The joint Wisconsin PhD Program in Finance and Economics trains researchers for tenure-track positions at the nexus of these two fields. Specializing in this area will provide you with the opportunity to expand your academic career path to both economics and finance departments at top universities.

The program stresses high-quality research with a focus on developing the core basics of economics, then specialization in areas of finance and economics. Students in the joint program are required to take a common curriculum and to meet all requirements of both the Economics and Finance PhD programs.

Core Areas of Research

  • Asset Pricing
  • Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Macroeconomics
  • Market Microstructure
  • Metrics
  • Microeconomics
  • Finance Theory

Academic Requirements

All students must meet the general PhD requirements of the UW–Madison Graduate School, the Department of Economics, and the Wisconsin School of Business. Students should have the following background to be admitted:

  • Completed and performed well in basic undergraduate economics or finance courses
  • Mathematics preparation should include multivariate calculus, elementary probability, statistics, and regression analysis
  • One course in linear algebra
  • three-course sequence in calculus, including multivariate calculus*
  • One course in mathematical statistics*
  • Any additional background in mathematics and graduate-level economics courses can ease the transition into the program

* For additional information about which topics are most important to review before graduate coursework begins visit:

Program Coursework

The first year of the program is dedicated to training in the core basics of economics with a focus on microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. The summer following the first year of the program all students must take the economics micro and macro comprehensive exams.

The second year of the program focuses on finance with an emphasis on financial theory, corporate finance, asset pricing, and finance workshops. Finance workshops consist of each student presenting their preliminary research in front of the finance faculty. The summer following the second year of the program all students must take the finance comprehensive exam. Further, students must take three other classes in economics and present their preliminary research in front of the economics faculty.

The third year of the program includes two classes in economics and additional workshops with a focus on completing a research paper on a finance or economics topic. The topic may be either theoretical or empirical, and should contain elements of original research that extend the existing literature.

Advancement to Dissertator Status requires: (1) Successful completion of both economics and finance comprehensive exams; (2) successful completion of a sole-authored paper requirement.

Each milestone requirement – field paper, three signature proposal, and dissertation committee – must include at least one faculty member from both the economics and the finance department. A single dissertation, approved by members comprised of both departments, is sufficient to fulfill the dissertation requirement.

View curriculum details 

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 contracts
  • Mutual Funds
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
Sang Seo
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Macro-finance
  • Derivatives
  • Financial econometrics
Ivan Shaliastovich
Research interests:
  • Asset pricing
  • Financial econometrics
Randall Wright
Research interests:
  • Monetary, macro, and labor economics
  • Asset pricing

Connect with Current Students

We encourage you to contact our doctoral students in the finance and economics joint degree program to hear their perspectives on the Wisconsin PhD

View current student profiles