Ph.D. in Finance

Ph.D. in Finance

An international reputation for academic excellence

Finance faculty at Boston College are experts in their disciplines and globally acclaimed for their scholarship, research, and mentorship. In our collegial environment, students typically collaborate with one another and with faculty to produce groundbreaking research.

The academic program begins with systematic, rigorous training in quantitative methods, economics, and finance. In addition, students complete a major research project, serve as research and teaching assistants, and write a doctoral dissertation.

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 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.


Students must complete a program of study that leads to competency in three areas: quantitative methods, economics and finance. The requirements of the program of study are typically satisfied by completing 14 courses in the first two years in the program. In some cases, course work prior to entering the program or successful performance on waiver examinations may be substituted for required courses. However, each student must complete a minimum of 12 courses while in the Program.

Comprehensive Examination

Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination marks the student’s transition from course work to full-time thesis research. The examination is intended to allow the student to demonstrate substantial knowledge of the literature and theory of finance and economics and competence in the area of quantitative methods. The examination consists of two steps.

  • Step 1: Students take an exam at the end of the second year in the program (late May). The exam covers all Finance Ph.D. classes taken during the first and the second year in the program. Whereas some of the questions will be specific and will test a particular topic, other questions will focus on broader understanding of the literature. Each student will be notified on their exam performance, immediately after it has been graded. There will be no second attempt to take the exam. If a student fails the exam, the only way to get admitted into “Ph.D. candidacy” would be to perform exceptionally well in Step 2.
  • Step 2: Students submit independent research proposals by the end of the summer of the second year in the program (late August) to their faculty advisors. Students present research papers at the end of the third Fall semester (early December). Ph.D. committee members will attend the presentation and will jointly evaluate the proposal. Students will be evaluated based on their performance in the exam (step 1) and the quality of research paper presentation (step 2).


Doctoral students are expected to engage early in research. 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.

Research and Teaching Assistant Requirement

Doctoral students at the Carroll School are expected to serve as research assistants, teaching assistants, and/or instructors throughout their studies. Students work for a set number of hours per week, throughout the duration of their Ph.D. programs. In exchange, the Carroll School provides financial support for doctoral students in the form of a stipend and tuition remission.

Sample Course Sequence

Course Descriptions

 Microeconomic Theory I
 Ph.D. Seminar: Advanced Topics in Capital Markets
 Microeconomic Theory II
 Econometric Methods
 Macroeconomic Theory II
 Ph.D. Seminar: Corporate Finance
 RA/TA Work
 Ph.D. Seminar: Asset Pricing
 Ph.D. Seminar: Advanced Topics in Corporate Finance
 Ph.D. Seminar: Topics in Empirical Corporate Finance
 RA/TA Work

 Ph.D. Seminar: Advanced Topics in Asset Pricing
 Ph.D. Seminar: Research Topics in Finance
 Ph.D. Seminar: Research Topics in Behavioral Finance
 RA/TA Work


 Research Paper
 Research Paper Defense
 RA/TA Work

 RA/TA Work
 RA/TA Work

 Dissertation Proposal Defense
 RA/TA Work

 Dissertation Research and Writing
 RA/TA Work

 Dissertation Research and Writing
 Dissertation Defense
 RA/TA Work

The Ph.D. Program in Finance at the Carroll School attracts applicants from all over the world and from a wide array of backgrounds. While notable for the diversity of their individual achievements, our students typically share a track record of leadership, a strong commitment to research and teaching, and a desire to make a difference in the world.

Note: The following information reflects data for the entering classes of 2019–2023. Updated September 25, 2023.

Class Size

YearClass Size
Overall Selectivity6%



Average Age29
Age Range23-37
International Students

Academic & Professional Profile

 Average GMAT Score
 GMAT 80th Percentile Range
 Average GRE Score 327
 GRE 80th Percentile Range
 Average Undergraduate GPA 3.69
 Average Full-Time Work Experience
 2 years
 Students Holding Master's Degree

Where do our graduates work?

Our students and recent graduates are also prolific scholars and writers, publishing regularly in top economic and finance journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

American University

Arizona State University

Baruch College (City University of New York)

Bocconi University

DePaul University

Fordham University

George Washington University

Indiana University


Lehigh University

Louisiana State University

Michigan State University

National University of Singapore

Texas A&M University

The College of William and Mary

University of Alberta

University of Arizona

University of Georgia

University of Minnesota

University of New South Wales

University of Notre Dame

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

University of Virginia (Darden School)  

University of Hong Kong

Villanova University

Virginia Tech University

Meet Our Students

Learn more about current Ph.D. in Finance candidates.

Finance Faculty

Faculty take an active role connecting students with exceptional career opportunities. 

Ph.D. Admission FAQ

Are international students required to apply for a visa before they apply for admission to the Carroll School?
<p>No, international students do not need to submit visa-related materials at the time of application. However, once you confirm your enrollment, Boston College’s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS)</a>&nbsp;will work with you to ensure that your materials are prepared in a timely fashion to complete your visa application and I-20 appointment.</p>
Are international students required to submit financial documents with their applications?
<p>No, international students do not need to submit financial documents during the initial application process. Financial documents are only required for enrolled students. You will need to submit your original financial documents after you’ve received the Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF) form.</p>
Can I visit a Ph.D. class?
<p>Unfortunately, we do not offer Ph.D. class visits through the Graduate Admissions Office. If you would like to gain a better understanding of our Ph.D. programs and meet with current students or faculty members, please contact the&nbsp;Accounting,&nbsp;Finance, or&nbsp;Organization Studies&nbsp;Ph.D. director.</p>
Do I need to have an interview to be admitted into the Ph.D. program?
<p>Interviews for the Ph.D. program are available by invitation of the Admissions Committee only.</p>
How much funding will I receive from the Carroll School of Management to pursue my Ph.D. program?
<p>Effective for incoming students in Fall 2024, the financial support for doctoral students is $43,000 per year in addition to full tuition remission.&nbsp;A student in good standing may receive this support for a maximum of five years. In return for this support, students serve as research and/or teaching assistants throughout the duration of their Ph.D. programs.</p> <p>This support is based on the fact that students are expected to devote their full energies to the Ph.D. program during the entire calendar year, not just the academic year.</p>
How selective is the Ph.D. in Accounting program?
<p>We aim to enroll two to four doctoral candidates each year. We receive around 75 applications to the Ph.D. in Accounting program each year. Please review our&nbsp;<a href="/content/bc-web/schools/carroll-school/graduate/phd-programs/phd-accounting.html">class profile</a>&nbsp;to see how your scores and grades compare to those of our current students.</p>
How selective is the Ph.D. in Finance program?
<p>We aim to enroll four doctoral candidates each year. We receive around 150 applications to the Ph.D. in Finance program each year. Please review our&nbsp;<a href="">class profile</a>&nbsp;to see how your scores and grades compare to those of our current students.</p>
How selective is the Ph.D. in Organization Studies program?
<p>We aim to enroll four doctoral candidates each year. We receive around 75 applications to the Ph.D. in Organization Studies program each year. Please review our&nbsp;<a href="/content/bc-web/schools/carroll-school/graduate/phd-programs/phd-organizational-studies.html#tab-class_profile" target="_blank">class profile</a>&nbsp;to see how your scores and grades compare to those of our current students.</p>


Application Link & Deadlines

Apply Now

Application Deadline: The deadline to apply for Fall 2024 is January 9, 2024.

Application Fee: All applicants are required to pay a nonrefundable application fee of $100 USD.

Interviews: If selected, applicants will be invited to interview in early spring.

Admission Decisions: Applications are generally reviewed after the final deadline has passed. There is no specific decision notification date for Ph.D. programs. Final decisions are typically available by mid-spring.

CV and Resume

Your current curriculum vitae should include your education, research, and professional information.

We also require a separate Employment History, using the form provided within the online application.



Recommendations from two individuals who can provide an objective appraisal of your capacity for intensive graduate study and potential for professional success.


All applicants must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. You must submit transcripts from every institution where you were enrolled in a degree-granting program. At the time of application, only a self-reported transcript is required but if you are admitted, we will require an official transcript sent directly from your degree-granting institution. Transcripts should include:

  • Course names

  • All grades received (including transfer credits and study abroad programs)

  • Cumulative GPA

  • Degree conferral information

Graduates of non-U.S. institutions must possess a college or university degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. If admitted, international students are required to submit an official English translation of all academic credentials, along with a third-party degree verification from an agency such as SpanTran or World Education Services (WES).

GMAT or GRE Scores

Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores from within the past five years. We accept both the GMAT Exam and GMAT Focus Edition. Our test codes are:

  • GMAT school code: 44x-J5-96
  • GRE school code: 3033

While Graduate Admissions does not have a preference between the GMAT or GRE, we encourage you to consult class profile data for average test scores in order to gauge where you stand.

English Proficiency

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you are required to submit an English language proficiency exam score with your application. We accept TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. We do not accept the Duolingo English Test.

Scores must be from within the past two years, and applicants must meet the following minimum scores:

  • TOEFL, iBT, and TOEFL iBT Home Edition: 100

  • IELTS: 7.5

  • PTE: 68

You are eligible to waive the language test requirement if you meet either of the following criteria:

  • You have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two-year master’s degree (or higher) at an institution where the medium language of instruction is English. You must have completed your degree in its entirety at the English-medium institution. The medium language of instruction must be indicated on your transcript or verified in an official letter from the institution.

  • You have worked in a full-time, post-degree position for at least two years in the United States or a country where English is an official language. NOTE: Working for a company that conducts its business in English in a country where English is not an official language will not qualify you for a language test waiver. 

If you are eligible to waive the language test requirement, you do not need to submit a waiver request beforehand and can simply move forward with your application.

Required & Optional Essays

Applicants must submit a required essay discussing their research interests and career objectives. You may also submit an optional essay that addresses aspects of your candidacy that have not already been covered in other parts of the application.


If you have any further questions, please email us at, or schedule a phone call or Zoom appointment with a member of the Graduate Admission team.

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