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Carroll School of Management Graduate Programs


Doctoral students in finance at Boston College complete a program of study that leads to competency in three areas: quantitative methods, economics, and finance.

The program begins with course work in the theory of quantitative methods, economics, and finance. In the third year, students complete a major research project designed to develop their ability to do original research. Through hands-on experience as teaching assistants, students gain important pedagogical experience. Finally, each student completes a doctoral dissertation that contributes substantial, original work to the field of finance.

PhD candidates in finance must complete three doctoral courses in quantitative methods, two in economics, four in finance, and several electives. These requirements are typically satisfied by taking 16 courses in the first three years of the program (see Course Sequence for details). In some cases, coursework completed prior to entering the program may be substituted for required courses; however, each student must complete a minimum of 12 courses while in the program.

Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination marks the transition from coursework to full-time thesis research, typically no more than three months after the completion of the second year of studies. Students are expected to demonstrate substantial knowledge of the literature and theory of finance and economics, and competence in quantitative methods.

Doctoral students are expected to engage early in research; by the end of the third year, students submit an independent research paper. The culmination of the program is the doctoral dissertation, a substantial, significant, and original contribution to the field that is prepared under the guidance of a thesis committee of three or more faculty members. When the research is complete, students present a thesis-defense seminar that is open to the Boston College community.

Doctoral students at the Carroll School are expected to serve as research or teaching assistants throughout their studies. Typically, a student works as a research assistant for 15 hours a week during the first two years of the program, then teaches one course per semester or acts as a research assistant in the third and fourth years. In exchange, the Carroll School provides financial support for doctoral students in the form of a stipend and tuition remission.