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Dr. rer. pol.


Stipend & Tuition Waiver

Granted to all successfull candidates

Programme Start

5 Years

Application Deadline
15 January

Finance Concentration

This concentration is one of the three concentrations offered in the Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme.

We conduct scientific research projects aiming at publishing them in top journals in the fields of asset pricing, corporate finance, and financial intermediation. Frequently, these projects are pursued jointly with representatives of our stakeholders from the industry, the public, and governments and actively involve Doctoral students.

The prerequisite for a successful participation in research projects is a thorough training in theoretical and empirical topics in the fields of asset pricing, corporate finance and financial intermediation. Currently, the finance concentration consists of core courses and electives taught by resident staff.

Internationally renowned guest professors in their respective fields of expertise complement the curriculum. Students who pursue a Doctoral in Finance at Frankfurt School have to complete the electives in addition to the required core courses.

Finance Curriculum

Standard Classes

Mathematics and Statistics

This class sets the foundations for later applications of analytical methods. This includes linear algebra, calculus, optimization, and probabilistic inference. Frankfurt School also offers a preparatory maths class in the summer, for those aiming to brush up before entering this course.


A graduate-level micro-economics course. It begins with consumer decision making and general equilibrium, followed by game theory. Also covered are bi-forms, i.e. the combination of the two game theoretic solution concepts as applied by incomplete contract theory.


The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve, prior empirical studies.

Advanced Empirical Methods

This course covers extensions to standard regression techniques and offers alternatives. Bayesian statistics, prediction and validation, simulation models, and machine-learning techniques are among the key topics.

Finance Classes

Asset Pricing

Course Description

The course is an in-depth introduction to the modern theory of asset pricing and portfolio choice. Its main focus is on the relationship between arbitrage and equilibrium, and how both conditions imply the existence of "state prices," positive discount factors such that the price of any security is simply its discounted expected payoff. The first part of the course examines static economies while the second extends into a multi-period framework. Both parts are restricted to discrete time and symmetric and complete information.


The student is assumed to have a good working knowledge of probability, statistics, calculus and microeconomics.

Course Structure

  • Arbitrage and pricing
  • Equilibrium and pricing
  • Optimal portfolio choice
  • Mean-Variance analysis
  • Asset pricing models

Advanced Topics in Finance

Course content coming soon.

Corporate Finance

Course Description

The course makes students familiar with the main hidden information and hidden action models. It introduces a concise theoretical principle agent framework that allows analyzing the major topics in corporate finance including among others firms’ debt capacity and the optimal capital structure, corporate risk and liquidity management, and corporate control and governance.


There are no prerequisites necessary.

Course Structure

This course is split in two parts. The first introduces the baseline models. The second part provides a more in depth application of the baseline model to a variety of different problems in corporate finance.

Game Theory

Course Description

The course aims to familiarize students with the basic concepts of game theory.

Students learn different classes of games and a variety of solution concepts to predict strategic behavior in these games.

They will learn how to capture practically relevant situations in a game and the necessary tools to solve these games.


Students should have completed a PhD class in Microeconomics.

Course Structure

The course combines theoretical developments of game theoretic concepts with applications of these concepts to questions in economics, finance, and management. The course starts with simple games and shows the solution concepts for these games. It then gradually enriches the games and the respective solution concepts. For each class of games, several examples will be provided how to apply the material learned in the course, always with an eye on how students can apply these concepts in their own research

Financial Institutions

Course Description

This module introduces Doctoral candidates to the latest models that try to explain the role of banks in the economy. Based on those approaches this course presents latest theoretical contributions on modelling the origin of financial contagion and the role of regulation in mitigating systemic risk. Furthermore this course also presents the most recent models on competition in the banking sector and its implications for stability. The overarching aim of this course it to provide students not only with the thorough theoretical background required to pursue empirical studies. It should also enable students develop their own theoretical models in this area.


Corporate Finance

Course Structure

The module is structured as follows:

  • The role of financial intermediaries in the economy
  • The inherent fragility of banks
  • The origins of financial contagion
  • Banking competition and financial stability
  • Optimal capital structure and the need for banking regulation

Empirical Methods in Accounting and Finance

Course Description

  • Fixed effects regression
  • Difference-in-differences estimators
  • Regression discontinuity design
  • Synthetic control estimator
  • Instrumental variable regressions
  • Governance of the research process


Econometrics I and II

Course Structure

The course is structured in three parts (not necessarily chronological):

  • Part 1: Empirical methodologies (focus on regression discontinuity, difference-in-difference estimators, synthetic control estimators)
  • Part 2: Discussion of recent empirical papers with a focus on financial intermediation, corporate finance, and possibly with a link to accounting
  • Part 3: Development of own research ideas


You will have a budget for two additional course suitable for your chosen area of specialisation. These can be offered by Frankfurt School but often are found at other research universities. Faculty and the program office help you identify appropriate courses.

Independent Study Courses

Frankfurt School’s Finance Research Seminars provide a forum for researchers of all disciplines to present and discuss their research. They usually take place on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during the semester. Before or after the talk there is the opportunity to meet and exchange with members of the faculty in individual discussions.

We would like to thank the Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute for their generous support of this series of talks.

We would like to thank the Interessengemeinschaft Frankfurter Kreditinstitute for their generous support of this series of talks.

External guests are welcome to attend! In case of interest, you may subscribe via e-mail in order to get invitations for our research seminar and other events.

Below you can find a list of this year's seminars.

Finance Seminars

Research Topics

Below you can find some examples of ongoing and potential research topics within the finance department.

Unorthodox Monetary Policy and SME Lending

Together with a major European universal bank Lisa Cycon empirically investigates the effect of the Security Markets Programme on both loan price setting as well as on investment behaviour of credit-constrained small and medium sized enterprises.

Collateral Pledging Behaviour in Stressful Times

In collaboration with both the European Central Bank and Deutsche Bundesbank, Michael Koetter examines how liquidity support schemes of the ECB affect the collateral pledging behaviour of banks and how such differences might have affected lending behaviour.

M&A Contracts and Lawyer Expertise

In collaboration with a leading European law firm, Zacharias Sautner empirically investigates whether and how lawyers with more expertise draft M&A contracts that are beneficial to their own clients at the expense of the counterparty.

Blockholder Trading, Market Efficiency and Investment

In a model with privately informed agents, Florian Kerzenmacher and Günter Strobl show that block holdings can act as a commitment device to collect information that is used by managers to improve their investment decisions.

Finance Faculty

Affiliated Faculty

Student funding and scholarships

Frankfurt School offers fully-funded study places for the Doctoral programme in order to attract and support the brightest minds in academia.

Students are expected to devote 100% of their working time to their masters and Doctoral studies at Frankfurt School for up to five years.

Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a cost-of-living stipend. The monthly stipend comprises of € 1,200.

The stipend will be granted for five years conditional on the continued satisfaction of all academic programme requirements.

From the second year onwards Doctoral students may receive an additional € 400 for their involvement as a teaching or research assistant. Frankfurt School students thus have a total of €1,600 for their living expenses.

Furthermore Frankfurt School covers costs related to research, including conferences and overseas visits.

Application process

1. Target Group

Outstanding graduates of a Bachelor‘s or Master’s programme in business administration, finance, management, accounting or related fields who aspire to launch an academic career.

Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are welcome to apply with their most recent academic transcript. Please note that the degree has to be completed by the time of the beginning of the programme.

2. Online Application

The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. You will need to upload the following required documents. Please note that you need a certified English or German translation for all documents, that are not originally in German or English. The application platform will be open between September 15th and January 15th.

Required Documents

  • CV and list of publications (if existent)
  • Certified copy of your University Entrance Qualification (Abitur, A-levels or equivalent)
  • Certified copy of your University Degree Certificate or equivalent and academic transcript of records
  • Official GMAT or GRE results
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency Test (TOEFL IBT min. score of 100/IELTS min. score of 7.0)
  • Two letters of recommendation from a former academic tutor or from another person in an academic environment.
  • Motivation letter and research interest (description of a possible research project, 2-5 pages, demonstrating how the candidate plans to apply his/her particular interests, skills and expertise to the pursuit of his/her academic objectives)

3. Interview

Successful applicants will be invited to a Skype interview with faculty members of the chosen concentration.

4. Results

The final decision regarding admission to our Doctoral programme will be made by the Committee for Doctoral Proceedings. It is based on the applicants overall portfolio and the interview. The results will be communicated after the final decision.