Earn a Ph.D. In Finance And Learn From And Work With Top Faculty Members
The Ph.D. in Finance at Rice University prepares doctoral graduates to be superior classroom instructors and research scholars in financial economics upon graduation.
Our emphasis on research productivity, collaboration and collegiality is reflected in the students’ high completion rate in the program and the faculty’s commitment to the success of their students.
Deeply invested in the path their students take, the finance faculty believe in an open-door policy and collegial atmosphere during the program and after graduation. The essence of the finance doctoral program is the opportunity to learn from and work with top quality faculty members on a broad range of topics in modern finance.
Discussing and debating my ideas with professors at Rice Business honed the ideas into specific and testable questions. When time is a person's most precious commodity and people who give it to you believe strongly in what you are doing, you know you're in the right place.
Lizzy Berger, Ph.D. in Finance '16
Assistant Professor of Finance, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
Rice Business offers an outstanding program for doctoral students interested in finance.
Full financial assistance will be offered to each admitted student in the Ph.D. in Finance program in the form of a research assistantship, where the student must work as a research assistant for assigned faculty members. The financial assistance is merit-based and is contingent on continued satisfactory progress (which includes prior satisfactory performance as a research assistant).
Full tuition support is available for each year of full-time study, conditional on satisfactory progress in the doctoral program.
Admitted students will be offered stipend support of $40,000 per fiscal year*. This stipend is available for each year of full-time study, conditional on satisfactory progress in the doctoral program.
Research and Academic Support
Each student will be provided with a workspace, a personal computer with office software**, including all necessary (as determined by area faculty) statistical packages and access to the Rice University network, library access, online academic journals access and e-mail. Each student will also have available $1,000 per year for miscellaneous research and academic expenses such as text books required for classes, computer upgrades, conference travel etc. Students may roll over unused monies from one year to the next.
*A condition for such stipend support is that the student must not engage in outside work for pay without prior permission from the Ph.D. program director. An incoming student bringing outside financial support in the form of a merit-based or fellowship will still be eligible to receive the stipend in full in addition to such outside support. If a student in the third year or beyond generates such outside support, the Rice Business stipend will be decreased by 50 percent of the outside support.
**The computer will be refreshed after successful defense of the dissertation proposal. Instead, students completing their third year of study may be eligible for a computer refresh if needed and with the recommendation of their advisor.
Most coursework is completed in the first three years of the Ph.D. program. Students are expected to be in residence throughout the calendar year. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the student's dissertation chairperson, area advisor, and the director of the Ph.D. program.
All Ph.D. students are required to complete a doctoral dissertation and must maintain at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average. Students must defend their dissertation research proposal within a maximum of five years from the time of matriculation and defend their dissertation within a maximum of seven years from the time of matriculation.
Year Task Year One
- Complete course work during fall and spring semesters
- Begin working on research with area faculty
- Complete course work during fall and spring semesters
- Continue working on research with area faculty through the year
- Take comprehensive exam
- Take specialized courses as needed during fall and/or spring semesters
- Produce working paper(s) on research with area faculty
- Work on dissertation research
- Defend dissertation research proposal by summer
- Finish work on dissertation research
- Defend dissertation
Your coursework over the first two years, which should cover a minimum of nine courses, will be determined by you in consultation with the finance area faculty advisor.
You must defend your dissertation research proposal within a maximum of five years from the time of matriculation and defend your dissertation within a maximum of seven years from the time of matriculation.
These times represent generous upper limits. Students will be expected to complete their doctoral studies well within these stipulated deadlines.
Course, Research Work and Dissertation Advisor
- The student’s course work must be approved by the area faculty advisor.
- The student is expected to attend all research seminars organized in the finance area during the student’s tenure in the Ph.D. program. Moreover, during each semester of the second and third years, the student must write a short summary and critical comments on two papers presented in the research seminar during the semester. These reviews are to be submitted to the area advisor and will be graded by a subset of area faculty for a Pass/Fail grade.
- Students are expected to be fully engaged in research during all the summers, including the summer of their first year, of their tenure in the Ph.D. program.
- Students must have a Rice Business finance faculty member who has agreed to serve as their dissertation advisor by January 1 of their third year in the program.
- Students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam administered by the finance faculty at the end of the fall semester of the second year. The exam will be administered and graded by finance faculty, under the supervision of the finance area advisor.
Third-Year Research Paper
Each student must write and present a sole-authored original research paper during their third year in the program. The paper must be presented by October 15 of the student's third year in the program. The specific procedures are as follows:
- By March 1 of the student’s second year in the program, two Rice Business faculty members must agree to serve as readers of the paper.
- A student must submit a detailed outline of the paper and a copy of the Third-Year Paper Outline Approval Form, signed by the two faculty readers, to the finance area advisor by June 1 following the student's second year in the program. The outline for an empirical paper should include: (1) the research hypothesis, 2) motivation for the research hypothesis, (3) description of the data, (4) description of the empirical tests, and (5) the expected contribution to the literature. The outline for an analytical paper should include: (1) the basic phenomenon under study, (2) the economic setting, (3) the modeling approach, (4) the fundamental assumptions, and (5) the expected contribution to the literature. The outline should also include references to the related literature investigating the research topic and to any studies underpinning the analytical methods to be used.
- A student must submit a copy of the completed third-year paper to the finance faculty advisor and to the two faculty readers by September 15 of the student's third year in the program.
- A student must present the third-year paper at a research workshop at a date chosen by the faculty during the first half of October of the student's third year in the program and at least one of the faculty readers must be present and sign the Third-Year Paper Presentation Form, stating that the presentation is acceptable.
Failure to complete the Third-Year Paper requirement, as outlined above, will mean that the student is not making satisfactory academic progress in the Ph.D. Program and is grounds for dismissal from the doctoral program.
Sample Course Sequence
The course curriculum is designed around a challenging course of study in both the theory of financial economics and in cutting edge empirical work. Here is a sample course sequence for a doctoral student in finance. BUSI 524, 525, 526, and 527 are half-semester courses on special topics in finance taught biennially. Students should consult the finance area advisor regarding whether to substitute a more advanced math course for Math 321 in the fall of the first year.
Year 1 - Summer (May 23 - August 15)
Math Camp and Stat Camp
Year 1 - Fall
ECON 501 - Microeconomic Theory I
ECON 502 - Macroeconomics I
MATH 321 Introduction to Analysis I
ECON 510 - Econometrics I
Year 1 - Spring
ECON 508 - Microeconomic Theory II
ECON 511 Econometrics II
BUSI 521 Asset Pricing Theory
Year 2 - Fall
BUSI 524 or BUSI 525
BUSI 523 - Empirical Methods in Finance
BUSI 522 - Corporate Finance
Year 2 - Spring
BUSI 526 or BUSI 527
Year 3 - Fall
BUSI 524 or BUSI 525
Year 3 - Spring
BUSI 526 or BUSI 527
BUSI 521: Asset Pricing Theory
This course is an introduction to portfolio choice and asset pricing theory. Topics include expected utility maximization, stochastic discount factors, arbitrage, mean-variance analysis, representative investors, and beta-pricing models. Single-period and dynamic models are studied.
BUSI 522: Corporate Finance
The purpose of this course is to provide a background for understanding the major research directions in corporate finance. Topics include theory of the firm, capital structure, external financing decisions, payout policy, agency problems, corporate control and governance, investment decisions, and the role of financial institutions in corporate transactions.
BUSI 523: Empirical Methods in Finance
This course is an introduction to empirical research in finance, covering the techniques most often used in the analysis and testing of financial economic theory. The course covers both time-series and cross section methods. Topics include event studies, empirical tests of asset pricing models, forecasting relationships, return predictability in the time-series and cross-section, asset pricing anomalies, and specification and identification issues in corporate finance.
BUSI 524, 525, 526, 527: Advanced Topics in Finance
These are half-semester courses covering various topics in financial economics.
Certification of Candidacy indicates that a student has reached the advanced stage of the Ph.D. Program, permitting him/her to devote full time to writing a dissertation. At least eight months must elapse between admission to candidacy and conferral of the degree. The requirements for candidacy are:
- Successful completion of the course work requirements.
- Successful completion of the examination requirements.
- Emmanuel Yimfor, Assistant Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
- Michael Dong, Assistant Professor, College of Business, California State University Long Beach
- Justin Balthrop, Assistant Professor, School of Business, University of Kansas
- Jonathan Bitting, Assistant Professor, Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University
- Ron Ruomeng Liu, Assistant Professor, College of Business, University of Nebraska
- Alberto Teguia, Assistant Professor, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia
- Erik Mayer, Assistant Professor, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
- Ioannis Spyridopoulos, Assistant Professor, Kogod School of Business, American University
Every year, we have a diverse group of applicants for the finance Ph.D. program. Successful applicants have been music majors, engineers, newly graduated undergraduates, MBAs, Ph.D.s in other fields, economists, finance majors, computer scientists, and financial professionals. Although applicants who have strong backgrounds in mathematics, economics, and statistics and demonstrate proficiency in spoken and written English are among the most competitive in our applicant pool, we give all applicants due consideration.
Successful candidates for admission typically have had GMAT scores between 710 and 760. Roughly half of admitted candidates take the GRE instead of the GMAT and have comparable scores. In the spring, we arrange for finalists come to campus to see the school and meet the faculty.
The business school accepts students for full-time study beginning in the fall semester each year.
International applicants whose native language is not English need to submit a TOEFL score. If you applied to Rice Business previously, we ask that you submit the complete application package again regardless of the previous decision. You will be required to use a new e-mail address to start a new application.
An applicant must declare finance as their intended area of study while applying to the Ph.D. in Finance program. Selected candidates will be notified of admission decisions via e-mail no later than April 15. Candidates who submitted an application to the doctoral program and were not offered admission may re-apply for a later year.
Unlike MBA program applicants, Ph.D. program applicants are not required to have work experience. While experience is certainly helpful, evidence of strong intellectual ability is the most important factor.
Online Application: Using the online application, you will create a user account for the creation, submission and status of your application, including receipt of your supplemental documentation.
Application Requirements: To be considered for admission, the following documents must be received no later than the posted application deadline:
- Completed online Jones Graduate School of Business Ph.D. application including a Personal Statement Essay and CV/Résumé.
- Three confidential evaluations. Evaluations may be submitted using the online application recommendation feature or mailed separately in an envelope sealed and signed across the seal by the evaluator.
- Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended. Transcripts must be received in envelopes sealed and signed across the seal by the issuing institution registrar. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable. To be considered, all documents not in English must be accompanied by official English translations. These translations must bear an original ink signature and seal, and translations alone will not be acceptable.
- Official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score report, or GRE score report. (Test taker copy not acceptable.)
- To send your official GMAT score report, go to the GMAT Scores and Reports page on mba.com. The “Rice University Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business – PhD Program” code is 3WS-WD-54.
- To send your official GRE score report, log on to http://www.ets.org, under “Tests” click “GRE”. Under “Test Takers” click “Order Additional Score Reports”. The “Rice U Mgmt PhD Program” code is 6618.
If you did not earn your undergraduate degree in the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, an official score report of your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) taken within 2 years of your application date is required (test-taker copy not acceptable). This requirement is waived for international applicants who have received a Master's degree or a Doctorate from an institution within the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom by the application deadline.
- To send your official TOEFL score report, log on to http://www.ets.org, under “Tests” click “TOEFL” and then “Test Scores.” The “Rice University-Management PhD Program” code is 6618.
A non-refundable application fee of $40 payable via credit card or check. Please make checks payable to Rice University. Applications will not be processed without the required application fee.
Please note that applicants may not apply for, or be considered for, more than one program at a time within the Jones Graduate School.
Minimum GMAT/GRE Score Requirements: While our program is highly competitive, we do not have a minimum GMAT/GRE score requirement.
Supplemental Application Materials: While most of your application materials will be submitted electronically via our online application, materials that must be mailed should be addressed to:
Ph.D. Admissions / MS 531
Jones Graduate School of Business
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005