UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Finance PhD Program

Program Overview

The Finance PhD program at UNC is a rigorous, five year program designed to train scholars to produce high quality research as faculty members at top universities. The PhD program is specifically designed for students who wish to become Finance faculty members at research universities.

The program is highly quantitative in nature, and as such, new PhD students often have a background in economics, engineering, math, or statistics. Although some students have completed graduate work prior to entry into the PhD program, it is not necessary to have any graduate training. While not required, we do value candidates who have past experience in finance or economics related research.

Visit the Finance area Web site

Program Timeline

  • During the first two years of the PhD program, students focus on course work in order to develop the tools necessary to produce high quality research. Upon entry, each student is assigned to a faculty member who acts as an advisor.
  • In the summer after the first year, each student writes an original research paper under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • By the end of the second year, students take their comprehensive exam. The exam consists of a written exam covering all of the Finance courses taken in the first two years of the PhD program and an oral presentation of the student's current research.
  • After passing the comprehensive exam, students begin the second part of the program where they spend the majority of their time working on research.
  • In the third year, students focus most of their time on their dissertation. During this process, students benefit from close collaboration with faculty members and students have the opportunity to present their research during faculty research seminars.
  • The rest of the program is spent finishing the dissertation and preparing for the job market process.
  • Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a PhD in business administration.


UNC Finance PhD graduates have gone on to tenure track positions at a wide variety of U.S. and international universities including:

  • Columbia University
  • Georgetown University
  • Indiana University
  • Ohio State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rice University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Utah
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University in St. Louis