Degree programme

The PhD programme in Finance at the Vienna Graduate School of Finance (VGSF) is a doctoral research programme which has been offered since 2005 as a cooperation between the University of Vienna, the Institute for Advanced Studies and the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

It is one of the pioneering programmes of the Austrian Science Fund and also the first funded doctoral research programme in the field of social sciences. Funding is used to finance scholarships for the admitted doctoral candidates as well as to enhance teaching and supervision by appointing internationally renowned experts and lecturers.  Students graduate after three years and are awarded the academic degree "Doctor of Philosophy", abbreviated as PhD.

Fields of activity

The VGSF provides its students with a top-quality education in accordance with international standards. Graduates are optimally prepared for the requirements of the international academic labour market and are qualified to work in leading academic institutions as well as with international authorities, central banks or in the private sector. The current placement record of the VGSF is available here.


The PhD programme of the VGSF is divided into two parts:

  • General course programme
  • Work on the own research topic (doctoral thesis)


Candidates take general courses on financial market theory, corporate finance and on methodological fundamentals (financial econometrics). These courses impart theoretical knowledge and analytical methods needed for writing the doctoral thesis. 

During their first year of studies, candidates have to complete certain core courses. In the second and third year of studies, they can choose from a wide range of elective courses, according to their specialised research area.


Doctoral thesis

In the second half of the first year of studies, students have to decide on the topic of their doctoral thesis and formulate the research proposal. After that, students can start their research and start working on their thesis. Students then present and discuss their theses at international conferences. 


Final examination

Following a positive assessment of all courses and examinations that have to be completed according to the curriculum as well as of the doctoral thesis, the PhD candidate has to give a public presentation at the Faculty (4 ECTS credits) and defend the doctoral thesis in front of an examination committee. 

Applying for the final degree follows the same procedure as all other PhD programmes at the University of Vienna. For further information about all the necessary forms and the application procedure, please click here.

Personal requirements

Prospective students wishing to enrol on the VGSF should possess outstanding academic qualifications and have a strong interest in financial econometrics and the methodological fundamentals of statistics and mathematics.


The admission procedure for the PhD programme in Finance at the VGSF comprises two steps:

  1. Submitting all the necessary application documents
  2. Personal interview

For further information, please refer to the website of the StudiesServiceCenter.

Financial support

The PhD programme in Finance is a full-time degree programme. It is very time-consuming and can not be completed on a part-time basis. For this reason, the VGSF supports its students with about EUR 2,000 gross per month.  
After deducting insurance contributions, fees, etc., the net amount totals EUR 1,450 per month (paid 14 times a year). 

This serves as financial support that should cover at least part of the accommodation costs and allows students to complete a full-time degree programme.
In addition, the VGSF supports students in finding accommodation and offers advice on bureaucratic and administrative issues regarding their stay in Austria.

Contact and help

If you have any questions regarding the organisation of a PhD programme at the VGSF, please contact the StudiesServiceCenter ( at the University of Vienna or the VGSF Office ( at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.  

If you have any questions regarding the content of the PhD programme, please get in touch with the following lecturers at the VGSF:
Thomas Gehrig (financial markets and financial intermediation)
Nikolas Hautsch (financial econometrics)
Gyöngyi Loranth (corporate finance)

The following websites provide general information and advice about a PhD programme at the University of Vienna: StudiesServiceCenter of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics
Center for Doctoral Studies
Research Services and Career Development