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Eller College Home > Department of Finance > Doctoral Program > FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions from students interested in our doctoral program. Questions are grouped by topic with links to answers below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions and Applications

Financial Information

Doctoral Program Requirements

Housing and Transportation

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions and Applications

Do you have spring registration?

Applicants are admitted exclusively for the fall semester when the initial core courses of the doctoral program are offered.

Is there a form for letters of recommendation?

No. The format of letters of recommendation is left to the discretion of the author; however letters must arrive in sealed and signed envelopes.

Can I apply to the doctoral program directly from my undergraduate degree?

Since our Finance Ph.D. program is relatively small, we are normally able to admit two to four students each Fall semester.  As a result of the few open seats, competition is very tough and incoming Ph.D. students normally have a master’s degree in finance, economics or a related field.  The first year of study is all in Economic Theory and Econometrics (Quantitative Methods).

However, when evaluating applicants the Graduate Admissions Committee looks at the whole picture:

  • Past academic performance and previous coursework
  • GMAT scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Your statement of intent
  • A strong quantitative background

What is the duration of the doctoral program?

The doctoral program typically takes five years to complete. The typical student has finished coursework and begun dissertation work during the third year of the program.

How many applications do you usually receive? How many applicants do you admit?

We receive about 40-50 applications per year and admit two to four students.

What percentage of your students are international students?

It varies from year to year, but generally between 40% and 60% of our students in residence are international students. Nationality is not a factor in our admission decisions, just the strength of the overall application.

Financial Information

What is the cost of the program?

There are two types of fees to attend the University of Arizona: tuition and registration fees. Additional costs to take into consideration are health insurance and living expenses. For more information on tuition costs please reference the Bursar's Office Web page and the UA Graduate College Estimated Student Budget.

What funding options are available?

Assistantship stipends are awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. Stipend amounts average $21,000 per year (based on 2012-13 academic year) and waive tuition and registration fees. Students are responsible for approximately $475 per semester of miscellaneous University fees. Click here to download the assistantship application form.

What percentage of entering, new students receives departmental funding?

Typically, we fund all of our new, first-year students as well as all continuing students making good progress up through the fifth year of the program. On rare occasion, we will admit a student without funding. If the student progresses satisfactorily, the department may be able to offer funding during the first year of study.

What are the requirements to apply for an assistantship?

To apply for an assistantship you must fill out the assistantship application form. There are no other specific requirements; however, assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.

Can the application fee be waived under special circumstances?

The University of Arizona does not grant waivers of the $60 application fee. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Doctoral Program Requirements

What are the math prerequisites for the program?

Due to the rigorous nature of our program, we expect applicants to have a strong background in math. Below are the courses that make-up a sound preparation for our program. For ease of reference, courses are listed by number and name as they appear in the UA schedule of classes.

MATH 124 – Calculus I with Apps
MATH 129 – Calculus II
MATH 215 – Intro to Linear Algebra
MATH 223 – Vector Calculus

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

A minimum grade-point average of 3.00, based on a 4.00 scale, is required for admission to the Graduate College. Calculation of the grade-point average is based on the final portion of an applicant's undergraduate record, the graduate record, or a combination of both. The Department can ask the Graduate College to make an exception in cases where all other aspects of the application are very strong.

What is the GMAT score requirement?

There is not a minimum score requirement for the GMAT, although we do expect applicants to perform well. The average GMAT score of our last incoming class was over 700. That said, we assess applicants in the context of their overall qualifications and within the context of the applicant pool as a whole. The GMAT codes for the UA Finance Doctoral program are: School Code 4832.

I’ve taken the GMAT, how long will my scores be accepted?

Educational Testing Service (ETS) will report scores for up to five years. Because that’s as long as we are able to receive official score reports, your GMAT scores are accepted for five years .

Is there a minimum TOEFL score requirement?

The minimum TOEFL score required by the Eller College of the University of Arizona is 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test or 100 on the iBT. The University of Arizona institution code for the TOEFL is 4832.

I’ve taken the TOEFL exam, how long will my scores be accepted?

The official UA policy on TOEFL scores is that the exam date must be within two years of the term of enrollment.

Is the T-BEST test required for international applicants?

No, you do not need to submit a T-Best score at the time of application. However, as an international graduate student working with undergraduate students, you are required to demonstrate proficiency with spoken English through the T-BEST test or by a score of 26 or better on the speaking portion of the iBT (internet-based) TOEFL exam.  If you have not already successfully completed the speaking portion of the iBT TOEFL, you will be required to take the T-BEST test upon your arrival in Tucson and receive a score of 7 or higher.  Once admitted, you may register online for the T-BEST test using the online registration form. A $60 fee for the T-BEST Test is charged to your bursar's account.

Are there mandatory orientations or other programs once I am admitted to the program?

Economics Math Camp (ECON519A) : The Eller College Economics Department holds the Math for Economists course each summer, starting in late July or early August.  This course is a requirement for entry into the Ph.D.-Finance program.  The course will focus your math skills specifically for the econometrics courses you will be taking the first two years of the Ph.D.-Finance program.  The course is expected to run for the three weeks prior to Fall semester and meets Monday through Saturday for the three weeks.  All of the incoming Ph.D.-Finance students will be taking the course together. 

The International Student Orientation : This orientation is mandatory for international students and takes place two days during the second week of August on campus.  Once you are admitted, you can visit the International Student Programs and Services website for registration information at:  

The Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation (GATO) : GATO is mandatory and will be held on one day in the middle of August, the week prior to the start of Fall semester. Registration will be available online at  GATO is required for all graduate students working with undergraduate students on behalf of faculty so you are required to attend. 

Optional UA Graduate Orientation : For students new to campus, you may also wish to attend the Graduate College Orientation on one day in the middle of August, the week prior to the start of Fall semester. This orientation is hosted bythe Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Council.  Registration will be available at

Housing and Transportation

Where can I find information about the UA Graduate College dorm, La Aldea?

The UA offers housing on campus to graduate students at La Aldea, a graduate student dorm approximately 1/2 mile from McClelland Hall, where all doctoral finance courses are held.

Where can I find information about off-campus housing?

The most current information about off-campus housing is available through The UA Student Union ( ). It provides an up-to-date list of housing options and availability.

What is it like at the UA?

The University of Arizona campus and surrounding area is a dynamic part of Tucson's urban fabric. You'll find lots of information at UA Future Students - Graduate & Professional Students.

What is it like living in Tucson?

Tucson is a multicultural and evolving city in the Sonoran desert. The Eller College MBA website provides a good overview at Living in Tucson.

What parking and transportation options are available?

A number of options are available to students and described on the Parking and Transportation Options page.

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