Research Master's track in Finance

Program structure and content

The Research Master and PhD program in Finance aims at nurturing ambitious academics trained in cutting-edge research, who will contribute to advance the frontiers of finance research.

The program is structured in two phases:

  • a two-year Research Master (RM)
  • and a three- to four-year PhD phase

Research Master Year 1

The first year of the RM is largely devoted to rigorous training in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics to provide students with strong basis in economic and econometric theory and methods.

Research Master Year 2

The second year of the RM brings students to explore in depth core finance research areas: asset pricing, corporate finance, and banking. Students can also choose some elective courses from all business and economics areas in order to acquire the skills needed to write their RM Thesis.


At the end of the RM students will be able to read and discuss state-of-the-art research papers, and to generate ambitious research questions. The PhD phase of the graduate program lasts three to four years, and consists of completing a dissertation under the supervision of two faculty members.

Dr. M. Da Rin

Associate Professor of Finance, Coordinator of the Finance Research Master and PhD Programmes

Marco Da Rin v2

Finance Track: key traits

The Finance Track is the largest Business PhD program at Tilburg, and one of the largest in Europe. Each year we typically admit half a dozen RM students expecting them to move on to the PhD phase. We currently have over 10 RM students and over 20 PhD students. These students come from various countries, and have different interests and backgrounds. English is the working language on the floor, as it is on the whole campus.

Collaboration with leading experts

Our faculty is also highly international, and includes scholars at the top of their fields. Faculty/student interaction is among the highest among competing programs. Students are encouraged to approach any member of faculty to discuss ideas or to ask for advice. Therefore, even with a large program, we can offer very close individual supervision. Each RM student is mentored by one faculty member per quarter. PhD student offices are back to back with those of faculty, and interaction is strong. Both RM and PhD students are closely overseen by the Education Coordinator.


Supervision during the PhD phase is very intense: students often co-author papers with their supervisors and write at least one single-authored paper under their supervisor’s guidance. This paper will be their job market paper.

Seminar series

Our seminar series hosts over 30 leading scholars from the US and Europe each year, exposing students to cutting-edge research in all areas of Finance. Our weekly brown-bag lunch seminar allows PhD students and faculty members to discuss their work in progress in a vibrant and challenging environment.

Which students are we looking for?

The Tilburg PhD in Finance aims to attract ambitious, inquisitive, and hard-working students who want to excel in academia. Applicants should have a strong quantitative background in economics or business and (preferably) a MSc-level degree. We look for students with aptitude to critical and creative thinking, able to envision new research questions that address the continuously evolving issues in financial economics, and to answer them conclusively.

Student with a particularly strong quantitative graduate background may be exceptionally admitted to the second year of the RM, while still taking several classes from the first year.

If you have achieved outstanding results in your academic career so far and have an ambition to become an accomplished finance scholar, we strongly invite you to apply.

What former PhD students have to say about the program:

Our placement record

Our placement record reflects the strength of our approach. Most of our PhDs find jobs in Academia. We have a very successful history of placements at top universities in Europe, Asia, and North America:

  • Elizabeth Kempf (PhD 2016, Chicago Booth)
  • Hao Liang (PhD 2015, Singapore Management University)
  • Larissa Schaefer (PhD 2015, Frankfurt School of Management)
  • Elena Pikulina (PhD 2014, University of British Columbia)
  • Narly Dwarkasing (PhD 2014, Bonn University, Economics Department)
  • Peter Cziraki (PhD 2012, University of Toronto, Economics Department)
  • Christophe Spaenjers (PhD 2011, HEC Paris)
  • Kim Peijnenburg (PhD 2011, Bocconi Univiersity, currently at HEC Paris)
  • Juan-Miguel Londono (PhD 2011, Federal Reserve Board)
  • Christiane Kneer (PhD 2011, International Monetary Fund)
  • Martijn Boons (PhD 2011, Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
  • Zhen Shi (PhD 2009, University of Melbourne, Economics Department)
  • Ralph Koijen (PhD 2008, Chicago Booth, currently at NYU Stern School)

Our graduates also show an excellent record of publications, many of them publishing chapters of their theses in top finance and economics journals shortly after graduation. Some PhD students even managed to publish in top journals before graduating.

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