Postgraduate Research Course

PhD Finance

PhD Finance

Overview

The details
Finance
October 2022
Full-time
5 years
Colchester Campus

Our Integrated PhD Finance provides a route to Doctoral study if you do not have a Masters degree or have little or no research training. It enables you to spend your first year completing a full-time Masters qualification, which will equip you with the business knowledge and research skills needed to begin PhD study the following year. Your PhD will then be studied full time, over the next three years.

This PhD 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.

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:

  • financial econometrics
  • behavioural finance
  • corporate finance
  • banking
  • international finance
  • portfolio and risk management
  • commodity markets
  • asset pricing
  • financing of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

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 already have a Masters degree or previous relevant research training, we also offer a PhD Finance that you can study on a full-time or part-time basis.

Why we're great.
  • Essex Business School is ranked in the UK’s top 25 for research excellence and intensity (REF, 2014)
  • Our Finance Group is one of the largest groups of finance researchers in the UK
  • Our research has been cited in the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

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.

Specialist facilities

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:

  • a Bloomberg virtual trading floor, complete with industry-standard software X_TRADER
  • access to databases such as Bloomberg, Compustat, Passport GMID, Bankscope and Datastream
  • e-book finance and business packages to support part-time and distance learning (including Ebrary, NetLibrary, Oxford Scholarship Online, Palgrave Connect and SpringerLink)
  • PC access and a quiet place for conducting research in our PhD study area
  • space to meet with students for our Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in our GTA pods
  • final year students recieve office space to encourage successful thesis completion
  • group-working space in our stunning winter garden
  • Bonds café with adjacent sun terrace
  • study skills support for postgraduate students

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.

Your future

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:

  • RBS
  • PwC
  • Bristol University
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • Xiamen University
  • South China University

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

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a 2:2 degree or equivalent, in a related subject.

Our four year integrated PhD, allows you to spend your first year studying at Masters level in order to develop the necessary knowledge and skills and to start your independent research in year two.

International & EU entry requirements

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.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall, or equivalent, with a minimum score of 5.5 in all other components.

Structure

Course structure

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.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Essex Business School - Research
(0 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

EBS Integrated Programmes: Dissertation
(60 CREDITS)

Your dissertation is the culmination of your course where you apply knowledge gained to produce an extended independent piece of work. You generate an original idea, analyse literature and current knowledge and produce a coherent argument that shows your ability to relate theory to practice. Your dissertation will help you develop vital skills for the workplace, as well as the ability to analyse real problems through an academic lens. You are assigned a supervisor for the duration of your project.

View EBS Integrated Programmes: Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Derivative Securities
(20 CREDITS)

Master the pricing of financial derivatives and their use for hedging financial risks. You study the basics of futures and options, analyse the Black-Scholes and binomial option pricing models, and consider various numerical techniques for pricing financial derivatives. Futures and options are then utilised in the context of hedging financial risks, and you are introduced to the concept of volatility trading and the treatment of volatility as an asset class.

View Derivative Securities on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Asset Pricing
(20 CREDITS)

Gain a formal introduction to asset pricing theories and empirical findings. You review the fundamental theories of the expected utility, asset pricing kernels, and risk-neutral valuation, covering the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), and linear factor models arising from the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT). You also discuss empirical asset pricing studies.

View Asset Pricing on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Portfolio Management
(20 CREDITS)

Understand the process of portfolio management. You cover the main concepts such as efficient diversification, managing risk exposures, and the valuation of financial assets that are at the core of managing investment portfolios, and pay special attention to the practicalities of the implementation of these concepts.

View Portfolio Management on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

BE951-7-AU or option from list
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Research Methods in Finance: Empirical Methods in Finance
(20 CREDITS)

This module equips you with the econometric tools and necessary experience to conduct empirical research in finance. You review statistical and basic econometric models and learn to apply econometric techniques in finance by considering topics such as (G)ARCH models, unit roots and cointegration.

View Research Methods in Finance: Empirical Methods in Finance on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: OPTIONAL

Option from list
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Postgraduate Mathematics Preparation
(0 CREDITS)

This module covers topics in mathematics that are required in Masters-level finance courses at the University of Essex. You focus on the basics of linear algebra, differential calculus including optimisation and dynamics.

View Postgraduate Mathematics Preparation on our Module Directory

Assessment

You spend your first year of your Integrated PhD completing a full-time Masters-level qualification, which will equip you with the business knowledge and research skills needed to formally begin PhD study the following year. Your PhD will then be studied full time, over the next three years.

During the following year you meet regularly with your supervisors and undertake an intensive study 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.

Dissertation

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.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£5,630

International fee

£17,050

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

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:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, graduate employability, student support and more
  • talk to our Fees and Funding team about scholarship opportunities
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, November 13, 2021
Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

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.

 

Virtual tours

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.

Exhibitions

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.


Find out more

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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