Is a PhD in Finance Worth It?

May 31, 2020

The PhD in finance asks that you commit considerable time and expense in order to get your degree. For many people, the question is whether or not that investment is worth it. Following your program, you will hold the skills and knowledge necessary to educate others in finance, create the policies that guide companies, and analyze or innovate on existing financial policies.

The Value of a PhD in Finance

Depending on the type of school you attend and where, you may end up paying anywhere from $17,500 to about $110,000 per year for a PhD in an area of business. Considerations include whether you are attending full time, on-campus, and require room and board. Your program can take between a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 8 years to complete, and a fellowship can help offset some of your costs. However, if it's a teaching fellowship, it may occupy some of your time each year and lead to a longer stay in your program.

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Collegiate Teaching (Postsecondary Teacher, Economics) $104,370 8%
Financial Consulting (Personal Financial Advisor) $87,850 7%
Corporate Policymaking (Top Executive) $104,690 6%
Economist $105,020 8%
Investment Research (Financial Analyst) $85,660 6%

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Paths for Someone with a PhD in Finance

After you've completed your PhD in finance, you'll be prepared to enter many fields, from education to business. You may find that many of these career fields offer a high degree of job security and good pay, which could make an investment in a PhD worth your time and money.

Collegiate Teaching (Postsecondary Teacher, Economics)

Work as a postsecondary teacher requires that you deal with students on a regular basis, passing on your knowledge to a new generation. With your PhD in finance, you'll be equipped to teach students about the theories of global economics and finance, the ins and outs of financial modeling, and the tools that apply to the field. You will need to develop instructional plans, create student assignments, and continuously assess student progress.

Financial Consulting (Personal Financial Advisor)

A personal financial advisor provides individual advice about investments on a range of topics. Your PhD in finance will better prepare you to understand and discuss insurance, investments, college savings, taxes, and other areas of financial planning. You'll be required to meet individually with clients, explain various financial services in a way that's understandable, and recommend services that they might need.

Corporate Policymaking (Top Executive)

The top executives at companies have multiple responsibilities, one of which includes devising the financial policies that will guide their organizations. A PhD in finance will equip you to best formulate the financial policies that will help guide your organization. You will also need to engage in contract negotiations, manage staff, and direct budgetary activities.


Economists are responsible for studying how resources are produced and distributed. Your PhD in finance will give you the economic knowledge for understanding the core concepts of this field. You will need to research economic issues, collect data, create financial models, and present your research reports to stakeholders.

Investment Research (Financial Analyst)

Financial analysts are responsible for giving financial guidance to both businesses and individuals. Your PhD in finance will give you the understanding of the field to make appropriate investment recommendations. You will also need to evaluate financial trends, financial statements, and business data.

Your PhD in finance will give you an opportunity to work in high paying fields such as corporate policymaking and investment research. This will help pay off the additional costs of getting your degree.

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