MBA Finance Track

PhD Program in Finance

2016-17 Curriculum Outline

The MIT Sloan Finance Group offers a doctoral program in Finance for students interested in research careers in academic finance. The requirements of the program may be loosely divided into five categories: the Finance Seminar, coursework, the general examination, the research paper, and the dissertation.

Students are expected to attend the weekly Finance seminars throughout their time at Sloan. During the first two years, students are engaged primarily in coursework, taking both required and elective courses, and preparing for their general examination at the end of the second year. Students are required to complete a research paper by the end of December of their fifth semester at MIT, present it in front of the faculty committee, and receive a passing grade. After that, students are required to find a formal thesis advisor by the end of their sixth semester, and are expected to form their Thesis Committee by the end of their eighth semester. The Thesis Committee should consist of at least one tenured faculty from the MIT Sloan Finance Group.


The following set of required courses is designed to furnish each student with a sound and well-rounded understanding of the theoretical and empirical foundations of finance, as well as the tools necessary to make original contributions in each of these areas.

  • 18.100B – Analysis I*
  • 14.102 – Mathematics of Economists*
  • 14.121 – Microeconomics Theory 1
  • 14.122 – Microeconomics Theory 2
  • 14.381 – Statistical Methods in Economics*
  • 15.416J – Introduction to Financial Economics+
  • 14.123 – Microeconomics Theory 3
  • 14.124 – Microeconomics Theory 4
  • 14.382 – Econometrics I
  • 15.441J – Advanced Corporate Finance+
  • 14.384 – Time Series Analysis
  • 14.385 Nonlinear Econometric Analysis
  • 15.442J – Advanced Financial Economics III+
  • 15.440J – Advanced Financial Economics II+
  • 15.SXX – Doctoral Seminar in Financial Economics (course number TBD)
  • 15.401 – Managerial Financeˆ
  • 15.402 – Corporate Financeˆ
  • 15.433 – Financial Markets*ˆ
  • 15.437 – Options and Futures*ˆ


The typical student's interests will tend to fall naturally into one of two tracks after the first year: Asset Pricing and Corporate Finance. The recommended electives are designed to deepen the student's grasp of material that will be central to the writing of his/her dissertation. There is no formal requirement to select one track or another, and students are free to take any of the electives. The particular set of electives chosen may differ from student to student even within the same track, and should be chosen by each student in consultation with his/her faculty advisor(s).

Asset Pricing Track

  • Stochastic modeling:
    • 18.125 – Real and Functional Analysis
    • 18.175 – Theory of Probability
    • 18.177 – Stochastic Processes
    • 14.128 – Dynamic Optimization
    • Harvard Econ 2142 – Time Series Analysis (an alternative to 14.384)
  • Time-series econometrics:
    • 14.384 – Time Series Analysis.
    • Harvard Econ 2142 – Time Series Analysis (an alternative to 14.384)
    • Harvard Econ 2146 – Topics in Financial Econometrics

Advanced macro courses offered by the economics department provide useful background for those interested at the intersection of capital markets and macroeconomics.

  • 14.451 – Dynamic Optimization Methods with Applications
  • 15.452 – Economic Growth
  • 14.453 – Economic Fluctuations
  • 14.454 – Economic Crises
  • 14.461, 14.462 – Advanced Macroeconomics I and II.

Corporate Finance Track

  • 14.129 – Advanced Contract Theory
  • 14.281 – Contract Economics
  • 14.282 – Introduction to Organizational Economics
  • 14.126 – Game Theory
  • Harvard Econ 2725 – Corporate Finance
  • 14.387 – Topics in Applied Econometrics
  • 14.661 – Labor economics I
  • 14.662 – Labor economics II

Other Elective Courses

  • 14.137 – Psychology for Economists
  • Harvard Econ 2728 – Behavioral Finance
  • 15.289 – Doctoral Seminar: Communication Skills for Academics
  • MIT
  • 14.773 – Political Economy: Institutions and Development
  • 15.539 – Doctoral Seminar in Accounting
  • Harvard
  • Econ 2723 – Asset Pricing I
  • Econ 2730 – Asset Pricing II

ˆ15.401, 15.402, 15.433 and 15.437 are MBA-level courses. They devote more attention to institutional features and practical examples and applications than Ph.D.-level courses. You should have mastered the material in these classes either by taking or serving as a teaching assistant or through self-study.

*Course may be waived with the permission of a finance faculty advisor

+Finance PhD courses (15.416, 15.440J, 15.441J, 15.442J) in which the student does not receive a grade of B or higher must be retaken.