DPhil in Finance

​In-depth training in academic research skills to develop you as a productive scholar

Start date:


  • 4 years

Time commitment:

  • Full time


  • Oxford

About the programme

Our doctoral training will immerse you in all aspects of academic life.

You will be both a student and a junior research colleague. We provide courses in a wide variety of research methods and you will work closely with your supervisors to define your research question and develop your thesis. In addition, you will have opportunities to gain teaching and research assistant experience and become involved with the intellectual community within both Saïd Business School and the wider University. You will attend academic conferences, make presentations, organise lectures and seminars and contribute to management and academic decisions.

Both of our doctoral programmes run in parallel, with only differences in taught courses and preparation for writing in relevant journals to your subject of choice.

We have deliberately kept the programmes small which means that in the vast majority of cases, students are fully funded to allow them to devote their energies to research. The DPhil corresponds to a PhD degree offered at most other universities.

Supervision in Finance


As a doctoral candidate you will be assigned two initial supervisors who will guide you through your first year.

They will help you to identify your specialist area of interest and further suitable advisers in that field. You will work closely with them to define your research question and develop your thesis. It is an important relationship and also a very personal one: it is shaped by you, your supervisors and the ways you interact.

You do not need to contact any faculty in advance of making your application but you can review the profiles of our faculty to look for at the areas of research covered at the School. You can note within your application if you feel that you are interested in a particular research area and working with a specific faculty member. 


Books and glasses on a table

Review some current research taking place around the school as well as from some of our alumni

Learn more about becoming a researcher from Andromachi Athanasopoulou, who graduated in 2007 and is now an Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Queen Mary University London and an Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd.

View Professor Renée Adams' discussion on Women on boards: The superheroes of tomorrow? 

View Dr Amir Amel-Zadeh discussion on (Mis-)information in financial markets.

Programme milestones

Our DPhil offers students the opportunity to engage with internationally renowned faculty who are here to help you become an academic scholar.

DPhil in Finance students take core courses from the MSc in Financial Economics (MFE) and MPhil Economics. 

The MFE core courses are:

  • Asset Pricing
  • Corporate Finance
  • Economics
  • Financial Econometrics

All students are then required to take four courses from the list of MPhil Economics modules, one of which must be Financial Economics I or Financial Economics II. Examples of available course are:

  • Econometrics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Behavioural Economics
  • Financial Economics

Following successful completion of all necessary courses, and by the end of their 4th term, students are expected to have successfully submitted and been assessed for their Transfer of Status. The transfer process provides the opportunity for the student to discuss their work with two independent members of staff under examination conditions and to receive feedback.

By the end of their 9th term students will be due to complete their Confirmation of Status. This process allows the student to have a review of their work by two assessors, to give a clear indication of whether it would be reasonable to consider submission within the course of a further three terms, if work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily.

Students will be expected to attend training, workshops and seminars on job applications, teaching, learning and assessing, interviewing and presentations skills. Students will also be given the opportunity to improve their teaching and research skills by applying for remunerated positions as teaching and research assistants within the school or at colleges.


The doctoral thesis should not exceed 100,000 words. It must be a significant and substantial contribution to the field of learning in finance. As a rule of thumb, it should be good enough to be published in book form or as a series of academic articles. Indeed, you may even adopt a range of different methodologies and approaches. Your contribution can be in the field of theory, methodology or empirical results.

I think the most important issues in the supervisor relationship are communication and trust. You need a supervisor who can tell you the things you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear them, and who can nudge you back on to the right track.

Alexander Montag

Current DPhil in Finance student

Benefits and opportunities


  • Engage with internationally renowned faculty
  • Conference and research funding
  • Training in principal research methods at both at Saïd Business School and wider University.


  • Paid teaching and research assistant opportunities
  • Contribute to management and academic programme decisions through student representation on committees
  • Postgraduate careers resources

Job market candidates and placements


Review our doctoral and post-doc candidates currently on the job market and institutions of successful placement.


Who can apply

Our candidates are passionately intellectual people who have a superlative academic record and are committed to a career in academia.

DPhil in Finance

You will require:

  • a good undergraduate degree: 2.1 (GPA 3.5 or its equivalent)
  • GMAT or GRE test results
  • TOEFL or IELTS test results (If you are not from an English speaking majority country)
  • three pieces of written work, including a well-developed research proposal
  • three academic references

Dates and deadlines


The application window for entry in October 2021 has now closed.  The application portal will re-open in September for candidates applying for entry in 2022.

Admissions process

Candidates who are shortlisted are normally interviewed as part of the admissions process three to four weeks after the application deadline.

Interviews are conducted by members of faculty and will take place in person in Oxford or via Zoom if you are unable to travel to the School.

Interviews can last up to 60 minutes and you will be asked questions about your background and aspirations. You should also expect to elaborate on your research proposal.

Final decision

The Admissions Committee will decide which candidates receive an offer to join the DPhil programme. Final decisions will be emailed to all candidates by early March 2021.

There are three possible outcomes:

  1. You are made an offer to join the programme
  2. You are put on a waiting list
  3. You will be advised that you have not been successful this year

Details about any funding received through the School are included in the offer letter.

Having received an offer, a candidate's application is forwarded to a college to be considered for membership. We will guide you through this process.

Graduate access programme: UNIQ+

Graduate access programme now open for 2021 applications

Applications are now open for the University’s 2021 graduate access programmes.

Our graduate access programmes are designed to encourage and support talented undergraduates who would find continuing into postgraduate study a challenge for reasons other than their academic ability.

UNIQ+ remote internships offer paid summer research experience over six weeks, from 5 July 2021. Participants will work on research projects with regular support and supervision from Oxford students and staff, as well as training in key research skills.  

From July to October 2021, UNIQ+ Digital will also offer students from under-represented groups a flexible, free and fully online programme of mentoring, events and digital content to support them all the way through from considering graduate study to submitting an application.

The deadline for all programmes is 12 midday on Friday 19 March 2021.


Annual fees 2021-22

The course fee in 2021-2022 is £21,757

Fees usually increase annually, please see the University's guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability. Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a continuation charge. Information regarding continuation charges is available on the University's continuation charges page. 

For more information about fees, fee liability and continuation charges, please see the University's fees page.

Cost of living

Please view the University's living expenses page.

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Scholarships and funding

In almost all cases, doctoral students admitted into our programme receive full funding over four years.

This includes course fees and a living expenses stipend. To maximise the overall availability of funding for candidates, we will identify suitable alternative scholarships and may ask you to submit funding applications. We also ask that you identify and pursue any other funding opportunities, including external funding.   

For some scholarships you are required to submit a scholarship essay and/or tick the relevant box in the Funding section of the application form.


Please get in touch with any queries about admissions, fees, or funding by emailing DPhil@sbs.ox.ac.uk.