The Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in finance prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at the university level. The program is highly quantitative, providing a strong foundation in financial and economic theory, as well as in mathematical statistical techniques. Through a program of elective courses and dissertation research, students specialize in particular areas of finance.

A joint Ph.D. in finance (business) and economics is another degree option.

The department’s core areas of research include asset pricing, corporate finance, market microstructure, banking, and finance theory. Our faculty members contribute to significant advancements in the theory and practice of finance, as evidenced by our recently published journal articles.

Academic Requirements

In addition to meeting the UW–Madison Graduate School requirements, students should have the following background:

  • Completed and performed well in basic undergraduate economics or finance courses
  • Completed and performed well in mathematics, calculus, and linear algebra, including statistics and real analysis

General Ph.D. Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements of the specific academic department, all students must meet the general Ph.D. requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business.

Foundation Coursework


  • Theory of Finance
  • Seminar–Investments
  • Seminar–Corporate Finance
  • Topics Seminar–Finance Ph.D.


  • Economic Statistics and Econometrics I
  • Economic Statistics and Econometrics II


  • Economic Theory–Microeconomics Sequence I
  • Economic Theory–Microeconomics Sequence II
  • Economic Theory–Macroeconomics Sequence I OR Economic Theory–Macroeconomics Sequence II


  • Real Analysis (this requirement may be waived if an equivalent has been completed prior to admission)

Coursework in Major Area

In every semester of the program after the first year, students enroll in the Seminar–Workshop in Finance.

At the beginning of the second year, each student proposes a set of three advanced courses that form a coherent package and enhance the student’s research skills. Students are free to choose elective courses offered by the economics, mathematics, or statistics departments. It may also be appropriate to choose courses in computer science, law, psychology, accounting, or other areas taught at UW–Madison.

Finance Workshop and Brown Bag Seminar

Students attend the weekly finance workshop and are strongly encouraged to attend the weekly brown bag seminar. Each Ph.D. student makes a presentation in either the workshop or the brown bag seminar of either a thesis proposal or a literature survey. In addition, each student gives a workshop presentation of their dissertation research.

Summer Papers

During the first summer, each student completes a literature review paper. During the second summer, each student completes a research paper on a finance topic. The topic may be either theoretical or empirical, and should contain elements of original research that extend the existing literature. Finance faculty members may provide guidance during the paper’s development. Each student makes an oral presentation of the paper to the finance faculty.

Faculty Research Interests

Research interests:
  • Measures of risk and asymmetries in risk
  • Momentum and reversal in stock market returns
  • Liquidity in financial markets
Research interests:
  • Financial intermediation
  • Market microstructure
  • Information economics
  • Search and matching theory
Research interests:
  • Consumer credit
  • Bankruptcy
  • Foreclosures
  • Banking industry dynamics
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Derivatives
  • Econometrics of financial markets
  • Equilibrium modeling
Research interests:
  • Investment management
  • Wealth management
  • Liquidity
Research interests:
  • Financial intermediation
  • Financial regulation
  • Economic and financial networks
  • Corporate finance
  • Portfolio theory
Research interests:
  • Banking and financial institutions
  • Monetary economics and policy
Research interests:
  • Business cycles
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial institutions and markets
  • Financial regulation
Research interests:
  • Corporate finance
  • Corporate investment
  • Executive compensation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Intangible capital
Research interests:
  • Corporate financial policy
  • Corporate risk management
  • Corporate finance and industrial organization
  • Capital market imperfections and stability
  • International finance
Research interests:
  • Financial education and development of financial capability
  • Financial markets
Research interests:
  • Growth and development economics
  • Financial economics
  • Macroeconomics
Research interests:
  • Financial markets
  • Asset pricing
  • Trading strategies
Research interests:
  • Banking
  • Macroeconomics
  • Monetary and financial economics
  • Evolutionary foundations of economic behavior
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Financial econometrics
Research interests:
  • Monetary, macro, and labor economics
  • Asset pricing

Connect with Current Students Specializing in Finance

We encourage you to contact our doctoral students in finance to hear their perspectives on the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program.

View current student profiles

Connect with Students Specializing in Finance and Economics

Some Ph.D. students choose the joint degree in finance and economics. Feel free to contact them about the program.

View current student profiles

See Our Placement Results

Graduates of our Ph.D. specialization in finance have accepted tenure-track positions at top research universities.

View recent placements