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PhD in Finance

Program Overview

The PhD in Business Administration with a focus in Finance prepares students for careers in research and teaching in academic or government research institutions. The program provides a strong foundation in financial and economic theory and the methodological skills needed to execute research projects. Graduates come to understand the fundamental concepts of finance, the workings of financial markets and financial intermediaries, and corporate financial decision-making. Faculty members work closely with PhD students and provide a stimulating intellectual environment that fosters collaboration. Graduates are placed at major research and teaching universities in the U.S. and overseas as well as in finance positions in private and public sector organizations.

  • Faculty Reputation: Terry’s Finance Department’s research publication record in the leading finance journals ranks in the top 20 of finance departments at public universities. Faculty members have received best paper awards from leading academic journals and conferences and have been invited to be keynote speakers at major conferences.
  • Collaborative Research Environment: Faculty members frequently co-author with current and former PhD students. Those articles were published in journals such as the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Financial Management, and the American Business Law Journal.
  • Research Topics: Corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, financial institutions, impact of asymmetric information on corporate finance, default risk, causes of major market movements, the impact of analysts’ guidance, and firms’ investments in workers’ health.


The program is highly quantitative, and entering PhD students should have strong quantitative aptitude. Academic preparation in economics, engineering, mathematics, or statistics is helpful. Students not having sufficient background in integral and differential calculus or linear algebra are encouraged to enroll in review courses before arriving on campus.

Typical Course Sequence

  • Fall
  • ECON 8000 Mathematical Analysis for Economists
  • ECON 8010 Microeconomic Theory I
  • ACCT 9120 Capital Markets Research I
  • FINA 9200 Theory of Finance
  • Elective(s) [1]
  • Spring
  • ECON 8080 Intro to Econometrics
  • FINA 9110 Seminar in Investments‪[2]
  • FINA 9120 Seminar in Corporate Finance[2]
  • ECON 8020 Microeconomic Theory II
  • Elective(s) [1]
  • Summer
  • Written qualifying exams[3]
  • FINA 9130 Financial Research Methodology
  • FINA 8990 Directed Study in Finance (Survey paper)
  • Fall 
  • FINA 9300 Doctoral Dissertation
  • FINA/ECON/ACCT Electives [1]

1. ^ a b c d e The graduate coordinator must approve all electives and/or course substitutions.
2. ^ a b c d e Some PhD seminars may not be offered every year. Thus, you will take some in your first year and some in your second year, not necessarily in the order listed in this sample plan of study.
3. ^ All finance PhD students are required to pass two qualifying exams after their first year (typically offered in late May or early June). One is the Finance Qualifying exam, the content of which is determined by the graduate coordinator in consultation with the finance faculty — coverage includes all MBA-level finance as well as students’ first-year coursework. The other is the Microeconomics Preliminary exam, which is administered by the Economics Department. One re-take may be allowed, and is offered approximately two months after student made the first attempt (typically August). Failure of either exam means dismissal from the program.
4. ^ a b ECON 8110, 8120, and 8130 are offered in sequential semesters, but can be taken in any order once ECON 8080 is completed.
5. ^ Preliminary (comprehensive) exams broadly cover corporate finance and investments. One re-take may be permitted; failure means dismissal from the program. The graduate coordinator and the written examination committee, with consultation from most finance faculty members, as well as faculty from other departments, write and evaluate the preliminary examinations.



Recent finance PhD graduates are in tenure-track positions at research institutions such as Creighton University, Miami University, Iowa State University, the University of Denver, the University of Kansas, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee, Washington State University, Baylor University and Villanova University.


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