PhD Handbook

PhD in Finance in USA: Best Universities for PhD in Finance in USA

Yocket Editorial Team

USA happens to be one of the most sought after destinations for a PhD. The program structure here allows you to get a lot of training alongside research which is not common in the European countries or UK is what makes it desirable. Usually, master of finance graduates plan to get a PhD but it is also a good option for MBA in USA graduates to advance their careers. After a PhD in finance in USA, you can either go on the path to become a professor or take the road to work with global companies.

We have prepared a guide including best universities for PhD in finance in USA, eligibility criteria, admission process, cost of studying, scholarships, future opportunities and a lot more to help you grab the best opportunities to pursue PhD in finance from USA.

Table of Contents

Why Study PhD in Finance in USA?

  • US universities dominate almost all major rankings. If we talk about the QS World University Rankings by Subject for Accounting and Finance, 73 universities are included in the list of top universities.
  • USA spends enormous amounts on research and development and is said to be ahead of several other countries in terms of innovation.
  • The rigor of curriculum offered at US universities is much higher in standard than research programs at other institutions.
  • US universities offer state-of-art research infrastructure which attracts aspirants from all around the world.

Best Universities for PhD in Finance in USA

A PhD is a long duration course so be assured that you choose your university wisely considering accreditation, co-curricular factors, facilities, faculty, location, etc. Here is a list of the 5 best universities for PhD in finance in USA:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. University of Chicago
  3. Stanford University
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  5. University of Pennsylvania

Discussed below are the insights of these 5 universities including ranking, specializations and tuition fees can be seen below:

1.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD in finance at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is offered under the MIT finance group. The program duration can be categorized into coursework, seminar, general examination, research paper and dissertation.

Institution Type


Massachusetts Institute of Technology World Ranking 2024


Program Offered

PhD in Business - Finance, PhD in Finance and Accounting, PhD in Economics

Average Annual Program Fees

51,204 USD per year

2.  University of Chicago

For pursuing PhD in finance at University of Chicago, you will get full tuition support for 5-6 years of your full-time study. Additionally, the university gives you the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant in the third and fourth year.

Institution Type


University of Illinois at Chicago World Ranking 2024


Program Offered

PhD in Business - Finance, Joint PhD in Financial Economics

Average Annual Program Fees

70,056 USD per year

3.  Stanford University

At Stanford University, your PhD program will come with a five year funding guarantee which includes tuition, assistantship salary and fellowship stipend. Phd programs have been a constant preference for most international students to pursue here.

Institution Type


Stanford University World Ranking 2024


Program Offered

PhD in Finance

Average Annual Program Fees

56,487 USD per year

4.  University of California, Berkeley

The Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley offers a five year, fully funded PhD in finance program that aims to integrate modern developments in the field of finance. The course expects the student to have a strong background in mathematics and statistics.

Institution Type


University of California, Berkeley World Ranking 2024


Program Offered

PhD in Business Administration - Finance

Average Annual Program Fees

36,418 USD per year

5.  University of Pennsylvania

The finance faculty at the Wharton School of Business is one of the most renowned faculties of University of Pennsylvania. The ideal candidate for a PhD at Wharton should have a background in economics, mathematics, statistics, engineering and other quantitative disciplines.

Institution Type


University of Pennsylvania World Ranking 2024


Program Offered

PhD in Finance

Average Annual Program Fees

45,062 USD per year


Also Read

Finance courses in USA

How to shortlist universities abroad?

Course Curriculum for PhD in Finance in USA

Although a US PhD degree is longer than a UK degree, it has its own benefits and gives candidates the time to get a better hold and develop expertise in the subject area. Discuss in the table below the course curriculum for PhD in finance in USA:

Course Duration

4-6 years

Course Content

Financial management, business environment, international finance, corporate finance, actuarial science, portfolio management, financial markets, etc.

Course Specializations

Accounting and finance, banking and finance, financial management, financial engineering, etc.

Eligibility Criteria for PhD in Finance from USA

The PhD in finance in USA requirements may vary from one university to another. Before looking at the cost of studying PhD in USA, let us understand the basic eligibility criteria for the same:

  1. Completed master’s degree
  2. English language proficiency requirements
  3. Entrance test scores

Take a look at the detailed discussion on eligibility criteria to study PhD in finance in US:

1.  Completed master’s degree

To pursue PhD in finance in USA, you must have a master’s degree in finance from a recognized institution equivalent to a US master’s degree. A minimum GPA of 3.0 or above is required.

Suggested: MS in finance in USA

2.  English language proficiency requirements

As international students, you will have to provide proof of English language proficiency if your native language is not English. IELTS and TOEFL are among the most widely accepted test scores. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL-iBT score of 90 or above is recommended.

3.  Entrance test scores

Before enrolling for a PhD in finance in USA, you may be asked for your GMAT or GRE scores. You may not have to take the test again as you must have already taken it before applying for your master’s degree.

Suggested: MS in USA

Documents Required to Study PhD in Finance from USA

It is crucial to understand the PhD in finance in USA requirements to complete the application process hassle-free. Listed below are the documents that most institutions will ask you to submit:

  1. Transcripts of academic records from all previous post-secondary institutions
  2. Test scores of GMAT/ GRE
  3. English language proficiency test scores
  4. Research proposal
  5. Writing sample
  6. Letters of recommendation
  7. Personal statement
  8. CV
  9. Copy of passport
  10. Proof of finances

Admission Process for PhD in Finance in USA

Here is the step-by-step process to apply for PhD in finance in US:

  1. Check the eligibility criteria for your chosen institution before applying.
  2. Visit the official university website and look for the upcoming intake and application deadlines.
  3. Complete the online application for admission and pay the necessary application fee, which usually ranges between 100 USD-150 USD.
  4. Gather all documents to be submitted along with the application.
  5. Once you complete the application and submit all relevant documents, keep an eye on the university website to get updates on your application.
  6. You may be called for an interview and be asked about your research proposal before getting the acceptance letter.
  7. If you are accepted, fulfill the enrollment requirements and apply for a visa to study in USA.

Suggested: USA student visa guide

How Much Does it Cost to Study for a PhD in Finance in USA?

Getting a PhD in USA requires a huge sum of investment. The cost of studying for a PhD in finance in USA can be categorized into tuition fees and cost of living. Let us consider the costs for each of these components.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees for PhD in finance in USA ranges between 35,000 USD - 70,000 USD per year. You can find programs with lower tuition fees at public universities.

Suggested: Phd in USA cost for Indian students

Cost of Living

An international student’s cost of living in USA is estimated at around 12,000 USD-18,000 USD per year i.e. 1000 USD-1,500 USD per month, varying according to the student’s budget. It is true that the living expenses in USA are higher compared to many other study abroad destinations. However, affordable options are available to choose from, such as various accommodation options, public transport, personal expenses, etc.

Scholarships for PhD in Finance in USA

You will find multiple funding options for pursuing research in USA. Most US universities offer fully funded PhD programs, so you do not have to fret about the huge tuition fees. Take a look at the table below to learn about the various university-provided scholarships for international students:

Scholarship Name

Amount (in USD)

Knight-Hennessy Scholars program (Stanford University)

Varies (up to 3 years)

AAUW International Fellowships in USA for Women

30,000 USD

 Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship

50% as scholarship and other 50% as loan

Vice Provost for Graduate Education (Stanford University)


Global Leaders Fellowship

10,000 USD per year

Career Opportunities After PhD in Finance in US

Accounting and finance professionals in USA earn 97,600 USD per year on average. With a PhD in finance from USA, you can expect 23% higher salaries than a master’s degree. New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia are some of the states offering the highest salaries compared to other cities in USA.

Take a look at the popular job titles and average salaries for PhD in finance from USA:

Job Title

Average Annual Salary


142,000 USD

Financial Manager

181,000 USD

Finance Analyst

126,000 USD

Investment Analyst

131,000 USD

Cost Accounting Manager

137,000 USD

Suggested: How to find jobs in USA?

A PhD in finance in USA is worth considering to advance your career and boost your earning potential. Get in touch with our Yocket counsellors today and get answers to all your questions related to PhD in finance in USA and a roadmap to secure a seat in one of the best universities for a PhD in finance in USA.


Frequently Asked Questions about PhD in Finance in USA

How many years is a PhD in finance in USA?

How much does it cost to do a PhD in finance in USA?

Can Indian students get a scholarship to pursue PhD in finance in USA?

Can I apply for PhD in finance with an MBA in finance?

Is it better to do PhD in finance in USA from a private or public university?

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