Postgraduate Programs 2018/19
Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Programs in Finance
Award Title

Doctor of Philosophy in Finance

Master of Philosophy in Finance

Program Short Name



Mode of Study

Both full- and part-time

Normative Program Duration

Full-time: 2 years
Part-time: 4 years

Full-time: 3 years (with a relevant research master’s degree), 4 years (with a bachelor’s degree only)
Part-time: 6 years

Offering Unit
Program Advisor

MPhil/PhD Programs Coordinator:
Prof Xuewen LIU, Associate Professor of Finance


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Program is a research-oriented degree that aims to prepare students for a research and teaching career in universities and research institutes. A candidate for an MPhil degree is expected to demonstrate knowledge in the discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making a contribution to the field. Students intending to do a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program in Finance at HKUST should consider entering the MPhil Program to acquire the training necessary for a PhD degree.

The PhD Program follows a strong research-intensive tradition on the North American model. It is designed to enable students to gain a deep knowledge of management in general, to develop a concentration in a specialized field, and to provide opportunities for students to do significant original research in their chosen area. PhD students are offered intensive and targeted research training and exceptional collaboration opportunities with faculty to prepare them for their future careers in teaching and/or research.

The program is offered by the Department of Finance with the following research foci:

Research Foci

  • Corporate Finance

  • Financial Contracts and Institutions

  • Asset Pricing

  • Behavioral Finance

  • Derivatives

  • International Financial Markets

  1. Minimum Credit Requirement

MPhil: 40 credits

PhD: 46 credits

  1. Credit Transfer

PhD students who have taken the HKUST MPhil Program in Finance will be granted credit transfer to the PhD Program. Students who have taken an MPhil program or equivalent in other universities may be granted credit transfer on a case-by-case basis, up to a maximum of 27 credits.

  1. Introductory Quantitative Requirement

Unless students have clearly demonstrated sufficient knowledge in the area, students entering the MPhil or PhD Program are required to take the following two mathematics-oriented courses in the first regular term of study. The credits earned from these two courses cannot be counted toward the degree requirements.

ECON 5100
ISOM 5540


  1. Course Requirement


At least 40 credits in the sequence suggested below. Students may need to take additional courses related to their research topics, as requested by their thesis supervisors.

Year 1 – Fall Term

ECON 5210
ECON 5250
FINA 5120
FINA 5210
LANG 5002

Year 1 – Spring Term

ECON 5300
FINA 7900A
FINA 7900B

Year 2 – Fall Term

FINA 5290
FINA 5360
FINA 7900C
FINA 7900D

Year 2 – Spring Term

ACCT 7720
orACCT 7730

or A PhD level course as approved by the MPhil/PhD Programs Coordinator

ECON 5220

At least 46 credits including the following. Students may be required to take additional courses related to their research topics, as requested by their thesis supervisors.

  1. Required Courses

ACCT 7720
orACCT 7730

or A PhD level course as approved by the MPhil/PhD Programs Coordinator

ECON 5210
ECON 5220
ECON 5250
ECON 5300
FINA 5120
FINA 5210
FINA 5290
FINA 5360
FINA 7900A
FINA 7900B
FINA 7900C
FINA 7900D
LANG 5002


  1. General Management Courses

Any one of the following:

ACCT 5100
ISOM 5700
MARK 5120
MGMT 5230


  1. Cross-discipline Research Courses

Any one of the following:

ECON 5140
ECON 5260
ECON 5570


  1. Professional Development Course Requirement
PDEV 6770

Students are required to complete PDEV 6770. The 1 credit earned from PDEV 6770 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

PhD students who are HKUST MPhil graduates and have completed PDEV 6770 or other professional development courses offered by the University before may be exempted from this requirement, subject to prior approval of the School.

  1. English Language Requirement
LANG 5000

Full-time RPg students are required to take an English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) Speaking Test administered by the Center for Language Education before the start of their first term of study. Students whose ELPA Speaking Test score is below Level 4, or who failed to take the test in their first term of study, are required to take LANG 5000 until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation. The 1 credit earned from LANG 5000 cannot be counted toward the credit requirements.

  1. PhD Qualifying Examination

All PhD students must pass a qualifying examination which will be conducted at the end of Spring term or at the beginning of Summer term every year. HKUST MPhil students who have been admitted to the PhD study may be allowed to take the qualifying exam at the end of Spring or the beginning of Summer in their second year of study. Students who fail the qualifying examination in the first attempt can retake the examination once, subject to the approval of MPhil/PhD Program Coordinator. Students must pass the examination at a time as determined by the MPhil/PhD Program Coordinator.

  1. Research Paper Requirement

PhD students are required to submit a research paper in Year 2 Summer. Students admitted with an HKUST MPhil degree in Finance or equivalent will be exempted from this requirement.

  1. Thesis Research
FINA 6990
FINA 7990


  1. Registration in FINA 6990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the MPhil thesis.


  1. Registration in FINA 7990; and
  2. Presentation and oral defense of the PhD thesis.


Last update: 31 July 2018

To qualify for admission, applicants must meet all of the following requirements. Admission is selective and meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

1. General Admission Requirements of the University
  • Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution; or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years.
2. English Language Admission Requirements

Applicants have to fulfill English Language requirements with one of the following proficiency attainments:

  • TOEFL-iBT: 80

  • TOEFL-pBT: 550

  • TOEFL-Revised paper-delivered test (effective from 2018/19 admission): 60
    (total scores for Reading, Listening and Writing sections)

  • IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score: 6.0 and All sub-score: 5.5

Applicants don't need to present TOEFL or IELTS score if

  • their first language is English, or

  • they obtained the bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution where the medium of instruction was English.

3. Program-Specific Admission Requirements
  • A satisfactory score in GMAT or GRE