Program and Curriculum


The level of competence expected from doctoral graduates is that of a scholar contributing to the advancement of the student’s chosen field. This implies three competencies—a broad knowledge of the field, a detailed understanding of current research in that field, and a sound grounding in advanced research methodologies. The curriculum is designed as a 45 credit-hour program of formal course work taken in the first two years followed by three years of research leading to the dissertation defense.


The formal coursework structure for the first two years is as follows. Students are expected to work on their dissertations during years three to five.

Fall First year
1 ECON 8375 Econometrics I
or DNSC 8397 Econometrics I
2 ECON 8301 Microeconomic Theory I
3 ECON 8305 Macroeconomic Theory I*
4 FINA 8322 Seminar in Corporate Finance
Spring First Year
1 ECON 8376 Econometrics II
or DNSC 9387 Econometrics II
2 ECON 8302 Microeconomic Theory II
3 FINA 8324 Topics in Empirical Finance
4 Elective
Fall Second Year
1 FINA 8321 Seminar in Asset Pricing
2 ACCY 8001 Seminar in Accounting Theory**
3 Elective
Spring Second Year
1 FINA 8323 Seminar in Empirical Investments
2 FINA 8325 Seminar in Real Estate
3 Elective

* If Seminar in Accounting Theory I is offered in this semester, then Macroeconomic Theory is shifted to the second Fall semester.
** Introduction to Financial Theory can substitute for Seminar in Accounting Theory.
*** If Accounting Theory is offered in this semester, then Real Estate Seminar is shifted to the Fall semester.

Additional Information

  • At least 4 courses on research methods are required.
  • At least one PhD course outside the field is required. A PhD course with a global focus is highly recommended.
  • Changes in alternative years: first year and second year doctoral courses alternate.

Examples of elective courses

CRN Course
ACCY 8001 Seminar in Management Accounting
ACCY 8001 Seminar: Acctg Research on Valuation & Performance-Eval. Roles of Acctg. Info.
ACCY 8001 Seminar: Empirical Research on Economics of Auditing/Marketing-Based Acctg. Research
IBUS 8361 Seminar: Knowledge & Innovation in the International Economy
IBUS 8361 Colloquium in Int’l Bus: Institutions and Development
ECON 8303 Microeconomic Theory III
ECON 8306 Macroeconomic Theory II
ECON 8307 Macroeconomic Theory III
ECON 8323-4 Monetary Theory and Policy
ECON 8341-2 Labor Economics
ECON 8345-6 Industrial Organization
ECON 8382 International Finance and Open Economy Macroeconomics
ECON 8377 Econometrics III
STAT 8281 Advanced Time Series Analysis
STAT 8262 Nonparametric Inference
STAT 8263-4 Advanced Statistics Theory
STAT 8273 Stochastic Processes

Academic Achievement

The objective of the PhD program is to prepare students for academic careers at major research universities. It is expected that our graduating students will have:

  1. One or more journal publications in top tier academic journals.
  2. Multiple presentations at major academic conferences.
  3. Won awards for best dissertations and best papers at professional conferences.
  4. Developed effective personal networks with scholars from around the world.


Students are required to complete core course requirements, and develop a “study plan” in consultation with their advisory committee. Students should complete coursework during the first two years of the program.

Summer Paper

Each student is required to write a summer research paper during their first summer in the program. The summer paper must be approved and accepted by Finance Department core faculty and the GWSB Doctoral Committee. It is expected that this summer research will result in a paper that signals very high quality such as acceptance from a premier journal by the end of the fourth year of the program (continued fellowship is contingent on this result).

Second Year Comprehensive Field Exam

Performance on the major field exam is an important indicator of a student’s capacity for successful completion of the degree. Proficiency in the major field is determined by a written exam. To maintain normal progress, this exam should be taken at the end of a student’s second year. This exam must be passed by the end of the spring quarter of the student’s third year. This exam will be administered and graded by a committee.

Annual Review

Student performance is reviewed at the end of each year. The review evaluates student promise and progress, looking at course grades, written and oral capabilities, capacity for intellectual contribution, participation in the academic life of the school, and research productivity and progress. This review will include a recommendation to the Associate Dean whether the student should continue in the program and areas for improvement where needed.

Graduating Timeline

The dissertation defense must be completed in five years. In extenuating circumstances, extensions not to exceed two years may be granted by the Associate Dean in consultation with the Dissertation Committee.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Students will be withdrawn from the program if they do not meet performance expectations. All course work must be completed (with satisfactory grades) by the end of the second year, the summer paper must be approved by the end of the second year, and the comprehensive exam must be passed before the start of the third year. In extenuating circumstances, the Doctoral Committee, on the recommendation of the department, may grant extensions of up to but not exceeding one year, for the timelines above. Engagement in research activities of the department and progress toward proposal and the dissertation are critical from year three onward.