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Programme Structure & Curriculum


Students are encouraged to complete the programme in 4 years.

The minimum duration of the programme is three years. Most students, however, are expected to take about four years to complete the programme. The maximum registration duration of the programme is five years, unless special approval for a longer duration is given by SMU.

The curriculum consists of

  • 6 Foundation courses (6 course units)
  • 2 Electives (2 course units)
  • 4 Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses (4 course units)

The programme also requires the preparation and completion of a PhD Dissertation (28 course units).

Programme Schedule (Sample)

Year Term 1 (Aug - Nov) Term 2 (Jan - Apr) Term 3 (May - Aug)
1 Foundation courses

Elective courses
Foundation courses

Elective courses
2 ART courses


Prepare Dissertation Proposal
ART courses


Pass PhD Qualifying Exam

Form Dissertation Committee
3 Submit Written Dissertation Proposal

Oral Defence of Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation Research
Dissertation Research Dissertation Research
4 Dissertation Research Dissertation Research

(i) Submit written report of completed Dissertation Research

(ii) Oral defence of completed Dissertation
(i) Revise and/or re-submit Dissertation Report

(ii) Submit Approved Dissertation Report to LKCSB PGR Office

(iii) Dissertation Report from LKCSB PGR Office to GSO for approval

Year 1 & 2

Six research foundation courses including:

Foundations of Business Research
Research Methods in Finance
Empirical Finance
Corporate Finance
Microeconomics I
Econometrics I

Two electives:

PhD level seminars in disciplines outside Finance, eg.

Microeconomics II
Econometrics II
Mathematical Economics

Four Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses:

Corporate Governance: Financial Perspective
Theory of Finance
Research Seminar in Finance
Analysis of Derivative Securities
Advanced Corporate Finance
Advanced Investments
Independent Study

Each course meets three hours per week during the Term.

Years 3-4

Completion of PhD Dissertation

Students are expected to form the PhD Committee in Year 2, including selection of a PhD Supervisor. Then, under the supervision of the PhD Supervisor, students will prepare and defend their dissertation proposal, conduct dissertation research, and conduct a final defence of the dissertation.

Graduation Requirements

PhD in Business (Finance)

  • Research Foundation Courses (6 course units)
  • Electives (2 course units)
  • Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses (4 course units)
  • PhD Qualifying Examination
  • Oral Defence of Dissertation Proposal
  • PhD Dissertation (28 course units)
  • Oral Defence of completed Dissertation
*As a matter of practice, however, the Programme would plan 2 electives and 2 ART courses for any incoming new batch of students to complete. Students who have taken the assigned electives and ARTs courses may, at the approval of the programme director, register to take additional elective(s) and/or ART courses. Two ART units are set aside as Independent Study to be completed with the supervisor or potential supervisor. These are also graded. All 6 foundation courses, 2 electives, and 4 ART units are to be completed before the Qualifying Examinations that will take place during the second year of study.Students who fail courses or the Qualifying Examinations may be asked to leave the programme without a chance to retake. 


Last updated on 18 Oct 2016 .