PhD in Finance

The PhD program in Finance at the University of Missouri emphasizes university-level research and teaching skills. The program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree. The typical time to complete the degree is four to five years.

The program of study is flexible to accommodate individual student interests. In the first two years of the program, students complete courses in finance, accountancy, economics, and statistics. Following the completion of their doctoral coursework requirements, students take the comprehensive exam. The exam consists of written and oral sections and is typically scheduled prior to the beginning of the fall semester in the third year of study.

The doctoral seminars and comprehensive exam process prepare students to write original dissertations in finance. These dissertations address questions of interest to business executives, asset managers, and economic policymakers. Students also have the opportunity to pursue joint research projects with world-renowned faculty in the Department of Finance.

Students are admitted to the PhD program in Finance on a full-time, residential basis only. Students typically work 20 hours per week as a research assistant or teaching assistant during the academic year and receive a financial package that includes a stipend, full tuition waiver, additional scholarships, health insurance subsidy, and professional development funds.


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The PhD program requirements include a sequence of graduate-level courses, written and oral comprehensive examinations, and an original dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field of finance. The plan of study features the following elements:

  • Business foundation courses: 11 credit hours
  • Support area and collateral area courses: 30 credit hours
  • Finance concentration seminars: 15 credit hours
  • Professional development seminars: 4 credit hours
  • Dissertation research: 12 credit hours (minimum)

The business foundation includes general business classes offered at the master’s level. This requirement is often waived for students with a prior graduate degree or prior equivalent coursework.

Students customize their plan of study in consultation with their thesis advisor through the selection of support area and collateral area courses. Students must complete two 9-hour support areas and one 12-hour collateral area or one 12-hour support area and one 18-hour collateral area. At least one support area must come from outside the Trulaske College of Business.

Most students choose support areas in accountancy, economics, or statistics. The collateral area requirement focuses on analytical tools, and most students choose a collateral area in econometrics.

The finance concentration requirement includes a sequence of five doctoral seminars covering topics in asset pricing and corporate finance.

Applications must be received by February 1 for full consideration for admission in the fall semester. Earlier applications are encouraged. Admission to the PhD program in finance is highly selective. Applicants should demonstrate a strong record of academic accomplishment, intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm for discovery, and a general understanding of the demands of a doctoral program. Prior academic coursework, research experience, and employment activities in finance are encouraged but not required.




All PhD students are evaluated annually to assess their progress in the program. The evaluations for first- and second-year students are conducted by the PhD program coordinator. The evaluations for dissertation-stage students are conducted by their dissertation committee chairs.

During the academic year, students are assigned to work as research assistants for faculty members in the department. These assignments allow students to develop proficiency in research methods and often lead to coauthored projects with faculty. 

Another important objective of the PhD program is to provide candidates with the opportunity to develop classroom instructional skills. To achieve this objective, doctoral students are assigned to teach undergraduate courses. These assignments require candidates to plan, conduct, and administer one course section per semester. During their time in the PhD program, students typically have the opportunity to teach multiple times. In preparation for the teaching experience, doctoral students are encouraged to attend various teaching-related events sponsored by the Department of Finance, the Trulaske College of Business, and the University of Missouri.

Finance Research at Mizzou

Research Workshop

The Department of Finance hosts a regular  research workshop in which leading scholars in the finance profession are invited to the University of Missouri to present their research. Doctoral students are expected to be active participants in these research discussions.

Sample Plan of Study

A sample plan of study is provided below. This course sequence corresponds to a student pursuing support areas in economics and statistics and a collateral area in econometrics. Students are able to tailor the own plans of study to their research interests.

Year 1: Fall Semester

  • ECONOM 8473: Applied Econometrics
  • ECONOM 9451: Advanced Microeconomic Theory I
  • ECONOM 9472: Econometric Theory I
  • STAT 8710: Intermediate Mathematical Statistics I
  • FINANC 9101: Topics Seminar in Finance

Year 1: Spring Semester

  • ECONOM 9452: Advanced Microeconomic Theory II
  • ECONOM 9473: Econometric Theory II
  • STAT 8720: Intermediate Mathematical Statistics II
  • FINANC 9100: Seminar in Corporate Finance
  • FINANC 9101: Topics Seminar in Finance

In the summer following the first year of study, students take FINANC 9001: Advanced Topics in Finance and are expected to make progress on an independent research project.

Year 2: Fall Semester

  • ECONOM 9453: Advanced Macroeconomic Theory I
  • FINANC 9101: Topics Seminar in Finance
  • FINANC 9200: Research in Corporate Finance
  • FINANC 9300: Financial Economics

Year 2: Spring Semester

  • ECONOM 9454: Advanced Macroeconomic Theory II
  • FINANC 9101: Topics Seminar in Finance
  • FINANC 9400: Seminar in Investment Analysis
  • Elective course

In the summer following the second year of study, students prepare for and take the comprehensive exam in finance. The exam includes a written portion and an oral portion in which students present their own original research to the finance faculty.

Finance PhD Coordinator


Over the past five years, total enrollment in the PhD program in finance has ranged from 7 to 11 students.  We graduate 2 students per year on average, and our placement rate is 100%.

Most graduates accept initial positions as tenure-track faculty members at research universities. Others pursue opportunities with regulatory and policy-making institutions or financial services firms. A representative sample of our student placements follows below.


Year Graduate Placement
2022 Dat Mai University of Missouri (Visiting Scholar)
2021 Ruixiang Wang Northeastern University
2020 Ryan Chacon University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
2019 Pratik Kothari Cornerstone Research
2019 Thibaut Morillon Elon University
2019 Khaled Obaid California State University - East Bay
2018 Anna Abdulmanova Tulane University
2018 AnaMaria Calincan University of Mount Olive
2017 Ryan Flugum University of Tulsa
2017 Feifei Wang Miami University

Show Me the Facts

Percentage of Finance PhD students who receive fully funded assistantships
Students who have graduated from the Finance PhD program since 2010
Placement rate for Finance PhD students at the time of graduation