PhD in Finance

The PhD program in Finance focuses on research in financial economics, and most recently has studied phenomena such as corporate governance, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, corporate valuations, corporate diversification, corporate disclosures, equity-based compensation, and issues related to international corporate finance. The finance group mentors students with an apprenticeship model, providing an early start in research projects both by and with faculty.

Mentorship, Research, and Publications

Over successive five-year periods between 1980 and 2014, graduates of the Katz PhD in Finance program ranked between 28th and 49th among doctoral programs worldwide depending mon the specific time interval over which productivity was measured. Most recently, our graduates ranked as the 17th most productive among finance graduates of U.S. public universities the 39th most productive among all programs worldwide. This is especially impressive given that the rankings do not make adjustments for differences in the number of graduates across programs.

Considering we are a relatively small program, our graduates have had an outsized impact in terms of producing high-impact research published in the leading finance academic journals.The upside of our small program size is that it allows for frequent interactions and collaborations among our faculty and our PhD students.

We have an excellent history of doctoral student/faculty collaboration, which often results in articles that are published in top journals. Our faculty members develop relationships with our students that result in research collaboration that often lasts well beyond the doctoral program experience.


David Denis
Diane Denis
Andrew Koch
Kenneth Lehn
Leming Lin
Sara Moeller
Frederik Schlingemann
Shawn Thomas
Chad Zutter


Our goal is for students to join finance faculties at top research universities and to make significant scholarly contributions to the field of financial economics. We usually accept two or three new students per year so that we are able to give students a great deal of faculty attention.

View our recent student placements.

Distinguished Alumni

Some of our alumni are now full or chaired professors at research-oriented schools including:

  • University of Alabama
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • University of Missouri


Year 1 Curriculum: Fall Term (12 credits)

An exploration of critical thinking.

Course Credits
BFIN 3001 Finance Fundamentals 1.5
BFIN 3031 Corporate Finance Theory Methods 1.5
ECON 2001 Introduction to Mathematical Methods 3
ECON 2010 Mathematical Methods Economic Analysis 3
ECON 2020 Intro to Econometric Theory 3
ECON 2100 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 1 3

Year 1 Curriculum: Spring Term

A thorough examination of research methods.

Course Credits
BFIN 3032 Corporate Finance Seminar 1 1.5
BFIN 3033 Corporate Finance Seminar 2 1.5
BFIN 3034 Corporate Finance Seminar 3 1.5
ECON 2120 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 2 3
CMU 0721 Seminar in Finance 2

Year 1 Curriculum: Summer Term (3 credits)

Research paper with faculty guidance.

BFIN 3039 Summer Research Paper

Year 2 Curriculum: Fall Term

A continued study in critical thinking and research methods.

Course Credits
BFIN 3035 Financial Empirical Methods 1.5
CMU 0723 Seminar in Finance 3 2
CMU 0724 Seminar in Finance 4 2
ECON 2260 Advanced Econometrics 1 3
MATH 3225 Mathematics of Finance 3

Year 2 Curriculum: Spring Term

A further dive into major concentrations, critical thinking, and research methods.

Course Credits
BFIN 3036 Empirical Asset Pricing 1.5
BFIN 3038 Property Rights and Theory of the Firm 1.5
CMU 0720 Computational Methods Finance 2
CMU 0805 Computational Methods Econ 2
MATH 3226 Mathematics of Finance 2  

Year 2 Curriculum: Summer Term

A comprehensive independent study.

Course Credits
BFIN 3010 Independent Study in Finance 3

Year 3 Curriculum: Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms

Fully concentrated work on dissertation and service as teaching assistant.

Course Credits
BUSADM 3199 Dissertation Credits 9
FTDF 0000 Full-Time Dissertation Study  

Curriculum: Years 4 and 5

Teach and enter the job market to defend your dissertation.

FTDF 0000 Full-Time Dissertation Study