Requirements

There are five sets of requirements:

  1. Course work in economics, econometrics, and finance.
    1. Economics: Economics 502 (Microeconomic Theory) and any prerequisites enforced by the Economics Department. Prerequisites for Economics 502 may include Economics 500 (General Economic theory), Economics 501(Quantitative Analysis for Economics), and Economics 506 (Economic Statistics).
    2. Econometrics and Statistics: Economics 506 (Economic Statistics) or Mathematics 464 and Economics 507Economics 507 (Econometric Analysis) or Economics 547Economics 547 (Econometrics I).
    3. Quantitative methods: At least two doctoral level courses beyond the minimum course requirements in econometrics and statistics, with a minimum grade of B in each. It is recommended that these courses include at least one advanced econometrics course (such as Economics 508, Economics 576, or Economics 575) and Economics 590 (Continuous Time Methods in Economics and Finance) or Finance 514(Financial Engineering II). Alternatives must be approved by the Ph.D. program director.
    4. Finance: Finance 590 (Empirical Applications in Finance), Finance 591 (Theory of Financial Decision Making), Finance 594 (Seminar in Corporate Financial Theory), and Finance 593 (Seminar in Investments). Students who concentrate in the specialty areas of real estate or insurance must also take Finance 597 (Seminar in Real Estate Finance) or Finance 595 (Seminar in Insurance), respectively.
    5. Students who do not already hold a Master's degree or its equivalent prior to enrollment must also take additional finance courses to complete the requirements of the MS Finance degree. In practice this means that students without an MBA or MS Finance degree must take several MBA-level finance classes.
    6. During the third, fourth, and fifth years, students must take the 1/2 unit Research Seminar in Finance offered each Fall and Spring Semester.

    Ordinarily it takes two years to complete these course requirements. Students with excellent preparation (graduate study in finance, economics, or statistics at a comparable university) may be able to complete the course requirements in less than two years.

    At the end of each semester, the cumulative GPA in all graduate courses taken at UIUC must be at least 3.33. Students whose GPA's fall below 3.33 may be required to withdraw from the PhD program.

  2. Qualifying examination. The qualifying examination is offered in June of each year, and offered again in August for students who fail the exam offered in June. It must be taken by the end of June of the second year, and passed by the end of August. The exam covers the material in Finance 590(Empirical Applications in Finance), Finance 591 (Theory of Financial Decision Making), Finance 594 (Seminar in Corporate Financial Theory), and Finance 593 (Seminar in Investments). (Students with excellent preparation who complete the course requirements in less than two years may take the Qualifying examination in June following the first year.) During years in which Finance 596 (Seminar in Financial Intermediation) is offered the material from this course will also be covered on the qualifying examination. Students who concentrate in the specialty areas of real estate or insurance take qualifying examinations that also include material from Finance 597 (Seminar in Real Estate Finance) or Finance 595 (Seminar in Insurance), respectively.

    Students who fail the qualifying examination take it again in August. Students who fail twice will be required to withdraw from the program. If a student who fails twice has not previously satisfied the requirements of the M.S. Finance degree, the student may remain to complete that degree, but financial support will not be provided.

  3. Second Year Paper Students are required to write a first research paper (the "second-year paper"), which must be submitted by 15 October of the third year. This paper should have a single author, e.g. it should not be coauthored with the student's advisor. It is crucial that students begin this paper sometime during the second year or earlier. Students will present their research in the Research Seminar in Finance during the fall of the third year. Students who do not submit an acceptable second year paper will be required to withdraw from the program.

  4. Dissertation. 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. It is important that students begin dissertation research as soon as possible, but no later than immediately following passing the qualifying examination. Important milestones during the dissertation are the dissertation proposal, qualifying exam, and the final defense of the dissertation.

  5. Teaching All students must acquire some teaching experience. The minimum requirement is to be a teaching assistant for Finance 221 for two semesters. In practice, most students serve as Finance 221 TA's for two semesters, and a few do additional teaching. In order to be a Finance 221 TA students must first pass the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test, a standardized test of oral English proficiency offered by the University. UIUC gives students three chances to pass the SPEAK test. Students who are unable to pass the SPEAK test will be unable to complete their requirements for the PhD, and will be required to withdraw from the program.

 


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