How do I Write a Finance Dissertation?

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  • Written By: Paul Woods
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Writing a finance dissertation requires the doctoral candidate to first develop a thesis in either a theoretical or practical aspect of the subject. With the thesis developed and the choice made between theoretical and practical financial applications, the candidate conducts research suitable to the thesis. Writing the document itself is the third step, which must be done in the doctoral program’s particular style, be grammatically correct and be adequately readable.

The key first step in writing a finance dissertation is to choose between a theoretical paper or a practical one. A theoretical approach will be more academic in nature and numbers-driven. The thesis for a practical finance dissertation can derive from real world activities in the finance arena by individuals, companies or governments and may focus on how the discipline of finance operates in actual circumstances.

A thesis is the central point of a dissertation that research will support or disprove, and it has an impact both on the type of research and the structure of the document. For a more academic-oriented thesis, expect the research to be more statistical in nature. This theoretical financial dissertation may attempt to prove, disprove or expand on mathematically-derived financial theories. A practical finance dissertation might focus more on case studies of businesses or governments. The practical paper might make extensive use of interviews, surveys and examination of business data.


In both instances, a finance dissertation must primarily be based on original research and add to the body of knowledge, not simply restate or combine the ideas and writings of others. Once research has been conducted, the candidate must analyze it and draw conclusions, and each conclusion must be supported by the research. The document will also include a complete explanation of the research methodology and a summary of relevant work by others in the subject area.

With a thesis developed and accepted by the dissertation committee, research conducted and analysis completed, the doctoral candidate writes the dissertation itself. Before writing, it is important to master the tone, organizational style and formatting style required by the particular university.

In general, dissertations should be written in the third person and avoid flowery or colloquial language. Typically, the dissertation should have an introduction that includes the thesis, followed by a summary of other writings, research methodology, research summary and conclusion, and a length in excess of 100 pages is typical. Finally, while the dissertation should be in a plain language, the better written and more readable it is the better.


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