Global financial markets are facing an era of unprecedented upheaval. Just 10 years ago the world was beginning to recover from the financial crash of 2008, but now world markets must recover from a health pandemic that has driven national economies to the brink of collapse. Now more than ever, the finance sector needs decisive leadership and fresh thinking to navigate the crisis and the “new normal” that will emerge in the post-pandemic era.
Our PhD Finance gives you the opportunity to specialise in a wide range of areas such as:
You study at Essex Business School (EBS) at our Colchester Campus. We are the largest department at the University of Essex and one of the most respected finance groups in the UK. We are a business school with an international outlook and our doctoral students join us from all over the world.
The University of Essex is home to a number of cutting-edge financial research centres and institutes, where academics across disciplines and departments come together to collaborate around a common theme, often engaging with external partners at a national and international level. The Essex Finance Centre (EFiC) works with leading financial services firms and public sector organisations, governments and policy institutions to produce work that makes real-world impact across the globe. The Essex Centre for Macro and Financial Econometrics brings together academic and industry expertise from inside and outside the University of Essex to research and help solve important issues in financial markets.
In addition within Essex Business School our Finance Group is one of the largest groups of finance researchers in the UK. Their research has been cited in the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve and is relevant to real people’s lives. Members join the group from all over the world, including Greece, Italy, Spain, China, India and Mauritius and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Professor Neil Kellard, Dean of Essex Business School and member of the Finance Group, carries out research which supports developing countries through forecasting commodity prices. By modelling the effects of different causes, such as natural disasters, his research helps to find solutions to ease the impact of price changes for commodities such as energy and food. Professor Jerry Coakley is an active researcher and teaches as part of the group. His research is extremely topical as he studies the rise in crowdfunding and its impact on the way new and fledgling SMEs finance themselves. Many entrepreneurs may find the big banks turn them away or simply charge too much, leading them to turn to the public to help them crowdfund their way to business success.
Essex Business School provides a highly flexible and supportive PhD experience, where your supervisors develop your professional skills and research expertise in your chosen area. You experience a programme of specialised training, focused on the quantitative methods used to explore markets and financial assets. Seminars and events give you the opportunity to engage with academics and industry practitioners from organisations around the world, encouraging reflection on current economic and business issues.Once a year, our doctoral students have the opportunity to present their work at our PhD conference.
You can choose to study on a full-time or part-time basis. You may also be eligible for a PhD scholarship.
If you would like to undertake a doctoral degree in finance but do not have a Masters, you may want to look at our integrated PhD Finance.
At Essex Business School, you benefit from world-class supervision and research training conducted by our senior academic staff, such as Professor Claudia Girardone. Claudia is Professor of Banking and Finance at Essex Business School and is also Director of the Essex Finance Centre (EFiC) and the School’s Director of Research. Professor Girardone has published over 50 articles on various aspects of banking and finance in books and peer-reviewed international journals, and is currently on the editorial board of several journals. Her research focuses on banking sector performance and stability, bank corporate governance, the industrial structure of banking and access to finance.
Professor of Management and Director of Postgraduate Research at Essex Business School Martyna Sliwa, oversees and leads on the provision of our graduate research programmes and ensures that we create an environment where our doctoral students can flourish as researchers in a thriving and mutually supportive PhD community. Martyna talks more about her role, why Essex Business School is unique and offers advice to prospective PhD students in a recent interview.
You work with two supervisors during your studies. They provide guidance and support to help you achieve your individual research goals, develop your research topic and create a personalised training plan. You meet with your supervisors at least once a month and are usually required to submit work before for feedback. Twice a year, you have a supervisory board meeting to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
As well as supporting you to complete your thesis, your supervisors can help you to plan your career development. Our academics often co-author publications with doctoral students and can help you to develop the transferable skills needed for the jobs market.
Take a look at our staff pages to find out more about our areas of supervision.
PhD Finance is based at our Colchester Campus, in the UK’s first zero-carbon business school building, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and business ethics; we are a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).
You have access to excellent research facilities, such as:
Our Bloomberg virtual trading floor facility features 12 Bloomberg Terminals with access to the Bloomberg financial and real-time data feed. This state-of-the-art, hands-on facility is particularly useful to finance students. It gives you the opportunity to learn essential portfolio management skills using the same tools used by traders and business analysts worldwide and also helps you to learn how to model financial data in a practical setting based on the live financial markets.
Our Colchester building is less than a ten- minute walk from the University library and the Silberrad Student Centre.
Across the road from our building, buses take you to Colchester town centre and train station, where you can take trains directly to London. London Stansted airport is just over an hour away, providing connections to mainland Europe.
Our PhD programmes are designed to foster the business leaders and researchers of the future who use creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to meet the many challenges facing the international business world.
Our doctoral graduates have secured roles in academia at some of the best international universities, as well as organisations in the public and private sectors. Recent examples include careers with:
Our University Student Development Careers Services are on hand to provide careers advice and help you make the most of your Essex experience. You will also have access to CV workshops, one-to-one advice and career resources.
“My PhD has helped me to develop both academic and practical business skills through an internship at asset management company Invesco. The University’s library provides instant access to databases and journals and my supervisors are knowledgeable and supportive. Whenever I’ve had a question, I’ve found the School’s Student Services Team friendly and helpful.”
Nima Zarrabi - PhD in Finance
You will need a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
PhD Finance follows a 'three paper' thesis, where you produce three research articles, framed by an introduction and conclusion. Your supervisors will support you to submit these papers to conferences and for publication in international journals, so you can begin to build your international research portfolio well before graduation. You benefit from strong industry links with organisations such as Invesco Perpetual and HSBC. Many of our students have gained internships with international banking institutions and have collaborated with local organisations as part of their PhD.
You begin your studies by meeting with your supervisors and undertaking an intensive induction programme. You attend advanced research methods training and undertake compulsory modules tailored to your individual research needs.
Throughout your PhD, you have regular meetings with your supervisors. You are often asked to write up your ideas or reading notes to help establish good writing practices. By the end of your first year of research, you should have a solid understanding of the key debates in your field and have defined your research questions, outlining your original contribution to knowledge. Our finance students are also expected to have made substantial progress on their first research paper. Those studying via the integrated PhD route (or 1+3) will have completed an additional year to obtain a Masters before beginning their research.
In your second year, you are likely to finalise the design of your own research project and either collect primary data, or access and analyse large scale datasets. You may also make progress on your second research paper. You receive regular feedback on your ideas and findings from your supervisors and are encouraged to develop your own research ideas independently during this year. If you are undertaking fieldwork in another location, your supervisors will still be in touch via email or Skype.
In your final year, you continue to analyse your own research data and further refine your original contribution to knowledge. You will collate your work into a approximately 50-80k words thesis. Our finance students are also expected to make substantial progress on their third research paper.
You may attend a number of conferences in your final year to test out your research findings and thesis on an international stage. Your attendance may be funded by Essex Business School. As well as advising on how to prepare your thesis for examination, your supervisors can advise on future career plans in academia or industry.
Creating a 50-80k word thesis is a significant task. To help you finalise your PhD and produce high quality doctoral research, we have a number of support mechanisms.
You undertake a progress board every six months, where you, your supervisors and an independent chair mark your progress and set objectives for the next period. You are also encouraged to take part in peer group debates and discussions.
Our full-time doctorates are 36 month programmes. At the end of this time, you may be allowed up to 12 months to finish writing up your PhD.
Once you have submitted your thesis, you will be asked to attend a viva voce examination with examiners from within and outside of the University. A viva voce examination usually takes place within three months of submission of thesis.
£16,230EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
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