Program Structure and Requirement

The Ph.D. program in finance is a rigorous, highly structured doctoral program that develops the core skills required for modern finance research.

The Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) program in Finance at HKUST is a two-year research-oriented degree that aims to prepare students for a research and teaching career in universities and research institutes. After successful completion of the M.Phil. program and passing a written qualifying exam, the students may choose to enter the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Finance at HKUST. Students who have been awarded scholarships under the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) enter the Ph.D. program in its first year.

Typical Program Structure

First Year for M.Phil and Ph.D. Students (23 credits)

FALL SEMESTER
(13 credits)
  • ECON 5210 Microeconomic Theory I (4 credits)
  • ECON 5250 Macroeconomic Theory I (4 credits)
  • FINA 5210 Investments (MBA course, 2 credits)
  • FINA 5120 Corporate Finance (MBA course, 2 credits)
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)
  • LANG 5002 Professional English for Postgraduates (1 credit, P/F)
SPRING SEMESTER
(10 credits)
  • ECON 5300 Econometrics (4 credits)
  • FINA 7900A Theoretical Corporate Finance (3 credits)
  • FINA 7900B Theoretical Asset Pricing (3 credits)
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)

Introductory Quantitative Requirements

Unless students have clearly demonstrated sufficient knowledge in the area, students entering the M.Phil. and Ph.D. programs are required to take the following two mathematics-oriented courses in the first regular term of study. The credits earned from these two courses cannot be counted toward the degree requirements: ECON 5100 Mathematics for Business and Economics and ISOM 5540 Introduction to Probability.

RPg Professional Development Requirement

Students entering the M.Phil. and Ph.D. programs are required to complete and pass SBMT 6770 Professional Development in Academia for Business in their first 1.5 years of study. The 1 credit earned from this course cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

First Year Summer for M.Phil and Ph.D. Students

First Year Critical Survey Paper Requirement: The students are required to complete a critical survey paper in the summer of their first-year. The papers are due by October 1 following the first year summer. The papers will be presented to the faculty in a 30-minute presentation in October of their second year. The paper must be single-authored work. The Ph.D. committee will evaluate survey papers against the rubric and evaluate both written and oral performance. A Pass/Fail grade is given.

To Proceed to the Next Stage

  • A minimum grade of B in each of the courses.
  • Passing the first year survey paper.

Second Year for M.Phil and Ph.D. Students (18 credits)

FALL SEMESTER
(10 credits)
  • FINA 7900C Empirical Corporate Finance (3 credits)
  • FINA 7900D Empirical Asset Pricing (3 credits)
  • FINA 5290 Derivatives (MBA course, 2 credits)
  • FINA 5360 (MBA course, 2 credits)
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)
SPRING SEMESTER
(8 credits)
  • ACCT 7730 Empirical Research in Accounting (4 credits)
  • ACCT 7720 Analytical Research in Accounting (4 credits) OR a Ph.D. Course approved by advisor
  • ECON 5520 Microeconomic Theory II (4 credits)
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshop (P/F)
  • FINA 6900 M.Phil Thesis Research (only for M.Phil students)

SECOND YEAR PAPER and COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

A Single-Authored Original Research Paper

For M.Phil Students

This paper is called the M.Phil. Thesis. An intention to defend the M.Phil. Thesis has to be made by the student by mid-May. A Thesis Examination Committee (TEC), which consists of the chairperson, a thesis supervisor, and another faculty member, is formed. The first draft has to be submitted by the end of June of the second year to the TEC. The thesis is defended orally by the end of July. The final draft of the thesis is submitted by the middle of August. The TEC will make a pass-fail decision. For further details, see http://ebookshelf.ust.hk/flippingbook/G16400/#94.

A M.Phil degree is awarded to the student after successful completion of the M.Phil thesis.

For Ph.D. Students

This paper is called the Second Year Written Paper. It is due at the end of June of the second year. The second-year paper will be read by the Ph.D. committee members who will give pass-fail recommendations.

A Written Comprehensive Examination

For Ph.D. students and M.Phil or other equivalent master's degree students applying to enter the Ph.D. program:

A written comprehensive examination, based on FINA7900 courses will be conducted in February of the second year. Exam questions will be given and graded by the faculty who taught the above Ph.D. courses. The Ph.D. committee will make pass-fail decision upon recommendations of the faculty who grade these questions.

To Proceed to The Next Stage

  • A minimum grade of B in each of the FINA 7900 courses and MBA courses. An average grade of B+ in the MBA courses (FINA 5120, FINA 5210, FINA 5290 and FINA 5360)
  • passing the single-authored original research paper
  • Passing the written comprehensive examination

Third Year and Onwards

Third Year for Ph.D. Students (2 credits)

FALL SEMESTER
(2 credits)
General Management Course
Any one of the following:
  • ACCT 5100 Financial Accounting Foundations (2 credits)
  • ISOM 5700 Operations Management (2 credits)
  • MARK 5120 Marketing Strategy and Policy (2 credits)
  • NGNT 5230 Management of Organizations (2 credits)
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)
SPRING SEMESTER
Secure Thesis Advisor
  • FINA 7900 Doctoral Thesis Research
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)

An average grade of B in the above courses is required to proceed to next stage

Fourth Year For Ph.D. Students

FALL SEMESTER
  • FINA 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshop(P/F)
SPRING SEMESTER
Pass Thesis Proposal
  • FINA 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)

Fifth Year for Ph.D. Students

FALL SEMESTER
  • FINA 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshop(P/F)
SPRING SEMESTER
Presentation and Oral Defense of Ph.D. Thesis
  • FINA 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research
  • FINA 7980 Finance Workshops (P/F)