Program of Study

Core Course Structure

Students must take three or four courses per semester in the first year, depending on their background in finance, and three courses per semester in the second year. The finance electives in the first year will normally be MBA-level courses. If students can demonstrate that they have already covered this material adequately, exemption will be granted at the discretion of the graduate director. Similar exemptions can be granted from the courses in statistics. The details of the core course requirements are listed below.

Semester 1

ECON:5000(6E:200) Mathematics for Economists or STAT:4100(22S:153) Mathematical Statistics I
ECON:5100(6E:203) Microeconomics I
ECON:5200(6E:204) Macroeconomics I
Finance elective

Semester 2

FIN:#223(6F:223) Finance Theory I
ECON:5010(6E:201) Statistical Methods or STAT:4101(22S:154) Mathematical Statistics II
ECON:5110(6E:205) Microeconomics II or another course in minor area
Finance elective

Semester 3

FIN:7120(6F:226) Advanced Corporate Finance FIN:7130(6F:227) Finance Theory II
ECON:5800(6E:221) Econometrics

Semester 4

FIN:7140(6F:228) Advanced Empirical Finance
ECON:5810(6E:222) Applied Econometrics
Second Year Research Paper

Research Seminars

All Ph.D. students are required to attend the department research seminar, which meets regularly throughout the year. Presentations are made both by outside speakers and by faculty members and graduate students. The seminar is seen as an important and integral part of the Ph.D. program, providing students with the opportunity to interact with leading researchers in a broad range of areas.

Qualifying Examinations and Papers

The major qualifying examinations in finance are taken at the end of the second year, after completion of all core course work in economics, finance, and statistics. Students must also select a minor area of study, which may be chosen from a range of disciplines, including economics, accounting, and statistics. In the spring semester of the second year, students must prepare a substantial research paper under the guidance of a faculty member. A further paper representing original research must be submitted by the beginning of the spring semester of the third year. A presentation to faculty and graduate students on the proposed thesis topic is required by the end of the spring semester of the third year.


The final component of the Ph.D. program, the dissertation, is completed during the three years following the qualifying examinations. Supervision is provided by an advisor chosen by the student. Normal progress on the Ph.D. dissertation involves presentation of a thesis proposal defense during the fall semester of the fourth year and submission of the completed dissertation and a final oral defense by the end of the candidate's fifth year.

Teaching and Research

The department guarantees that it will provide opportunities for all students to serve both as research and teaching assistants during the course of their graduate work at Iowa. In these roles, students are valuable members of the Department of Finance.