University of Southern California

Requirements

Year 1

Sample Course Schedule

Fall:
  • Microeconomics I: GSBA 602
  • Econometrics/Statistics: Econ 514 or GSBA 603
  • Elective
Spring:
  • Microeconomics II (FBE 599)
  • Econometrics/Statistics: Econ 511 or GSBA 604
  • Elective

Research Development
Beginning in the first semester, students will apprentice with a faculty mentor to learn research fundamentals. Typically students work with one faculty member each year.

Screening Examination, Part 1
At the end of the first year, students complete a screening examination which focuses on the economics and statistics topics studied in Year 1. The results of the examination help the faculty determine students’ developmental needs and fitness to continue in the program.

Year 2

Sample Course Schedule

Fall:
  • Corporate Finance I (FBE 652)
  • Theoretical Asset Pricing (FBE 653)
  • Elective
Spring:
  • Corporate Finance II (FBE 655)
  • Empirical Asset Pricing (FBE 654)
  • Elective

Research Development
Students continue to apprentice a faculty mentor to learn research fundamentals.

Screening Examination, Part 2
At the end of the second year, students complete a screening examination which focuses on the financial topics studied in Year 2. The results of the examination help the faculty determine students’ developmental needs and fitness to continue in the program.

Year 3

Sample Course Schedule

  • Independent Dissertation Preparation (2)

Research Development
At this stage in the program, the relationships Ph.D. candidates have developed through the research apprenticeships often lead to collaborative research projects. Ph.D. candidates continue to apprentice faculty with increasing responsibility. They also begin work on their dissertations.

Teaching Development
Ph.D. candidates begin developing teaching skills by serving as a teaching assistant for one or two classes and engaging in teaching skills workshops. In the summer, Ph.D. candidates co-teach one course with a faculty member.

Qualifying Examination
With the recommendation of their faculty mentor, students take a comprehensive examination on the core knowledge of their discipline. The examination includes both written and oral components. Upon passing the examination, an individual becomes a Ph.D. candidate and begins work on the Ph.D. dissertation.

Year 4

Sample Course Schedule

  • Independent Dissertation Preparation (2)

Research Development
Year four is devoted towards further collaboration with faculty on research and finalizing dissertations.

Dissertation Defense & Submission
The dissertation is the culminating work of a student’s independent research. In the fourth or fifth year of the program, students complete, defend and submit the dissertation. This is the last step to earn the Ph.D.