Admission to our doctoral programmes are highly competitive. While academic credentials are important for a successful application we also pay great attention to the fit of students to both the programme and the research interests of our academic faculty.

Apply early. Supervisors can accept students on a first-come, first-served basis, and the programme may close early if it reaches capacity.

Full details of the academic, English Language, and application requirements for your application are detailed below.


Applicants for the PhD in Finance programme should hold a postgraduate master's degree from an accredited institution in the UK or overseas showing evidence of above-average academic achievement. This includes:

  • A degree classification with a mark of 65% or more overall (University of Edinburgh level, or overseas equivalent).
  • Normally a master's dissertation at the distinction level (University of Edinburgh level, or overseas equivalent) in finance, economics, informatics, mathematics, engineering, or other relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements.

Applications may be accepted from those still currently studying for a master's degree; however, any offer will be conditional on the successful completion of the degree at the required standard.

Please note: If you are currently studying for or have completed an undergraduate degree and do not yet have a Master's qualification, please consider applying for our MSc by Research programme. You can use this as a stepping stone on to any of our PhD programmes.

Applicants with significant finance and industry experience, or with relevant professional qualifications will be given due consideration on a case-by-case basis. However, these applicants must also have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in one of the following areas:

  • finance
  • economics
  • informatics
  • mathematics
  • engineering
  • other relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements

You must demonstrate English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence. You can do this either by providing an approved English certificate, or providing a degree certificate.

English language certificates

We accept the following English language qualifications as evidence when they meet the minimum grades:

Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency, in which case it can be no more than three and a half years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

For evidence of English competency we accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

More on English language requirements

English language requirements

In order to apply for a PhD you need to consider:

1. What is your research proposal?

Your research proposal

2. Who do you intend to work with while undertaking your research?

We strongly recommend you make contact with a potential supervisor before applying. In your application, you must name your preferred supervisor (or up to 3 in order of preference) or the academic research area you wish to work in.

Choosing a supervisor or research area

3. Do you have the supporting documents needed for your application?

Required documents guidelines

Please be aware that only complete applications will be considered. Complete applications must contain all necessary documents, including a proposed supervisor or indicating a research group in the Business School.

Joining from overseas

If you are an international student, you may need to apply for permission to study in the UK. Our Edinburgh Global office on provides information on immigration and visa requirements for students.

Immigration information