Online PhD in Financial Engineering

The best online doctorate in Financial Engineering programs offer students the unique opportunity to combine financial theory, applied mathematics and computer science into a fast-growing interdisciplinary degree. Financial engineering is closely tied with quantitative finance and financial mathematics, although it presents a unique niche in the field. Online PhD Financial Engineering students should have motivation, the desire to work hard, focus, and a background in applied mathematics. The online PhD in Financial Engineering generally takes students between 4-5 years to complete and is research intensive with courses in advanced finance, computer science, and mathematics. Throughout the course of earning a online doctorate in Financial Engineering, students will be expected to learn about finance, statistics, financial models, computer applications and modeling, and tools that are essential in financial engineering such as options pricing and risk management. During this time, students are also expected to research and learn about theories and models and document all of their research for a dissertation that will be completed at the end of the Financial Engineering PhD program online. A dissertation is a book type compilation of findings and analysis of models and theories in the financial field and should also include experiences and opinions of the student during the program.

About Online PhD Programs in Financial Engineering

The online PhD program in Financial Engineering is aimed at allowing students to build knowledge and a solid background in analytical processes and managerial abilities through communication, effective management, strategic thinking, risk comprehension, and synthesis. An online doctoral degree in Financial Engineering is ideal for working students because it can be completed outside of standard employment hours, and a student may continue obtaining work experience and advancement, giving an additional advantage when pursuing employment after the degree is earned. In order to grasp the knowledge and get the experience that will be needed with working in financial settings, online Financial Engineering PhD students will be required to conduct extensive research in the field, submit major papers, and take part in assigned class projects. For example, an online Financial Engineering doctorate program professor is likely to assign students a major paper assignment in relation to critiquing or analyzing research, a journal article, or a specific statistics or mathematical model theory for a grade. Students in Financial Engineering doctorate degree online are also likely required to take part in online chats, discussions, and video chats to ensure they are familiar with the material being covered in class.

Year One:

  • Foundations for PhD Study. This course is intended to introduce students into the PhD program and to give students an idea of what type of work is expected from them in PhD doctorate degree programs.
  • Research Theory, Design, and Methods. This course is intended to provide students with the knowledge they will need to understand, analyze and design research at the doctorate level.
  • Management in Human and Societal Development. In this course, students will be taught introductory concepts in the field of management as well as give students an understanding of theories of human development.

Year Two:

  • Financial Engineering. This course focuses on modern theory and techniques in the following areas: financial instruments, pricing options, managing financial risks, applications for assets and trading strategies.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis. Students in this course will understand data analysis and statistical concepts as well as the importance of theory in research and changes in research designs.
  • International Finance. This course examines aspects of international corporate finance, including exchange rate risk management, hedging in foreign markets and competitive strategy in a global environment.

Year Three:

  • Financial Decision Making. In this course, students will learn about principles including the time value of money, making decisions under conditions of uncertainty, valuation, and capital budgeting.
  • Corporate Financial Management. Students in this course research advanced topics in corporate financial management such as risk management, short and long term financing, product-market interactions, and sourcing and deployment of capital.
  • Advanced Computer Applications. Topics in this course include abstract data types, object-oriented programming, stacks, queues, linked lists, sorting, binary search trees, heaps, and hashing.

Year Four:

  • Applications Programming for Financial Models. Options pricing and risk management are essential tools for a financial engineer. This course demonstrates techniques in implementation of computation-intensive option pricing models in evolving programming architectures.
  • Financial Analysis, Planning, and Forecasting. Some of the topics covered in this course include cash flow, inventory, supply chains, sales forecasting, and financial planning modeling.
  • Valuation of Assets, Entities, and Opportunities. This course goes into depth on research topics such as the valuation elements of mergers and acquisitions, options, international asset pricing, and capital budgeting.

Students taking courses in online doctoral programs in Financial Engineering will also be responsible for successfully completing exams, which are usually comprehensive at the PhD level. This means that exams are likely to cover material learned throughout the semester or year and can be administered in a number of formats. While some PhD professors in this program may administer standard exams, it is not uncommon for professors to administer exams in the form of a paper or assignment. For example, online PhD in Financial Engineering students may be asked to write major collaborative papers on research theories, statistical models, or strategic thinking. The final hurdle in completing the online doctorate degree in Financial Engineering is to complete and submit a dissertation. A dissertation is generally lengthy and includes experiences, opinions, research methods, theories, and practices observed in the field. Past dissertation topics in the field include law changes in the financial system of the U.S., the effects of a newly emerging market, and the assessment of risks in world markets.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Financial Engineering

The online PhD degree in Financial Engineering is ideal for those individuals who wish to pursue advanced knowledge in the field to be able to qualify for top level and management careers in the financial and computer science industries. Earning this degree online is particularly beneficial because it will allow students to develop advanced research skills, gain familiarity with the Web and Internet browsers, and will teach students how to use a variety of web tools, software, and programs. With todays ever-changing technology and the need for company's to keep updated with advanced technology, it is vital for leaders in the business to have knowledge of and understand technology and computer systems. A possible downside to earning the Financial Engineering PhD online is that the degree is specialized and not offered at many learning institutions online. In addition, students that feel that they may have problems or may be in need of tutoring may find it hard to get assistance online. These students may need to make sure that they are able to keep up and seek assistance through online forums or email.

Application & Admission Requirements

While the admission requirements of online doctoral programs in Financial Engineering are likely to vary between learning institutions, there are some general admission requirements that interested individuals should keep in mind. Most learning institutions with PhD programs require that individuals have a bachelor's and master's degree and at least three years of work experience in a related field. Bachelor and master degrees must have been awarded by a learning institution that is accredited and should be in the computer science, financial engineering, economics, finance, or mathematics field or in a closely related discipline. Most schools also require that students have three letters of recommendation with other requirements being school specific. For example, the University of Phoenix also requires that students have at least a 4.0 GPA on graduate school transcripts and a membership in a research library. Individuals should then fill out their application and submit required paperwork to the appropriate department to be considered for the program.

Career Options & Job Market

Graduates of online PhD Financial Engineering programs are ready to pursue careers in a number of different fields and industries. Some of the fields that graduates are prepared to pursue include (but are not limited to): finance, banking, government, education, risk management, and computer science. Some of the specific careers that online Financial Engineering PhD students can pursue include investment trader, computer programmer, actuary, professor, financial analyst, or financial engineering researcher. Individuals seeking employment in this field should have good job opportunities as careers in the field are in relatively high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of Financial analysts is expected to grow by 20% over the next several years, creating more than 49,000 jobs by 2018. The Bureau also reported that the employment of Actuaries is expected to grow by 21% and the employment of Industrial engineers is expected to grow by 14% by 2018.

Where to Find Information

  • International Association of Financial Engineers is not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a platform for professionals to discuss issues in the field. Individuals can learn more about financial engineering as members of the organization include broker dealers and practitioners from banks, pension funds, and accounting firms.
  • Cornell University's PhD program information page lists more about the degree and offers resources for students to gain more insight into the program.
  • Journal of Economics and Finance publishes theoretical and empirical research articles in economics, finance, and other related fields for readers to have a better understanding of practices in the industry.
  • International Network for Engineering Studies has information about a number of niche engineering practices with journal articles, conferences and workshops, current events and more.

How to Get Funding

Just like undergraduate and graduate students, PhD students also have options available for financial assistance when pursuing a degree. Tuition rates are likely to vary widely between learning institutions, so it is important to keep that in mind as well. Students have the option of applying for federal student loans, but also have the option of applying for grants and scholarship money, which can be used for tuition but does not need to be repaid.

  • Best Scholarship Information. This site has an area dedicated to PhD students in the U.S. that are looking for scholarship and grant opportunities.
  • Federal Grants Wire. This site can be used to help mathematical engineering students find federal grants and/or scholarships for graduate school.
  • Grants.Gov. This site is dedicated to helping students of all degree levels search and apply for scholarships and grants through a number of options including degree and subject type.

Essential Advice

  • If you are still unsure whether the online PhD program in Financial Engineering is right for you, seek the advice of a current or past PhD student in the field to find out more specifics about the program.
  • Take some time to research and familiarize yourself with the careers and industries that can be pursued with this degree including career responsibilities and job descriptions, salaries, and demand. It is important to know about and feel comfortable with career options in the field before you commit to this degree program.
  • Like all PhD programs, an online doctorate in Financial Engineering is rigorous and will require students to be extremely dedicated to the program. If you have just finished a master's degree or have time heavy commitments, be sure to consider the time and length of the program before deciding whether it is the right step for you.
  • Once you have decided that a PhD in Financial Engineering is the right fit for you, be sure to seek the advice of reliable and knowledgeable mentors and/or advisors to assist you when you need help or advice along the way.