PhD in Finance

This program is offered by the Department of Finance & Economics of Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick. Five research centers are associated with the Department: the Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for Pharmaceutical Management, the Center for Real Estate, the Center for Research in Regulated Industries, the Rutgers Financial Institutions Center, and the Whitcomb Center for Research in Financial Services,  

A master's degree in economics, computer science or mathematics is a plus. Students with a limited background in either economics or finance should consider the Master of Quantitative Finance. MQF students take some of the same courses as our doctoral students. It is also possible to take up to four of our doctoral courses as a non-degree student. Taking our doctoral courses as non-degree or MQF students does not, however, guarantee subsequent admission into our doctoral program.




Course work, the qualifying examination, and the dissertation

A total of 72 credits is required for the doctoral degree. These must include:

  • at least 18 credits in dissertation research.
  • at least 36 credits in degree courses. (This can be reduced only if some course requirements are transferred.)
  • 6 credits in the early research requirements.


Additional enrollments may also be required:

  • Students are sometimes required to enroll in non-degree courses to improve their English or their writing. They may also need to enroll in the non-degree course Teacher Training Seminar as part of their preparation for teaching. These enrollments require payment of tuition, but they do not count towards the 72 credits required for the degree.
  • Students must enroll in 26:390:689 every semester until they have defended a dissertation proposal. This registration requires their attendance in the Finance department's weekly seminar. A grade is given, but the enrollment is for zero credits and no tuition is charged.


Students are expected to take at least three courses for degree credit each semester during the first two years. They should then take the qualifying examination at the end of their second academic year. The last two years of the program should be devoted primarily to working on a dissertation.

Within a year after passing the qualifying examination, the student must defend a dissertation proposal.


Foundation/methodology requirement (4 courses)

  • 26:223:552 Microeconomic Theory
  • 26:711:561 Optimization Models in Finance 26:711:564 Math Methods in Economics 
  • 26:960:575 Introduction to Probability
  • Elective (e.g. Stochastic Processes, Game Theory, Macroeconomics, or Modern Statistics)


Major (5 courses)

  • 26:390:571 Investments
  • 26:390:572 Corporate Finance
  • 26:010:651 Accounting Theory I: Theory of Corporate Disclosures, Control, and Governance
  • 26:390:685 Floating Finance Seminar (2nd year)
  • 26:390:685 Floating Finance Seminar (3rd year)


Minor (3 courses)

  • 26:223:554 Econometrics - Cross Sectional
  • 26:223:655 Advanced Econometrics - Time Series
  • Economics Elective (e.g. Game Theory, Macroeconomics)


First early research requirement (equivalent to one course): Write a paper with a faculty member, to be presented to the department during the fall semester.


Second early research requirement (equivalent to one course): Write a second paper (ideally a dissertation proposal) with a faculty member to be presented to the department during the fall semester.


Paper presentation requirement: Upon passing the qualifying exam, students must continue to make an annual presentation of their research to the faculty. Presenting the proposal or early research papers satisfies this requirement for that year.


Seminar Attendance: Students are required to attend the faculty seminar series.


Floating Finance Seminar in 4th year: Students are required to take the floating finance seminar in their 2nd and 3rd year. The advisor may also require them to take it in their 4th year.


Preparation to teach: Students who enter the program with financial support may need to be ready to teach an undergraduate course in finance in order to be sure of having an employment opportunity from RBS during the Summer. Those who do not already have teaching experience may want to consider the non-degree course in Teacher Training Seminar that is offered each spring semester.


Other rules and requirements: For details of rules and requirements that apply to all doctoral students in RBS, see Policies and Procedures.