Minnesota - Online 93 93 $62,103
# 2 #2 Pennsylvania State University 91 $61,200
# 3 #3 Rutgers University - Camden 90 $60,547
# 4 #4 University of Maryland Global Campus 83 $57,557
# 5 #5 Southern New Hampshire University Online 76 $55,580
# 6 #6 University of Utah 75 $55,325
# 7 #7 Utah State University 72 $54,241
# 8 #8 Northeastern University Global Network 65 $52,540
# 9 #9 University of Cincinnati 63 $52,015
# 10 #10 Brigham Young University - Idaho 62 $51,955

#1 University of Minnesota - Online

  • Salary Score: 93
  • Median Starting Salary: $62,103
  • Locations: Minneapolis (MN) (and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Minnesota Online (UMN), which is a public institution, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. Some students complete the required 120 credit hours in four years, while others may need five to six years to earn their degree.

UMN students use the Canvas platform to access course materials, complete homework assignments, and interact with peers and instructors. In addition to classes in management, marketing, business communications, and accounting, students enrolled in this program take courses such as Managerial Finance, Corporate Finance, Financial Modeling and Valuation, and Investments. To graduate, students must also complete an internship.

#2 Pennsylvania State University

  • Salary Score: 91
  • Median Starting Salary: $61,200
  • Locations: State College (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Students considering a finance degree from Pennsylvania State University have two online options: a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance or a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in financial services. Both programs require 120 credit hours, which some full-time students accomplish in four years.

At Penn State, students access their online courses through the Canvas learning system. The BS in business program gives students a broad foundation in all aspects of business with additional emphasis on wealth management, risk management, estate planning, portfolio analysis, and personal financial and retirement planning. The BS in finance is more tightly focused and designed to help students prepare for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination.

#3 Rutgers University - Camden

  • Salary Score: 90
  • Median Starting Salary: $60,547
  • Locations: Camden (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Through the Rutgers University - Camden campus, students can earn an online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in corporate finance. Many students complete the 120-credit hour program in four to five years. Rutgers, a public university, has a 67% acceptance rate and a 68% graduation rate.

Using the Canvas learning management system, corporate finance students take a range of common business courses as well as Short Term-Financial Management, Multinational Finance, and Business Valuation. Graduation also requires the completion of a capstone course in business policy. Enrollees who want to gain a global perspective on business and finance may want to participate in Rutgers' Learning Abroad program.

#4 University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Salary Score: 83
  • Median Starting Salary: $57,557
  • Locations: Adelphi (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), which is a public university, offers exclusively online degree programs, including an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. The program requires 120 credit hours, and many students complete this degree in four to five years. This school accepts nearly all applicants and has a graduation rate of 28%.

UMGC uses the LEO learning platform to deliver its online courses. Finance majors take a mix of general business courses, such as management, economics, and accounting, with in-depth courses on financial analysis, money and banking, and more. Students who are interested in earning Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification can also opt for a course of study that prepares them to sit for the CFP exam.

#5 Southern New Hampshire University Online

  • Salary Score: 76
  • Median Starting Salary: $55,580
  • Locations: Manchester (NH)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a private, nonprofit institution, prospective students can select from an online Bachelor of Science in Economics/Finance, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Finance, Bachelor of Science in Accounting Finance, or Bachelor of Science in Finance with an optional concentration in financial planning. All programs require 120 credit hours and are designed to be completed in four to five years.

Naturally, there is a great deal of variation in the curricula for these programs, but all combine general business courses with finance classes covering topics such as financial management, valuation, investments, and risk management. Finance majors who are already considering a master's degree may be interested in SNHU's accelerated BS-to-MS pathway.

#6 University of Utah

  • Salary Score: 75
  • Median Starting Salary: $55,325
  • Locations: Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The University of Utah is a state-run institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning and Counseling. The program is designed to train graduates to work as personal financial planners for individuals and families. The curriculum is a diverse mix of human development, public policy, human services management, and financial courses. Enrollees have the option of selecting courses that will help them qualify to become Certified Financial Planners.

The university has a 95% acceptance rate and a 67% graduation rate. Online learners can take advantage of an array of support services, such as academic advising, career coaching, writing assistance, and counseling.

#7 Utah State University

  • Salary Score: 72
  • Median Starting Salary: $54,241
  • Locations: Logan (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

At the public Utah State University, students have two options for studying finance online. One choice is the Bachelor of Arts in Economics with an emphasis in financial economics. The curriculum allows students to explore all aspects of corporate finance and investments while also developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students may also choose the online Bachelor of Science in Management with an emphasis in wealth management. This program is also focused on developing technical financial management knowledge along with soft skills, such as analytical thinking and problem solving.

Utah State students use Canvas to work through their online courses. They also have access to academic advisors and career counselors.

#8 Northeastern University Global Network

  • Salary Score: 65
  • Median Starting Salary: $52,540
  • Locations: Boston (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Northeastern University is a private, non-profit school that offers a broad range of online degrees through its Global Network. One of these options is an online Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting Management, which requires the completion of at least 120 credit hours. After studying the broader context of business and economics, enrollees focus on financial management, accounting, and the use of financial data in corporate decision-making. Undergraduates in this program are encouraged to gain real-world experience while still in school through internships and co-ops.

Northeastern is a highly competitive school, accepting only 18% of applicants. The school provides academic and career advisors for online learners.

#9 University of Cincinnati

  • Salary Score: 63
  • Median Starting Salary: $52,015
  • Locations: Cincinnati (OH) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

At the University of Cincinnati (UC), a public institution, students may enroll in an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. Core courses cover essential business topics such as management, accounting, economics, and business analytics. Through their choice of electives, students can then tailor the program to align with their career interests, whether that's corporate finance, commercial banking, personal financial advising, or investment management.

UC students use the Canvas learning management system to view lectures and readings, submit homework, and engage with classmates and instructors. They also have access to academic advising, library resources, and technical support.

#10 Brigham Young University - Idaho

  • Salary Score: 62
  • Median Starting Salary: $51,955
  • Locations: Rexburg (ID)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Brigham Young University (BYU) - Idaho is a private, non-profit institution affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The school offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Finance, which includes core courses such as Business Fundamentals, Spreadsheet Analysis, and Financial Accounting. The program is designed to prepare graduates for occupations in finance, including financial planner, financial analyst, and investment advisor.

BYU delivers its online courses through Canvas. Online learners use this system to access course materials and participate in group learning activities. The school has an acceptance rate of 97% and a graduation rate of 50%.

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Overview of Online Finance

Finance students have the option of earning degrees at every level through online programs. The associate degree curriculum introduces students to key topics in the field, such as financial institutions, financial statement analysis, global economic trends, and investments. Bachelor’s programs offer students a broader, more well-rounded education with additional general education and business core courses. Finance major courses may include analysis for financial management, ethics, financial markets and institutions, and investments and portfolio management. Bachelor’s programs usually include a capstone course, which requires enrollees to complete a business project.

Online graduate degrees in finance are designed for those who want to expand upon their undergraduate knowledge base. The core of the finance master's program includes courses in advanced business and finance areas, such as financial accounting, econometrics, and financial modeling. The curriculum of doctoral programs integrates theory, research, and students’ personal reflection with practice. Doctoral students are also required to take a comprehensive exam, conduct an original research project, and write a dissertation.

Is a Finance Degree Better Than an Accounting Degree?

Both finance and accounting are math-heavy programs that involve a great deal of analytical thinking, which some students may find challenging. However, these majors are well suited to those who are detail-oriented and enjoy working with numbers. Accounting focuses on documenting, tracking, and interpreting financial data primarily for business organizations, where finance is focused on the management, growth, and protection of money for individuals and organizations. Finance may be the more versatile of the two, as a degree in finance prepares students for a broad range of occupations in many types of work environments.

Interested in learning about similar degree programs? View OnlineU's lists of the best online bachelor's in accounting, best online bachelor's in business management, and accredited online bachelor's in economics programs.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Finance

A bachelor’s degree in finance combines a core of business classes with the financial expertise to develop financial reports, analyze financial data, and effectively invest an individual's or organization’s capital. Some finance programs include courses from the arts and humanities for a Bachelor of Arts degree, while others focus on building industry-specific skills, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. There are also some schools that offer a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance.

A bachelor’s degree in finance combines a core of business classes with the financial expertise to develop financial reports, analyze financial data, and effectively invest an individual's or organization’s capital.

Like most bachelor's degrees, a finance degree typically requires the completion of 120 credit hours of coursework. Most students need approximately four years to complete graduation requirements. However, students who have already taken some college classes may be able to graduate in less time, and those who've earned associate degrees may earn a bachelor's degree in as little as two years. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent to be considered, and they may be required to have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and high scores on the ACT or SAT. Tuition rates for online finance programs vary, but some schools offer in-state resident tuition to online students.

Online Bachelor's in Finance Courses

Although finance programs include a number of specialized courses on finance, they often begin by introducing students to the fundamental concepts of business. Among the core business courses typically included in an online finance program are Principles of Management, Accounting, Business Law, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Business Information Systems, and Introduction to Corporate Finance. Students then proceed to take core courses in finance, which may include the following.

  • International Finance: Especially useful for students headed toward careers in international business, this course explores some of the common characteristics and financial uncertainty involved in global finance. Key concepts include fixed versus floating exchange rates, currency swaps, currency derivatives, international tax management, diversification, and emerging equity markets.
  • Investments: Some finance majors may decide to become financial planners, and this course helps prepare students for a career in managing investments. Students learn various methods, techniques, and strategies for developing and maintaining financial portfolios that meet specific investment goals. Additional topics include mutual funds, retirement savings, and commodities.
  • Money and Banking: In this course, students explore the role of banking and other financial institutions in the economy. Some of the many topics covered include money markets, interest rates, capital markets, the Federal Reserve system, bank management, foreign exchange markets, and monetary theory and policy. Coursework may also explain the causes and outcomes of recent financial crises.
  • Risk Management and Insurance: All business organizations face some degree of financial risk, so this course teaches students common methods of risk assessment and strategies for minimizing an organization's exposure. Coursework also covers the need for insurance — one of the primary tools used in managing risk — and details various types of insurance, such as life, property, medical, and liability insurance.
  • Advanced Corporate Finance: While introductory Corporate Finance courses typically provide a broad overview for all business students, this advanced course expands on many key topics such as valuation, cost of capital, capital management, equity and debt financing, and option pricing theory and applications. Coursework challenges students to think like financial executives when making strategic decisions. This course may be considered a capstone course in some programs.

Accreditation for Finance Degrees

When researching programs, it's important for prospective students to look for accredited online finance programs. Accreditation is a designation granted to institutions of higher education that meet high standards with regard to their curricula, faculty members, student resources, and research capabilities. Institutional accreditation means that the entire school has been accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency, and programmatic accreditation means that one particular program within the school has been approved. Finance degree programs are often accredited by one of two agencies that specialize in business programs: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.

Accreditation helps reassure students that they're receiving a high-quality education and that their online finance degree will be valued by future employers. Attending an accredited school is also necessary for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid or graduate school. To confirm a school's accreditation status, students can check the U.S. Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation databases.

Attending an accredited school is also necessary for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid or graduate school.

Is an Online Finance Degree Worth It?

In the finance industry, a bachelor's degree in finance or business is a requirement for most entry-level positions. Yet, it's not unusual for prospective students to wonder whether earning a degree will be worth the investment of money, time, and effort. Most students have personal circumstances that need to be factored into their decision, such as career goals, responsibilities, and financial resources. Individuals who are trying to decide if they should pursue an online finance degree may want to consider some of the following pros and cons:

Potential Advantages

  • The study of finance develops a broad base of skills. Finance programs typically require students to take courses from several different business disciplines. In the process, they learn such skills as how to prepare financial documents and how to use common business software programs. These courses also provide opportunities to enhance "soft" skills, including analysis, problem solving, and strategic thinking.
  • A finance degree can lead to a wide range of occupations. The financial expertise and business acumen students gain while earning their degrees helps prepare them for many different career paths. Some graduates may prefer to work with individuals and families as advisors or bankers, while others may want to manage the finances of business organizations. Additionally, the well-rounded education in business that comes with a finance degree allows alumni to branch out into far more business-related careers, even venturing into entrepreneurship.
  • Distance learning means having more education options. By including online finance programs in the mix of possibilities, prospective students can select the best finance program to fit their career aspirations and budget without having to relocate.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Finance professionals often work in stressful environments. Many finance occupations require employees to put in long days with the possibility of evenings and weekends devoted to work. Additionally, the work can be intellectually and emotionally taxing because professionals are managing large amounts of money for other people.
  • The distance learning environment makes it more difficult to network. Because online students don't typically connect with peers and professors in person, they may have to put more effort into establishing relationships, primarily through discussion boards and email.

What Can You Do With an Online Bachelor's in Finance Degree?

A career in finance may be an excellent choice for those interested in wealth management and growth, whether it's for individuals or business organizations. Bachelor's in finance graduates earn $73,000 a year on average, but many finance professionals earn higher wages. For example, personal financial advisors and financial analysts have median annual salaries over $80,000, while financial managers are among the highest paid, earning annual wages well over $100,000. The following list includes some entry-level careers open to finance majors, as well as potential paths for growth in the field.

Loan Officers
Median Annual Salary: $63,960
Loan officers typically work in commercial banks and other types of financial institutions. They are responsible for evaluating and approving or denying loan applications, a process that is carefully governed by policies and regulations. The BLS notes that the median annual salary for loan officers is $63,960, and about 25,000 new openings are projected to emerge each year through 2030.
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Median Annual Salary: $64,770
The people who buy and sell — or advise others to buy and sell — various types of investments and services are securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. These sales agents face a great deal of stress because they are often handling large amounts of money on tight deadlines in an environment that is constantly changing. The median annual salary for financial services sales agents is $64,770, and the BLS projects that 42,500 new jobs will emerge annually for the next several years. A graduate degree in business may be needed to advance in this occupation.
Personal Financial Advisors
Median Annual Salary: $89,330
Personal financial advisors work with individuals and families to help them meet their financial goals, such as paying off a mortgage, providing college tuition for children, or saving money for retirement. Advisors make recommendations regarding individual investments as well as overall portfolios of investments. The median annual salary for personal financial advisors is $89,330, and 21,500 new openings are projected to emerge annually from 2020 to 2030.
Financial Analysts
Median Annual Salary: $83,660
There are several specializations within the field of financial analysis, but in general financial analysts help businesses and individuals manage their investments in order to make a profit. For example, after determining an organization's time frame, investment goals, and risk tolerance, a financial analyst recommends the investment vehicles that should generate appropriate returns. Per the BLS, financial analysts earn a median annual salary of $83,660, and 41,000 new openings are expected to emerge each year through 2030.
Financial Managers
Median Annual Salary: $134,180
Financial managers make sure that the funds in an organization are managed appropriately and strategically. They create financial reports, direct funds to different projects, oversee the flow of cash, and purchase appropriate insurance. Financial managers, who typically have at least five years of prior experience before obtaining these positions, earn a median annual salary of $134,180. This is a high-growth occupation with 64,200 new openings projected to emerge each year between 2020 and 2030.

Certifications for Finance Professionals

Finance professionals may decide to pursue some form of certification, depending on their chosen occupation. In many cases certification is optional, but it may make job candidates more attractive because it demonstrates expertise and a commitment to professional growth. The following are just some of the more common certifications in the finance industry.

Chartered Financial Analyst

The CFA program, sponsored by the CFA Institute, is a certification for investment professionals. The certification assures that its holders are adept in concepts of portfolio management, wealth planning, and financial analysis. To earn CFA certification, candidates must pass a three-part exam, and test preparation tools are available.

Certified Financial Planner

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner — which is not necessarily required but is often preferred — is a rigorous process that can take up to two years to complete. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, candidates must accumulate many hours of professional experience before passing the CFP exam, sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Chartered Financial Consultant

Another possible credential for financial planners is the Chartered Financial Consultant, sponsored by the American College of Financial Services. Candidates for the ChFC must have a bachelor's degree, complete eight additional courses, and have accumulated three years of full-time work experience before sitting for the exam.

Financial Risk Manager

The Financial Risk Manager certification is not required, but this designation may help candidates stand out to many of the top banks and financial institutions. The Global Association of Risk Professionals monitors the exam and provides test-preparation study tools.

Mortgage Loan Originator

Those who aspire to become mortgage loan originators are required to obtain state licensure and pass the SAFE MLO test, monitored by the National Mortgage Licensing Service. Licensing requirements vary by state. Candidates must complete 20 hours of licensing courses before taking the exam.

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