The study of Finance address the ways in which individuals, business entities and other organizations allocate resources over time. Finance is an applied branch of economics dealing with the problems of allocating financial resources, with particular attention given to the art of decision making under conditions of uncertainty. At UCLA Anderson, a specialization in finance includes a survey of empirical and theoretical research in investments, corporate finance and behavioral finance.
The doctoral program is a major focus of the energy of the Finance Area at UCLA Anderson. The program attracts a large number of applicants from around the world each year. For example, we had 275 applicants this year. Approximately ten offers of admission are made each year- the program is highly selective.
The finance doctoral program includes course work and other academic activities, with a heavy emphasis on original research. In addition to completing course work in finance, the student is expected to attend the finance seminars and is encouraged to participate in informal workshops.
On average it takes approximately five years for a student with a master’s degree in a cognate subject to complete the Ph.D. program in Finance. In the past few years recent graduates of the program have accepted faculty positions at leading business schools including the University of Chicago, Harvard Business School and the University of Texas. Each student is assigned an individual faculty member as a mentor. In addition, the entire Finance faculty places high importance on the progress of doctoral students and expects to have close contact with them. Students are encouraged to seek out faculty to discuss research ideas. Receptions after the weekly seminars provide a natural setting for establishing initial contacts.
Director of the Finance Doctoral Program
Management of the Doctoral Program in Finance, and primary responsibility for advising and monitoring the progress of students, is due to the Director of the Finance Doctoral Program, who is currently Mark Garmaise. Students should seek his advice and approval for their "Proposal of Study" and for the dissertation topic. These issues are discussed further below.
Typical financial aid offers are four year commitments that include fees, tuition, an allowance for living expenses. Students have no teaching responsibilities in the first year of the program. In later years, students work 25% time as a teaching assistant or research assistant. In conjunction with the Doctoral Program Office and the Laurence and Lori Fink Center for Finance and Investments, the Finance department also makes available summer research grants to Ph.D. students. In addition to being able to earn approximately $6,000, the student has an invaluable opportunity to interact with faculty on their current research projects.
Course work and Program of Study
The UCLA Anderson Doctoral Program requires that all students satisfy a Research requirement and a Breadth requirement. The Research requirement consists of five courses and a research paper. The Breadth requirement consists of eight courses that are "outside the student’s major field of study".
All students must complete during their first year a "Proposal of Study" sheet which indicates the five research courses, the eight breadth courses and the major field courses that the student will take.
In drawing up their Proposal of Study students in Finance should take note of the following Finance Area requirements:
All students in Finance must complete the economic theory sequence -Economics 201A, 201B, and 201C- during the first year, and must successfully pass, at the doctoral level, the microeconomic theory examination given by UCLA’s Department of Economics. The Economic Theory sequence courses can be applied to the Doctoral Program Breadth requirement. In their first and second years, students complete the doctoral Finance sequence- Management 239A, 239B, 239C and 239D - in order to prepare for the finance major field examination.
In addition, students are expected to take during their first two years three courses in Econometrics and Statistics chosen from Econ 203A, Econ 203B, Mgt 213B, Mgt 213C, Econ 231A, Econ 231B; these courses count towards fulfillment of the Doctoral Program Research Requirement. The remaining two research courses may be selected from courses offered at the Anderson School (for example, Applied Stochastic Processes), from the Economics Department (examples include Economic Modeling, Applied Game Theory, Bayesian Econometrics, and Time Series Analysis) or from the mathematics and statistics departments (examples include Analysis, Calculus of Variations and Optimal Control Theory, Advanced Probability and Statistics)
Evaluation, Examinations and Research Paper
The progress of each student is evaluated by the area faculty at the end of the first year. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be asked to withdraw from the program.
In addition to the Economic Theory Examination at the end of their first year, students are expected to pass the Finance Major Field Examination by the end of their second year in the program.
By the end of their third year in the program all students are expected to have completed a Major Research Paper.
Major Research Paper
The Research Paper should report the results of original scholarly research by the student. In many cases the Research Paper forms the basis for the student’s dissertation work. Students are strongly encouraged to work closely with a faculty member during the research project, both to help ensure the project’s acceptability and to improve the quality of the learning experience. In normal sequence, the Research Paper is submitted during the Spring Quarter of a student’s second year or in the Fall Quarter of the third year. It must be approved by the Spring Quarter of the third year. The paper is reviewed by two faculty members chosen by the Director of the Doctoral Office. Many research papers written by doctoral students have been accepted for publication by prestigious journals in their fields, or have been the basis of presentations at national conferences of professional associations.
Within four years of admission to the program students are expected to form a committee and "advance to candidacy," i.e., to pass the oral qualifying examination for the dissertation. At this examination, the student is expected to present a proposal and plan of work for his dissertation which must be approved by his or her committee.