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Finance Ph.D.


A well prepared student will have a good breadth of course work at the introductory MBA level; advanced undergraduate or MBA level finance course work including investments, financial management, and financial markets; strong quantitative skills including linear algebra, intermediate multivariable calculus, and mathematical statistics; and a solid underpinning in economics in preparation for graduate economics courses including at least one semester of intermediate microeconomics. Students without the required background will often require some pre-Ph.D. course work.

Students with a strong undergraduate degree in finance will normally require a year to obtain the necessary breadth and depth courses before enrolling in the finance Ph.D. program. Students are recommended to take ECON 721 and ECON 725 as part of the pre-Ph.D. course work.

Accepted students will be advised regarding specific course requirements to help ensure success in the doctoral program.

Course Descriptions

Note: PR means prerequisite, a course that must be taken first.

Economic Theory

ECON 701 - Advanced Micro Theory 1. 4 hr.
Theory of production and allocation, utility theory, theory of the firm, pricing in perfect and imperfect markets, models of firm's operations.

ECON 702 - Advanced Macro Theory 1. 3 hr.
Classical, Keynesian, and modern macroeconomic theories.

ECON 711 - Advanced Micro Theory 2. 4 hr.
Pre-Requisite: ECON 701 General equalibrium analysis, distribution theory, welfare economics.

Quantitative Methods/Econometrics

ECON 721 - Mathematical Economics. 3 hr.
PR: Departmental approval. Mathematical methods used in economics.

ECON 725 - Econometrics 1. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 721. Mathematical statistics, including probability, mathematical expectation, distributions, linear regression, ordinary least squares and simple extensions. Students will use a computer to analyze data.

ECON 726 - Econometrics 2. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 725. Econometric methods used by practicing economists. Includes simultaneous equations, asymptotic properties of estimators, and generalizations of and alternatives to least squares estimation. Also may include qualitative response, panel data, nonlinear, spatial, and time series models.

ECON 727 - Econometrics 3. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 726. Completes the graduate econometrics sequence. Topics may include computational methods and time series, spatial, nonlinear, qualitative response, and panel data models.


ECON/FIN 735 - Portfolio Theory. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 701. Issues concerning the choice of optimal portfolios. Topics include: decision making under risk; mean-variance portfolio choice; the utility specification and optimal portfolio choice; asset allocation over time.

ECON/FIN 736 - Asset Pricing. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 702, 735. Static and dynamic models of asset pricing. Focus on general factors as well as specific economic determinants of financial asset prices from a theoretical and empirical perspective.

ECON/FIN 739 - Seminar in Financial Economics. 3 hr.
PR: ECON 735, 736. Further topics in financial economics. Includes issues in corporate finance and the pricing of derivative assets.

FIN 737 - Corporate Finance. 3 hr 
This course provides a comprehensive examination of the foundational theories in corporate finance.  Topics will include: finance theory under certainty and uncertainty, utility theory, capital structure, issuance, dividend policy, corporate governance, M&A theory, and financial distress.

FIN 741 - Corporate Finance Seminar. 3 hr
This course acquaints students with theoretical and empirical research in corporate finance. Topics include capital structure, dividend policy, stockholder-manager and bondholder-stockholder agency conflicts, governance mechanisms, market for corporate control, bankruptcy and corporate restructuring.

FIN 742 - Investments Seminar. 3 hr
A comprehensive examination of the theoretical and empirical literature covering the foundational topics in investments. Topics include portfolio theory, performance evaluation, derivatives, market anomalies, investor behavior, and other pertinent developments in the investment area.

FIN 743 - Seminar: Special Topics in Finance. 3 hr
Examination of the theoretical and empirical research in important areas of finance not covered in other courses. Examples include financial institutions, international finance, behavioral finance and market microstructure.

Sample Plan of Study

Fall 1

  • ECON/FIN 735 - Portfolio Theory
  • ECON 701 - Advanced Microeconomic Theory I
  • ECON 721 - Mathematical Economics

Spring 1

  • ECON/FIN 736 - Asset Pricing
  • ECON 711 - Advanced Microeconomic Theory II
  • ECON 725 - Econometrics I

Summer 1

  • Student Research Paper - May be coauthored with guiding faculty, or solo authored (with approval of topic by guiding faculty member). Must be presented in Fall workshop.

Fall 2

  • FIN 741 - Corporate Finance Seminar
  • ECON 702 - Advanced Macroeconomic Theory I
  • ECON 726 - Econometrics II

Spring 2

  • FIN 741 - Investments Seminar
  • FIN 743 - Advanced Topics Seminar
  • ECON 727 - Econometrics III

Summer 2

  • Finance Comprehensive Examination - Scheduled during the summer months

Fall 3

  • FIN 797 - Dissertation Research
  • Second year research paper - Must be presented to faculty and doctoral students during the fall semester. Normally this work should be of publication quality.

Spring 3

  • Elective*
  • FIN 797 - Dissertation Research
  • April or May at the end of the third year: Defend dissertation proposal

Fall 4

  • FIN 797 - Dissertation Research
  • Job Market

Spring 4

  • FIN 797 - Dissertation Research

Electives include: Monetary Economics 1 and 2, International Finance, Game Theory, Macroeconomics 2, Advanced mathematics and statistics courses, Econometrics 4 (ARE 693L), and Dynamic methods (1 credit).