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Finance PhD Vs. Economics PhD

Jun 06, 2019

PhD in Finance and PhD in Economics programs are fairly similar, but take on a different scope to the subject and include different course topics. Learn more about each degree and its requirements, as well as how to apply.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Finance degree programs tend to focus specifically on financial economics while PhD in Economics degree programs incorporate a large overview of the field while allowing students to pursue their individual interests. In other areas, such as length and culminating experiences, these programs are very similar. Get more details about each program to help you decide which may be a good fit.

Comparing a PhD in Finance to a PhD in Economics

PhD in Finance

PhD in Finance degree programs typically train students in financial economics that explores how people and organizations invest resources and price financial assets. These degree programs generally take 4 to 5 years to complete and require students to attend finance seminars and complete comprehensive exams and a dissertation. Several programs take on an apprenticeship or mentorship model between students and faculty and have doctoral students complete various research papers for publication with faculty members. Coursework is typically comprised of core courses and electives with students discussing topics such as corporate finance theory, microeconomic theory, econometrics, asset pricing theory, macroeconomics, linear models for business, and finance research. Graduates with their PhD in Finance usually work as researchers and educators in financial economics for higher education.

PhD in Economics

PhD in Economics programs are typically broader programs that explore various concepts, theories, and methodologies in the field of economics and some may be Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) designated programs. These are usually full-time programs that may take 4 to 5 years to complete and also require comprehensive exams, seminars, and a dissertation. Some of these programs may offer various concentration areas for further study, such as economic theory, labor economics, international trade, industrial organization, macroeconomics, or economic development. Coursework for these degree programs vary based on concentrations and/or electives, but may cover subjects like microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, dynamic econometric theory, public economics, international finance, and experimental economics. These programs are typically designed for students pursuing careers as researchers within the field of economics, but can also prepare students for careers as educators.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students applying to a PhD in Finance or PhD in Economics program need to hold at least a bachelor's degree, and some economics programs may require or prefer students who hold a degree in the field. Some economics programs may also require or prefer students who have had prior coursework in areas like microeconomics, macroeconomics, calculus, statistics, and linear algebra. Students applying to either program may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement, and most of these programs require the GRE, but finance degree programs may also accept the GMAT. Some economics programs may encourage applicants to take the GRE Subject test in the field. Most finance and economics degree programs require applicants to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, and/or a statement of purpose.

PhD in Finance and PhD in Economics degree programs can be completed in 4 to 5 years, require a dissertation, and include coursework in various areas of economics. However, finance programs focus on the financial research and analysis of economics, while economics programs explore additional concepts, theories, and methodologies in the field.


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