The Wisconsin PhD 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.

Core Areas of Research

  • Asset Pricing
  • Corporate Finance
  • Market Microstructure
  • Banking
  • 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

All students must meet the general PhD requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business. Applicants 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

Program Coursework

  • Theory of Finance
  • Investments
  • Corporate Finance
  • Economic Statistics and Econometrics I & II
  • Economic Theory–Microeconomics Sequence I & II
  • Economic Theory–Macroeconomics Sequence I OR II
  • Real Analysis (may be waived if an equivalent was completed prior to admission)

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. If applicable, students should work with their advisor to determine if courses in other areas are appropriate.

Students attend the weekly finance workshop and are strongly encouraged to attend the weekly brown bag seminar. Each PhD 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.

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.

See Guide for all course requirements.

Faculty Research Interests

David Brown
Research interests:
  • Measures of risk and asymmetries in risk
  • Momentum and reversal in stock market returns
  • Liquidity in financial markets
Briana Chang
Research interests:
  • Financial intermediation
  • Market microstructure
  • Information economics
  • Search and matching theory
P. Dean Corbae
Research interests:
  • Consumer credit
  • Bankruptcy
  • Foreclosures
  • Banking industry dynamics
Bjorn Eraker
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Derivatives
  • Econometrics of financial markets
  • Equilibrium modeling
Mark Fedenia
Research interests:
  • Investment management
  • Wealth management
  • Liquidity
James Johannes
Research interests:
  • Banking and financial institutions
  • Monetary economics and policy
Robert Krainer
Research interests:
  • Business cycles
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial institutions and markets
  • Financial regulation
Oliver Levine
Research interests:
  • Corporate finance
  • Corporate investment
  • Executive compensation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Intangible capital
Antonio Mello
Research interests:
  • Corporate financial policy
  • Corporate risk management
  • Corporate finance and industrial organization
  • Capital market imperfections and stability
  • International finance
Dmitry Orlov
Research interests:
  • Banking
  • Markets for repurchase agreements
  • Bayesian persuasion
  • Dynamic contacts
  • Mutual funds
  • Stochastic games
Sebastien Plante
Research interests:
  • Microstructures
  • Credit markets
  • Liquidity
  • Corporate finance
Erwan Quintin
Research interests:
  • Growth and development economics
  • Financial economics
  • Macroeconomics
Roberto Robatto
Research interests:
  • Banking
  • Macroeconomics
  • Monetary and financial economics
  • Evolutionary foundations of economic behavior
Ivan Shaliastovich
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Financial econometrics
Randall Wright
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 PhD Program.

View current student profiles

Connect with Students Specializing in Finance and Economics

Some PhD 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 PhD specialization in finance have accepted tenure-track positions at top research universities.

View recent placements