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Oklahoma State University
Watson Graduate School of Management

Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University

Academic Program

The Ph.D. program places primary attention on competency rather than formal credit hours. However, as a general guideline, a summary of the credit hour requirements in the areas of study beyond the background requirements are included in the following sample Plan of Study.


  • A 3.25 GPA on a 4 point scale is required for all courses listed on the Plan of Study
  • A maximum of 9 graduate hours of coursework may be transferred in from another institution or graduate program and a minimum of 45 hours must be taken at OSU. (See OSU University Catalog)
  • A 3.4 GPA is required for all finance courses
  • A maximum of 15 hours of dissertation may be counted toward the 90 hours

Prerequisite Requirements:
Each candidate is expected to have a basic competence in the areas of business administration and quantitative methods. Specifically, each student is expected either to have completed appropriate basic courses or to demonstrate competence in calculus, intermediate statistics and accounting. If appropriate, a student may be required to take the following leveling (background) courses (on a deficiency basis):

  • Financial Accounting, (ACCT 2103)
  • Managerial Accounting, (ACCT 2203)
  • Introduction to Econometrics (ECON 5213) or Applied Regression Analysis (STAT 4043)
  • Ten (10) hours of Calculus equivalent to Math 2144, Math 2153, and Math 2163.

Major Field:
The major field of study in finance requires at least twenty-four (24) semester credit hours of graduate finance courses. Successful completion of the Ph.D. degree requires at least a 3.4 grade point average in the finance coursework on the Plan of Study, excluding dissertation hours.

Support Areas:
Each student must demonstrate a minimum level of competency in economics and quantitative methods through satisfactory completion of graduate coursework.

Basic Requirements:
It is the policy of Oklahoma State University that students pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree take a minimum of 90 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, or a minimum of 60 semester credit hours beyond a master’s degree. The Department of Finance has developed two Plan of Study programs; one for students who enter the program with a master’s degree and another for students who enter the program without a master’s degree. Both plans of study require the student to enroll for a minimum of 15 semester credit hours of dissertation. The OSU University Catalog has more details on the plan of study.

Doctoral Examinations

Major Field Examination:
The student must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination in the field of Finance. For students entering the program with a master’s degree this will normally be following the second year of courses.

The oral comprehensive exam is the presentation and evaluation of the second year paper. The second year paper will be due following the written comprehensive exam (August 1st for summer exams), with the oral presentation to follow in the subsequent semester. The second year paper and oral presentation will be evaluated by the Finance Faculty. While the second year paper may lead to a dissertation idea and proposal, it is not a substitute or the majority component of the dissertation.


The completed dissertation represents the culmination of a period of intensive research and must be defended orally before the Finance Faculty. It should be marked by extensive interaction between the Ph.D. candidate, the Dissertation Chairperson and the Dissertation Committee. Interaction will include general and specific guidance, usually involving several draft copies of the dissertation.

Every Dissertation Committee member has a responsibility to assure that the Ph.D. dissertation meets the guidelines of the proposal and the standards of the department, college and university. Therefore, tentative acceptance of the dissertation should be obtained from all Dissertation Committee members based on a completed draft copy. The oral defense of the dissertation is scheduled at a time acceptable to all members of the Dissertation Committee. The entire Finance Faculty should be notified of the dissertation defense at least two (2) weeks before the defense, and invited to participate in the defense. The candidate will provide copies of the dissertation to the faculty members of the Dissertation Committee, and will provide the departmental assistant with a copy of the dissertation that is to be made available to any interested party. The candidate will provide other Finance Faculty and interested faculty from other departments with a ten to twenty (10-20) page synopsis of the dissertation. Approval of the dissertation rests with the Dissertation Committee.

Plan of Study:

The 69 credit hour program is for candidates who have completed a master’s degree prior to beginning the doctoral program.

Finance – 24 credit hours
FIN 6053 Advanced Corporate Finance
FIN 6600 Seminar in Finance #1
FIN 6600 Seminar in Finance #2
FIN 6600 Seminar in Finance #3
5000 Level Finance Courses
FIN 5763 Derivatives Securities
FIN 5773 Financial Engineering
Finance Elective #1
Finance Elective #2
Economics – 15 credit hours
ECON 5033 Macroeconomic Analysis
ECON 5123 Macroeconomic Theory I
ECON 5223 Mathematical Economics I
ECON 5243 Econometrics I
ECON 6243 Econometrics II
Quantitative – 15 credit hours
STAT 4203 Mathematical Statistics I
STAT 4213 Mathematical Statistics II
Three Electives:
Quantitative Elective #1
Quantitative Elective #2
Quantitative Elective #3
Dissertation Hours – 15 credits

Annual Appraisal

Each doctoral candidate will participate in a formal annual appraisal until the completion of their dissertation. Each summer the Program Coordinator will solicit input from all Finance Faculty members regarding the performance of all doctoral candidates during the prior year. The written feedback provided by the Finance Faculty will be shared with the student’s Program Committee prior to a formal evaluation with the student. The formal evaluation will be conducted with the student and the student’s Program Committee during the week prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. The discussion with the student will include feedback from any faculty not on the student’s Program Committee that have submitted an evaluation of the student’s performance. Individual faculty comments will be kept confidential. Following the meeting the committee will provide the student with a written copy of the evaluation.