Finance

The field of finance covers the economics of claims on resources. For example, money is a claim on goods and services; stocks and bonds and futures contracts are all claims on money or on commodities.

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

Darrell Duffie, Antje Berndt, Rohan Douglas, Mark Ferguson
Review of Finance, forthcoming.
2018
Benjamin Hébert
The Review of Economic Studies (forthcoming). December
22, 2017
Shai Bernstein, Emanuele Colonnelli, Benjamin Iverson
Journal of Finance (forthcoming). November
2017

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

February 7, 2018
When the economy stumbles, so too does an employee’s interest in thinking outside the box.
Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing a graph of market data | Reuters/Yuriko Naka
December 8, 2017
A new big data analysis spanning 200 years of patents shows that innovation bursts in the 1800s had greater social impact.
Photo illustration of early sewing factory and computer chip. | Tricia Seibold (with art from iStock/elen11)
November 21, 2017
It’s time to replace LIBOR, the beleaguered benchmark that determines adjustable interest rates. But how?
People walk through the Royal Exchange with the Bank of England (R) seen behind in central London. | REUTERS/Toby Melville