First phase: PhD Courses

The Doctoral Program in Finance at the University of Zurich starts with a curriculum of first year doctoral courses (core courses) taught mainly by local Faculty. The aim of this intensive course-work is to equip all candidates with a broad and complete education covering the basic building blocks and conceptual tools of finance. It should provide a perfect working basis to successfully finish the doctoral program within three more years. More information on the current list of first year doctoral courses at the University of Zurich can be found here.

There will be examinations following each core course. The responsible faculty member can decide to attribute the final grade for his/her course based only on project assessments, on class participation as well as on graded interim homework. Students' admission to the second phase (dissertation writing) is determined on the basis of the grades obtained on the core courses as well as the successful completion of a summer research paper. The summer research paper should be the first draft of a "publishable" research paper. It should contain original theoretical or empirical work (no survey paper) developed by students on their own (under "minimal guidance" by supervisor).

An extensive selection of additional Master level courses is available to PhD candidates wishing to complete their education during the first phase of their curriculum. In addition to the courses listed above, a large number of courses in related fields are offered by partner academic institutions in the Swiss Finance Institute PhD program. These courses can be integrated into the course curriculum of Swiss Finance Institute PhD candidates with the approval of the local Doctoral Program coordinator.

Second phase: PhD Research

Upon admission to the second phase of the program, Swiss Finance Institute PhD students select a thesis topic and choose their thesis advisor. Typically, students can become part of the research projects carried out at the local department and work within this project as a research or teaching assistant. The SFI network also guarantees intensive contact with researchers and PhD students from other Swiss Universities and provides an excellent and stimulating research environment.

In this second phase of the doctoral program, all PhD students are requested to attend the annual SFI Research Days at the Study Centre Gerzensee, the faculty’s Research Seminar in Finance, and the internal Brown Bag Lunch Seminar. In addition, the SFI partner institutions offer a large variety of advanced doctoral courses taught by internationally renowned academics from Switzerland, Europe, and North America. The goal of these advanced courses is to provide students with the opportunity to acquire the specialized skills that are most relevant to their thesis work. The selection of the appropriate advanced doctoral courses for each candidate will be made jointly with his/her dissertation supervisor.

The completion of the Doctoral Program in Finance at the University of Zurich requires a successful final defense of the doctoral dissertation. The degree "Doctorate in Economics with Specialisation in Finance" is awarded by the University of Zurich.