Doctoral students in the finance division often specialize in financial economics.
The first year of the program is dedicated to core courses that include a two-semester microeconomics sequence offered from the School of Economics, a two-semester econometrics sequence, an intensive programing course in database and computing for business research, Finance theory I and II, and a pre-thesis seminar where students are exposed to the current research projects of the finance faculty.
The second year is an important one, students take a mixture of required and elective coursework and choose a faculty mentor. The coursework typically consists of two courses in asset pricing, two courses in corporate finance, continuous-time finance, macroeconomics, financial intermediation, and again the valuable pre-thesis seminar. It may additionally be useful to leverage the opportunity to further build a methodological toolkit from other departments (e.g. math/statistics/computer science/economics/electrical engineering). Students may consider doing this beyond what is required by the department.
Students are encouraged to begin developing thesis proposals as early as the summer of the first year and beginning of the second year. They will choose a faculty mentor whose expertise matches the interests of the student and with whom they will engage in research work in the second year. At this stage of the PhD program, the research will be likely to help the faculty with their research projects and give students experience and a glimpse into what it is like to conduct scholarly research. It is also time to start thinking critically about what area of research you would like to focus on going forward.
During the second and later years they are also encouraged to participate in a wide range of workshops and seminars on current research. Faculty research interests cover most aspects of financial economics. They include asset pricing, corporate finance, continuous-time models in finance, information economics, economics of resources and the environment, econometric models in finance, international finance, the intersection of macro economics, finance, and banking.
Certification and Field Exam
At the end of May of their first year the students will take a two part certification exam in in econometrics and finance theory, subjects covered in the first year coursework.