At a glance

  • UK top 10% for internationally excellent and world-leading research (Research Excellence Framework exercise 2014)
  • UK top 10 for reach and significance of the impact of our research on business and policy (Research Excellence Framework exercise 2014)
  • Dedicated study area for all ICMA Centre postgraduate researchers
  • Access to key databases and statistical software including WRDS, Thomson One, Bloomberg, TR Eikon, Datastream, SAS, Stata, Matlab, Python, Eventus
Level PhD / DBA
Award PhD
Duration Usually 3-4 years
Attendance Full-time
Location Whiteknights campus (Reading)

Deadline for applications: 30th June 2019

We seek highly motivated individuals with an appropriate academic background (generally a Distinction at MSc level in a finance-related subject) from a good university. We encourage applied and relevant research and our strong connections with many financial firms allow students to gain industry experience during their doctoral research, if they wish. Biographies of and some papers written by, our current PhD students can be viewed here.

We offer funding for up to 10 PhD studentships of full fees plus up to £15,000 living allowance. All scholarships are awarded for 1 year and are renewable for another 2 years, subject to progress. Successful candidates will receive research training, will be required to take relevant University courses on teaching and embed that learning by acting as teaching assistants

List of topics

  • Algorithmic Trading and Trade Execution Strategies
  • Alternative Investments
  • Asset Pricing
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Capital Structure
  • Commodity Markets
  • Corporate Finance and Governance
  • Empirical Asset Pricing with Liquidity and Uncertainty Premia
  • Empirical Credit Risk
  • Empirical Market Microstructure
  • Financial Econometrics
  • Financial Engineering
  • Financial Regulation
  • Financial Risk Measurement
  • Financial/Economic History
  • High Frequency Econometrics
  • History of Finance
  • Institutional Investors
  • Liquidity Risk
  • Macroeconomic and financial market uncertainty
  • Macroeconomic forecasting and survey expectations
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Model Risk
  • Option Pricing
  • Pension Schemes
  • Portfolio Management and Performance Assessment
  • Quantitative Finance
  • Shipping Finance
  • Socially Responsible Investing
  • Sports Finance
  • Textual Analysis
  • The effect of information on financial markets
  • Volatility and Correlation Modelling

A PhD is usually taken on a full-time basis over 3 to 4 years. The programme starts in September at the beginning of the academic year. However, if necessary for your training, you may be required to come to the University earlier to attend some preparatory courses.

Year 1: You will have to attend courses examined according to university rules. These courses include Research Methods and other courses required for your area of concentration;

Confirmation of Registration: During your second year, you will be required to defend your fully developed Research Proposal, consisting of a substantive document of around 10,000 words;

Year 2-3: The remaining part of your PhD studies will be devoted to complete your thesis before your viva examination at the end of your 3 to 4 years (maximum amount of time allowed by university rules).

Year 1

During your first year of studies, you will be required to:

  • Attend at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level courses in Research Methods and other relevant courses plus a no-credit bearing course (see below);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading);
  • Attend the Preparing to Teach training programme (which is necessary to be able to complete any teaching-related activities within Henley Business School);
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s).
  • Contribute to Business School and Departmental teaching/research activities and events;
Compulsory modules Credits

This module aim to equip new PhD students with clear understanding of the necessary requirements for obtaining a PhD at the ICMA centre.

Teaching Staff
Mr Neil Kellard Mr Neil Kellard


This module is designed for advanced Master’s students and doctoral students. It has a very high technical content. It aims to equip the students with the foundations of theoretical asset pricing and with the relevant skills for performing empirical tests. Additionally, a few important corporate finance topics will be covered in the format of student presentations. The objective of the module is to prepare students to become independent and quality researchers.

Teaching Staff


Teaching Staff
Various Various

Confirmation of Registration

During your second year you will submit a substantive Research Proposal of around 10,000 words that will be defended in front of Faculty members and/or assessed by independent examiners. This process will coincide with your confirmation of registration and, if successful, it will grant you the status of PhD candidate.

The Research Proposal will be a significant development of the initial proposal you submitted for your application. It will include material you may have produced during the 1st year courses in research methods (e.g. literature review, methodologies, data description, etc.). If you plan to do a PhD thesis combining three papers, you are expected to include a draft of the first paper in your Research Proposal. Alternatively, if you intend to use a book-like structure for your thesis, the document should include the draft of at least one of the three/four key chapters.

Year 2 & 3

During your 2nd and 3rd year you will:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation drafting the other two papers / key chapters;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School;
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Contribute to Business School and Departmental teaching/research activities and events;
  • Present posters/papers at national/international conferences;

Recent PhD graduates have secured academic positions at UK Universities such as Oxford, Manchester, Kings College London, Cardiff, Bath, Sussex, Surrey and East Anglia. Academic roles have also extended to international universities such as ESCP Europe, Hamburg, University College Dublin and Goethe University of Frankfurt.

PhD graduates have taken industry positions at employers such as Allianz, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, London Business Bank, NAFMII, Oxford Risk and Sociovestix Labs.

How can Henley Careers work with you?

We have an award winning careers team to support you through your time here and 4 years after graduating from us.

Henley Careers run numerous events throughout the autumn and spring terms to help you gain industry experience, enhance your professional development and network with employers. We also offer one-to-one career coaching appointments where you can talk to a Careers Consultant about anything related to your professional development – whether it’s planning your ideal career journey, building confidence in a particular area, practicing for interviews or having your CV checked.

For more information please see our Careers page.

Current as of April 2019.

The ICMA Centre is among the pioneers in finance education and renowned for its strong links with the financial services industry. The Centre was ranked in 2018 among the UK’s top 10 for its Masters programmes (Financial Times Masters in Finance Ranking). It is also part of Henley Business School – among an elite group of 89 business schools in the world to hold triple-accredited status from the leading UK, European and US accrediting bodies: AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB.

The Centre’s unique practice centred approach includes a number of finance education innovations aiming to provide students with a solid grounding for a career in the industry and a skill set that sets them apart from graduates of other finance programmes. Our student employability track record is also bolstered by an in-house comprehensive career development programme as well Reading’s close proximity to the world’s top financial centre (25 mins from London Paddington). Several leading professional bodies including the CFA, CISI, GARP and ICS validate our programmes and offer exam exemptions to our students.

Being part of one of the top schools of finance in Europe, students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and the latest technology and are taught by world-renowned faculty and industry experts. Our innovative teaching and learning environment, including trading and financial analysis simulations, the latest financial data and programming software and three dealing rooms –one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world – provides an ideal setting for understanding how businesses and markets function in practice.

Our students’ learning experience is a top priority for academic faculty and administrative staff at the ICMA Centre, reflected in the latest student satisfaction rates in the PTES and NSS student surveys.

“The support from the staff is invaluable. No problem is too big or small, the staff endeavour to give the best support to students, everyone from the lecturers, admin staff to the careers staff.”
Nick Pilkington, BSc Finance and Investment Banking

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If you have any questions about admissions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 6497

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