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a PhD after a CFA. Is Masters degree a must?

Just want to have the idea by forum members. Almost all universities I looked up require a Master’s degree for a PhD program. Wondering how would they treat a CFA? I personally think we should be granted an exception for Masters.

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PhD in Finance? possibly

in any other discipline? No

However many PhD programs bypass masters anyway

you don’t have the right idea about these degrees.

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

You can enter a Ph.D. program without a master’s degree in the discipline, but they will make you take the courses and get a master’s degree before they let you write a dissertation.

My advisor once said:  To get a Ph.D., you have to demonstrate that 1) you know enough to teach a good course in the discipline, and 2) you are able to write a good book / or publishable quality scholarly articles.

Both of these basically require that you be fluent in “the literature” of the discipline.  I.e. you know what concepts they use, how they are used properly, spot when they are used impropertly, you don’t repeat research (unless you are deliberately trying to replicate something or apply it in a new context), etc..

Master’s level coursework is designed to ensure that you have exposure to those things.  Stuff like comprehensive examinations, orals, etc. are designed to test that..

Only then are you left to go write a dissertation.  And because lots of people drop out of a program without completing the dissertation, they’ll give you a master’s degree so that you have something to show for all the studying you did beforehand.

So in most disciplines, the CFA is not going to be relevant.  In finance, it’s not going to be quantitative enough, at minimum.  You may be able to argue for an abbreviated master’s program that fills in the gaps, but seriously, it’s probably just better to let them teach you what you need to know to do the Ph.D. and be taken seriously.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

have yet to meet a cool PhD guy. most are weirdos with alot of issues. dunno why

it’s an interesting question, there is no right answer.  The approach to PhD applications can vary wildly depending on country/institution/discipline and numerous factors are considered.  It’s far too simple to expect an exemption of any kind but equally the CFA is likely to be recognised and given credit (certainly for PhD finance applications).  You will need to research any institution thoroughly before you applied in any case to ensure research match etc. - it’s probably best to speak to people within the academic community who would be familiar with the institutions you intend to apply to and who can relate the typical requirements to your specific background.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t CFA considered a “masters equivalent” in the UK?  If so, I would think you could enter a PhD program there.

This space available.

higgmond wrote:

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t CFA considered a “masters equivalent” in the UK?  If so, I would think you could enter a PhD program there.

Yes it is in principle, but I have not heard of anyone using it to get into higher education. I have seen some job adverts that require CFA and Masters in Finance (i.e. two similar qualifications), but this could be down to dumbass recruiters.

From a professional perspective, it makes sense to think of it as a Masters’ equivalent, but from an academic point of view, I doubt it will pass muster in reputable doctoral programs. The best it will do is perhaps let a Charterholder pass out of certain course requirements, but not others (econometrics, for example).

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

it really depends, many masters degrees nowadays are not overly difficult and the standards vary hugely - the CFA curriculum stands up pretty well in comparison to many masters in finance in terms of content.  The issue is that you need a range of skills for most finance PhD programs, for example, quantitative skills and ideally a bit of research experience - the CFA gives you none of these.  However, if in addition to the CFA, you did your undergrad in maths at a good university and scored 800 on the GMAT then you could well be fine.  Another issue is that recommendation letters are key in PhD applications and the CFA cant give you any of these since it is self-taught (yet a masters can via your interaction with professors).

If you want to do Phd you must have an master degree all universities requires a master degree to do your Phd course.

samueldrake22 wrote:

If you want to do Phd you must have an master degree all universities requires a master degree to do your Phd course.

100% untrue

82 > 87
Simple math.

You may or may not need to upgrade on coureses. It will certainly be more quantitative than CFA exposure.

I have a friend who went undergrad straight to top US phd. He took math classes during undergrad and also the crash course in math that is offered a few weeks before the program begins.

A lot of it depends on referrals from finance profs and math profs. 

Unsure of how much the GRE counts towards it…

Greenman72 wrote:

samueldrake22 wrote:

If you want to do Phd you must have an master degree all universities requires a master degree to do your Phd course.

100% untrue

greenman is correct. masters is NOT a requirement for a phd

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

Many just get the masters degree along the way to earning phd.

Sweep the Leg: "I’m tired."
KMeriwetherD: "Well, you were basically Legolas in the Battle of Water Cooler."

In Canada, it is preferred to have a master first, but also not a requirement.

Not that people on this forum care for Canadian phd…

JBrowntown wrote:

Many just get the masters degree along the way to earning phd.

In some universities, if you do a certain amount of work on the PhD, but don’t finish it, they’ll give you a master’s degree in the field and send you on your way. 

82 > 87
Simple math.

^ Consolation prize.

Inducted into the AF Hall of Fame, class of ‘17

Greenman72 wrote:

JBrowntown wrote:

Many just get the masters degree along the way to earning phd.

In some universities, if you do a certain amount of work on the PhD, but don’t finish it, they’ll give you a master’s degree in the field and send you on your way. 

and if you realize you just can’t hack it for the PhD, at most you may to take 1 or 2 courses more to land the masters.

the simple fact is, once you have a PhD in say statistics, no one will give a crap if you have or don’t have a masters in statistics

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

Greenman72 wrote:

JBrowntown wrote:

Many just get the masters degree along the way to earning phd.

In some universities, if you do a certain amount of work on the PhD, but don’t finish it, they’ll give you a master’s degree in the field and send you on your way. 

master degrees are quite expensive as compared to generally funded phds….so if i decide to do phd from a reputed university and than drop out after few years..will i get the masters without paying the fees for it??Seems like a arbitrage opportunity.

"Unless you are a Warren Buffet,society respects $ Millions +CFA>$Millions/CFA"-My friend.

There are some PhD programs that don’t require a masters (I got into mine without one,in fact. But that was a long time ago)..  However, admission is very competitive - even for my school (ranked somewhere in the 30-50 range) there were something like 70 applicants for 3 slots the year I got in.  And I doubt I could get acepted (or maybe even hack it) there now. Most applicants that are taken seriosuly WILL have a masters, so take it for what it’s worth.

If you’re truly interested in getting into a PhD program, here’s how I’d approach it.  First talk to your profs.  Then call schools similar to the ones you’re looking to apply to and ask them what they look for in a candidate.  The key is to learn the language THEY use, and to use them as a “calibration sample” to hone your approach. 

If you want to maximize your chances, you need to show that you understand what you’re getting into.  Along those lines, I’d recommend taking at least one class in Real Analysis and another in Linear Algebra (hopefull a “proof-oriented” one, rather than a “computation-oriented” one).  Also a good class in Mathematical Statistics.  The reason is that a lot of the literature you’ll be reading will be pretty theoretical math-proof-type stuff, and having taken these classes demonstates that you “get” what the program is all about (and you can talk about this in your application essay).  

Reference letters are very important, but the application essay is CRITICAL.  What they’ll want to know is (1) do you understand what a PhD is all about (i.e. that it’s not just a “super MBA - it’s training to do research), (2) Are you extremely curious (that’s what research is all about, after all - curiosity), (3) Are you good at puzzles, and (4) are you disciplined enough to work in a relatively unstructured and often unsupervised fashin for long periods of time.  Being the alpha nerd helps, too.

You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

in Australia, many Master of Finance programs will give 1 year exemption based on the CFA program (Master of Finance itself is a 2-year program).

also, here in order to get into a PhD research program, you’ll need to demonstrate technical competency (i.e. top academic results from previous studies) and research experience (which normally means having done a minor thesis during a Masters course work studies), among other formalities.

i have seen cases where during someone’s Masters research (which you can only get in by doing exceptionally well in your honour’s degree), it was decided that the research will be converted to a doctorate research (for various legitimate reasons), so these students can effectively go straight from their honour’s studies to a PhD.

Hello everyone, must say you should get the degree only when you know exactly you need it for your future. Because if you don`t it will be just wasted time, no more. I decided to get the degree only when I knew what I would research for it. And it is chinua achebe quotes , it is the book which really has changes as I see the society. So I decided to make a surve and to research human behave by quotes with page number Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe, hope I will finish it soon.

CFA’s are always a great credential to have! 

-The Princeton Review

To each his/her own…IMO it’s not quite the same. Granted I haven’t yet taken the level 3 exam, but my opinion is based on the having taken the first 2 exams. I also recently completed a masters in finance. The classes I took for my degree went in depth into concepts beyond the level the CFA curriculum does. The CFA curriculum, in comparison, only skims the surface of many concepts.

If I were interested in pursuing a PhD, I would want to be prepared as best as I can to be positioned to succeed. For example, in our classes there were many topics were we had to derive equations and I remember thinking ‘I wish I had brushed up on my calculus…I should have taken a refresher calc class before I started this masters program’. But that’s just me- I don’t want to just get by, I want to excel. I still got through the class and graduated with a great gpa. So, I guess I’m saying it all depends on what you want to get out of the experience.

NoahTucker wrote:

Hello everyone, must say you should get the degree only when you know exactly you need it for your future. Because if you don`t it will be just wasted time, no more. I decided to get the degree only when I knew what I would research for it. And it is chinua achebe quotes , it is the book which really has changes as I see the society. So I decided to make a surve and to research human behave by quotes with page number Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe, hope I will finish it soon.

Thanks for bumping a five year old thread with your first post to give your nonsensical opinion on a matter that was already thoroughly answered.