Finance (Public Finance And Financial Management)

We prepare our doctoral candidates for careers in research and teaching. We expect our graduates to be able to conduct research that advances the state of knowledge in the areas of public finance and financial management. We also expect our graduates to be prepared to teach a wide variety of finance courses in schools similar to the Wagner School.

Research in the areas of public finance and financial management often requires depth of knowledge in a specific area, such as education finance, financial management of nonprofit organizations or tax policy. Such depth of knowledge involves both a foundation gained from coursework, as well as significant study of literature beyond the material covered in coursework. Preparation for teaching requires competency in a breadth of public finance and financial management areas.

The doctoral comprehensive field in public finance and financial management requires that students exhibit competency in the material covered in the courses listed in the complete field description. However, we do not require students to take all of the courses listed; prior coursework or self-study is an acceptable alternative. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty advisors for assistance in identifying the most appropriate mix of coursework and self-study, given their background and area of focus. (Note that while many of our courses are aimed primarily at MPA students, doctoral students are expected to have a deeper understanding of the issues and greater familiarity with the literature than is typically required of master’s students.)

The comprehensive exam in the field of public finance and financial management is designed to test the candidate’s breadth of knowledge and also allow the candidate to demonstrate depth of knowledge in a particular area. It requires the candidate to demonstrate an understanding of the material covered in the courses listed, a familiarity with the literature and an ability to apply appropriate research tools to research questions related to public finance and financial management.

It is advisable for candidates to familiarize themselves with the assigned readings for each of the courses listed in the field description. In addition, candidates should become familiar with the most current literature in the field. A good way to do this is to regularly read the journals listed in the field description.

Finally, while knowledge of both public finance and financial management is required for the field, it is typical for a student to “specialize” in one or the other. Students should, however, be sure to develop breadth and not ignore the “other” side of the field.