DPhil Finance

​In-depth training in academic research skills to develop you as a productive scholar

Start date:


  • 4 years

Time commitment:

  • Full time


  • Oxford

About the programme

Our doctoral training will immerse you in all aspects of academic life.

You will be both a student and a junior research colleague. We provide courses in a wide variety of research methods and you will work closely with your supervisors to define your research question and develop your thesis. You will also have opportunities to gain teaching and research assistant experience and become involved with the intellectual community within both Saïd Business School and the wider University. You will attend academic conferences, make presentations, organise lectures and seminars and contribute to management and academic decisions.

Both of our doctoral programmes run in parallel, with only differences in taught courses and preparation for writing in relevant journals to your subject of choice.

We have deliberately kept the programmes small which means that in the vast majority of cases, students are fully funded to allow them to devote their energies to research. The DPhil corresponds to a PhD degree offered at most other universities.

Examples of previous research topics include asset-pricing and corporate finance, the design and regulation of securities markets, corporate financial policy, and the impact of financial markets on real economic activity.



You will be assigned two initial supervisors who will guide you through your first year.

They will help you to identify your specialist area of interest and further suitable advisers in that field. You will work closely with them to define your research question and develop your thesis. It is an important relationship and also a very personal one: it is shaped by you, your supervisors and the ways you interact. You will have a minimum of nine meetings, or equivalent per year with your supervisor.

You do not need to contact any faculty in advance of making your application but you can review the profiles of our faculty to look for at the areas of research covered at the School. You can note within your application if you feel that you are interested in a particular research area and working with a specific faculty member. 

The allocation of a supervisor is the responsibility of Saïd Business School, it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the School.



Review some current research taking place around the school as well as from some of our alumni.

Review articles and podcasts written by our researchers at Oxford Answers

Learn more about becoming a researcher from Andromachi Athanasopoulou, who graduated in 2007 and is now an Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Queen Mary University London and an Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd.

View Professor Renée Adams' discussion on Women on boards: The superheroes of tomorrow? 

View Dr Amir Amel-Zadeh discussion on (Mis-)information in financial markets.

Assessment and programme milestones

Our DPhil offers students the opportunity to engage with internationally renowned faculty who are here to help you become an academic scholar.

You will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). During your first year, you will be required to attend taught causes where foundational economic and financial theory will be studied. Based on previous years, these may include, but are not limited to courses that cover topics such as:

  • Asset pricing
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial econometrics
  • Economics

During second and third terms, you will select four elective courses offered for the second year of the MPhil in Economics, one of which must be either Financial Economics I or Financial Economics II.

Following successful completion of all necessary courses and within a maximum of six terms as a PRS student (and normally by the fourth term) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status.

A successful transfer of status is required to give a clear indication of whether it would be reasonable to consider submission within the course of a further three terms, if work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily. Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status within nine terms of admission, to show that your work continues to be on track.

Both milestones normally involve an interview with two assessors (other than your supervisor). This provides important experience for the final oral examination.

You will be expected to submit a thesis, which provides a significant and substantial contribution to the field of learning in finance, which should not exceed 100,000 words after four years from the date of admission. It should be good enough to be published in book form or as a series of academic articles. To be successfully awarded a DPhil in Finance you will need to defend your thesis orally (viva voce) in front of two appointed examiners.

Changes to this course and your supervision

We seek to deliver this course in accordance with this description. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the us to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. Also in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our pages on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

I think the most important issues in the supervisor relationship are communication and trust. You need a supervisor who can tell you the things you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear them, and who can nudge you back on to the right track.

Alexander Montag

Current DPhil in Finance student

Benefits and opportunities


  • Engage with internationally renowned faculty
  • Conference and research funding
  • Training in principal research methods at both at Saïd Business School and wider University.


  • Paid teaching and research assistant opportunities
  • Contribute to management and academic programme decisions through student representation on committees
  • Postgraduate careers resources


St Hugh's College at Oxford in spring

You will become a member of an Oxford college. Your college is both an academic and social community that will enrich your time at Oxford. It offers everything from formal dinners and balls to sports and lecture series.

The Oxford college system enables you to interact with students and faculty from other disciplines. Some colleges provide accommodation for students. 

Who can apply

Our candidates are passionately intellectual people who have a superlative academic record and are committed to a career in academia.

DPhil in Finance

You will require:

  • a good undergraduate degree: 2.1 (GPA 3.5 or its equivalent)
  • GMAT or GRE test results
  • TOEFL or IELTS test results (If you are not from an English speaking majority country)
  • three pieces of written work, including a well-developed research proposal
  • three academic references

Application process


Applications are now closed for October 2024 entry.

The deadline for applying was 13 December 2023 at 23:59 GMT. 

Complete applications received by the deadline will be considered. You will be informed by late January if you have been shortlisted for interview.

Final decisions will be communicated by the end of February.

There are nine shared places available for the DPhil Finance and DPhil Management. The average number of applications for entry between 2021 and 2023 was 70. 

Fees and funding

The course fee in 2024-25 is £23,580 for both home and overseas students.

The programme is four years in duration. Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). Please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. 

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

Additional cost information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of the expenses.

Scholarships and funding

Doctoral students admitted to our programme receive full funding over four years. This includes course fees and an annual living expenses stipend. To maximise the overall availability of funding for candidates, we will identify suitable alternative scholarships and may ask you to submit funding applications. We also ask that you identify and pursue any other funding opportunities, including external funding.   

For some scholarships you are required to submit a scholarship essay and/or tick the relevant box in the Funding section of the application form.

Cost of living

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course. Please view the University's living expenses page for information about likely living costs for 2024-25.

Further information about fees

The Fees and Funding section of The University of Oxford's website provides further information about course fees, including information about fee status and eligibility and your length of fee liability.

Alumni placements


  • University of Michigan Ross School of Business – Assistant Professor of Finance


  • Vanderbilt University – Assistant Professor of Finance
  • Ivey Business School - Assistant Professor in Finance
  • University of Warwick - Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • International Monetary Fund - Economist (Economist Program), Research Department


  • Harvard Business School - Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • University of Hong Kong - Assistant Professor of Finance
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute - Assistant Professor of Finance


  • Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Research Economist
  • Indiana University – Assistant Professor of Finance


  • City University of Hong Kong - Assistant Professor