The Ph.D. Program in Finance at GSEFM is designed to ensure that students acquire a thorough knowledge of the theory of finance, of econometric and computational methods, as well as the structure of modern financial markets, before beginning their own research under faculty supervision.
In the first year of the program, students attend core courses in financial economics, econometrics, and mathematical methods. Furthermore, students attend courses in microeconomic or macroeconomic theory. At the end of the first year of studies, students must pass qualifying examinations in finance, econometrics, and microeconomics or macroeconomics. In the second year of the program students complete field courses in two to three fields of their choosing and begin to work on their own research. All students are required to have a faculty advisor by the end of their second year in the program. The role of the faculty advisor is to help the student to make the transition from coursework to research and to identify suitable dissertation topics. By the end of their third year in the program students will need to have completed their first research paper. The dissertation is completed in the fourth year of the program. The dissertation must be a major piece of research, and its chapters must have the potential for publication in an international scientific journal.
First-year students in the Master Program in Quantitative Finance at GSEFM enroll in the same set of courses as the first-year Ph.D. Program in Finance students. If completing their first year of studies with strong success, the Master Program in Quantitative Finance students are then eligible and strongly encouraged to join the Ph.D. Program in Finance from their second year of studies onwards. Other students in the Master Program in Quantitative Finance in their second year of studies have the option to enroll in concentration courses with an emphasis on policy issues and/or on issues of implementation. The Master Program in Quantitative Finance is completed with a Master thesis written in the final months of the second year of studies.
Ph.D. Program Structure
|Pre-Semester: Mathematics and Statistics|
|Wintersemester: Advanced Financial Economics I (8 CP), Advanced Econometrics 1 (8 CP), Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 1 (8 CP) or Advanced Microeconomic Theory 1 (8 CP), Mathematical Methods (8 CP)|
|Sommersemester: Advanced Financial Economics II (8 CP), Advanced Econometrics 2 (8 CP), Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 2 (8 CP) or Advanced Microeconomic Theory 2 (8 CP), Historical and Normative Foundations (8 CP)|
|Winteremester: Field Courses, Workshop Attendance|
|Sommersemester: Field Courses, Seminar, Workshop Attendance|
|Development and International Economics (including Cross-Country Studies, Development Microeconomics, Economic Growth, International Trade)|
|Econometrics (including Bayesian Econometrics, Dynamic Panel Models, Econometrics of Duration and Transition Data, Long Memory in Time-Series, Non-Parametric Econometrics)|
|Finance (including Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance Theory, Empirical Banking, Household Finance, Option Pricing, Taxes and Finance)|
|Law and Economics (including Epistemics of Law and Economics, European Cross-Border Business, Law of International Financial Institutions)|
|Macroeconomics (including Consumption and Saving, Economic Growth, Family Macroeconomics, Household Finance, Monetary Theory and Policy, Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Numerical Methods in Macroeconomics)|
|Marketing (including Bayesian Modelling for Marketing, Customer Management and Social Media, Pricing and Online-Advertising, Structural Models and Competition)|
|Microeconomics and Management (including Behavioral Auction Theory, Behavioral Economics, Decision Making under Risk and Ambiguity, Economics of Taxation, Empirical Labor Economics, Empirics of Contracts, Experimental Economics, General Equilibrium Theory: History, Incentives in Organizations, Intergenerational Economics, Modeling Group Behavior Using Game Theory, Taxes and Finance)|
|Independent Studies Course (Teaching Skills)|
|Third-Year Research Paper|
|Job Market Course|
|During either the third or fourth year in the program, students may spend one or two semesters abroad for a research stay at an internationally top ranked Ph.D. program. Such stays are facilitated by the faculty advisor.|
Admission to all Master’s and Ph.D. programs at the GSEFM occurs as part of a competitive process on the basis of the review of the application dossiers by the faculty admissions committee. In evaluating the application dossiers, the admissions committee inter alia gives consideration to the following factors:
Fields of Previous Studies, Previous Degree, and Grade Point Average
An undergraduate specialization in economics or business administration is not required. As the first-year courses in the GSEFM programs assume familiarity for example with multivariable calculus, statistics through simple regression, and matrix algebra, adequate mathematical preparation is very important. The minimum previous degree prerequisite is a bachelor's degree (to be completed at the time of beginning of program studies), in a degree program with thorough coverage of quantitative methods. Candidates who have not completed a bachelor's degree in a degree program with thorough coverage of quantitative methods must have completed (at the time of beginning of their program studies) a master's degree in a degree program with thorough coverage of quantitative methods. While there is no minimum grade point average, given the quality of applications regularly received by the GSEFM, the admissions committee's standard should be expected to be well above a "B" grade point average.
Beyond previous education emphasizing quantitative methods, a strong interest in the substantive issues covered in the GSEFM program for which an application is submitted to as well as the ability to communicate clearly are essential for successful studies. The research plan to be submitted by candidates as part of the application dossier should describe the motivation for pursuing the chosen degree and outline the type of research projects a candidate would like to pursue at the GSEFM.
Two Letters of Evaluation
Two confidential letters of evaluation, at least one of them by an active university lecturer, that give evidence of the candidate’s aptitude for the chosen program are required. These letters shall be submitted either in sealed envelopes or by e-mail directly by the evaluator. Evaluations consist of the evaluation form and a free written statement by the evaluator.
All applicants are expected to take the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants to the programs in Finance, Management, or Marketing can substitute the GRE quantitative score for the GMAT quantitative score. While both tests also contain verbal and analytical writing sections, the admissions committee does not require these to be taken. A quantitative score in the upper 20th percentile is viewed by the admissions committee as the minimum score providing evidence in favor of reasonably strong quantitative skills for the Ph.D. programs, while a quantitative score in the upper 25th percentile is deemed sufficient for the MSQ programs. Test scores that are older than four years on the deadline for the stage in which the complete application is submitted (January 31, March 31, or July 15, respectively) cannot be accepted. Given the quality of applications regularly received by the admissions committee though, individual admissions are likely to be conditioned on a significantly better test performance. See www.gre.org for further information on the GRE. The GRE Designated Institution Code for GSEFM is "7276". See www.mba.com/the-gmat.aspx for further information on the GMAT. The GMAT Designated Institution Code for GSEFM is "7276".
The exclusive language of all GSEFM programs is English. Sufficiently strong English language skills may be documented in one of the following forms: (i) A diploma/degree certificate from a secondary school with English as the official language of instruction (the secondary school must have been attended for at least two years); (ii) At least one year of successfully completed university-level studies in a degree program being exclusively taught in the English language; (iii) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. The minimum scores are as follows: TOEFL/iBT: 93; TOEFL/PBT: 580; IELTS: 7.0. Test scores that are older than four years on the deadline for the stage in which the complete application is submitted (January 31, March 31, or July 15, respectively) cannot be accepted. Seewww.ets.org/toefl and www.ielts.org for further information on the TOEFL and the IELTS. The TOEFL Designated Institution Code for GSEFM is "7276".
At present, the GSEFM does not charge tuition for students enrolled in one of its degree programs on a full-time basis. There is a registration fee of approximately 350 Euros which is to be paid to the Goethe University’s central administration each semester. Payment of this fee also entitles students to use public transportation in the Frankfurt-Mainz-Darmstadt region and beyond for the entire semester.
Financial aid is awarded in a competitive process among Ph.D. students and to the extent that the Ph.D. program to which an application is submitted to has the requisite funds.
As all funds for financial aid for first-year students may be awarded to applicants who submit their application by January 31, it is strongly recommended to apply by January 31 of the calendar year for which admission is sought. To the extent that financial aid is available, all Ph.D. program applications are automatically considered for financial aid. However, it will be useful for applicants to indicate on the application form whether they anticipate being able to join the GSEFM only if financial aid were to be granted.
First-year Ph.D. students who cannot be awarded a stipend but do seek financial support have the option to apply for student assistant positions with individual faculty members involved with the GSEFM. Hiring for these positions occurs on a decentralized basis through the individual faculty members at the GSEFM. For such applications to stand the best chance of success, students should have established themselves at the GSEFM, and be available for in-person interviews. To date, most of the students in the GSEFM Ph.D. programs interested in student assistant positions have been able to secure such a position by the end of the fall semester of their first year of studies in their Ph.D. program.
Partially through the generous support of public and private sector institutions, there are also some stipends for second- and higher-year students. Most of the financial support for second- and higher-year students comes in the form of teaching and research assistantships (some of the teaching assistantships may require ability to teach undergraduate students in German). Hiring for most of these positions occurs on a decentralized basis through individual faculty members involved with the GSEFM. To date, almost all students who excel during their first year of studies in their Ph.D. program have been able to secure a position as a teaching or research assistant by the end of the fall semester of their second year of studies in their Ph.D. program.
A good number of students have also been able to secure funding through internships at institutions such as the European Central Bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Allianz Group.
All students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships. Sources of such funding inter alia include "Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst" and leading German foundations ("Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes", "Stiftung Geld und Währung", and foundations of the main German political parties/interest groups – "Begabtenförderungswerke").
GSEFM Degree Programs
GSEFM at this stage offers five Ph.D. programs: Ph.D. Program in Economics, Ph.D. Program in Finance, Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics, Ph.D. Program in Management, and Ph.D. Program in Marketing. Each Ph.D. program offers a two-year cycle of courses for students arriving with a Bachelor degree, with a fast-track option of only one year of course work for students arriving with a quantitative Master degree in the relevant discipline (such students must initially pass the Qualifying Examinations taken at the end of the first year by students enrolling in the full two-year cycle of courses). The Ph.D. program curricula pay special attention to helping doctoral students with a smooth transition from the course phase to the dissertation writing phase, and contain various structural elements in the dissertation writing phase also (including a third-year research paper course/requirement, transferable skills courses, and a job market course).
The five Ph.D. programs are complemented by five corresponding, research-oriented Master Programs in Quantitative Economics, Quantitative Finance, Quantitative Management, Quantitative Marketing, and Law and Quantitative Economics, collectively called MSQ Programs. First-year students in these programs participate in the same set of analytically rigorous and quantitatively oriented courses in economics, finance, law and economics, management, and/or marketing that are taken by the first-year Ph.D. Program students. Students who complete the first year of the MSQ Program with strong success have the option and are strongly encouraged to join the GSEFM Ph.D. Program in their area of concentration. Other students in their second year in the MSQ Program have the option to enroll in courses with an emphasis on policy issues and/or on issues of implementation.