Smith Finance PhD Program
Admission into most finance PhD programs is pretty competitive and Smith is no
exception. We usually get about 150 applications and admit between 2 and 5 students.
Admission Mechanics: To apply
for admission, please
here. Completed applications are forwarded to the finance department and considered
for admission. All admitted students are offered a financial aid package that
covers tuition and offers a generous living stipend.
It is important to realize that the finance PhD program is not just a turbo-charged
MBA degree. The PhD program focuses on independent research of an academic nature,
while the MBA program is intended to train managers who must make the day-to-day
operating and strategic decisions confronting businesses. The skill sets required
in the PhD program are quite different.
Successful applicants tend to have intellectual curiosity, academic accomplishment,
and an abiding interest in finance. We judge these attributes by having several
faculty read your application packet, including past academic credentials, recommendations,
statement(s) of intent, and test scores. We do not require
applicants to have backgrounds in any particular fields such as economics, finance,
or mathematics. What matters is the willingness and capacity to acquire the math,
computational or statistical skill sets as needed during the PhD program.
Do you provide feedback about admission chances before
the application is complete?
No. We do not prequalify or otherwise screen applicants. We can only review applications
that are handed to us once the admissions office deems them to be complete.
Can you waive the application fees, GRE/GMAT test scores,
the requirement for three letters of recommendation, or any other part of the
No. The finance department does not have the authority to do any of these. We
only evaluate completed applications forwarded to us by the admissions office. Thus,
all questions about credentials to make an application complete are best directed
to the PhD admissions office.
Is there an English proficiency requirement?
Yes, for foreign applicants. The
office can inform you about these.
Is there a minimum GRE or GMAT score cutoff?
While many successful applicants have good test scores, perhaps in the upper
90th percentiles, we do not have minimum cutoffs.
We have admitted students with lower test scores and we have also rejected applicants
with excellent test scores. These scores form only one portion of your overall
application package. We take all aspects of an application into account.
Do I need to have an MBA or undergraduate degree in finance
No. Many successful applicants have no
background in finance or business. They may be drawn from such areas as economics,
engineering, or math. Creativity and intellectual potential matter more than particular
I can pay some or all of my way through a program. Is
there a special track for me to apply to the PhD program?
No. We have a financial need-blind admissions process and for good reason. Financial
constraints matter but are by no means the critical determinant of our program size.
Successful PhD students require research mentoring and considerable interaction
with faculty through the program. We keep the program small to ensure that each
student gets sufficient attention from faculty.
What are the parameters of the financial aid that I would
The exact details of the package vary from year to year and what is stated here
is just indicative. Your financial aid package covers the entire academic year’s
funding needs, including summer. For students entering in 2008/2009, the package
includes free tuition and about $32,000 through a graduate assistantship and fellowship
to cover living expenses. There is plenty (of exciting research) to do while in
the program. Students are not required to work and are expected not to work outside
the graduate assistantship duties while in the program.
How long does my financial aid last?
Students can expect to be supported for four years in the program, contingent
on satisfactory performance and progress. A fifth year of support is often
available for students who have made sufficient progress towards their dissertation.
If there are exceptional personal or other circumstances, support could be considered
beyond five years, but most students should expect to graduate by then.