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Comprehensive Examination

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to examine the student's command of the finance literature, both academic and professional, and the student's ability to integrate and evaluate contemporary finance theory, practice, and research. The examination process is comprised of written and oral parts, and is not considered successfully completed until both parts have been judged as passed. Retaking the written portion may be required if the student is unsuccessful on the oral portion.

Administration of the Exam

The Associate Dean for Academic and Research Programs will determine the eligibility of the candidate to sit for the comprehensive exam. The department must obtain a written statement of the student's eligibility before the candidate may sit for the exam. To be eligible, the student must:

  • Have successfully completed all course work in the degree plan.
  • Have successfully completed any additional departmental requirements.
  • File "a request for comprehensive" form with the Office of Student Services before the first day of classes in the semester in which the exams are to be taken.

The written part of the comprehensive examination will be given during the third week of June (usually, Thursday and Friday) of each year. The comprehensive examination will be divided into fields, each field covers a different classes. The specific fields to be included in the exam will be will be communicated to eligible students by the end of the prior Spring Semester. Currently, there are seven fields included in the comprehensive exam. The first day, students will take the field exams covering Investments, Financial Management II, and Empirical Finance. The second day, students will take the rest of the fields (currently, Options and Futures, Fixed Income, Econometrics II and Continuous Time Finance). The Finance Ph.D. Coordinator will solicit examination questions from faculty members of the department, and will prepare and administer the examination. Each semester the Finance Ph.D. Coordinator may specify a departmental faculty member as administrator of the departmental examination process.

Oral Examination

The oral exam must be taken within nine months of the date of the comprehensive examination. The written part of the comprehensive examination must be passed prior to the oral examination. During the oral exam the student will present and defend the Empirical Paper.

The student in consultation with the chair of the student's advisory committee will be responsible for establishing a date for the oral exam. Written notice must be given to all faculty members of the department at least one week prior to the exam. The student's advisory committee and all full-time faculty members attending the oral are included in the assessment of the student's performance. Two-thirds majority of those voting must assess the student's performance as passing for the oral to be considered passed. The member of the student's advisory committee representing the student’s support area may participate in the assessment of the student's performance on the oral exam.

Notification of Results

A student must receive either a "pass" (C or better) or "fail" on the basis of the evaluations of the written exam. No conditional passes will be allowed. The decision regarding a student's performance on the written part of the comprehensive exam shall be provided to the student within three weeks of the completion of the exam. This decision will be communicated to the student in writing by the Finance Ph.D. Coordinator with copies to the Bauer College of Business Office of Student Services and the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee. In the case of a fail, the letter shall cite the specific deficiencies warranting such action.

Each field in the Finance written comprehensive exam will be graded separately. To pass, a student may only fail one field exam. If a stduent fails more than one field exam, the student will be required to retake the failed field exams. Only one retake of the failed field exams will be permitted. This retake must occur in the week before the next Fall (August) semester. A second failure of a field exam will result in dismissal from the doctoral program in Finance.