Business Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program in finance prepares students for careers as researchers and teachers in finance and provides training in related academic areas. KU faculty members have scholarly expertise in areas such as corporate finance, investments, financial institutions, derivatives, risk management, corporate governance, international finance, market microstructure, and entrepreneurial finance. Faculty members are widely published in prestigious academic journals including the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Business, and Financial Management. Several faculty members serve as editors or sit on the editorial boards of such journals.

Students attend core doctoral seminars on corporate finance, investments, financial institutions, and other topics in finance. Student-to-faculty ratios in such seminars are typically 4-to-1. Students also complete graduate coursework in statistics, economics, econometrics, and research in financial accounting. Students enjoy access to a variety of statistical packages and research databases, including the Wharton Research Database Services (WRDS) interface for accessing data from the University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) and from Standard & Poor’s Compustat database.

Students in finance receive up to five years of financial support contingent on satisfactory progress toward degree requirements. Support includes appointment as a research or teaching assistant with an annual stipend of at least $25,000, paid tuition,and a portion of subsidized student health insurance.

The program is small but intensive with a goal to admit two-four students every other year. This gives the students an opportunity to work closely with faculty. Our emphasis is on rigorous economic theory and research methodology which encourages collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

Core Coursework

Statistical Methods:
1. DSCI 920: Probability for Business Research OR MATH 727: Probability Theory
2. DSCI 921: Statistics for Business Research OR MATH 728: Statistical Theory
3. DSCI 922: Advanced Regression
4. ECON 801: Microeconomics I
5. ECON 802: Microeconomics II
6. BE 917: Advanced Managerial Economics


7. FIN 901: Doctoral Seminar in Finance
8. FIN 937: Seminar in Business Finance
9. FIN 938: Seminar in Investments
10. FIN 939: Seminar in Financial Institutions
11. Advanced elective in Finance or Economics or Research Methods


12. ECON 817: Econometrics I
13. ECON 818: Econometrics II
One of the two sequences below:
Sequence 1: Minor in Research Methods
14. ECON 715: Elementary Econometrics
15. Advanced elective in Research Methods
Sequence 2: Minor in Research Methods and Financial Accounting
14. ACCT 928: Intro. To Accounting Research
15. ACCT 932: Seminar in Financial Accounting Research I
Sequence 3: Minor in Research Methods and Applied Economics
14. ECON 770: Economics of Labor Markets
15. ECON 870: Applied Microeconomics

Program Requirements and Information

Area of Concentration
Most students admitted in finance typically will select that area as their concentration. However, an aspirant, with the assistance of his or her faculty advisor and the area faculty, may propose an interdisciplinary area of concentration that is a combination of the traditional business disciplines of decision sciences, accounting, information systems, marketing, human resource management, decision sciences, organizational behavior, and strategic management. An aspirant may also propose an interdisciplinary area of concentration that includes emphases such as international business, law, and economics. The aspirant must take at least five advanced courses in the area of concentration. These courses may include those offered outside the School of Business.
Supporting Areas
Coursework in the area of concentration is supplemented and strengthened by study in one or two supporting areas. A supporting area is one that supplements and complements the area of concentration. The aspirant will satisfy the supporting area requirement by taking at least four advanced courses in the supporting areas (at least two courses in each of two supporting areas, or at least four courses in one supporting area). Courses recommended for preparation for the qualifiers may not be included in satisfying the supporting area requirement.
For successful qualifier assessment, the student’s program of study should include adequate preparation in research methodology. A sound research is always grounded on sound methodology. A doctoral student in decision science has the opportunity to develop methodological skill in probability and statistics, optimization, uncertain reasoning, game theory, and econometrics. A typical doctoral dissertation often utilizes one or more of the following research methodology: empirical, analytical, behavioral, and computational.
Degree Completion Timeline
Years 1-2: Coursework* Year 3: Comprehensive Exams Year 4: Dissertation Proposal Year 5: Dissertation Defense (Some students can complete the program in four years.)
Recent KU Ph.D. graduates have been placed at schools such as the University of Wyoming, East Carolina University, University of New Mexico, University of Mississippi, State University of New York-Stony Brook, and Western Carolina University. A complete list of placements can be found here.