About the PhD in finance
Learn more about admission, funding, and curriculum.
First, you need to meet the minimum PhD admission requirements. Other criteria for admission include:
An undergrad concentration in finance or economics isn't required to be admitted. The minimum GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. We also consider the rigor of your undergrad or master's institution(s), and grades you earned in finance, econ, stats, and math courses. The recommended background is coursework in finance and economics through intermediate micro and macro, math through one year of calculus, and introductory mathematical statistics.
GMAT or GRE score
Our admitted students average around 700 on the GMAT. The quantitative scores in particular are considered.
Statement of purpose
Content and overall seriousness are considered.
Letters of recommendation
We're interested in their assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and ability to succeed.
International students need significant proficiency in English. We accept TOEFL or IELTS. We'll also review your GMAT or GRE Verbal (80th percentile or higher is recommended) and accumulated years of graduate study in English.
Our financial aid package includes:
- All tuition payments
- A 12-month stipend for living expenses (approximately $22,000)
- Health and dental insurance
PhDs earn the stipend by serving as research or teaching assistants. See details on the base funding package.
- Departmental scholarships for outstanding students
Curriculum and plan of study
The PhD in finance requires 72 semester hours of credit, in addition to a dissertation. The typical time to complete the degree is five years.
The first year, finance PhDs take three or four courses per semester, depending on their background in finance, and three courses per semester in year two. The finance electives in year one are normally MBA-level courses, but if you've already covered this material, we may give you an exemption (these exemptions are at the discretion of the PhD director). We sometimes give exemptions for statistics as well.
- Fall semester: Mathematics/statistics, macro and microeconomics, finance elective
- Spring semester: Finance theory, statistics, microeconomics II or another course in minor area, finance elective
- Summer semester: Complete a survey paper using existing research and data
- Fall semester: Advanced corporate finance, finance theory, econometrics
- Spring semester: Advanced empirical finance, applied econometrics; prepare an original research paper under guidance of a faculty member
- End of year: Major qualifying exams in finance; PhD candidates choose a minor area of study from a list including economics, accounting, and stats
- Fall semester: Preparation of an original research paper to be completed by end of semester
- Spring semester: Presentation on proposed thesis topic by end of semester
- Fall semester: Thesis proposal defense
- Spring semester: Progress toward thesis completion
- Submission of completed dissertation
- Final oral dissertation defense
Calling all high achievers
Before coming to Iowa, Ke spent six years working at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America—without any formal finance training.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s now finishing his PhD in finance.
“My work started getting repetitive,” he says, “And there were problems I wanted to dig into deeper. I knew that in order to do that digging, I needed more education.”
And so he came to Tippie, where he’s pursuing a PhD in finance. And with his doctorate in hand, he’s jump-started a career that will allow him to keep “digging.”Read Story