Admissions

We will not be accepting applications for the Fall 2019 academic year.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is January 15, 2020 for non-U.S. students, and February 15, 2020 for U.S. citizens.

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement as an undergraduate. The minimum level of academic achievement is a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work before graduation, though successful applicants have average scores significantly higher. The average GPA of recent admissions has been 3.8.

You do not need a master’s degree to apply to your Ph.D. program, but many applicants have a master’s in business, economics, finance, statistics, or another quantitative area.

Most of our Ph.D. students have scores of over 700. We really do not consider anyone who has lower than a 660 GMAT score. For students who take the GRE instead, the minimum score is 323 (130-170 Scale) with verbal plus quant, it is 1350 (200-800 scale). We do not have a strict minimum acceptable test score, but math aptitude is very important. For either the GRE or the GMAT, a quantitative score below the 98th percentile will significantly affect your admissions likelihood. Most of our Ph.D. students score in the 99th percentile.

International students must also submit an English proficiency test. Check the UF Admissions website for minimum scores and exemptions.

The applicant must submit letters of recommendation from three faculty members or others familiar with the academic potential of the applicant. Letters should speak primarily to the academic prowess of the applicant.

Application Process

UF Graduate Admissions determines eligibility and status for admission to the University of Florida. The Graduate School manages all the (electronic) paperwork, including your “official” transcripts. They also compute a standardized grade point average for your past work.

  • $30 application fee for first-time applicants
  • Application for admission
  • Official GMAT or GRE and TOEFL scores, if applicable (sent to code 5812)
  • Official transcripts

International students must submit credentials in the original language accompanied by an English translation and degree statement, if applicable. Plus:

  • Florida Residency Affidavit U.S. Citizens (and U.S. Resident Aliens) who seek to qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes
  • Conduct Declaration on the application
  • Declaration of Financial Responsibility (international applicants only)

If scores cannot be sent electronically, they should be addressed to:

UF Office of Admissions
PO Box 114000 (201 Criser Hall)
Gainesville, FL 32611-4000

The Department determines qualifications for admission to a degree program. The Graduate School provides the Department access to the electronic materials submitted in the online application.

Please send the following directly to the Department:

  • Curriculum vita (or resume)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Copies of your transcript(s)
  • Copies of your test scores
  • Letters of recommendation

You can send these via email or to the following mailing address:

Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
PO Box 117168
Gainesville, FL 32611-7168

Shipping address for courier services:

Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
1384 Union Road
Bryan Hall 125
Gainesville, FL 32611

Two points about transcript and test score copies:

  • We do not need official transcripts or original test score reports sent by the testing agency. Xerox copies or scans are fine.
  • We ask you to send us information so that we have a complete list of people who have applied, and so that we can see your transcript(s) before the Graduate School makes them available to us online. The Graduate School does some checking and computes standardized GPAs, which can cause delays when floods of applications arrive – e.g. around the due dates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you look for in Ph.D. applicants?

First of all, we are interested in placing students at research institutions where they will publish papers in top-tier publications (i.e., Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and Review of Financial Studies, etc.). This is a primary goal of our program. If you are pursuing a Ph.D. to teach without doing research, then we are not the place for you. Not every graduating finance Ph.D. student from Florida accepts a job at a research institution, but when they started the program, this was their intent. A Ph.D. usually takes five years of working 50 to 70 hours per week, and almost all good jobs require that type of time commitment. Part of our evaluation of a prospective student’s application includes figuring out if the student has the mindset to do research and is committed to doing so. Most of our graduates start as Assistant Professors in business schools, but some go to consulting, money management firms, or government institutions.

What are some specific criteria for applicants?
  • Work ethic. We want to see evidence that the applicant is an intellectually curious person. A Ph.D. usually takes five years to complete, and a strong work ethic is an important aspect that we assess. It is rare that a smart, hard-working student will not have a record of excellent grades.
  • Strong English skills. Throughout the world, the language of finance is English. Applicants must be able to read well and to express complex thoughts and ideas.
  • Math skills. The ideal candidate will be proficient in calculus (of several variables), linear algebra (to help master econometrics), and statistics ( because much finance involves data analysis). It is possible to start the program without these preparations, but easier with them. If you need to take a math or stat course in preparation for a Ph.D., it is often best to stay away from those offered to business undergrads or MBA students. Go to the math, stat, or engineering departments instead.
  • Programming ability. We want to see classes or projects involving higher level programming skills, including econometrics package such as SAS, Stata, MATLAB, R, etc.
  • Any demonstration of past research work is a big plus. This is particularly true if the work was as an assistant or co-author.
What impact does work experience have in the admissions process?

We view work experience as neutral to positive, because it helps you to understand what is going on in the real world – where finance is applied. But ultimately, we will ask whether your work experience has developed some of the key areas.

How do you view a student with weak math preparation?

Math, statistics and programming are crucial to a finance scholar’s work. Therefore, someone with demonstrated math ability will tend to be ranked higher than someone without such preparation.

I have room in my last year (semester) to take some courses to prepare me for grad school. What should I take?

This depends on your current skill set and tools. If you have some math but no statistics or econometrics, take those courses and enhance your programming skills. Alternatively, take more quantitative/math courses if you are missing those tools. Also, take additional finance courses once you have enhanced your quantitative and programming skills. Consider taking a grad-level class instead of an undergrad-level one.

Regarding letters of recommendation: should I focus on letters from my math professors instead of my humanities professors?

Make sure that the recommender can comment on your quantitative and economic analysis skills. Remember, you are trying to cover many bases—including that you are a nice person, easy to get along with, a great worker, etc. You want each of your recommendation letters to address multiple aspects of your skills.

How about a letter from my boss?

These tend to be less helpful than letters from professors, simply because most employers do not have first-hand experience with doctoral programs

Should I send you some research papers as part of my application?

If you have written papers for advanced undergrad (including a thesis) or graduate courses, and you think they reflect your skills and analytical ability, please include them in your application packet.

Will I improve my admission chances by visiting the Department before the application deadline?

Probably not. We select the top 10 or so candidates based on the applications we receive and then bring most of candidates for a campus visit (at our expense).

What range of schools should I apply to given my qualifications?

This depends on your situation, but you should have a broad range of schools. Since most Ph.D. applications are similar, I would recommend applying to at least 10 or 15 schools with a fairly broad range.

Should I work on research prior to applying as a means of beefing up my resume?

If you can, yes. But usually, this is very hard to do, and even harder to do well.

How is Florida different in its approach towards and selection of Ph.D. students?

Our Ph.D. students work closely with our faculty throughout their program and often coauthor with them. This relationship often continues beyond their studies at UF. Our Ph.D. students also play an important role in many departmental activities, including recruiting of new Ph.D. students. Given our careful vetting of Ph.D. candidates, our dropout rate is also very low—about 10%.