PhD in Finance

9 minute read
PhD in Finance

Offering an opportunity to delve into advanced and technical issues in the field of Finance and its related branches, a PhD in Finance concerns research areas such as valuation of financial instruments, topics in international finance, market volatility, trading mechanics, and so forth. It is generally undertaken after a Master of Finance or related degree programs in closely related disciplines and involves heavy portions of theoretical learning as well as practical and mathematical analysis. Doctoral scholars more often than not work in the capacities of a research assistant or scholar at research organizations and universities along with multinational asset and wealth management firms. Read on to know more about what a doctorate in finance entails and the top universities you should consider.

Study Level Doctorate
Course PhD in Finance
Duration 3-5 years
Eligibility PG degree in Accountancy, Finance, Economics,or Mathematics
Entrance Exam
Admission Process Minimum score in competitive exam
Recommendation Letter
Career Profiles Statistician, Finance Manager, CFA, Stockbroker,
Corporate Bank Executive, etc
Average Salary INR 14-15 Lakh 
Top Recruiter Tata Consultancy, Accenture, Vodafone,
Genpact, HCL, Oracle, etc
Mode of Education Regular and Distance

PhD in Finance: What is it About?

The structure of a typical Doctoral degree, be it PhD in Finance or other programs generally run for around 3 to 7 years varying on the destination. The typical structure involves a variety of components so as to prepare a candidate for a solid research career in Finance.

  • This includes core and required courses, electives, practical training, fieldwork, teaching experience, exams, dissertation, research projects, and a host of other elements.
  • The quantity and mix of these elements vary depending on the objectives of the course. Further, on the conclusion, a dissertation needs to be submitted by the candidate on a topic of choice based on his research and fact-finding experiences under a guiding professor.
  • As a general rule for admission, a strong research-oriented and mathematically-inclined master’s degree is required although many universities now offer an integrated PhD as well which caters to candidates who have attained an undergraduate degree. 

Why Pursue PhD in Finance?

The following are the reasons to pursue PhD in finance:

  • Finance is a highly in-demand field and the demand for skilled professionals in the field in continuing to increase
  • Finance stream offers some of the highest-paying jobs
  • There are abundant of opportunities for finance professionals in both public and private sector
  • PhD in finance will widen your knowledge about various financial subjects

Skills Required

The following are the skills required for PhD in Finance:

  • Analysis and Problem solving
  • Project Management and Organization
  • Interpersonal and Leadership skills
  • Research and Information Management
  • Communication Skills
  • Self-Management and Work Habit

PhD in Finance Eligibility

Whether you are planning to apply for PhD in Finance in India or abroad, you will be required to fulfil certain prerequisites in order to be eligible for the course. Though the actual course requirements can differ from one university to another, here are the general eligibility requirements for PhD in Finance in India and abroad:

  • The applicant must have completed a master’s degree in Finance or any other related field from a recognised academic institution with the minimum scores specified by their chosen university.
  • To apply for PhD in Finance in India, you might be required to qualify PhD entrance exams.
  • If you are aspiring to pursue PhD abroad, you will have to provide GRE scores along with English Language Proficiency scores such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Further, you will also have to submit a Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LORs) apart from other academic documents.

PhD in Finance Admission Process

In order to get admission for PhD in Finance, you need to follow a crucial admission process. Here is the admission process you should follow:

  • Fill the application form on the institute website where you wish to apply. The application can be filled online or offline
  • Take the entrance test depending on your desired institute. Once you have qualified the entrance test by scoring marks equal to or higher than required, you will be invited for further process.
  • The next part is the interview. You will be invited only if you qualify the entrance test. There can be one or more interview processes.
  • In the interview, you may be asked about your thesis plan and why you wish to pursue PhD. If you qualify these interviews, you will get a confirmation letter from your institute.

Also Read: MBA in Finance

PhD in Finance: Entrance Exams

As stated above, to pursue PhD in Finance in India, candidates need to qualify entrance exams. Majority of the institutions in India provide admission in this course on the basis of GATE score or UGc NET score, what a few institutions also conduct a few entrance exams of their own.

Mentioned below are the popular PhD in finance entrance exams that one must target to pursue this course- 

  • UGC NET 
  • RMAT 
  • JNU PhD Entrance Exams 
  • SIU PET Exam
  • GTU PhD Entrance Exam 

PhD in Finance Syllabus

Candidates pursuing or aspiring to study a PhD in Finance can expect to study a range of core, specialised and elective subjects as per their research topic, objective and future research inclinations. These subjects belong to both in core areas of finance such as risk, decision making, financial instruments, economic analysis, information economics, bargaining, auctions, public finance, etc. More subjects perused in this degree are mentioned below.

International Macroeconomics
And Finance
Asset Pricing Behavioural Finance
Statistical Analysis Econometric Methods Portfolio Choice
Calculus Corporate
Options Pricing & Credit
Venture Capital  Corporate Finance Market Design
Actuarial Science Empirical Methods in
Financial Markets in the

Best Finance Ph.D. Programs

There are several specializations in the field of Ph.D. for Finance that you can opt for. Here is a list of them with a brief on each:

Ph.D. in Financial Management

Ph.D. in financial economics deals with the study of taxation, macroeconomics, attitude towards risks, and impact of information. It trains students in finance, economics, and quantitative learning.

Also Read: Financial Management

Ph.D. Quantitative Finance

This field of Finance deals with mathematical and quantitative ways to create and disrupt financial practices. This field focuses on enhancing return and reducing risks in the market.

Ph.D. in Accounting and Finance

Ph.D. in Finance and Accounting directly focuses on the fundamental aspects of finance and accounting. It perfects you in financial management and understanding the monetary affairs of a nation.

Ph.D. Computational Finance

Ph.D. in computational finance looks upon the modelling of financial markets, usage of computational intelligence in making financial decisions. This field takes you to become a portfolio manager, quantitative analyst, etc.

Ph.D. Financial Economics

The program focuses on economics and its impact on finance. The specialization areas create a joint curriculum to focus on asset pricing, metrics, macroeconomics, and banking.

Ph.D. in Banking and Finance

Ph.D. in banking and finance focuses on understanding the major section of the domestic and international banking sector through the view of finance and economics.

PhD in Accounting and Financial Management

PhD in Accounting and Financial Management is usually a part of PhD in Business Administration. It is usually chosen for work in analytical, logical and time management. Some of the topics covered are Business Environment, Business Finances, Financial Management, etc.

PhD Financial Engineering

The course is layered above a strong foundation of financial science in a logically coherent world. In qualifications, a Master’s in Science or a Masters’ in Financial Engineering (MFE) will gear you up towards new quantitative roles such as delivering risk models and trading directly, library control, model validation, risk management, and programming.

Must Read: Financial Engineering Courses

Phd in Finance Topics

Here are some of the most interesting topics for thesis in PhD in Finance:

  • Fintech
  • Financial Economics
  • Corporate finance
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Financial Markets
  • Cognitive Behaviour in Renewable Energy
  • Determinants of Credit risk in Banks
  • Impact of the Macroeconomic variables on the Non-performing loans
  • Optimal capital ratio to the commercial banks’ survival
  • Equity Strategies using Fundamental Momentum

PhD in Finance Best Universities

Here are some of the top universities in the world that offer PhD in Finance:

London School of Economics

A Ph.D. in Finance from London School of Economics requires the following: 


MIT offers a Ph.D. in Finance. While they mention the prerequisites, other instructions are mentioned during the application process:


Harvard offers a Ph.D. in Business Economics that includes Finance. The requirements for Ph.D. in Harvard are:

  • Specific coursework for Masters in Finance or Economics is required
  • GRE/ GMAT (GRE is preferred)
  • SOP
  • References
  • CV 
  • All courses should have a minimum grade of B.
  • Students must teach or assist for one semester
  • Dissertation proposal in the third year


Stanford University has a specific requirement from their students for Ph.D. in Finance. You must fill their online application along with submitting the following documents:

  • SOP
  • CV
  • GMAT/ GRE Score
  • Three references
  • Submitted application fees
  • $125 application fees or INR 10,210
  • Official Transcripts


Oxford University offers a D.Phil in Finance. The school expects intellectual people with good academic records. Here are the requirements:

  • A good bachelors degree with a 3.5 gpa or equivalent
  • Three academic references
  • Three pieces of written work

PhD in Finance: Best Universities

The location of the institution plays a major role in the orientation of the PhD program as well as the career outlook and future prospects. Glance over the following list of universities providing PhD in Finance and its related fields which you must consider before making your decision.

Name of University Location QS World
Stanford University USA #3 PhD in Finance
Massachusetts Institute of
USA #1 PhD in Economics, Finance & Accounting
PhD in Business-Finance
University of Chicago USA #10 PhD in Business-Finance
Joint PhD in Financial Economics
University of Pennsylvania USA #13 PhD Finance
University of California,
USA #27 PhD in Business Administration-
Columbia University USA #22 PhD in Finance & Economics
University of Toronto Canada #34 PhD in Management -Finance
Duke University USA #50 PhD in Business Administration-
The University of Melbourne Australia #33 PhD in Actuarial Studies
PhD in Decision, Risk and
Financial Sciences 
PhD in Finance
University of British
Canada #47 PhD Business Administration-

Note: The admission procedure of universities for a specific program may differ according to university policies and requirements. Students are advised to visit official university websites for further information.

Best Universities in India

Apart from these, here are the top universities offering PhD in Finance in India:

  • IIT Madras, Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi
  • Alliance School of Business, Bangalore
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  • Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Mumbai
  • National Institute of Technology, Silchar
  • Alliance School of Business, Bangalore
  • Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad
  • Kalinga Institute of Technology, Bhubaneshwar

PhD in Finance Scope

Being a multidisciplinary field, you can find employment opportunities as a researcher or a full-time role upon completing a PhD in Finance in government and private sectors, international organizations like World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, etc. Here are some popular profiles in which you can work:

  • Finance Consultant
  • Professor
  • Economist
  • Budget Analyst
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Securities and Commodities Specialist

Jobs Profile and Salary

PhD in Finance is a great career option as it offers several high-paying jobs. Here are some of the jobs and their respective salaries in the field:

Job Salary
Lecturer INR 18 LPA
Bank Manager INR 10 LPA
Economist INR 8 LPA
Quantitative Researcher INR 26 LPA
Senior Financial Analyst INR 6.3 LPA

Best Books for PhD in Finance 

As stated in the above mentioned section, it is vital for the candidates to have a thorough knowledge about the quantitative foundations of finance, thus, one shall aim at collecting study material that can help them with this. Mentioned below are some of the important books for this course- 

Name of the Book  Author
The Econometrics of Financial Markets Andrew W Lo
Managing Credit Robert Mckinley
Options, Future and Other Derivatives  John  C. Hull
Research Methods: Accounting and Finance  Robert Macintosh
Financial Markets and the Real Economy John H. Cochrane
Credit Risk Manager for Indian Banks Vaidya Nathan K.


How long does a PhD in Finance course last?

A PhD in Finance can take anywhere between 3-7 years to complete. In the initial years, theoretical knowledge is provided through diverse subjects. In the culminating years, you will spend time in industrial projects.

Is it possible to pursue PhD after an MBA in Finance?

Yes, you can pursue a PhD after an MBA in Finance. It is an excellent option, specially for those, who want to establish a career in Research or want to delve deeper into a particular domain of Finance.

How should I apply for a PhD in Finance course?

1. Complete your Masters in Finance or a related discipline.
2. Obtain a good score in GMAT/GRE exam.
3. Obtain a minimum percentile in English proficiency tests like IELTS/TOEFL.
4. Write a Statement of Purpose.
5. Collect essential documents like transcripts, LORs, etc.
5. Apply to the university of your choice.

Pursuing a PhD in finance or in any other field of interest is a difficult decision to make, especially taking into account the number of years that you will be devoted to as well as the rigorous nature of the study. Take the assistance of Leverage Edu’s AI-enabled tool which suggests course and university combinations based on your personalized skills and abilities and assist you in finding an ideal degree and institution to pursue your PhD from.

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