PhD in Finance

The primary goal of the PhD program in Business Administration with a major in Finance is to prepare students to become productive researchers and professors at institutions of higher learning, or as researchers in government and business. The Finance PhD program emphasizes the ability to conduct original research on important topics in the field of Finance. Because completing a doctoral degree is a difficult and lengthy process, we pay close attention to each student throughout their tenure. The program consists of only a handful of PhD students at any one time, allowing each student to work closely with the faculty and to receive the hands-on training needed to succeed.


New PhD students begin the program in the fall semester, with admission decisions being made early in the spring semester of every other year. Successful applicants typically have a strong quantitative background, though not all have an undergraduate degree in business. Applicants must submit either a GMAT or GRE score, and international applicants that do not hold a degree from an English speaking country must also submit a TOEFL score. Successful applicants typically have GMAT or GRE scores at or above 640, though other factors are considered. Details on the application process may be found at the Office of the Graduate School.

Program of Study

The minimum course requirements for completing the Finance PhD program consist of the following:

  • Eight major courses in finance (24 hours)
  • Three courses in Economics (9 hours)
  • Five research methods courses (15 hours)
  • One teaching methods course (3 hours)

These courses are designed to develop analytical skills and to provide students with a good foundation in theoretical modeling and empirical testing, and they are typically completed over the first two years. Students are expected to take the Quantitative Area Qualifying Exam by the end of their first year of study, and are eligible to take the Written Comprehensive Exam in Finance after successfully completing their second year. After passing the Written Comprehensive Exam in Finance, students begin work on an original research project and present it to the faculty for approval as the dissertation proposal. Work on the dissertation usually lasts two to three years, and a final oral exam, called the dissertation defense, concludes the PhD program.


For specific information about the Finance PhD program at Mississippi State University, please contact the coordinator, Dr. Brandon Cline.

Visit MSU's Office of the Graduate School website for information on admission requirements for US students and International students

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