During the first two-to-three years, students enroll in courses selected to provide the basic theoretical and empirical skills required to undertake research in finance. Course work can be categorized into four areas:
- A major field of finance and real estate courses.
- A research foundation, which provides a core of research methodology common to financial and real estate studies.
- A supporting field (or minor), which allows the student to specialize in a field related to financial research.
- Breadth, which assures a broad knowledge of other business disciplines.
The breadth and research foundation courses are set by the Department. The supporting and major field courses are determined by the student in consultation with the Supervisory Committee. Major course work consists of at least sixteen credits chooses from the following courses:
- Financial Theory I
- Financial Theory II
- Corporation Finance
- Financial Markets and Institutions
- Empirical Methods in Finance
- Financial Research Workshop
- Individual Work in Finance
- Advanced Research
- Individual Work in Insurance and Risk Management
In all cases, course titles are illustrative. Elective courses are intended to be "advanced seminars" in which students are taken to greater depth than was possible in the two required courses. Emphasis will be on developing research skills, and helping students understand how one selects and refines a research topic. Not all elective courses are offered annually. This means that doctoral students will be expected and encouraged to take some classes in their third year. Consequently, students from adjacent classes "mix" in these electives, augmenting the educational process by creating synergy's within the doctoral student population.
The Department's weekly "seminar series" plays a major role in enhancing the student's knowledge and creating an environment conducive to scholarly activity. In this seminar, departmental faculty and leading scholars from other institutions present working papers on their current research interests. All doctoral students are required to attend these seminar meetings.
At the end of the first year (usually in June), students take a written comprehensive examination. The subject matter is the finance department courses taken during the year, plus a list of additional papers provided in advance.
By the end of the second summer, students must submit a second-year paper, which is a research paper on a topic of the student's choice. The paper must be a complete research document, such as one reads in academic finance journals. Depending on a student's past experience, it may be appropriate to view this paper as suitable for submission to a journal. However, an acceptable second-year paper need not be publishable. Neither should it be viewed as the first step in selecting a dissertation topic.
An acceptable second-year paper will exposit an interesting finance question, collect appropriate data to test relevant hypotheses (if the paper is empirical, which most are), undertake careful econometric analysis of the data, and interpret the results. The purpose of this exercise is for the student to learn how to identify a researchable topic and execute it. As such, papers replicating or extending existing work are acceptable. Students must present (defend) their second year papers during the first month of the Fall semester. This presentation constitutes the oral examination required by the Graduate School for admission to candidacy, and hence will be evaluated by the student's supervisory committee.
Applications for Fall 2014 admission should be completed by January 15, 2014.
Mahendrarajah (Nimal) Nimalendran
Ph.D. & Graduate Coordinator
303C STZ Stuzin Hall
PO Box 117168
Gainesville, FL 32611-7168
Email (mahen.nimalendran at warrington.ufl.edu)