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Department of Financial and Management Studies (DeFiMS)

Research Degrees: Finance and Management

On Campus Programme


Graduate students in the PhD programme of the Department of Financial and Management Studies study towards the University of London PhD.

To be considered for the DeFiMS PhD programme in finance or management students must already have completed a good Masters degree in a relevant discipline and been awarded high grades. They must also submit an initial research proposal that demonstrates aptitude for academic research.

The full-time PhD programme normally requires three years of study in London.

Student facilities

Library facilities at SOAS

Doctoral School

Bloomsbury life

Research Topics

The DeFiMS PhD programme provides supervision in a number of fields within finance and management. We concentrate on topics in fields which are actively being researched by faculty members. Currently the five principal areas are: corporate governance, finance, law, and regulation (in developed and developing countries) and sustainable development and agribusiness. 

  • Corporate governance: finance, law, and regulation (in developed and developing countries) 
  • Corporate finance: determinants of firms' capital structure 
  • Finance and economic growth 
  • Financial regulation, central banking and bank supervision 
  • Management in China; Management in Japan; and Management in the Middle East and North Africa
View Current and Past PhD Theses in Finance and Management Studies
View Discussion Papers by DeFiMS Staff

Research Environment 

For information on the department's research interests and supervision possibilities please see the department's staff page.


There are a small number of competitive scholarships within the Faculty that provide remission of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and/or a maintenance allowance. Further information is available from: http://www.soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships/ Graduate teaching positions are sometimes available for qualified students.

Referees and references

If you have been in education in the past three years, we will require references from your most recent post-graduate place of study. We normally require two academic references from senior or established faculty members who are in a position to comment on your research potential.

If you have been out of education for three years or more we will normally require at least one academic reference. We can also consider references from an earlier time or from your current place of work but only where these provide relevant recommendations to the course of study you are applying for. References from family members or friends are not acceptable.


Students in the PhD programme study advanced courses and carry out research for their thesis. They work closely with their supervisor from DeFiMS faculty and also with other DeFiMS faculty members and PhD students.

Year One

The first year of the programme involves research training seminars and advanced courses. At the same time, students work with their supervisor to develop a detailed research proposal, undertake the first stages of research and write some draft sections to outline the main arguments of the thesis.

Research training at SOAS

SOAS is committed to providing support for research students. All full time first year students take one research methods course and one other master-level course, which can be on-campus, distance –learning or, exceptionally and subject to permission, from elsewhere in SOAS or other schools of London University. The students will normally expected to complete the assignments for these courses, the grades for which will be considered by the Supervisory Committee when progression to PhD status is considered.

Additional courses may be taken in the first year or later as advised by the supervisor, including short courses offered by the Doctoral School. You can choose from a range of transferable research skills options: research writing and presentation, generic methods and techniques for data collection and analysis, language support, research integrity, and academic teaching. SOAS is also part of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, sharing training opportunities with UCL, the Institute of Education, and LSE. SOAS students may apply for research funding to attend conferences and special courses.

Students are required to present their work and to participate in the PhD Seminar programme throughout the year. In addition to student presentations the PhD seminar also includes “Key Contributions to Management and Finance”, a forum where departmental staff reprise a frontier article that offers essential insights into different advanced research areas.

PhD students are also expected to attend departmental research seminars.

After about eight months of full time study the students progress is assessed by an upgrade committee and successful students go on to year two.

Year Two

In their second year full time students carry out detailed research which usually includes gathering and processing data. Some research for this purpose may be carried out overseas if required. During the year students write draft chapters of their thesis and discuss them with their supervisor.

Year Three

Full time students for the PhD would complete their research and write a final draft or near final draft of the thesis.

Year Four

Any work at this stage normally involves redrafting chapters of the thesis to achieve the standards of publications. The examination must normally be completed in this year. Examination is by assessment of the thesis and an oral examination (viva voce) concerning the thesis and the research upon which it is based.

Modes of Study

January and April entry options are by exception available, subject to approval. The upgrade arrangements are similar in that full-time students who enter at these dates will be considered for upgrade to PhD status after nine months.

Students wishing to pursue Part-time study are welcome to apply but will need to demonstrate that they have the commitment and resources to pursue their studies over the longer-time frame that this mode requires.

A part-present option is also available whereby students who are in employed by work-places that offer a supportive environment may take the last two years of the full-time programme by distance learning. This mode is being trialled for a small number of students in 2013-14 and further information will be posted here later.


A Student's Perspective

The friendly research atmosphere, extensive library resources and academic training courses will help to stimulate your inspiration, promote your talent, and push yourself to new academic heights.

Boying Xu