Finance PhD program information

Admission requirements

The minimum qualification requirement for admission to the program for a Doctor of Philosophy in Finance is:

  1. a degree of bachelor with first class honours or upper second class honours in finance, actuarial studies, economics, business, commerce, or a subject area with a substantial quantitative content, from an Australian university; or
  2. another qualification (for example, a Masters degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification) that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in point (a); or
  3. a combination of qualifications and professional experience that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in point (a).

Please note that there are other admission criteria that students must also satisfy. Admission is competitive and only a limited number of students are admitted to the PhD program each year.

In addition to the standard information required in the online application, please note the following:

  • Applicants are required to prepare a one-page statement of purpose, and
  • Short-listed applicants may be required to sit an interview.

GRE or GMAT requirement

Applicants must also submit either their GRE General Test or GMAT results as part of their application. Applicants who have already completed a ANU Master of Finance or ANU Honours in Finance degree, are exempted from this requirement. Furthermore, applicants who have completed an Honours in Finance degree from an Australian University are also exempted, but are encouraged to provide GRE or GMAT results to improve their chances of admission and scholarship support.

Applicants who do not satisfy the minimum entry standard for the PhD program may be offered entry conditional on satisfactory completion of a preparatory program.

PhD program structure

Full-time study for the PhD in Finance at the ANU Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics normally takes four years, and consists of two parts - a coursework component (part A) and a research component (part B):

Part A: Coursework

In the first part students undertake a comprehensive set of courses designed to provide training in the theory and methods necessary to conduct high quality finance research. These courses are academically rigorous and will be examined.  Students take up to 18 months of coursework (10 subjects plus a pre-PhD maths refresher course if required).  Upon successful completion of the coursework students will progress to Part B. 

Part B: Research training and Independent research

Following the successful completion of coursework, students undertake specialised research training and independent research. Research training begins in the second year with advanced level seminars where we delve deeply into key current research papers. Alongside this, students will commence research in their chosen topic and the year culminates with the defence of the first research proposal/paper—known as the Thesis Proposal Review (TPR). After the successful TPR defence, candidacy is confirmed and students move onto the remaining years of the PhD program.   

The culmination of the PhD is a written thesis which, upon completion, is submitted for examination. The thesis is examined by three examiners who are experts in the relevant field.


The standard coursework structure for the PhD is as follows:

Pre-PhD summer course (if required)

  • ECON8007 Mathematical Techniques for Advanced Economic Analysis

Year 1, Semester 1:

Year 1, Semester 2:

  • FINM8018 Doctoral Studies in Asset Pricing
  • FINM8019 Doctoral Studies in Corporate Finance - Theory
  • Elective
  • Elective  

Year 2, Semester 1:

  • FINM8020 Doctoral Studies in Asset Pricing 2
  • FINM8021 Doctoral Studies in Corporate Finance - Empirical

Three electives taken in the first year, consisting of:

  • At least one of:
    • EMET8008 Econometric Theory
    • EMET8001 Applied Micro-Econometrics
    • STAT8002 Applied Time Series Analysis or EMET8010 Applied Macro and Financial Econometrics
  • At least one of:
  • At most one of:
    • FINM7003 Continuous Time Finance
    • ECON8013 Mathematical Techniques in Economics I
    • ECON8014 Mathematical Techniques in Economics II
    • ECON8038 Industrial Organisation
    • ECON8053 Game Theory
    • ECON8076 Topics in Game Theory
    • ECON8080 Advanced Behavioural Economics.

Other electives may be possible beyond those listed above. Note that not all courses are offered in all years.

In Semester 1 of the second year, students are also required to attend Special Topics in Finance seminars. This is an advanced reading seminar series led by faculty and senior PhD students aimed at providing students with exposure to up to date research. This seminar series culminates in a draft proposal that will form the basis of the student's Thesis Proposal Review.

Throughout their candidature, PhD students are also expected to attend RSFAS Finance seminars.

Assumed Knowledge and Pre-PhD Preparation

While not a formal requirement for entry, candidates should be aware that the PhD coursework requirements above assume knowledge equivalent to later year undergraduate/graduate diploma level studies in economics, finance and quantitative methods.  Below is an indicative list of ANU subjects that make up the basic assumed knowledge.

  • ECON8025 Diploma Microeconomics
  • ECON8026 Diploma Macroeconomics
  • EMET8005 Econometric Models and Introductory Econometrics
  • FINM8006 Advanced Investments
  • FINM8004 Advanced Corporate Finance

Research Supervision

When a PhD candidate is admitted to the program, a provisional supervisor is appointed. The provisional supervisor has the responsibility of overseeing the student’s candidature until a supervisory panel is chosen.

The Special Topics in Finance seminar series held during Semester 1 of the second year of of candidature will help facilitate finalisation of PhD supervisory panels. The role of the supervisory panel is to assist, advise and provide support and encouragement to the student for a timely and successful completion.

Progress milestones

In each year of their candidature, PhD candidates are required to submit an annual report which outlines a research plan for the next twelve months, and a progress report that summarises progress and identifies difficulties or changes in the research plan, if any. These reports form the basis of the student’s annual review.

The Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) is a major milestone held in the second year. Students are required to submit a draft proposal following completion of the Special Topics in Finance seminar series towards the end of Semester 1 in the second year of their candidature. This proposal will form the basis of the TPR which will generally be scheduled for September-October of the second year. For the TPR, students are required to give a presentation up to one hour in length to faculty and submit a paper to their supervisory panel. Successful completion of the TPR (as determined by the Delegated Authority following consultation with the PhD convenor and supervisory panel) is required to continue in the program.

In their final year candidates are also required to give a final presentation (Oral Presentation) prior to thesis submission.

Please refer to Research Student Milestones for further details. 

Thesis Submission and Examination

Information on the process of thesis submission and examination can be found here: Submitting a thesis.

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Duration: 3 to 5 years full time (4 to 8 years part time)

CRICOS #: 048345A