Mathematics Prerequisites for Doctoral Level Studies in Finance

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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This study represents a first step in identifying the mathematics prerequisites for doctoral level studies in finance. We exploit the methodology of triangulation and complete the following three analyses. First, we completed an exhaustive search of the official web pages of all doctoral programs in finance in the United States, and manually noted all suggested mathematics and statistics coursework, if there were any. Second, we sent online surveys to professors and current PhD students in finance from the top-tier universities in the United States, and collected data for quantitative analysis. Third, we interviewed a number of professors and PhD candidates in finance from various universities for qualitative analysis. This study contributes to the literature regarding the role of mathematics in doctoral level programs and research in finance. One of the most intriguing findings of this study is that rigorous training in mathematics (such as learning how to prove) is very important at doctoral level studies in finance. Finally, based on this study, we provide specific recommendations to prospective doctoral students in finance on mathematics coursework, and to program recruiters on posting detailed descriptions of mathematics prerequisites on their web pages.