Finance, PhD

The department prepares students for careers in research and teaching at the world’s leading academic institutions, focusing on Asset Pricing and Portfolio Management, Corporate Finance, International Finance, Financial Institutions and Macroeconomics.

Wharton’s Finance faculty, widely recognized as the finest in the world, have been at the forefront of several areas of research. For example, members of the faculty have led modern innovations in theories of portfolio choice and savings behavior, which have significantly impacted the asset pricing techniques used by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. Another example is the contribution by faculty members to the analysis of financial institutions and markets, which is fundamental to our understanding of the trade-offs between economic systems and their implications for financial fragility and crises.

Faculty research, both empirical and theoretical, includes such areas as:

  • Structure of financial markets
  • Formation and behavior of financial asset prices
  • Banking and monetary systems
  • Corporate control and capital structure
  • Saving and capital formation
  • International financial markets

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

Required Courses

The course of study for the Ph.D. in Finance requires the completion of 18 graduate course units.

Core Requirements
Complete the following:8
Microeconomic Theory I
Microeconomic Theory II
Econometrics or Statistics
Select one of the following sequences:
Econometrics I: Fundamentals
and Econometrics II: Methods & Models
Applied Econometrics I
and Applied Econometrics II
Finance Core
Financial Economics
Corporate Finance and Financial Institutions
Introduction to Empirical Methods in Finance
Intertemporal Macroeconomics and Finance
Finance Electives
Select four of the following:4
Continuous-Time Financial Economics
Financial Economics Under Imperfect Information
Topics in Asset Pricing
Empirical Methods in Corporate Finance
Topics in Corporate Finance
International Finance
Empirical Methods In Asset Pricing
Topics in Macro Finance
Additional Coursework
Select six additional courses 16
Total Course Units18

Students can satisfy these additional course credits in the following ways.
1. Transfer Credits
2. Electives from Other Departments: Economics, Statistics, Accounting, Mathematics, etc.
3. Seminar Courses: Students should limit seminar courses (FNCE 9500s) to a maximum of three (3). These credits require students to attend weekly seminars and write referee reports. A permit is required. The PhD Program Coordinator must approve before a permit is issued.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
Microeconomic Theory I
Financial Economics
Intertemporal Macroeconomics and Finance
Econometrics I: Fundamentals
and Applied Econometrics I
Microeconomic Theory II
Corporate Finance and Financial Institutions
Introduction to Empirical Methods in Finance
Econometrics II: Methods & Models
and Applied Econometrics II
First-Year Paper Due in September
Preliminary Exam 1

Usually given in June after the student's first year in the program.  If the student fails, he/she can take the following June.  If the students fails the exam twice, the student will not normally be allowed to stay in the program.