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

Arvind Krishnamurthy, Zhiguo He
American Economic Journal Macroeconomics (Forthcoming).
Juliane Begenau
Journal of Financial Economics (accepted).
Xavier Giroud, Joshua D. Rauh
Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming).

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

January 15, 2019
A Stanford study indicates they make poor investment decisions because they’re overly influenced by campaign contributions and political considerations.
Investors arguing in a board room. Credit: iStock/Martin Barraud
January 10, 2019
The president is browbeating the Federal Reserve, but a Stanford finance professor says it’s a bad idea that won’t work.
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell arrives at his news conference after the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on interest rate policy in Washington. Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas
December 19, 2018
Stanford GSB faculty recommend books, articles, and movies related to the concept.
A contemplative figure. Credit: Jocelyn Tsaih