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Top 6 PhDs in Impact Investing

Doctorate programs are designed to promote academic research and scholarship on specific study areas. Here are some PhD programs which have a clear focus on exploring the burgeoning field of impact investing, sustainable finance, and corporate sustainability.

Applied Economics/Finance PhD Programs – Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, United States

Wharton provides a sound academic atmosphere for academics and scholars to explore the nuances of impact investing as it applies to the global finance industry. The university leverages its focus on data and analytics with its institutional expertise as one of the leading academic centers on sustainable and impact investing studies to fuel its faculty and graduate research and reports program under the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Doctoral candidates are exposed to a cross-disciplinary research environment with an extensive list of academic resources to help them with their studies and research. Wharton PhDs are exposed to a wide network of academic, public, and private sector connections, all of which are dedicated to growing the impact investing niche.

First-year costs for 2020-2021 are expected to be around $42,652. However, all doctoral students admitted to Wharton receive a fellowship, which completely cover tuition costs, insurance, other fees and even provides a stipend.

DPhil in Geography and the Environment – Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

A doctor of philosophy in Geography and the Environment under the Oxford Sustainable Finance Program gives students a front row seat to advances being made in the various aspects of impact and green investing like Sustainable Finance Performance, Stranded Assets and Transition Finance, Spatial Finance,  and the Future of Engagement. Students benefit from the quality Oxford educational system and the extensive connections built up by years of academic excellence.

Tuition and other fees can be covered by the many internal scholarships available, like the Bidwell Scholarship for DPhil studies. Students can also avail of external funding opportunities from grants, scholarships, and loans.

PhD in Business Administration – Ivey Busines School, University of Western Ontario

Ivey’s PhD in Business Administration offering provides students with a streamlined track towards academic research in several key disciplines. Students interested in impact investing would do well to explore the Sustainability track geared towards exploring the various advancements in sustainable business development. Students are exposed to in-house activities and research resources under the umbrella of Ivey’s  Centre for Building Sustainable Value and its Network for Business Sustainability. Ivey holds the Ivey/ARCS PhD Sustainability Academy annually for students and offers intense cross-discipline guidance on their research projects.

Fees vary and are set by Ivey’s parent university but a Phd program can cost around  2,218.14 USD per term in tuition. PhD students are offered a minimum funding package of $33,000 as well as other monetary awards during the tenure of their PhD studies conditional to their performance. They can also avail from a wide array of scholarships and fellowships provided by the University itself or they can access external funding options like loans and grants to help fund their doctoral studies.

Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability PhD/EngD – University of Surrey

The university offers postgraduate degrees to interested students who wish to explore facets of impact investing and other topics within the full spectrum of sustainability research. These programs are in partnership with University of Surrey’s Centre for Environment and Sustainability, an internationally acclaimed academic center for sustainable research.

Overseas full-time students would expect to shell out £22,700 aside from other fees. The university offers postgraduate research loans to help cover student costs.

PhD in Finance – Swiss Finance Institute, Switzerland

This multi-campus PhD offering in one of the European centers on sustainable and impact investing academic research provides a comprehensive curriculum designed to produce global finance leaders, researchers, and practitioners. The program operates at three Swiss Finance Institute campuses: Léman, Lugan, and Zurich (the University of Zurich). The program includes an initial preparatory year of intensive coursework followed by around three years of advanced study and research.

PhD tuition fees are dependent on the campus chosen. The program is one of the most inclusive and selective in the world and annual acceptance does not exceed twenty students among all three campuses.

PhD in Finance – Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder

The Leeds School of Business Doctorate program in finance is focused on academic research on modern financial market trends, theory, and analysis. Social impact investing is one of the areas of specialization PhD students can delve into during their doctoral program. This small program puts a premium on faculty and expert guidance for students and promotes access to a large number of professional working groups in the industry.

All international and domestic PhD students are funded by the school with an annual stipend of around $30,000 in return for teaching and research duties for 20 hours per week.  Students can still avail of external funding opportunities like government grants, loans, fellowships, and other scholarship opportunities.