JD-PhD in Finance

Program Purpose and Structure

This joint degree program with the School of Management is intended for students wishing to pursue a career in business law teaching. The program provides prospective legal scholars with the analytical tools that are necessary for engaging in research in business-law-related areas. Alumni of the program are professors in law schools or have dual appointments in law and business schools. For more information about the rationale for the program, prospective applicants should see “After the Revolution in Corporate Law.”

Current students in the program are listed on the School of Management Ph.D. candidate website.


Applicants to the program must be enrolled in the Law School. Law students must meet the admission requirements of the School of Management’s Ph.D. program. A mathematical background including undergraduate courses in Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, and Statistics/Econometrics, is typically required for admission. The expectation is that law students will apply for admission to the Graduate School in their first year at the Law School, but they may also apply in their second year.

Prospective students should contact the YLS Financial Aid Office for the most recent information regarding program support.

Degree Requirements

(1) Course Requirements:

SOM: Eight courses, including the following five required courses:  Economics 500 (General Economic Theory: Microeconomics); Economics 501 (General Economic Theory: Microeconomics, which is the course covering an introduction to game theory); Economics 550 and 551 (Econometrics I and II); MGMT 740 (Financial Economics I); and two additional Ph.D. level finance courses. Upon reaching Ph.D. candidacy, students are required to attend MGMT 781 (Ph.D. Seminar: Accounting/Finance) and MGMT 782 (Ph.D. PreSeminar: Financial Economics).

Law School: 71 credit units, which include the required first term courses taken in one semester (Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Administration, and Civil Procedure); Torts and Regulation; a course satisfying the legal ethics requirement; and 6 credit units satisfying the experiential learning requirement.

(2) Graduate School Grade Requirements:

Finance Ph.D. courses are graded according to a scale of H, HP, P, and Fail. Finance Ph.D. students are required to maintain an HP average to continue in the program past two years. This requirement operates such that a grade of P in one course can be offset by a grade of H in another course. In addition, the Graduate School requires all students to receive two or more grades of H to graduate.

(3) Pre-dissertation Writing Requirements:

Two papers are required: (1) a paper fulfilling the SOM second-year research paper requirement and (2) a paper fulfilling one of the Law School’s writing requirements (substantial or supervised analytic writing).  Students present the second-year paper in ECON 679 (Financial Economics Student Lunch). An accepted SOM second-year research paper may fulfill the student’s remaining Law School paper requirement by registration for independent research credit with the student’s Law School faculty advisor. One of these papers must qualify as the student’s prospectus. 

(4) Qualifying Exam in Finance: 

Qualifying exam in three courses: the section of the qualifying exam pertaining to MGMT 740 and two additional doctoral finance courses. The qualifying exam is taken after the student has completed all of the required graduate finance courses.

(5) Dissertation and Oral Defense.

A typical dissertation contains three essays. They do not need to be that closely related. An acceptable thesis might be titled “Three Essays in Law and Finance.” Prior to final acceptance of the dissertation, students must pass a public defense. Before a public defense can be scheduled, all three members of the committee must agree that the student and the dissertation itself are ready. All members of the faculty are invited to a dissertation defense. After the defense, the faculty in attendance will meet to discuss the dissertation. The faculty may pass or fail the student. In addition they may grant a conditional pass. This is done when the faculty believe there are only some minor problems with the dissertation and delegate the final decision regarding these corrections to the committee. After the faculty pass on the dissertation (or the committee passes on the dissertation in the case of a conditional pass), the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will assign readers who make a final acceptance on the dissertation. The reader assignment is governed by the Graduate School; however, they usually assign the two secondary advisers and one other faculty member.