PhD Programs in Risk Management

A Ph.D. in Risk Management prepares students to develop an understanding of successful research in academia and industry, both in theoretical and applied aspects of insurance, risk management, and employee benefits. While that description might not sound action-packed, keep in mind that risk management is a premier degree in today’s technology-driven society.

Your role could save literal lives, depending on your job title! That’s because students work toward the development and analysis of quantitative models driven by business obstacles. These models not only support decision making that measures and manages risk, but also augments a rich comprehension of standard and unique business practices.

Doctoral Programs in Risk Management: The Basics

Risk Management Schools push students to analyze and solve problems using tools from mathematical programming, game theory, probability, and statistics. Students engage in multidisciplinary areas of research, ranging from microeconomics and microinsurance to actuarial science.

Usually, Risk Management doctoral students manage a course load heavily influenced by research and analysis of economics, decision processes, operations management, and international markets. These courses help gain insights into the techniques useful to organizations, corporations, and individuals that aim to minimize the potential financial burdens that arise from exposures to risk.

Within the field of risk management, you may be able to concentrate your studies in insurance, enterprise, and actuarial sciences. Not all schools follow these options, so be sure to follow up directly with the schools that interest you.

Admissions Requirements for Risk Management PhD Programs

Whether you have decided to pursue a doctorate degree in risk management online or on campus, the admissions requirements remain the same, although they

are, luckily, pretty straightforward. Due to the fact that a PhD in Risk Management is a terminal degree, the admissions requirements might seem pretty overwhelming, depending on the program—and whether you are pursuing a risk management degree online or on campus—or a little of both.

In this case, admission requirements for a risk management PhD may include the following criteria:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Transcripts from Undergraduate Program
  • GMAT or GRE
  • TOEFL (International Students only)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume or CV

Some programs look for candidates who have had a minimum of five years of on-the-ground experience in the field of risk management while other schools deem this optional in the decision-making process. A majority of the schools only require a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year university, though there are those few programs that prioritize candidates with master’s degrees as well.

Do your research!

The worst way you can demonstrate your potential skills as a risk management doctoral student is to not be thorough in this initial application period. You might even say this is the essence of the risk management degree in miniature: identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing the benefits and problems of various risk management programs; designing mechanisms to mitigate such risk, that is, coming up with your own assessment criteria; and managing the financial liabilities that come with the application process.

Voila—you’re already on your way!

Risk Management Curriculum

There are a number of subdivisions you can specialize in within the risk management degree, but the bare bones courses required for most risk management schools reflects a similar engagement with the fundamentals and finance theory. Some schools require field work in the second year, while others prefer to remain in theoretical territories of risk management fluency.

A sample risk management Ph.D. may include some of the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of Risk Management
  • Math for Economics
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Stats for Econometrics
  • Corporate Risk Management
  • Doctoral Research (fieldwork)
  • Econometrics
  • Corporate Finance Theory
  • Seminar in Actuarial Science, Risk Management, and Insurance
  • Market Microstructure
  • Introduction to Stochastic Optimization
  • Stochastic Differential Equations
  • Mathematics of Financial Derivatives
  • Statistical Computing
  • Applied Time Series Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Advanced Engineering Economics

As mentioned, it depends on your specializations. You might decide to go the route of actuarial science, public finance, torts, liability insurance, enterprise risk management, corporate hedging and securitization, and many more.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD and DBA in Risk Management?

In your research, you might come across acronyms for both PhD and DBA programs. A DBA stands for Doctor of Business Administration and is considered a terminal degree the same as a PhD.

Whereas a PhD in Risk Management puts you in a prime position to pursue faculty positions at institutions of higher learning, a DBA in Risk Management is more tailored to a given career path.

For instance, you may seek a DBA in order to advance your executive leadership potential at an organization, or else this is an opportunity to pursue a career as an industry innovator, consultant, or policymaker. It may boil down to what your goals for the degree are—it’s always helpful to map out a long-term plan for a degree that specializes in decision-making!

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Doctorate in Risk Management?

Many on-campus programs require students to be full-time, and that’s because the duration of most programs at the full-time level typically takes four to five years to complete.

Part-time students, for those risk management programs that accept students at the part-time capacity, typically face five to eight years to complete their doctorate.

For the most part, the PhD requires two years of full-time coursework. The first year of the program is meant to offer a rigorous foundational structure to the field, incorporating a wealth of methodologies that build presentation and communication skills. The second year advances your course load and helps you gain insights into your thesis topic.

In your remaining years, you primarily conduct full-time research and work toward the completion of your doctoral thesis.

What Does the Doctoral Thesis Look Like?

A majority of your doctoral degree will be independent research and work toward the completion of your doctoral thesis. This degree sets you up, after all, for research and analysis within a given corporation or organization to minimize risk and emergency.

How do you choose a research topic?

First, it has to be relevant to your studies. For example, if you are interested in studying the methodologies and paradigms between industries and employing new risk management processes, you might want to focus your dissertation on ISO 31000 and what can be done to reduce risk.

The topic should be original and thoughtful, inspired by the zeitgeists of the market and regions.

Topics might include the following:

  • Natural Disaster Accounting and Assessment Technology
  • Occupational Safety and Health: Handling Work Hazards
  • Financial Risk Management
  • Risk Pool
  • Warehousing Industry Practices and Operational Risk Management
  • Hazard Prevention
  • Security Risks and How to Prevent Disasters
  • Risk Management Tools for Food Industry

Once you have a topic, you most likely will have to write an in-depth proposal with sources, to be presented to a dissertation board. This all depends on the doctorate program, of course. Be sure that the topic you select is of utmost interest to you—you’ll be in that dissertation hole for a number of years. You should get some sort of joy out of your research findings.

Different Names for Risk Management Degrees

A rose by any other name is promised to smell as sweet, but you might notice that a degree in risk management comes in a variety of names.

Such degree names might sound like Risk Management proper, or else you’ll find a variance of other degree types, including Risk and Actuarial Studies, Risk Management and Insurance, and Risk and Emergency Management. This is where you should tailor your interests and motivations to your degree.

Not all programs are created equal. You might have a more keen interest in liability insurance or emergency management. As you sort through programs, ask yourself what your more poignant motivations are for any given program.

Does the program have what you want? What on earth is stochastic optimization and why does this program want you to take eight credits worth of classes on it? While perusing the course loads, make sure the concentrations at a given institution align with your values.

What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get with a Doctorate in Risk Management?

The positions available in risk management are increasingly relevant to the job market. As we see more advances in digital finance markets, from cybersecurity to cryptocurrency, the necessity for risk management is of the utmost essence.

Just Think

Your dream position at a given company could be the difference between a cyber breach and impenetrable security!

In fact, a recent document published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, for example, proposed the importance of risk management on the level of cybersecurity, citing a decision matrix that identifies the cyber risks of a federal system.

Famous Risk Managers

Some of the best known businesspersons known for their risk management are Jeff Bezos, Evan Spiegel, and Mark Zuckerberg.

While you may not be the next Snapchat mogul (though that, of course, is up to you), there are a wide array of extremely satisfying jobs out there to pursue.

For instance, your degree might open up doors to some of the following positions.

12 Risk Management Careers

  1. Risk Management Director
  2. Director of Compliance
  3. Safety/Risk Management Consultant
  4. Claims Adjuster/Analyst
  5. Market Research Analyst
  6. Hedge Funds Analyst
  7. Strategic Risk Director
  8. Operational Risk Consultant
  9. Business Analyst
  10. Risk Control Representative
  11. Global Markets Risk/Compliance Analyst
  12. Quantitative Risk Analyst

The list goes on and on.

According to the May 2017 CNNMoney, “Best Jobs in America,” risk manager directors were rated 45 out of 100 top best jobs in America, taking into account median salaries ($113,374i), 10-year job growth (12 percent), personal satisfaction (A), benefit to society (B), and low stress (C).ii 

What Are You Waiting For? Earn Your PhD in Risk Management

As you can see, risk management is just the tip of the iceberg in your search for the perfect graduate institution for you, whether you pursue a theoretical or applied degree, whether you choose a PhD or a DBA.

Our sponsored listings might include a PhD in Insurance and Risk Management, a Master of Science in Analytics (MSAn), a DBA in Data Analytics, Management, or Marketing, an online MBA or MS in Business Analytics.

Make sure to use the Request Info button to get details from the prospective schools, stay on top of application deadlines, and make an educated decision about your future.


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