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First phase: PhD First Year Courses

The Swiss Finance Institute PhD Program in Finance starts with a curriculum of PhD courses (core courses) taught in part by local Faculty and in part by distinguished visitors from high-ranking European and American universities. The aim of this intensive course-work is to provide all candidates with a broad and complete education covering the basic building blocks and conceptual tools of finance.

Each of the participating Universities has established a program of core courses reflecting the strengths of its faculty. Their aim is to provide a perfect working basis to successfully finish the PhD program within three years the first phase. More information on the program of PhD courses can be found by clicking on the Center's name in the list below  

Léman (Universities of Geneva, University of Lausanne and EPFL)
Lugano (University of Lugano)
Zurich (University of Zurich)

There are examinations following each core course. The responsible faculty member can decide to attribute the final grade for his/her course based only on project assessments, on class participation as well as on graded interim homework. Students’ admission to the second phase (dissertation writing) is determined on the basis of the grades obtained on the core courses as well as (1) the successful completion of a summer research paper (for Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich) or (2) a comprehensive examination (Lugano). The summer paper should be the first draft of a "publishable" research paper. It should contain original theoretical or empirical work (no survey paper) developed by students on their own (under “minimal guidance” by a supervisor).

An extensive selection of Master level courses is available to Swiss Finance Institute PhD candidates wishing to complete their education during the first phase of their curriculum. In addition to the courses listed above, a large number of courses in related fields are offered by partner academic institutions in the Swiss Finance Institute PhD program. These courses can be integrated into the course program of Swiss Finance Institute PhD candidates with the approval of the PhD coordinator.

Second and Third phases: PhD Advanced Courses and PhD Research

Upon admission to the second phase of the program, Swiss Finance Institute PhD students select a thesis topic and choose their thesis advisor. Typically, students can become part of the research projects carried out at one of the various institutes involved and work within this project as a research or teaching assistant. The Swiss Finance Institute network also guarantees intensive contact with PhD students from other Swiss Universities and provides an excellent and stimulating research environment.

In this second phase of the PhD program, all PhD students are required to follow the annual SFI Research Days at the Study Centre Gerzensee, the faculty’s Research Seminar in Finance, and the internal Brown Bag Lunch Seminar (when such a seminar is offered). In addition, the Swiss Finance Institute offers a large variety of specialized courses. The goal of these advanced courses is to provide students with the opportunity to acquire the specialized skills that are most relevant to their thesis work. The selection of the appropriate specialized PhD courses for each candidate will be made jointly with his/her dissertation supervisor.

The completion of the PhD Program in Finance requires two successful examinations: a first examination after the first phase of the program and a final defense of the PhD dissertation. The degree "Doctorate in Economics with Specialisation in Finance" is awarded by the University.


SFI Outstanding Paper Award Lecture with Prof. Ralph Koijen
in Geneva

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SFI Lunch & Learn Informationsveranstaltung, Zürich

SFI Abend Seminar mit Prof. Martin Weber
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