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PhD Finance FAQs

Should I do a PhD in Finance at LSE?

The PhD Finance at LSE is an internationally respected doctoral programme, which equips students to produce financial economics research of the highest quality by providing a in-depth training in theoretical and empirical research methods. The Programme is structured around one or two initial years of formal coursework (depending on the route followed), followed by two or more years of research. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in appropriate international workshops and colloquia, and are also offered the opportunity to gain teaching experience. The Programme enables students to develop the technical and intellectual skills required to pursue doctoral research across a broad range of areas in Finance.

To undertake a PhD in Finance is a significant commitment. The average PhD Finance at LSE takes 4-5 years to complete. It will involve a lot of hard work. From the first year of the programme you will be required to pass high level PhD courses, attend regular research seminars, present at such seminars and then ultimately produce research and publishable research papers. But... it is also an immensely rewarding experience for those who have a passion for research in finance and want a career in academia.

The PhD Finance Programme at LSE is designed to produced top quality academics in the finance field. If you have just completed an MSc and are your ultimate aim is to work in the city, then undertaking the PhD Finance to help leverage your career will probably not be a worthwhile investment. If you are looking for a career researching in and around the field of finance, then this is a programme for you.  

Is the PhD Finance offered on a part-time basis?

No. In recent years the Department of Finance has not taken on any PhD students on a part-time basis. This is because we believe that the PhD programme is a significant undertaking which students must completely devote themselves and their time to. During the first one or two years (depending upon the route) students will have regular teaching throughout the week, as well as being required to attend seminars and workshops. When not attending formalised teaching and seminars, students are expected to be independently working and researching, as well as often undertaking teaching of undergraduate and Master's levels student within the Department of Finance. This is not something that we believe someone can do on a part-time basis whilst holding a job.

What is the structure of the Programme?

The PhD Finance Programme is split into two formalised routes, Route 1 is for students who have not already completed the MSc Finance and Economics Programme at LSE and is a longer programme, having an extra first year in which students take a mixture of MSc and MRes level courses in the Department of Finance and Economics.

Route 2 is for students who have already completed the MSc Finance and Economics or MSc Finance and Economics (Research) Programmes at LSE. Route 2 students typically complete the PhD a year before Route 1 students.

Please see the full Programme structure for course details.

Why do I have to do courses in the first year of the programme?

The PhD Finance Programme at LSE aims to produce world class researchers in the field. In order for students to be able to undertake research at this level the Department believes that students must have a sufficient range of 'tools' to do so. It therefore requires that its PhD students complete, and pass to the required standard, a range of MSc and MRes courses in order to provide them with these tools and techniques that can be applied in their research. 

Is funding available?

All students are fully funded on admission to the programme. Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a generous bursary. Funding is guaranteed for four years subject to satisfactory academic performance.

There is a range of scholarships and other awards available for students intending to apply for a PhD at LSE. These consist of both internally funded (by the School and the Department) fellowships and externally funded awards from bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Generous financial support, using a combination of fellowship and teaching, is available for entering students, with support continuing, subject to satisfactory progress, through the fourth year in the programme. Further information is available from the Financial Support Office.

How do I apply?

All applications should be made online via the application form on LSE's Graduate Admissions website. Supporting documentation can either be uploaded electronically with your application or sent in hard copy by post to the Graduate Admissions Office.

What should I include in my research proposal?  

Unlike some PhD programmes, the research proposal that you submit at the time of application is not a binding plan for your next 4 to 5 years of work. We do not expect MSc students to have a fully developed and detailed research proposal, in fact it is often preferred if students do not try to narrow down to own specific topic or study at the time of application as these narrow topics are often not sufficient to base an entire PhD around. Instead, we expect a research proposal to indicate that you can have research ideas and that you can research relevant work around these these areas.  

Do I need to submit a GMAT or GRE score?

Yes, all applicants must submit a GRE or GMAT test score. GRE is preferred. More information is available on the LSE Graduate Study pages.

How many students are taken each year?

Generally the Department takes 5-8 new PhD students onto the programme each year. For 2012 entry there were over 150 applications for these limited places. For details of students on the programme, please see current PhD Finance students.

Does an offer for MSc Finance and Economics guarantee me place on the PhD Finance Programme?

No. In the past, some of the best students from the Finance and Economics programme have gone on to study for a PhD in Finance at the LSE. The Department encourages applications from highly motivated and competent F&E students who are interested in pursuing an academic career.

Those who are interested in applying for the PhD in Finance should do so early, and no later than the first week of Lent Term. Places are very limited. Offers may be issued during Lent or Summer Term, or after examination results are announced in July. Any offers made prior to the announcement of results will be made conditional on obtaining an overall distinction in the Finance and Economics programme.

Students who wish to apply for the PhD programme are strongly encouraged to seek permission to take EC487 (Advanced Microeconomics) instead of EC411 (Microeconomics for MSc Students). Exceptionally well-prepared students may be able to obtain permission to take EC441 (Microeconomics for MRes Students).

If you have questions about applying for the PhD programme, please contact Mary Comben, the Doctoral Programme Manager (m.comben@lse.ac.uk).