Heading back to business school for an online doctorate in accounting degree can provide promotional powers for climbing the ranks into C-suite leadership, research, and faculty positions. Accounting doctorates train fiscal experts for the accurate analysis and reporting of monetary data for economic entities. Doctoral programs are challenging, non-compulsory endeavors that can give accountants a competitive edge with today's abundance of MBAs. The Economist reports that MBAs aren't special anymore because over 200,000 are awarded each year. Certified Public Accountants with PhD accounting online degrees may stand out from the multitude since only 2 percent of Americans hold doctorates. Savvy Ph.D shopping can let you follow doctoral-trained CEOs like James Goodnight, John Malone, and Bill Koch affordably.
Choosing the cheapest accounting doctorate online programs started with the GSH staff's research using the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator tool. We filtered out advanced degrees in accounting and checked the box for distance learning only. Our search returned 100+ MBA, master's, and doctorate options that we further narrowed using Google. We prioritize academic quality, so we required online colleges to hold business accreditations from the AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE for consideration. Next, we recorded the average graduate in-state tuition for the 2016-17 year and kept the most inexpensive. Below you'll peruse the 10 most affordable DBA and PhD in Accounting online degrees from highest to lowest price.
Ranking Low-cost Online Accounting PhD Programs
10. University of Dallas
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Average Graduate Tuition: $30,200 per year
Established by the Western Province of the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur in 1955, the University of Dallas is the youngest private, nonprofit Catholic ACCU member given a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Endowed for $58.82 million, UDallas teaches 1,045 post-grad Crusaders with an 11:1 student-faculty ratio at its 744-acre DFW Metroplex campus and online D2L classroom. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Dallas is the West's 13th best college and fourth top value. The University of Dallas also ranked 80th in Washington Monthly and 162nd on Forbes nationally.
Featured in CEO Magazine, Dallas' Doctor of Business Administration is conferred by the AACSB-accredited Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business with hybrid on-site and online education. Headed by Dr. Brett J.L. Landry, the 61-credit accounting doctorate online equips graduates with evidence-based strategic solutions to modern economic challenges. For three years full-time, DBA majors visit Irving monthly for globe-oriented online courses like enterprise sustainability and agile organizations. Before the dissertation, scholar-practitioners collaborate with executives from Kroger, Verizon, Southwest, Kimberly-Clark, and others during the doctoral colloquia.
9. Rutgers University
Newark, New Jersey
Ph.D in Management, Accounting
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,536 per year
Granted the CASE District II Gold Medal, Rutgers University is a public, space-grant RU/VH institution of the Association of American Universities that was founded in 1766 by the Dutch Reformed Church. Budgeting $4.4 billion yearly, Rutgers instructs 19,583 post-grad Scarlet Knights at Big Ten campuses from Newark to Camden and online. Ranked 39th by The Wall Street Journal, Rutgers University houses America's 50th best B-school and 167th best online graduate education on the U.S. News survey. Rutgers also landed 49th in Money Magazine and 27th on the CWUR nationally.
Known for its Rutgers Accounting Web, the AACSB-accredited Business School has awarded the Ph.D in Management with 10 concentrations, such as Accounting and Accounting Information Systems, since 1978. Post-master's students file $70 applications by February 1st annually. Chaired by Dr. Dan Palmon, the 72-credit Ph.D accounting online emphasizes analytical research in a hybrid format lasting four years full-time, including the dissertation. Residencies in Newark are minimized with online courses like microeconomic theory, auditing, stochastic calculus, and data mining on Canvas. Double majors for Statistics Ph.D or Psychology Ph.D degrees also exist.
8. Argosy University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,750 per year
Linked to 18,986 LinkedIn alumni, including George GascÃ³n and Roni Lynn Deutch, Argosy University is an affordable, nonprofit virtual learning hub founded by Michael Markovitz in 1976 and acquired by Dream Center Education Holdings, LLC in November 2017. Based in San Diego, Argosy delivers flexible, WASC-accredited education to more than 60,000 adults worldwide. Given 3.1/5 stars on GradReports.com, Argosy is ranked the 22nd most focused business school by College Factual. Argosy University also landed 330th for research expenditures in Washington Monthly.
Meeting National Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award criteria, Argosy's ACBSP-accredited Graduate School of Business & Management launched the Online Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting. Offering funds like the Student Success Grant, the 60-credit, post-master's program mandates 3.0 GPAs and 3+ years of experience. Directed by Dr. David DeHaven, the 50-month cheap online accounting doctorate sharpens students' ability to apply scholarly literature in private-sector leadership. Concentrated online courses like global finance and accounting control systems on MyArgosy culminate with an action research project. The Ed.D in Organizational Leadership also has two built-in accounting courses.
7. George Fox University
Doctor of Business Administration, Accounting Concentration
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,504 per year
Affiliated with the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, George Fox University is a nonprofit, conservative Quaker liberal arts academy founded in 1885 and endowed for $16.1 million. Enrollment has grown by 500 percent in the last four decades to educate 3,839 Bruins atop its 108-acre Portland Metro campus on Route 219 and online via Blackboard Learn. Included in The Princeton Review's "Best in the West," George Fox is ranked America's 66th best Christian and 183rd top accounting university on Niche. Forbes also positioned George Fox University 253rd among private institutions countrywide.
Open for admission until February 1st annually, George Fox's ACSBP-accredited School of Business provides the Doctor of Business Administration with Accounting, Management, or Marketing Concentrations primarily online. Coordinated by Dr. Jekabs Bikis, the 56-credit, Christ-centered degree involves three years of rigorous study before a one-year dissertation. Post-MBA cohorts from 15+ states meet in Newberg twice per year between courses from moral decision-making to monetary systems and tax accounting. Scholars network with Executives in Residence from Daimler, PGE, Kuni Enterprises, and more. Courses are selectively limited to 12 peers based on industry experiences, GMAT scores, and thesis samples.
6. Capella University
PhD in Business Management, Accounting Specialization
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,526 per year
Granted the 2009 WCET Outstanding Work Award and 2010 ISPI Chapters of Excellence Award, Capella University is a high-quality, for-profit online learning pioneer headquartered in Minneapolis near America's 10th biggest concentration of Fortune 500 jobs. Founded by Tonka CEO Stephen Shank in 1993, Capella has 1,488 faculty across six countries to teach over 37,600 learners. College Factual recognized Capella for the 163rd best-paid management graduates. Capella University also ranked 37th among small companies on Forbes and 11th for popular online education by TheBestSchools.org.
Capping tuition at $5,000 each quarter, Capella's Graduate School of Business & Technology renewed ACBSP accreditation in June 2015 for the Ph.D in Business Management and its five specializations, including Accounting. Chaired by Dr. Rhonda Capron, the Ph.D accounting online track accepts $50 applications from master's grads with "B" averages or better. The 90-unit, 48-month curriculum follows the GuidedPath for self-paced learning in accounting forensics, financial reporting, strategic planning, and more. Three Twin Cities residencies are integrated along with a comprehensive exam and dissertation seminar. There's a practice-based DBA in Accounting Online too.
5. Walden University
Online DBA in Accounting
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,844 per year
Renowned for attracting commencement speakers like President Bill Clinton and Soledad O'Brien, Walden University is a for-profit, online school operated by Laureate Education, Inc. since 2004. With a below-average cohort default rate of 6.8 percent, Walden gifts over $750 million in yearly financial aid to 52,600 scholars from its corporate headquarters in Forbes' 13th best city for careers. According to CPA Practice Advisor, Walden University lands within America's top 45 online accounting schools. Walden also ranked 85th for location diversity on College Factual and #1 for enrollment in Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Directed by Dr. Sandy L. Kolberg, Walden's ACBSP-accredited School of Management offers 16 tracks for the Doctor of Business Administration, including the Online DBA in Accounting. The 60-credit curriculum gives post-master's scholar-practitioners the managerial decision-making methods to strengthen financial results. Accepting up to 30 transfer credits, the online accounting doctorate takes as little as 24 months with eight days of residency in Minneapolis. Doctoral mentoring guides candidates through topics like fiscal leadership and data analysis on SPSS to the doctoral writing assessment. Those seeking dissertation research could finish the PhD in Management instead.
4. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Doctor of Business Administration
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,139 per year
Named an NSA Center of Academic Excellence, Colorado Technical University is a private, for-profit STEM-centric vocational institute owned by Career Education Corporation since 1995. Beyond its two Denver Metro campuses, CTU serves 25,797 nontraditional students online with 1,204 instructors and a 24 percent graduation rate. Chosen for the 2016 International E-Learning Award, Colorado Technical University is ranked 91st for online graduate business courses by The U.S. News & World Report. CTU made America's top 10 colleges for minorities in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and Military Times' "Best for Vets."
Online Intellipath courses begin bimonthly for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) housed in Colorado Tech's ACBSP-accredited Business & Management School. Coordinated by Dr. Michael E. Alexander, the 96-unit, post-master's curriculum takes only 36 months for accountants to deepen awareness of effective administration practices. Funds like the Corporate Alliances Grant help afford accounting electives like data analytics, financial reporting, and business intelligence. Students must attend one Doctoral Symposium in Colorado Springs to begin thought-provoking dissertation research with faculty advisors. The 2016 Eduventures Innovation Award-winning college also has a Doctor of Management in Executive Leadership or Higher Education Teaching.
3. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
DBA Accounting Concentration Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,630 per year
Graduating notable CEOs like Adolfo V. Henriques and Jeri Prophet, Saint Leo University is a private, nonprofit brick-and-mortar Catholic institution that's grown from its 1881 inception to grant 40+ online degrees. Honored with the 2014 HR Tampa Diversity Award, Saint Leo carries a $43.68 million endowment to enlighten 13,100 Lions from 80 countries in Pasco County and online. Selected for the Top 10 Gold Military-Friendly Medal, SLU is ranked 149th by the U.S. News & World Report for online graduate education. Saint Leo University also boasts America's 101st most popular accounting degree on College Factual.
Affiliated with the Florida Institute of CPAs, Saint Leo's IACBE-accredited Donald R. Tapia School of Business awards the Doctor of Business Administration online with 10 concentrations like Accounting and Data Analytics. Pursuing the accounting doctorate online requires week-long Tampa Bay residencies between eight-week online modules. Directed by Dr. Derrien Bonney, the 57-credit degree features courses from fraud examination to capital budgeting. Saint Leo's only doctorate will emphasize social responsibility, Christ-like leadership, and innovative entrepreneurship. Post-master's consulting practicum with partners like Ernst & Young, SK Financial, and Crowe Horwath accompanies the shortened dissertation.
2. Liberty University
Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,051 per year
Presented one of the Online Learning Consortium's 2016 Effective Practice Awards, Liberty University is a prominent private, nonprofit evangelical Christian NAICU member of the Big East that's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. Setting "Knowledge Aflame," Liberty trains over 100,000 scholars off its 16-college campus in Lynchburg via the School of Lifelong Learning (LUSLL). According to the U.S. News & World Report, Liberty confers the 92nd top online graduate business training. Liberty University also placed 176th for accounting education on Niche and 52nd for the best private value in Kiplinger's.
Hosting a Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society chapter, Liberty's ACBSP-accredited School of Business launched the Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting for 100 percent online learning with optional Lynchburg intensives. Chaired by Dr. Melanie Hicks, CPA, the 60-credit, post-master's program gives executives the in-depth financial analysis techniques for smart business policies. The first six semesters involve taking three online courses, including strategic thinking, tax jurisprudence, and auditing ethics, apiece. Next, Liberty faculty organize the DBA Colloquium to prepare dissertation research worthy of publish in journals like Accounting Horizons.
1. Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
Ph.D Program in Business with Accounting Concentration
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,467 per year
Designated Broward County's lead college by the State Legislature, Florida Atlantic University charges our ranking's lowest graduate tuition of $5,467 to 4,670 post-grad Owls from 140+ countries as a public, research-intensive Conference USA member. Based on the defunct Boca Raton Army Airfield, FAU is endowed for $275 million with an SREB Electronic Campus for online learning. Placed among Bloomberg BusinessWeek's "Best B-Schools 2015," Florida Atlantic University is ranked 32nd online by the U.S. News & World Report. FAU also stands as America's 106th most diverse and 108th biggest college on Niche.
Scheduling the Executive Form Speaker Series each Fall, Florida Atlantic's AACSB-accredited College of Business inspires the leaders of tomorrow with the Ph.D Program in Business and five concentrations, including Accounting. Chaired by Dr. George Young in Barry Kaye Hall, the four-year, full-time curriculum spans 78-90 credits with faculty mentors specialized in corporate finance, auditing, tax, information systems, and managerial accounting. Getting into the cheap online accounting Ph.D requires GPAs above 3.5 and GMAT scores over 600. Hybrid FAU courses include minimal Boca trips until the third-year exam and independent doctoral dissertation.
What Are the Benefits of Online Accounting PhD Programs?
Finishing the 150-hour requirement with an MBA or Master of Accountancy to pass the Certified Public Accountant exam is the most common route into this financial services sector. However, accounting online Ph.D programs help the select ambitious few push their academic limits. The AMA summarizes the top doctoral benefits as being professional growth, intellectual challenge, teaching practice, cutting-edge research, and wage raises. Getting a Ph.D accounting should always be difficult, but online universities are relieving some stress with 24/7 accessibility. Online doctoral classes offer the ability to work full-time, greater peer diversity, multimedia lessons, and faster faculty contact. Accounting Ph.D online degrees also shave off costs like lab fees, room and board, and transportation.
Which Careers Can Accounting Doctorate Online Graduates Pursue?
Where your online accounting doctorate takes you depends on your degree type. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees are primarily recognized in academia for data-driven, research training related to financial transactions. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degrees are equally challenging but take an applied, functional approach to opening executive pathways in private corporations. Doctoral grads also choose from various disciplines, such as forensics, taxation, environmental accounting, external auditing, compliance, and government. Here are some upper-level titles where accounting Ph.D online students could excel:
- Accounting Professor- Research published by The Atlantic showed that 53 percent of Ph.Ds intend to become university faculty. To inspire tomorrow's accountants, B-school professors are responsible for creating curriculum, giving lectures, assigning projects, grading papers, advising students, writing textbooks, heading research labs, and serving on departmental committees.
- Management Consultant- Earning an accounting online Ph.D could build your expertise and network for signing lucrative contracts to help organizations improve externally. Consultants would analyze ledgers, forecast revenue, determine operational profitability, check for GAAP and IFRS compliance, present strategic solutions to executives, and keep long-term progress reports.
- Chief Audit Executive- Combining your Ph.D accounting online with CIA certification could lead to oversight of publicly traded corporations' audit operations. CAEs are watchdogs who supervise compliance checks, direct auditing staff, inform executives or shareholders of risks, increase auditing efficiency, address fraud or theft evidence, improve governance processes, and leverage new auditing software.
- Chief Financial Officer- Senior management teams rely on master's- or doctoral-trained CFOs to oversee the company's finance and accounting divisions. Landing the field's highest-ranking position requires tracking fiscal activities, disclosing financial data, setting tax policies, implementing quality control, hiring and supervising staff, minimizing investment risks, and establishing corporate economic strategies.
How Much Can You Earn After an Accounting PhD Online Degree?
Salary potentials after cheap online accounting PhD study can more than double your tuition paid. The U.S. Census Bureau found that doctoral degree holders make $6,656 per month, or $86,528 annually, on average. Financial investing firms have the highest yearly earnings averaging $113,947. That's a significant raise from the mean annual wage of $76,730 for non-CPA accountants. Postsecondary accounting faculty bring home standard income of $96,770. According to Robert Half's 2017 Salary Guide, accounting directors at large corporations make $145,500 to $225,500 yearly. VP of finance jobs come with salaries from $250,000 to $406,000. The highest-paid CFOs like Anthony Noto and Patrick Pichette make $72.7 million and $43.75 million respectively.
Will Employers Need More PhD Accounting Online Graduates?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that opportunities in accounting will rise quickly by 10 percent for 140,300 new jobs and 1.538 million total employment by 2026. Demand is particularly high for online PhD accounting graduates to pursue academia since the average tenured professor is 60. The retirement boom will create added vacancies atop the 15 percent faculty hiring growth. Industry director-level titles like treasurer and controller will mushroom by 19 percent. Even the most competitive chief executive jobs are poised for 10-year increases of 8 percent. Make your financial talents more marketable within one of these online PhD in Accounting programs.