Postgraduate study

Finance PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Finance

The Business School seeks to set the agenda across a wide range of business disciplines. Our research areas are staffed by teams whose work has real influence in business, government, and the public sector.

The School has significant research expertise in the following subject areas:

We aim to provide a highly dynamic and supportive research environment for our large and diverse graduate community.


The Business School has received full research training accreditation from the:

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • European Quality Improvement Sytstem (EQUIS)

As a PhD student, you will work closely with your supervisory team, and will be offered top-level training opportunities throughout your studies.

Research towards your doctorate is underpinned and supported by our doctoral training programme.

On the PhD in Finance programme, you will undertake 80 credits worth of taught courses during Year 1 to build your research skills and the knowledge required for your area of study.

Core courses

You will study the following core 20 credit courses:

  • Introduction to Research in Business
  • Foundations of Econometrics
  • Applications of Econometrics
  • Empirical Asset Pricing

How will I learn?

The learning process will be lecture-based (during Year 1) and research-focused. The majority of lecture-based classes last 2 hours for each session.

A large number of seminars and workshops are delivered by eminent experts from around the world. These will be available throughout the year, providing ample opportunity for advanced learning and networking.

The number of students studying any taught course is likely to range from between 5 and 25.

Taught courses normally require you to prepare weekly in advance by reading materials prescribed in handouts and by reflecting on the issues to be discussed during the class.

Assessment and progression

Assessment will normally include a mix of in-course written essays and oral presentations/discussions and written examinations at the end of the semester of study.

You will complete your doctoral studies in the form of a viva.

Progression from one year of study to the next is confirmed by the School Research Degrees Committee based on performance in your Annual Review.

This programme also encourages and supports training in transferable skills and personal development.

While the development of such skills is an integral element of the taught courses offered in Year 1 of the programme, the School and the wider University provide numerous additional opportunities.

Optional courses and learning opportunities are available and details are provided at the beginning and throughout each academic year.

Resources and libraries

The University of Edinburgh library has one of the largest and most important collections in Britain. It has over two million items including the latest publications, key texts, and rare books.

The Business School also has its own library located within the School building. It is well stocked with specialist literature and subscription databases and you will have full access.

As a PhD student within the Business School, you will be able to make use of the modern facilities, resources and study spaces at the Business School, similar to academic and support staff.

School location

The Business School's location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries.

The Business School offers training events and support for all our postgraduate research students in both academic and key life skills.

The School also provides a supportive training programme for its postgraduate teaching assistants. A three-year programme of training is operated, where the first year of training is compulsory.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

Entrance to the Business School PhD programmes is competitive.

While academic credentials are important for a successful application, we also pay great attention to the fit of students with the proposed project, as well as the research expertise and interests of our academic faculty.

Minimum academic requirements

For entry to the PhD programme applicants must meet the following minimum academic qualifications.

A postgraduate masters degree from an accredited institution in the UK or overseas, showing evidence of above-average academic achievement. This includes:

  • a degree classification with a mark of 65% or more overall (University of Edinburgh level, or overseas equivalent)

  • normally a masters dissertation at the distinction level (University of Edinburgh level, or overseas equivalent) in finance, economics, informatics, mathematics, engineering or other relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements.

Applications may be accepted from those still currently studying for a masters degree; however, any offer will be conditional on the successful completion of the degree at the required standard.

Applicants with significant finance and industry experience, or with relevant professional qualifications will be given due consideration on a case-by-case basis. However, these applicants must also have a minimum of a bachelors degree in one of:

  • finance

  • economics

  • informatics

  • mathematics

  • engineering

  • other relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

The School offers various scholarship opportunities for new students.

For those joining in September 2022 new scholarships will be advertised on our School website in late November:

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • University of Edinburgh Business School
  • 29 Buccleuch Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JS

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • University of Edinburgh Business School
  • 29 Buccleuch Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JS