Program and Curriculum

The program and curriculum focus on the core areas of finance: investments, asset pricing, corporate finance, and financial intermediation. In addition, students may concentrate in the specialty areas of insurance or real estate.

Regardless of a student's area of interest, the program consists of four principal parts:

  • course work in economics, econometrics, and finance;
  • preliminary examination;
  • "second-year paper," due in October of the third year; and
  • dissertation research

Course Work

The course work typically requires two years, and consists of courses in economics, econometrics, and finance. Students interested in insurance or real estate also take courses in these areas. Depending upon their interests, some students take courses in other fields (e.g., mathematics). Students with excellent preparation (graduate work in finance, economics, or statistics at a comparable university) may be able to complete the course requirements in less than two years.

Preliminary Exam

Most students take the preliminary examination in June following the second year. (Students with excellent preparation who complete the course requirements in less than two years may take the preliminary examination in June following the first year.) The examination covers the core areas of investments, asset pricing, corporate finance, and financial intermediation. Students concentrating in insurance or real estate will take a preliminary examination that covers includes material on these fields but covers the core areas of finance in somewhat less depth.

Paper

Because beginning research early is a crucial step in the timely completion of a dissertation, students are expected to begin research during their second year in the program, and are encouraged to begin research even earlier. Students are expected to complete a first research paper (the "second-year paper") by 15 October of the third year, and present their work in a seminar during the fall of the third year.


 

Dissertation

The PhD dissertation almost always requires two or more years to complete. Typically the dissertation consists of three related essays, each of which should be of sufficient interest, scope, and quality to be a plausible submission to a serious academic journal. Important milestones during the dissertation are the dissertation proposal and the final defense of the dissertation.

An additional requirement is that all students must acquire some teaching experience. Most students acquire this teaching experience by working as a Teaching Assistant during the third year.

 


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