Finance

The field of finance covers the economics of claims on resources. Financial economists study the valuation of these claims, the markets in which they are traded, and their use by individuals, corporations, and the society at large.

At Stanford GSB, finance faculty and doctoral students study a wide spectrum of financial topics, including the pricing and valuation of assets, the behavior of financial markets, and the structure and financial decision-making of firms and financial intermediaries.

Investigation of issues arising in these areas is pursued both through the development of theoretical models and through the empirical testing of those models. The PhD Program is designed to give students a good understanding of the methods used in theoretical modeling and empirical testing.

Preparation and Qualifications

All students are required to have, or to obtain during their first year, mathematical skills at the level of one year of calculus and one course each in linear algebra and matrix theory, theory of probability, and statistical inference.

Students are expected to have adequate programming skills using languages such as Fortran, C, MATLAB, or GAUSS, or to correct any deficiencies before enrolling at Stanford.

The PhD Program in finance involves a great deal of very hard work, and there is keen competition for admission. For both these reasons, the faculty is selective in offering admission. Prospective applicants must have an aptitude for quantitative work and be at ease in handling formal models. A strong background in economics and college-level mathematics is desirable.

It is particularly important to realize that a PhD in finance is not a higher-level MBA, but an advanced, academically oriented degree in financial economics, with a reflective and analytical, rather than operational, viewpoint.

Recent Journal Articles in Finance

Christopher Hennessy, Akitada Kasahara, Ilya A. Strebulaev
Journal of Financial Economics. March
2020, Vol. 135, Issue 3, Pages 555–576
Barney Hartman-Glaser, Benjamin Hébert
Journal of Finance. February
2020, Vol. 75, Issue 1, Pages 463-506
Paul Pfleiderer
Economica. January
2020, Vol. 87, Issue 345, Pages 81-107

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

March 26, 2020
An open letter drafted by Stanford professors says the coronavirus stimulus package should benefit workers — not corporations and their wealthy shareholders.
Restaurant staff clean the floor after closing early afternoon following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York City, U.S., March 16, 2020. Credit: Reuters/Jeenah Moon
February 14, 2020
We don’t have to choose between capitalism and socialism. What we need is a system in which corporations can thrive without distorting the economy — or democracy itself.
A photo illustration of the face of Benjamin Franklin on the hundred dollar bill peeking out from behind the U.S. Flag. Credit: iStock/Bill Oxford
December 6, 2019
Stanford GSB professors recommend the books they’re most likely to give as presents over this year’s holiday season.
A stack of books being unwrapped. Credit: iStock/Thinglass