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Eller College Home > Department of Finance > Doctoral Program > Curriculum > Third and Fourth Years
Finance

Third and Fourth Years Curriculum

Details of Stages in
Ph.D.-Finance Degree Program

The following is an outline of the requirements students can expect to complete during the third and fourth years of the Finance Ph.D. program. The Typical Course Sequence provides a sample schedule for the full four-year program.

Credit Requirements

During the third and fourth years of the Ph.D. program, students will complete the required coursework for the degree, including 18 units of dissertation as required by The UA Graduate College. The Ph.D. in Management with a major in Finance will require not less than 66 total credit hours, including at least 36 hours in the major, 9 hours in the minor and 18 hours of dissertation credit.

Dissertation Proposal

No later than the September following the third year , students are required to successfully complete the dissertation proposaland comprehensive oral examination on related topics.

The typical dissertation proposal and oral exam starts with extensive questioning on the student's dissertation proposal and related research and then expands over time into the fundamentals of finance and economics that the student must know to complete their research and also to be considered a good finance researcher. In addition, the comprehensive oral examination will test a student's ability to understand at a deeper level the state of the knowledge on a particular topic, and his/her ability to formulate and defend a research proposal on this topic.

Under the supervision of one or more Finance faculty members (dissertation chair(s)), students are expected to prepare and submit a research proposal at least one month prior to the date of the dissertation proposal for review by the Finance faculty members.

After consulting with the Ph.D. Faculty Advisor and the dissertation chair(s), the student chooses a dissertation committee. The dissertation committee typically consists of three members of the Finance faculty and one member from the department of the student's minor field. The examining committee members are appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College upon the recommendation of the heads of the academic departments involved.

The dissertation research proposal should demonstrate an understanding of the literature in an area of the student's choosing and should contain a research strategy that has the potential to advance knowledge in the area. This document should contain:

  • An introduction, overview, and outline of the entire dissertation;
  • A relatively polished chapter with results; and,
  • A second chapter in-process and demonstrating that the student is relatively far along in the research.
Once the student and dissertation committee members have agreed on a date and time for the dissertation proposal presentation and oral comprehensive examination, the "Application for Oral Comprehensive Examination for Doctoral Candidate" should be completed at The UA Graduate College website (available after logging in with a student UA Net ID), printed and signed by all members, and submitted to the Graduate College.

Oral Examination

The oral examination typically starts with a 10 to 15 minute presentation and overview of the dissertation proposal that briefly touches on all aspects of the thesis, including overheads for key tables as appropriate. The focus during the examination will be on the student answering the committee's questions, first concentrating on the student's dissertation proposal and the financial and economic issues related to the proposal.

Students will also be asked about the value of such a strategy, as well as its feasibility and limitations. The questioning will expand to address the fundamental knowledge that the student must have mastered to complete their research in the field and the general knowledge that professional researchers in finance should know. This is the occasion when faculty committee members have both the opportunity and obligation to require the student to display a broad knowledge of the chosen field of study and sufficient depth of understanding in areas of specialization. The examining committee must attest that the student has demonstrated the professional level of knowledge expected of a junior academic colleague.

At least three members of the faculty dissertation committee must be in attendance for the entire exam, which should be at least one hour in length, but not exceed three hours. Students should expect the typical length to be roughly an hour and a half to two hours.

If a student fails the oral exam on the first try, a reexamination may be given in certain circumstances. However, any reexamination must be recommended by the examining committee, endorsed by the major department, and approved by the Graduate College. Four months must elapse between the first and second attempt. The Graduate College allows no more than one retake of the oral exam.

Additionally, if the student does not pass the comprehensive oral examination by the start of the fourth year of the program, the department may elect to dismiss the student from the Ph.D. program, withdraw financial assistance awarded in prior semesters, and/or set a date (before the end of the Fall semester of the fourth year of study) by which time the comprehensive oral examination must be completed with a passing grade.

If a student does not take the comprehensive oral examination before the Fall semester of the fourth year, the Department may elect to dismiss the student from the Ph.D. program, withdraw financial assistance awarded in prior semesters, and/or set a date (before the end of the Fall semester of the fourth year of study) by which time the comprehensive oral examination must be completed and passed.

Advancement to Candidacy

Satisfaction of the course requirements and passing all examinations advances the student to the candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

"When the student has an approved doctoral Plan of Study on file, has satisfied all course work, language, and residence requirements, and passed the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination, he or she must file an Application to Advance to Candidacy. This application must be submitted to the Graduate Degree Certification Office immediately upon completion of the oral examination."

Deadlines for the submission of paperwork pertaining to doctoral programs are available in departments, in the Graduate Degree Certification Office, and on the Graduate College website (select the semester you expect to graduate). 'Advancement to Candidacy/Committee Appointment' forms are available from the Graduate Degree Certification Office. At the time you submit your application for Advancement to Candidacy your bursar account will be billed fees for candidacy, dissertation processing, microfilming. This is a one-time fee and you will not be billed again if you change your anticipated graduation date. Copyrighting is optional and carries an additional fee.

Dissertation of Defense

The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of the dissertation. An acceptable dissertation is one that the faculty judges to make sufficient contribution to financial knowledge that, with minor revisions, will be publishable in a top academic journal.

A Final Oral Defense examination of the dissertation (dissertation of defense) in both the major and minor subjects is scheduled upon completion. Faculty committee members will require the student to display a broad knowledge of the chosen field of study and sufficient depth of understanding in areas of specialization. The examining committee must attest that the student has demonstrated the professional level of knowledge expected of a junior academic colleague.

To notify the Graduate College of your scheduled final oral defense examination, complete the "Announcement of Final Oral Examination" form available on the Graduate College website. The form must be signed by the members of your committee. Provide the completed and signed form to the Department Director, Graduate Programs so that it can be sent to the Graduate College for processing.

"The exact time and place of this examination must be scheduled with the Graduate Degree Certification Office at least three weeks in advance, and announced publicly in Lo Que Pasa at least one week in advance. The dissertation director presides over the examination. The examination is closed to the public, except for an initial seminar portion during which the student presents the dissertation and entertains questions."

(For more information, read the UA Graduate College catalog)

The dissertation director presides over the examination. The initial seminar portion during which the student presents the dissertation and entertains questions is open to the public.  The committee's deliberation is closed to the public.

There is no minimum time limit for the Final Oral Examination, but the entire proceedings may not exceed three hours. Members of the committee must be present for the entire examination.”
(http://grad.arizona.edu/academics/program-requirements/doctor-of-philosophy/final-oral-defense-examination)

A Ph.D. dissertation represents the student, the department, and The University of Arizona in the international scholarly community. This work is important and worthy of professional presentation. Therefore, The UA Graduate College publishes a manual detailing the required dissertation format to ensure it meets these high standards. Please refer to this manual for specifications on the type, title page, table of contents, references and more.

At your final dissertation defense, provide an Approval Page Form to the dissertation committee members to sign. This will be inserted as the second page of your submitted dissertation. Also, please ensure that a Change of Grade form is available to provide to your major advisor. The Change of Grade form indicating your grade (Superior/Pass/Fail) for the dissertation as determined by your committee must be submitted to the Graduate College immediately upon completion of your final defense.

When you have reached this point, the degree requirements have been completed and hearty congratulations are given and well deserved.
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