PhD in Finance

General Information

The Ph.D. program in Finance at the University of Missouri emphasizes university-level research and teaching skills. The program of study is flexible to accommodate individual interests, but all students take advanced classes in finance, economics, and statistics. To maintain the high quality of the program, we only admit Ph.D. students on a full-time basis. Regular seminars enhance the doctoral experience.

The program requires a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree. In our full-time program, students typically work 20 hours/week as a research or teaching assistant during Fall and Spring semesters and receive financial support including a full tuition waiver and fellowships for four years. Acceptance of financial support requires no substantive outside employment.

What to Expect

The Ph.D. program requirements include a set of graduate courses, written and oral comprehensive examinations, and an original dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field of finance. A finance Ph.D. student develops a program of study through discussion with, and subject to the approval of, the student's doctoral advisor and program committee. Enrolled coursework in the program includes:

  • Business Foundation - at least 15 hours. This requirement typically is waived for students with an MBA or prior applicable coursework.
  • Finance Concentration - An in-depth major concentration including 15 hours of 8000/9000-level courses in Finance. 
  • Support Area(s) and Collateral Area Requirement – total of at least 30 hours.  Students often take additional support area, research methodology and statistics courses. The combination of support area(s), research methods and statistics will vary depending on the interests and needs of the student, but one of the following configurations must be achieved:
    • Two 9-hour support areas plus 12 hours in collateral area requirement -- or
    • One 12-hour support area plus 18 hours in collateral area requirement.
  • Required Professional Development Seminar – at least 4 hours (enrolled). An ongoing seminar experience (each semester until successful completion of comprehensive examinations) that acquaints the student with the current literature and research in his/her major area of interest.
  • Dissertation Research – at least 12 hours.

The requirements listed above are independent of one another; courses taken to satisfy one requirement may not be used to satisfy any other requirement. The combination of coursework, seminar experience, and dissertation experience is designed to provide students with a sound foundation for a productive career as an academic in finance.

Show Me the Facts

Students currently enrolled in this program
Graduates since 2010
Placements since 2010


Applications must be received by February 1 for full consideration for admission in the fall. Earlier applications are encouraged. Admission to the PhD programs in the Trulaske College of Business is selective. Strong applicants have a demonstrated record of academic accomplishment, intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for discovery, and a general understanding of the demands of a doctoral program. Work experience in business, management, research, or similar endeavors is very welcome but not required.

Click here for detailed admissions requirements for the PhD program.

Degree Requirements

All PhD students in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business must take 15 hours of general business courses to acquaint them with the functional areas of business. The PhD Program Coordinator can waive these courses for students who have satisfactorily completed equivalent course work. Completion of an MBA typically waives all 15 credit hours.

** Reach out to your Program Committee or Doctoral Coordinator for information on specific courses needed to fulfill this requirement. 


An in-depth major concentration in the area consisting of, for business administration students, a minimum of 15 hours of 8000/9000-level courses in Finance.

Required Finance Seminars:
  • FINANC 9001: Advanced Topics in Finance
  • FINANC 9100: Seminar in Corporate Finance
  • FINANC 9200: Research in Corporate Finance
  • FINANC 9300: Financial Economics
  • FINANC 9400: Seminar in Investment Analysis

The finance seminar courses are typically completed in the second year of study. 

Students complete two 9-hour Support Areas or one 12-hour Support Area to complement their advanced training in finance. At least one Support Area must come from outside the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business. Most students choose Support Areas in economics and statistics resembling the following examples:

Example Support Area I: Economics
  • ECONOM 8370: Mathematics for Economics
  • ECONOM 8451: Microeconomic Theory
  • ECONOM 8453: Macroeconomic Theory
Example Support Area II: Statistics
  • STAT 8310: Data Analysis I
  • STAT 8710: Intermediate Mathematical Statistics I
  • STAT 8720: Intermediate Mathematical Statistics II

These supporting areas offer the student considerable latitude in identifying a course of study that can be tailored to the individual's interests and goals. If two support areas are selected, the student must also satisfy a 12-hour analytical tool requirement; if one support area is selected, the student must also satisfy an 18-hour analytical tool requirement (see below). Other popular Support Areas are accounting, mathematics, psychology, and corporate law. The Support Area requirements are primarily completed in the first year of study.

Collateral requirements emphasizing analytical tools (proficiency in a foreign language does not fulfill the collateral requirements). This is a research methods and analysis sequence of at least 12 - 18 hours. The Collateral Area requirement focuses on analytical tools. Most students choose a Collateral Area in econometrics resembling the following example:

Example Collateral Area: Econometrics
  • ECONOM 8473: Applied Econometrics
  • ECONOM 9472: Econometric Theory I
  • ECONOM 9473: Econometric Theory II
  • STAT 8640: Bayesian Analysis I

Course work applied to a Support Area cannot be applied to a Collateral Area.

An ongoing seminar experience (each semester until successful completion of comprehensive examinations) that acquaints the student with the current literature and research in his/her major area of interest. This seminar is in addition to other seminars offered departmentally (4 hours minimum).

  • FINANC 9101: Topics Seminar in Finance - Students take this one credit-hour course during each of their first four semesters in the program. This seminar focuses on professional development. 

The final requirement of the PhD program in finance is the research dissertation. After completing the comprehensive exam, students enroll in a minimum of two credit hours each fall and winter semester and one credit hour each summer session of FINANC 9090: Research in Finance. This enrollment continues until the final semester of the dissertation defense. Students must complete a minimum of 12 hours of FINANC 9090.

Each student, working under the supervision of the doctoral committee chair, completes an original dissertation. The student proposes a scholarly research project and formally presents this proposal to the dissertation committee around the end of the third year of study. After the committee approves the proposal, the student completes the dissertation and makes an oral defense.

Other Requirements And Evaluative Components

To better monitor the progress of Ph.D. students and to provide specific assistance, an annual review is performed. Guidelines for this review/evaluation are as follows:

  • All Ph.D. students, both on and off campus, will be evaluated annually.
  • A minimum of one evaluation of each student will be performed at the end of each Spring Semester. More frequent evaluations may be conducted at the discretion of the student’s program committee.
  • The evaluation will be coordinated by the chair of the student's doctoral program committee. If a chair has not been appointed, the unit Ph.D. program coordinator will oversee the evaluation; and if the unit has no coordinator, the unit chair will assume the responsibility. Participating in the review are the members of the program committee and others who may be working with the student, e.g., supervisor of the student's TA or RA assignments, or course instructors.
  • During April of each year, the College Graduate Studies Office will notify Ph.D. students and committee chairs that annual evaluations are due in June. Each department will follow their evaluation procedures, which will include evaluations of teaching and research effectiveness.
  • The specific procedure employed is up to the individual coordinating the evaluation, but it is suggested that broad input be obtained from faculty in a position to evaluate the student. Further, the procedure should include feedback provided to the student and a written evaluation signed by both the evaluator and the student.
  • The student will be apprised of his/her progress, including feedback from course work taken, teaching evaluations, and/or research assistantship evaluations. Plans will be developed to assist the student in areas in which he/she may need assistance.
  • The written evaluation should be submitted to the appropriate College Graduate Studies Office by June 15, and will be placed in the student's academic file. Copies should be provided to the student, the unit Ph.D. program coordinator, and the unit chair/director.

A primary objective of the Ph.D. program is to train candidates to become proficient researchers. Through course work and other activities, students develop skills in various areas such as literature review and critique, theoretical modeling, research design, computer assisted empirical analysis, and preparation of proposals and research papers. Students are encouraged and supported to engage in research activities in collaboration with faculty, other students, and independently. Assistantships are contingent on satisfactory performance in the doctoral program. During the fall and spring semesters of the first two years in the doctoral program, students will be assigned as research assistants to faculty members (20 hours per week, typically 10 hours per week for two faculty members).

Teaching Overview:

Another important objective of the Ph.D. program is to provide candidates with the opportunity to develop classroom instructional skills. To achieve this objective, students participate in a number of activities. All students are assigned undergraduate teaching responsibilities while in the doctoral program. Usually, this will include four semesters of direct classroom experience. Typically, candidates will have responsibility for planning, conducting, and administering one section per semester of an undergraduate course. In preparation for the teaching experience, Ph.D. students are encouraged to visit classes to observe teaching methods; interact with faculty to become familiar with course material and presentation; and attend various teaching activities sponsored by their department, the College, and the University. 

In accord with University policy, all international students must achieve Level 4 on an oral language proficiency screening prior to classroom teaching. In the Trulaske College of Business, Level 4 must be achieved by the end of the student’s second year in the program. Failure to do so prevents receipt of teaching assistantship funding and is grounds for dismissal.

Students are expected to pursue their own research projects in conjunction with faculty, other doctoral students, or independently. They are expected to keep abreast of current developments in finance by reading finance publications and attending appropriate conferences. Presentation of scholarly research at national conferences and/or preparation of articles for publication in finance journals is expected. Research funds are available to cover some of the expenses of these research projects and collaboration with faculty generally results in faculty funding for research projects.

Students take the comprehensive exam following the completion of their doctoral coursework requirements. 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. 

Finance PhD Coordinator

By the Numbers

Academic Year Enrollment Graduated Placed
2020-2021 7 TBA TBA
2019-2020 7 1 1
2018-2019 10 3 3
2017-2018 11 2 2
2016-2017 11 2 2
2015-2016 12 3 3
2014-2015 11 2 2
2013-2014 11 3 3
2012-2013 12 2 2
2011-2012 14 3 3
2010-2011 12 1 1