Viewed as a field of applied economics at the Carlson School, business finance students must have a strong background in economic theory and mathematics. This area is most suitable to individuals interested in economics, mathematics, and quantitative methods. Students generally complete coursework in economics, finance, mathematics, statistics, and accounting. Major areas of faculty expertise include corporate finance, financial markets and institutions, IPOs, asset pricing, and portfolio theory.
The Carlson Finance department has a long and prominent intellectual history. Ideas that we now take as commonplace, such as moral hazard problems caused by deposit insurance, and the Hansen-Jagannathan bounds in asset-pricing, have their origin at Carlson, while the equity premium puzzle and optimal financial contracting are products of the neighboring Economics Department, to which students have full access. The Finance department is distinguished by a commitment to the application of important ideas from economics. Our faculty is highly regarded within the profession, and both publishes and serves on the editorial boards of the field's top journals. To give just two recent examples, Professor Andrew Winton is the president of the Financial Intermediation Research Society, and an Associate Editor at the Journal of Finance, the field’s leading journal; while Professor Robert Goldstein’s paper, “On the Relative Pricing of long Maturity S&P 500 Index Options and CDX Tranche,” was voted the best paper on derivatives markets at the 2010 Western Finance Association, regarded by many as the field’s leading conference.
The PhD program in finance is dedicated to producing top-flight scholars who do cutting edge research. Our faculty continually offer new doctoral courses that focus on cutting edge research, and frequently collaborate with our students on research projects. We place our students in some of the top research universities in the world. Recent graduates have received offers from institutions such as the London School of Economics, Cambridge University, Indiana University, and the University of Utah. Students who are interested in a rigorous, analytically-grounded education in finance will find our doctoral program to be both challenging and stimulating.