Get Your PhD in Finance


Olin’s PhD in Finance emphasizes rigorous analytical training and prepares you to pursue a career in research and teaching at leading academic institutions across the globe.

As a PhD student in Finance, you will train alongside some of the most respected and accomplished academics in the world. Students in this program have strong quantitative backgrounds and analytical abilities, typically with undergraduate training in economics, mathematics, engineering or another quantitative discipline as well as high GMAT/GRE scores.

Finance research is mostly based on economic models, which are used to address problems such as the allocation of capital, risk and rewards in the economy. Empirical work widely uses the tools of econometrics—the application of statistics to economics. Mathematical tools are extremely important in finance, helping to solve sophisticated models that reflect, as closely as possible, the important features of the market.

You have the unique opportunity to benefit from and engage in corporate collaborations with partners such as Equifax and Alibaba. These collaborations have resulted in unique access to robust datasets and have already yielded several dynamic working papers.

Faculty


Our research-active faculty members are easily accessible to you. Collaboration is encouraged early in the program, with faculty/student joint research resulting in co-authored papers published in important journals.

Our finance faculty members are active and renowned researchers dedicated to advancing the understanding of financial economics. Their research interests encompass many areas of finance, both empirical and theoretical topics, including banking and financial intermediation, corporate finance, corporate control and capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, asset pricing models, investments and portfolio allocation models, and market microstructure.

Research papers by faculty members have recently been published in well-respected journals such as:

  • Journal of Finance
  • Journal of Financial Economics
  • Review of Financial Studies
  • Econometrica
  • Management Science
  • Journal of Financial Intermediation
  • Harvard Business Review

Collaborative research by faculty and PhD students

As part of the program, you have access to the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA-CFAR). In addition to organizing a number of conferences that bring cutting-edge researchers to Olin, WFA-CFAR also funds data acquisition and student travel.

PhD in Finance Curriculum


  • Prework

    Prior to the first year, we require mandatory attendance at math camp (offered through the Economics department).

  • First Year

    Required Courses

    • MEC 610 Microeconomics I (3 credits)
    • MEC 611 Microeconomics II (3 credits)
    • L11 511 Quantitative Methods I (3 credits)
    • L11 5161 Applied Econometrics (3 credits)
    • B52 620 Empirical Methods in Finance (if available first year; if not, required in the second year)
    • B52 652 Introduction to Asset Pricing
    • B52 655 Introduction to Corporate Finance

    Prerequisites for FIN 642

    • B62 538 Stochastic Foundations for Finance
    • B62 539 Mathematical Finance

    Olin PhD Finance courses – you will take one of the following groups of courses:

    • B52 FIN 643 Info Econ & Corp Finance Theory (3 credits) – Prof. Anjan Thakor
    • B52 FIN 642 Advanced Continuous Finance (1.5 credits) – Prof. Phil Dybvig (Pre requisite: B62 539 Mathematical Finance and B62 538 Stochastic Foundations for Finance)
    • B52 651 Topics in Finance (1.5 credits)
    • B52 654 Empirical Methods in Asset Pricing (1.5 credits) – Prof. Asaf Manela

    Research

    • Compulsory attendance in all finance brown bag lunches and Friday Seminars
    • First-year summer paper; papers are due by end of September after the first year.

    Milestones

    • In the summer of the first year, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD Office by September 1 after the first year.
    • The Micro Prelim Exam is offered in August. Students must receive a “Distinction/Honors” or “PhD pass” to continue in the PhD program. One retake of the exam is permitted.
    • In August after the first year, students must attend an RA/TA orientation offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Second Year

    Required Courses

    • B52 FIN 615A and B Research in Finance (both semesters)
    • B52 620 Empirical Methods in Finance (if not taken during the first year)
    • Directed readings and/or independent studies

    Olin PhD Finance courses—you will take one of the following groups of courses:

    • B52 FIN 643 Info Econ & Corp Finance Theory (3 credits) – Prof. Anjan Thakor
    • B52 FIN 642 Advanced Continuous Finance (1.5 credits) – Prof. Phil Dybvig (Pre requisite: B62 539 Mathematical Finance and B62 538 Stochastic Foundations for Finance)
    • B52 651 Topics in Finance (1.5 credits)
    • B52 654 Empirical Methods in Asset Pricing (1.5 credits) – Prof. Asaf Manela

    Other Electives (see below for some choices)

    • B50 665 Applied Empirical Research in Accounting
    • B53 620 Empirical Methods in Business
    • B50 664 Doctoral Seminar in Financial Accounting
    • B55 675 Empirical Methods in Structural Modeling
    • B62 539 Mathematical Finance
    • B62 500R Topics in Quantitative Finance
    • B62 538 Stochastic Foundations for Finance
    • E35 516 Optimization in Function Space
    • L11 501 Macroeconomics I
    • L11 518B Seminar in Applied Econometrics II: Time Series Analysis and Macroeconomics
    • B54 661 Analysis of Time Series Data

    Research

    • Compulsory attendance in all finance brown bag lunches and department seminars
    • Second-year summer paper; papers are due by the end of September after the second year.

    Milestones

    • Second-year paper—Students must have paper approved by faculty to continue in the PhD program. Papers will be presented to faculty in fall of the third year.
    • Field exam, given in June after the second year. Students must pass the field exam to continue in the PhD program.
    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by September 1.
  • Third Year

    Courses

    • B25 615 A and B Research in Finance (both semesters)
    • B53 660 Seminar in Presentation Skills (fall semester, required)
    • Improvisation Course

    Research

    • Compulsory attendance in all finance brown bag lunches and Friday seminars
    • Second year paper (due in September of third year) must be presented during a brown bag seminar before October 30 and must be approved by the faculty to continue in the PhD program.
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by September 1.

  • Fourth Year

    Courses

    • B25 615 A and B Research in Finance (both semesters)

    Research

    • Compulsory attendance in all finance brown bag lunches and Friday seminars
    • Paper presentations (brown bag seminars and conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • Dissertation Proposal—Students must be able to assemble a Research Advisory Committee for the proposal of their dissertation and must submit a Title, Scope and Procedure Form as the committee’s approval of the proposed dissertation by September 30 of the fifth year.
    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by September 1.

  • Fifth Year

    Research

    • Compulsory attendance in all finance brown bag lunches and Friday Seminars
    • Paper presentations (job market paper presentations with faculty and at conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by September 1.
    • Intent to Graduate (complete form online)
    • Job market and placement
    • Oral defense of dissertation
    • Submission of Examination Approval form, which signifies committee’s approval
    • Upload of final, approved dissertation to Graduate School of Arts &Sciences
    • Submission of Documented Teaching Requirements to PhD office

  • Course Descriptions

Faculty


Margarita Tsoutsoura

Margarita Tsoutsoura

Associate Professor

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Nicolae Garleanu

Nicolae Garleanu

Full Professor

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