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PhD Programs in Behavioral Finance

Students interested in growing their knowledge of psychology, finance, economics, and other related areas can pursue a couple different types of doctoral programs. Find out what programs are available and what coursework may be included.

How to Earn a PhD Degree in Behavioral Finance

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs specifically in behavioral finance are not available, but students can pursue closely related programs, like a PhD in Behavioral Economics or Behavioral Science, some of which may include courses in behavioral finance, behavioral economics, and other related subjects. These degree programs are usually joint programs offered by business, economics, social sciences, and/or psychology departments, and typically require students to complete a dissertation and/or teaching responsibilities. Some of these degree programs can be completed in as little as 5 years and students usually have great flexibility to choose from courses in a wide range of areas, including some of the courses discussed in more detail below.

Mathematics in Economics

Students generally take at least one course that discusses the various mathematical methods utilized in the field of economics. These courses usually cover methods and theories in probability, statistics, and problem-solving. Some of these courses may provide students with hands-on experience using statistical software programs and/or allow students to work in teams as they explore abstract math concepts. Other specific topics may include decision theory, conditional probability, and statistical independence.

Analysis/Decision-Making

Students may also take one or more courses that help them further develop their analysis and/or decision-making skills using statistics and other empirical data. Some of these courses may focus on econometric analysis, while others may focus on statistical inference in business decisions. Either way, students learn how to carefully analyze data to pull out valuable information and apply their findings to real-world situations. These courses may include topics in hypothesis testing, multivariate analysis, variables, and inference models.

Optimization

These degree programs may offer a course that examines optimization in management sciences or econometrics. Courses designed for the management sciences help students further understand tools used for quantitative analysis, such as linear programming and nonlinear programming. Courses in econometrics may explore how optimization methods can be used to solve econometric problems. Both types of courses typically provide students with hands-on experience using software programs for analysis.

Finance

Courses in finance may be available at various levels (such as introductory and advanced) and/or with different focus areas, such as public finance or behavioral finance. Finance courses aim to equip students with knowledge of concepts and analytical tools used in the field to solve real-world problems. General courses in finance may provide students with an overview of topics like securities, capital estimation, and optimal portfolio formation, while more specific courses, like courses in public finance, may examine specific topics in the field, such as taxation, redistribution, and effects of government policies.

Innovation

Students may take a course that examines innovation in business models and marketing strategies or focuses on innovators in art and science and how they have influenced economic growth. Courses that focus on innovation in business may explore how to (and how not to) introduce innovation to the market and may utilize case studies, readings, presentations, and other hands-on experiences. Courses that discuss various innovators may use recent research in the field that explores different kinds of innovators and the various processes they utilize to promote economic growth.

Admittance Requirements for Doctoral Programs Related to Behavioral Finance

Applicants to PhD programs in areas like behavioral economics or behavioral sciences typically need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Most of these degree programs also require students to submit their GRE test scores, but some programs may also accept GMAT test scores. Depending on the format of the program, some joint degree programs may have students first apply to a dissertation area and then find a faculty sponsor before being accepted into the joint program, usually in the first year of the program. Other common application materials for these doctoral degree programs may include transcripts, letters of recommendation, essay responses, and/or a resume. Some programs may allow students to also submit an optional writing sample.

Doctoral programs in behavioral finance are usually not available, but students can study the field in related degree programs, like a PhD in Behavioral Economics or PhD in Behavioral Sciences. These degree programs typically require a dissertation and give students flexibility in their coursework to pursue topics that align with their research interests.