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Prepare for a distinguished scholarly career with a Gies PhD in Finance

Bring your interest in an academic career in finance to Gies, and you’ll leave prepared to teach and publish research at the top business schools. Our students complete a career path toward academia by entering this intellectually-stimulating environment and learning from the best in the field.

The research emphasis for our Finance PhD program is built on a close collaboration between faculty and students, stemming from the fact that we keep total enrollment around 15 students. During a typical week, the Finance Department hosts three seminars: two when faculty from other universities present research and the other when the Department’s PhD students and faculty present their work in progress. This lively research environment leads to active, intellectual discussions and is a major factor behind the Department’s prolific research output. Not only do we excel at research, but our faculty and doctoral students win more than their share of teaching awards.

Your success will stem from an academic program that first immerses the student in rigorous financial training. Small class sizes equate to close collaboration in the classroom. This consistently produces opportunities to co-author on leading-edge research published in the top finance and economics journals.

Jiekun Huang

"With over 20 tenure-stream faculty specializing in a diverse set of fields and less than 15 PhD students, our program provides students with the opportunity to explore a range of research areas and receive personalized mentoring from faculty members. The collaborative and productive environment has helped our students to launch successful careers in research and teaching at the world’s leading academic institutions."

Jiekun Huang
Director of the Finance PhD Program
Professor of Finance and Vernon Zimmerman Faculty Fellow

Establish your expertise, learn to build research the right way

When you immerse yourself in PhD coursework for Finance, you will encounter a rigorous curriculum covering the core elements of finance, economics, and statistics. Delving further into aspects of finance, you will learn about asset pricing, investments, corporate finance, and financial intermediation. Additionally, you can choose from concentrations in real estate or insurance. By establishing your area of interest, you will build the knowledge necessary to form a future in research and teaching.

Designed for completion in four to five years, this program allows you to begin the research process as quickly as possible. Classroom instruction will lead you to confidently take on a qualifying exam at the end of your first year. Next, students pass a formal review of their second year paper. This leaves the remaining time available for you to truly delve into dissertation research.

As you build an expertise around the research you’re passionate about, interactions with our top faculty leave you prepared to express this newfound knowledge to a future classroom of your own students.

Research that begins here changes the world

At Gies, the resources are here for you to come into our Finance program and deliver groundbreaking research to the world. As you work closely with the Finance faculty, your research will benefit from our connections with top-tier journals, editorial boards, and leadership positions throughout academic societies.

PhD students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty like Mao Ye, Associate Professor of Finance, who are making a difference around the globe. Ye’s work will include investigation with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to lay the groundwork for future public policy as it relates to cyber-traders in an era of big data. To spur this effort forward, Ye received a grant from the National Science Foundation awarding more than $400,000 over the next four years. As he progresses, the research will impact experts and policy-makers who need to understand the full spectrum of cyber-trading.

Make your mark at Gies, make a difference for future students

Completion of the PhD program in Finance puts you in a position to succeed in the world of academic research.

The vast majority of graduates choose a future in academics, and we are proud that they have landed careers with institutions including Boston College, Case Western Reserve University, London Business School, Michigan State University, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Notre Dame, and many more.

Ruidi Huang

“High-quality doctoral coursework, weekly seminars by leading scholars, and easy access to world-renowned faculty members make the Illinois Finance PhD program truly great. Now that I’ve accepted a position with Southern Methodist University as an Assistant Professor of Finance, there is no doubt that my experience at Gies put me in position to capitalize on any opportunity.”

Ruidi Huang, Class of 2019

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