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

Journal Article|
Matthias Fleckenstein, Francis A. Longstaff, Hanno Lustig
The Review of Financial Studies. August
2017, Vol. 30, Issue 8, Pages 2719-2760
Anat R. Admati
Journal of Economic Perspectives. July
2017, Vol. 31, Issue 3, Pages 131-150
Sumit Agarwal, gene Amromin, Itzhak Ben-David, Souphala Chomsisengphat, Tomasz Piskorski, Amit Seru
Journal of Political Economy. June
2017, Vol. 125, Issue 3, Pages 654-712

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

August 14, 2017
A Stanford professor skewers a few fallacies often advanced by politicians and regulators.
The New York Stock Exchange from the steps of Federal Hall behind a statue of former U.S. President George Washington. | Reuters/Brendan McDermid
July 25, 2017
A federal judge says fear of prison is the best way to deter bad behavior.
Hands grip the bars of a jail cell | iStock/chinaface
June 7, 2017
Labor’s share of national income is shrinking. But don’t hit the barricades just yet.
A laborer builds components of wind turbines at a wind power equipment factory. | Reuters/China Daily