PhD Programs in Finance: Prerequisites and Requirements

Students seeking a Ph.D. in Finance are trained in statistics, economics, investments and corporate finance theory. In this doctorate-level program, students also explore markets and financial products.

Essential Information

A Ph.D. in Finance program is a research-driven course of study leading to an upper-level academic and research career. Ph.D. graduates typically go on to careers wherein they act as consultants, perform further research or teach as faculty members in the finance departments of universities. These program typically takes four to five years, which includes two to three years spent conducting original research and writing a dissertation.

To get into a program, students need to to have acceptable GMAT scores and a background in college-level mathematics, including calculus and algebra, and economics. Some programs may also require them to already have a master's in business administration.

Ph.D. in Finance

This program is highly intensive in mathematics. The following is a sample curriculum for a Ph.D. program in finance.

  • Financial mathematics
  • Financial theory
  • Financial institutions
  • Corporate finance
  • Advanced macroeconomics
  • Advanced microeconomics
  • Statistics and probability
  • Financial modes and models
  • Empirical methods of financial research

Popular Career Options

Finance Ph.D. graduates are prepared to work in very high-level positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for business school professors is expected to grow around 9% between 2014 and 2024. A few of the following career options are available to graduates with a Ph.D. in Finance.

  • Private consultant
  • Corporate financial consultant
  • Lead commerce researcher
  • Professor of finance
  • Government financial researcher

Continuing Education

Certification is not required for finance professionals, especially professionals with a doctoral degree. Financial analysts may choose to become Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA), which is a designation sponsored by the CFA Institute ( This designation requires applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree along with four years of experience in the finance field. There are three examinations that cover subjects like economics, corporate finance and financial markets.

A Ph.D. program in finance is a research-driven, math-intensive graduate program that prepares students for careers like corporate financial consulting, university teaching and government financial research.

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