Welcome to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Finance
Thank you for your interest in the University of Tennessee Ph.D. program in finance. Our program focuses on selecting top students and preparing them to be successful professors by publishing in top research journals and being effective teachers. In order to foster research early, our program offers a strong mentoring relationship between Ph.D. faculty and students. Our Ph.D. faculty have recent publications in the top four finance journals: the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. A list of select faculty research, including research with Ph.D. students, is available in detail under the Faculty Research link.
Links to select faculty research, application forms, course descriptions, current Ph.D. students, and frequently asked questions are presented to the right. Applications should be completed as early as possible if you would like to be considered for an assistantship, but certainly no later than January 15.
This is a four-year, full-time, research-oriented program. Although many of our students have already completed an MBA or master’s degree in finance, it is not required for admission. UT does not offer a master’s degree in finance. Students begin the Ph.D. program in the fall and take courses in the fall and spring semesters. Summer is usually devoted to research.
Assistantships pay approximately $18,000 per academic year, paid over 12 months, and include a tuition waiver and health insurance for a potential total value of around $41,000 per year.
College and University scholarships are also available on a competitive basis for additional financial support, varying from $10,000 up to $20,000 in total additional support per year for up to four years. In addition, some of our students receive grants for summer research. Usually, the first-year assistantship is a research assistantship, and subsequent years involve both teaching and research.
Successful students obtain many opportunities upon the completion of the program. We continue to improve our program, increasing the caliber of our students and expanding opportunities available to them upon graduation. Students recently completing the program have found job opportunities at the following institutions:
James Madison University
US Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Risk, Strategy & Financial Innovation
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Eastern Michigan University
University of Memphis
University of Washington, Tacoma
University of Mississippi
Students must apply to BOTH the Graduate School and the College of Business Administration. There are two separate applications (links on the right). The Graduate School application is an on-line application and requires a $60 fee. The College of Business Administration application is a PDF file that you can download, print, complete, and return with reference letters. Reference letters submitted electronically with the Graduate School application do not have to be submitted separately with the College application. Please include a sample of your writing and a computer program that you have written, if available, with your College of Business Administration application. Also note:We prefer the GMAT, not the GRE.
Deadlines: The UT Graduate School sets admission deadlines, so check with them, (at right), for the most current dates. We will begin evaluating applications after January 15.
We typically admit two students each year with assistantships. The GMAT scores for our most recent classes were 700 or above. We are interested in attracting talented, motivated students. Strong writing, computer programming, and quantitative skills are highly desirable. Students frequently achieve top 5% ranking in both undergraduate and graduate classes.
US degree holders must have earned a minimum 2.7 out of a possible 4.0 GPA or a minimum of 3.0 during the senior year of undergraduate study. Applicants with previous graduate work must have a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale or equivalent on all graduate work. Individuals with degrees from international institutions must have earned a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on all undergraduate work and a minimum of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale on all graduate work.
English Language Requirement
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Passing marks are 550, 213, 80, and 6.5 for paper-based, computer-based, internet-based (iBT) TOEFL, and IELTS respectively. Official scores must be received directly from the appropriate testing service.
The University of Tennessee’s score reporting code for TOEFL is 1843. The score must not be older than two years. Applicants who have received a degree from an accredited US institution in the past two years are exempt from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement.
Special Information for International Applicants
Test of Spoken English (TSE)
A TSE score is not required for admission to the Graduate School or to our program. However, our assistantships involve teaching undergraduates after the first year, therefore every student on assistantship must have excellent spoken-English skills. In order for a foreign student to be certified to teach by the university, he or she must score at least a 50 on the SPEAK test, a locally-administered version of the Test of Spoken English. (The TSE is administered by the same organization that administers the TOEFL. The SPEAK test is administered at the university, and is free.) This is important: Because all of our assistantships involve teaching after the first year, every foreign student in our Ph.D. program MUST score at least a 50 on the SPEAK test or on the TSE by the end of their first year in order to be eligible for continued support. Graduating from another U.S. institution does not satisfy this requirement.
A Further Note About Deadlines
The Graduate School deadline for international applications is February 1. However, even if you apply by this deadline, your application still might not be processed in time for you to obtain the proper visa to allow you to enroll. If transcripts are delayed or if you take a long time to provide any required financial information, your admission will be delayed. It takes much more time to have transcripts translated and verified, to verify financial information, and to process an international application than it does for a domestic application. We recommend that international students apply before January 1 if possible, to provide the best chance of enrolling.
Delay in Receiving Assistantship Funds
Our experience in recent years is that Federal regulations at the university will likely prevent new international students on assistantship from receiving a paycheck at the end of August. The first paycheck will be at the end of September. Thus, incoming international students on assistantship should bring enough money to purchase books and pay living expenses until the end of September.
Developing Mindful Leaders of Worthy Enterprise
Our Doctoral Students
Department of Finance
College of Business Administration
427 Stokely Management Center
916 Volunteer Blvd
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0540
Director, Ph.D. Program
Dr. Tracie Woidtke
Department of Finance
425 Stokely Management Center
The University of Tennessee
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