Ph.D. in Business Administration with a major in Finance

  Request Information

  Deadline to Apply!

Begin your application today by entering the Graduate Admissions Portal.

Submit your application by:
January 15 – Application review begins and will continue until positions are filled.
March 1Application submission deadline. All supporting materials must be received by March 15.

  Contact Us

  • Contact Dr. Yingmei Cheng, program director, for more information on the Finance major, its content and curriculum.
  • Email Elizabeth Kistner, Ph.D. graduate advising director, for more information about the admissions process.

Graduate Programs Office
  877-587-5540 (toll free)


Finance is one of seven majors offered through FSU’s College of Business’ Ph.D. in Business Administration. The major admits three or four candidates each fall, and the program takes five years to complete.

  • Emphasizes investments, corporate finance, financial institutions and markets
  • Includes primary seminars in corporate finance, investments, financial theory
  • Encourages support area courses in econometrics
  • Includes research courses in statistics, econometrics, mathematical economics and financial mathematics, comprehensive exams and dissertation.

For an overview of FSU’s Ph.D. in Business Administration and its seven majors, download the brochure.

  Student Accomplishments


Bentley University; Brigham Young University; California State University – Fullerton; Cornerstone Research; Hofstra University; Lehigh University; Ohio University; Stetson University; Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology; University of Missouri – Kansas City; University of New Hampshire; University of North Alabama; University of San Diego; University of South Alabama; University of South Carolina; University of South Florida; University of Tulsa; University of West Florida; University of Texas – El Paso; University of Texas – San Antonio; University of Wyoming; Utah State University; Wake Forest University; Wharton Research Data Service; Xavier University; Xiamen University, etc.


Kelly Bergsma, Outstanding Teaching Assistant; selected to attend the Yale Summer School in Behavioral Finance, American Finance Association (AFA) travel award
Nick Clarke, College of Business Teaching Assistant Award
Inger Daniels, McKnight Fellowship
Brandon Mendez, McKnight Fellowship
Yuting Meng, American Finance Association (AFA) travel award
Andrew Schrowang, nominated for the University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
Kelsey Syvrud, prestigious fifth year of College of Business doctoral funding for further research; selected for summer International Finance Program at George Washington University
Mark Buckwalter, McKnight Fellowship
Aaron Brock, Legacy Award


Spencer Barnes, presented at Florida Finance Conference, Academy of Economics and Southern Finance Association Conference
Kelly Bergsma, selected to present dissertation essay at the Financial Management Association Europe Doctoral Student Consortium


  • “Exploring the Dark Side of Corporate Political Connections” by Cayman Seagraves; Dr. April Knill, major professor (2023)
  • "Two Essays on the Implications of Judge Stock Ownership" by Joseph Kindelsperger; Dr. April Knill, major professor (2023)
  • "Two Essays on Corporate Finance" by Jingfang Wang; Dr. James Ang, major professor (2022)
  • "Two Essays on Corporate Culture" by Spencer Barnes; Dr. Yingmei Cheng, major professor (2022)
  • "Two Essays on Labor in Corporate Finance" by Brandon Mendez; Dr. Yingmei Cheng, major professor (2022)
  • "Two Essays on Managerial Learning in Corporate Acquisitions" by Andrew Schrowang; Drs. Yingmei Cheng and Tony Liu, major professors (2021)
  • "Two Chapters on Corporate Share Repurchases" by Nicholas Clarke; Dr. Donald Autore, major professor (2020)
  • "Racial and Gender Diversity on Boards of Directors: Effects on Profitability and Analyst Recommendations" by Inger Daniels, Dr. Yingmei Cheng, major professor (2019)
  • "Essays on the Disposition Effect and Asset Prices" by Hope Han, Dr. Donald Autore, major professor (2019)
  • "Two Essays on Corporate Finance" by Zhigqian Dora Jiang; Dr. James Ang, major professor (2019)
  • "An Examination of Cost-Minimization Strategies in Seasoned Equity Offerings" by Timothy A. Jones; Dr. C.F. Sirmans, major professor (2019)
  • "Two Chapters on Firm Insiders" by Matthew Pierson; Dr. Irena Hutton, major professor (2019)
  • "Essays on Mergers and Acquisitions" by Aaron Rosenblum; Dr. Yingmei Cheng, major professor (2018)
  • "Two Essays on Asset Pricing" by Karen E. Sherrill; Dr. David Peterson, major professor (2018)
  • "Two Essays on Cash Holdings: The Compensation Benefits of Corporate Cash Holdings and the Impact of Cash Holdings Volatility on Firm Value" by Stephan Douglas Shipe; Dr. Yingmei Cheng, major professor (2018)
  • "Two Essays on the Internationalization of Investors Bases" by Kelsey Lynne Syvrud; Dr. April Knill, major professor (2018)

  Program Requirements


All Finance doctoral students must complete graduate level courses in Investments, Econometrics, and Statistics, and undergraduate level courses in Calculus I, Calculus II, Linear Algebra, and Mathematical Economics.  The Finance doctoral adviser and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs must approve course selections to meet the above requirements.


All Finance doctoral students must complete courses in three areas: Tools for Analytical Research (TAR), Primary Finance and Support.

I. Tools for Analytical Research (TAR) Area

Students typically take a selection of analytical-tool courses that provide the tools and skills necessary to understand and conduct research in finance.

Students must take the following three TAR courses:

  • ECO 5403 Static Optimization
  • ECO 5416 Econometrics I
  • ECO 5423 Econometric Theory

Plus two additional quantitative courses in Statistics, or Economics numbered 5000 and above with the approval of the primary area adviser.

II. Primary Finance Coursework

The primary area courses and seminars provide opportunities for in-depth study. In addition to the Economics requirement in the TAR area, Finance students are required to take graduate courses in micro- or macro-economics. The selection of these courses is subject to the approval of the primary area adviser.

The doctoral primary area in Finance covers the foundations and theories of finance. Finance students must take the following doctoral seminars and courses:

  • FIN 6449 Doctoral Seminar in Corporate Finance
  • FIN 6527 Doctoral Seminar in Investments - Finance and Investments
  • FIN 6804 Foundations of Financial Theory I
  • FIN 5935 Foundations of Financial Theory II
  • FIN 6842 Empirical Research in Finance
  • FIN TBD - Supervised Research/Directed Individual Study in Finance (number of courses and topics vary)
  • TBD - One elective approved by the doctoral adviser

The requirement for an elective course, chosen in consultation with the Finance program director, is designed to allow some minimum specialization by students. As some examples, this course could be a multinational finance course, a financial institutions course, an economics course or an additional quantitative course. In addition to these regularly scheduled seminars, the Finance Workshop meets periodically to share the results of recent research conducted by FSU faculty and doctoral students and by invited scholars from other universities. Finance Doctoral students are required to attend the Finance Workshop seminars.

In addition to these courses, first- and second-year students will participate in a professional development series that will be an additional registered course in each semester of the first two years of the program. The development series is designed to introduce doctoral students to the roles and responsibilities of faculty members, including research ethics, communication with faculty at other universities, the research review process, balancing research, teaching and service, among other topics.

There is also a requirement that each student complete a research paper. This paper is based on independent research by the student, primarily during the second year of the program, and under the supervision of two faculty members. The research project is undertaken in the student’s area of interest to facilitate development toward his/her dissertation. The project culminates with the student presenting the research results to the finance faculty. Students must complete their research paper prior to taking the finance preliminary examination.

III. Support Area Coursework

Finance doctoral students typically choose a Support Area in econometrics. Normally, four courses are required in the Support Area.  In addition, at least two of the courses required in the Support Area cannot be used to satisfy other requirements.  






Year 1

  • ECO 5416 Econometrics I
  • ECO 5403 Static Optimization (microeconomics)
  • FIN 6804 Foundations of Financial Theory I
  • GEB 6931 Professional Development
  • ECO 5423 Econometric Theory
  • FIN 5935 Foundations of Financial Theory II
  • FIN 6842 Research Methods in Finance
  • GEB 6931 Professional Development
  • ECO 5427 Limited Dependent Variable Models
  • FIN 6946 Supervised Teaching
  • STA 5207 Applied Regression Methods


  • STA 5440 Intro to Probability I

Year 2

  • FIN 6527 Investments Seminar
  • STA 5207 or STA 5440
  • GEB 6931 Professional Development
  • Elective or DIS
  • ECO 5428 Time Series
  • FIN 6449 Corporate Seminar
  • GEB 6931 Professional Development
  • Supervised Readings for Comp Exams
  • Comprehensive exam – June
  • Dissertation

Year 3

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation

Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation

Year 5

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation and Defense

  Application Process

Admission decisions are made by the college’s Doctoral Admissions Committee and are based on a combination of factors, including prior academic record from accepted universities; GRE or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT preferred) scores taken within the past five years; letters of recommendation; experience; record of accomplishments. Admission is competitive and focused on students with grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher and GMAT scores of at least 600 or GRE scores of at least 155 on each section of the revised GRE.


  • Login to (applications will only be accepted through this portal).
  • Begin your application by logging in with your FSUID or clicking the link to register to get one.
  • Complete your online application form and submit.
  • Include the names and contact information for at least 3 (required) references.
    • This will generate automated email sent to your references by our system to request that they submit a recommendation for you and answer a series of standardized questions.
  • Submit your Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages).
  • Submit a current resume or C.V.
  • Pay the nonrefundable $30 application fee.
  • Required transcripts: Unofficial transcripts uploaded to your application, provided they are in English and have grades assigned to coursework, will be sufficient for the first round of review. An official transcript will be required if you are accepted into the program.
    • Request that each college or university you have attended submit an official transcript to FSU (see below for email/address).
    • Transcripts are considered official if they are sent directly to FSU (either through the U.S. mail or electronically) by your undergraduate or graduate institution.
  • Required test scores: Unofficial test scores are sufficient for the first round of review. Complete the Self-reported Test Score Form. Official test scores will be required if you are accepted into the program.
    • Request that official GMAT or GRE scores (and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/DuoLingo/Cambridge C1 Advanced/Michigan Language, if applicable) be submitted to FSU (see below for email/address)
    • Test scores will only be considered official if sent directly from the testing service. The code for ETS to send (GRE and TOEFL) scores to FSU is 5219. The code to send GMAT scores to FSU is PN8K567.
    • An English proficiency exam score (TOEFL/IELTS/PTE) must be submitted for international applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received a college degree from an institution where the instruction is primarily in English.
  • Have transcripts and test scores sent to or:

    Graduate Admissions Office
    222 S. Copeland St.
    314 Westcott Building
    Florida State University
    Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410


International applicants should visit for information concerning financial responsibilities, degree equivalency, etc.

English Language Proficiency Exam
International applicants whose native language is not English or who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-speaking country are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL,) the International English Language Testing System (IELTS,) the Pearson Test of English (PTE,) Duolingo, Cambridge C1 Advanced Level, or Michigan Language Assessment and submit official test results in order to be admitted to Florida State University. The College of Business requires a minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test, a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS exam, or a minimum of 66 on the PTE, a minimum score of 120 on Duolingo, a minimum score of 180 on Cambridge C1 Advanced Level, or a minimum score of 55 on the Michigan Language Assessment taken within the past two (2) years.

  Program Costs

Ph.D. students typically take 27-33 credit hours each year. Here are the estimated program costs for the 2023-2024 academic year:

  • Florida residents: $479.32 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $12,941.64 - $15,817.56 per year.
  • Non-Florida residents: $1,110.72 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $29,989.44 - $36,653.76 per year.

Note: These costs do not include required books, supplies for courses, or required health insurance. Costs are subject to change. Fees above do not include some per-term flat fees for FSUCard and facilities use. For a breakdown of on-campus student fees and their explanations, visit the university’s Tuition Rates page.

      Residency Information

    The doctoral program is a full-time program that lasts four to five years. Students should plan to live in the Tallahassee area year-round, including summers. Our program is not set up for individuals who wish to take courses part time or online.

      Financial Assistance

    The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. The goal of the college is to provide assistantships and/or fellowships to all of our admitted doctoral students, subject to overall enrollment and fiscal limitations. Most doctoral students who request funding, who maintain a satisfactory level of academic and work performance, and who are in residence receive financial assistance from the college. Annual stipends and supplementary assistance such as travel expenses for conference attendance will vary among cohorts and programs. Students who are not Florida residents should note that tuition waivers associated with assistantships only cover the out-of-state portion of their tuition for year one of the program. Out-of-state tuition waivers are generally not available for years two through five.
    Doctoral students on assistantship are supported for four full academic years, contingent upon satisfactory performance in the program. Eligibility for fifth-year support is considered for a student having made substantial progress toward placement at a research-oriented university. For a full list of Florida State University funding and awards, visit Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all completed application materials before January 15 to be eligible for additional funding opportunities at the university level.


    The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. There are various scholarships available for graduate students. Visit our graduate scholarships page to learn more.

    (Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all completed application materials before January 15 to be eligible for additional funding opportunities at the university level.)

    • For a full list of Florida State University funding and awards, visit
    • For more information on Florida State University's research and research funding, visit
    • For more information on Florida State University's graduate fellowships and awards, visit