Finance Specialization

The Department of Finance at the University of Utah trains doctoral students in the application of economic theory to understanding the structure and behavior of firms and the nature of financial markets. This philosophy reflects the interests of the faculty in examining contemporary issues concerning the theory of the firm, corporate finance, market microstructure, contingent claims and the allocation of resources. The program provides students with opportunities to examine these issues through both developing theoretical models and the empirical testing of those models. Students who complete the doctoral program are trained as academic scholars and in addition to teaching, are expected to contribute to the field of finance by producing original research.

The department provides its students with the opportunity to hear leading scholars from other universities present new research both at the departmental seminar series and at the Utah Winter Finance Conference. This intensive three-day conference, held each February, draws internationally renowned scholars from every area of finance and economics. In addition to the presentation of papers, the conference format provides students with ample opportunity to get to know leading academics in these disciplines.

Each student’s program of study is tailored to the student’s needs and interests. Students work with their department Ph.D. Committee or Supervisory Committee Chair to design their program of study. Below is an illustrative list of classes that might be used to compose a program of study.

A minimum of 15 major field, 9 allied filed, and 15 research competency credit hours are required. Three credit hours in research must be a Philosophy of Science course. Students are also required to take an effective teaching course, which is held the week between spring and summer semesters of their first year. Once students have completed all the necessary requirements to advance to candidacy, they are then required to complete a minimum of 14 hours of thesis research.

To learn more about each course, read the course descriptions in the General Catalog and Class Schedules.

Typical Program of Study

  • FINAN 7800: Financial Economics
  • FINAN 7815: Foundation of Financial Economics
  • FINAN 7835: Asset Pricing
  • FINAN 7830: Empirical Asset Pricing
  • FINAN 7850: Empirical Research in Financial Management
  • FINAN 7890: Theoretical Research in Financial Markets
  • ACCTG 7130: Information Economics
  • MATH 6805: Introduction to Probability
  • MATH 6880: Optimization
  • MATH 6890: Introduction to Math Finance I
  • MATH 6895: Introduction to Math Finance II

or

  • ACCTG 7110: Seminal Works in Capital Markets Research
  • ACCTG 7120: Advanced Capital Markets Research
  • ACCTG 7130: Information Economics
  • FINAN 7820: Econometrics I
  • FINAN 7825: Econometrics II
  • MGT 7100: Research Design
  • MATH 6810: Stochastic Processes and Simulation
  • MGT 7200: Cross-Discipline Seminar
  • MGT 7300: Effective Teaching

There are no formal education requirements other than a bachelor’s degree. Specifically, an MBA is not required.

We seek applicants who have strong interests in pursuing academic careers and have the skills necessary to successfully complete the program and conduct accounting research. Ideal candidates are motivated, are naturally curious, understand accounting and its role in business and the economy, and have strong quantitative skills (e.g., mathematics and statistics), data analysis skills (e.g., computer programming or statistical programming), and written and verbal communication skills. Additional coursework can be provided to compensate for a lack of quantitative background in cases where the faculty believe an applicant’s other qualifications are exceptional.

We admit students once per year, and applications are due by December 31.

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