Finance PhD FAQs
When is your due date?
Our deadline is December 15. We will still accept applications until February 15, but cannot guarantee an application that is submitted/completed after the December 15 deadline will be considered for admission.
What factors/characteristics do you consider most relevant in PhD students and that you plan to weigh in admissions?
The most relevant factors are strong letters of recommendation, test scores, academic records, and a clear rationale for research interests. There is no particular test scores cutoff, but most current students have Quant scores in the 95th percentile and above.
Do I have to have a GRE/GMAT score?
Yes. The Department of Finance has opted to not waive the test scores and it is required to be considered for the program.
As an international student, do I have to have a TOEFL/IELTS? Can I substitute the DuoLingo English test?
For international students, a TOEFL score of 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or IELTS, an overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination is required. This is a university requirement and not something we can waive. Further, the DuoLingo English test is not accepted at the University. For more information regarding exemptions and submitting scores, please follow this link.
Would I be able to have a job during my time in the PhD program?
Likely not, as our doctoral students keep a full graduate course load of classes (9 hours), as well as a 20 hour TA appointment, as well as weekly doctoral events such as research seminars.
How many students are selected for each cohort?
We typically receive 150+ applications and we generally admit 5-7 students, while 3-4 students join each cohort.
Do you encourage students to connect with a faculty member that they would like to do research under before applying?
We ask applicants to not connect with faculty members ahead of time as our Graduate Advisor pairs accepted students with faculty members for their Teaching Assistant appointments based on aligned research interests, and personalities. This typically turns into a research relationship and many students use the faculty they TA for as members of their dissertation committee as the relationship grows over the years.
What kind of financial aid is available?
All candidates receive competitive funding packages upon admittance to our program. This includes fellowship funding (through the Graduate School, or through McCombs), a 20 hour TA appointment (this affords our students a health insurance benefit, as well as something called ‘TRB’ or ‘Tuition Reduction Benefit’ which is applied directly to your tuition cost, and other tuition waivers). The TA appointment also comes with a stipend that students receive monthly. Additional funding is not guaranteed.
What skills should I focus on developing prior to the program?
Additional preparation in Math, Statistics, and Economics is probably the most helpful. Programming skills are also relevant but to a lesser extent.
How is the student-faculty interaction?
In general, students meet with their advisors weekly, but there is some variation among faculty members; some will meet more frequently while others will meet less often. In terms of research collaboration, students develop research independently, with strong faculty guidance, but it is also common to see students co-authoring papers with faculty.
How do I get an application fee waiver?
Application fee waivers are offered through the Graduate School of Admissions and are only offered to US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The policies regarding fee waivers can be found here.