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PhD in Accounting

The finance industry is among the few sectors that has shown steady growth after the 2008 financial crises. The importance of this field can’t be denied as finance and accounting services are needed by almost every organization. CNN Money stated that accounting is one of the best majors to pursue as accounting jobs have a high growth rate of 22% (2008-18).

As the financially intertwined world becomes more complex, the demand for skilled professionals who reflect expertise in accountancy grows. From banks to large multinational corporations, accountants and related experts are needed in almost all industries.

Accounting degree programs are offered at undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level by a number of prestigious schools. Although a graduate degree may be enough for an entry level job in finance, a doctorate degree can lead to far better careers.

PhD in Accounting

This is the highest form of degree you can earn. Most doctorate degrees are research-focused and are intended for individuals who want to prepare for executive-level jobs in the industry.To successfully complete the program, students must cover all the program components that typically include the following:

  • Coursework
  • Independent research
  • Oral qualifying examination
  • Dissertation


The coursework will enable students to develop a conceptual framework and build skills needed for research. Students will cover a wide range of topics that highlight the role of accounting in businesses, financial reporting, and the effects of accounting principles.Alongside accounting subjects, courses that are non-accounting in nature are also covered such as microeconomics, mathematical statistics, managerial finance, and econometrics. The curriculum may vary with different institutions, but will cover general subjects such as:



In this course, students will acquire in-depth knowledge of economic theories and trends. Students will learn about various economic models, the equilibrium theory, capital markets, and more.


This course highlights the main principles of the field and different accounting procedures used in organizations.

Research methods in accounting

Students will learn how to identify and explore issues in accounting, apply different qualitative and quantitative research methods, and evaluate research findings.


This course will provide students with a thorough understanding of tax regulations in the economy. Students will learn how to audit financial statements and study various methods of taxation. Tax environment, tax provisions, and tax system are a few of the main areas covered in this course.


This field combines statistics, research, computer science, and economics. Students will learn how to apply various statistical methods to economic data for research purposes.

Financial Management

In this course, students will develop a broad understanding of different management principles used in finance. Students will learn how to manage finance/money effectively and efficiently, and according to business objectives.

Accounting Control Systems

This course will focus upon tools and applications used to control an organization’s finance system. Topics such as analytical tools, business communications, financial objectives, and evaluation techniques are covered throughout the course.

Advanced Financial Reporting

Students will acquire in-depth knowledge of accounting standards and applications used for reporting. The course will highlight different standards of accounting reports, issues, and transferability of such standards.

Risk Measurement

This course will cover the concepts of risk and uncertainty in financial management. Students will learn how to identify financial risks and report such risks.

Independent Research and seminars

Students are required to analyze and research on a chosen topic (according to interest). This component of the PhD program is important. Students can apply different research methods and prepare a report for or against the proposed topic.The research project will reflect a student’s understanding of the field, and skills. This program component is geared towards allowing students to actually practice what they have learnt.

Qualifying Examination

Students will have to clear comprehensive exams conducted by the relevant faculty. The main purpose of the exam is to test a student’s understanding of the field. Those who fail must re-take the exam before moving on to completing the degree.


Students will be required to work with a dissertation committee and develop an original dissertation in accordance with the established regulations. The thesis must be well-written, organized, and detailed. The minimum word-count may vary from institute to institute.

Online PhD Accounting

Many students start working full-time or part-time after graduate studies. This makes it difficult for them to pursue doctorate degrees without sacrificing their careers. But thanks to the growing number of online learning schools, now one can earn a doctorate degree without having to attend school full-time. Online education has grown in popularity due to many benefits such as:

  • Lower costs
  • Flexible coursework
  • Self-paced
  • Individualized attention
  • Students can study according to their own schedule

Degree Objectives:

  • Display proficiency in academic research
  • Develop sound communication skills, writing skills, and critical thinking skills
  • Acquire a comprehensive understanding of emerging accounting trends and economic trends
  • Understand the application of leadership theories and management principles
  • Develop, evaluate, and analyze accounting/financial reports

How to Enroll in a PhD in Accounting

  • Students must fill out an admission form
  • Submit an official transcript of graduate and undergraduate qualifications
  • Meet the minimum CGPA requirements
  • Submit letters of recommendation

Career Opportunities

PhD degrees can turn out to be worth the time and the effort. You can work in diverse business settings and research facilities. According to the New York State Society of CPA,  there is a shortage of accounting professors which has boosted the overall salary range. Individuals with a PhD degree in accounting can work in accounting firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutes. The income level may vary with employers along with a couple of other factors.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a PhD in Accounting?

Many schools, such as the Harvard University, Cornell University, Stanford University, University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida, are offering a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in accounting. Students can either enroll in a PhD in Accounting, or a PhD in Business Administration/Management with a concentration in accounting. Students usually take around 4 to 5 years to complete these programs.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a PhD in Accounting?

Students enrolled in PhD in Accounting and Management are required to study a minimum number of 13 semester long doctoral courses, which are related to quantitative research methods, economic theory and business management theory. During the first two years of their doctoral program, students have to complete their coursework. After completion of the coursework, they have to appear for the comprehensive field exam. Once the exam has been cleared, they have to spend the remaining 2-3 years on research and dissertation writing.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a PhD in Accounting?

After completing a PhD in Accounting, graduates can work as Researchers, University Teachers, and Consultants. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the annual median wage of Post Secondary Teachers was $78,470 in 2018. In 2018, the number of jobs in this field was 1,350,700. Moreover, it is expected that the employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:As I read about the doctoral in accounting programs, there was mention of the course on Strategic Management. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is quite common to get to read about the course on Strategic Management while going through the Doctoral in Accounting programs. This course usually is structured to provide students with strong understanding of the frameworks of the different types of problems faced by the strategic management. Students are thena lso provided hands one experience.

Q:What kind of cost is involved in an accounting PhD program?

A:There is no simple answer to this question as there are various PhD programs offered by numerous institutions. Educational costs can range from a few hundred dollars to over forty thousand dollars per annum. One key element of doctoral programs is that these are focused more student's own research rather than professor led classes. Instructors only provide guidance and mentoring to candidates. This means that tuition costs can be reduced to a certain extent.

Q:Who should write my letter of recommendations for PhD in accounting programs?

A:Candidates who have been working professionally for some time should ask their work supervisors to write their letter of recommendation. Students can also get letter of recommendations from their instructors. It is better to ask instructors who taught you accounting to write your letter as they would be more relevant.

Q:Do I need an accounting degree to apply to accounting PhD online programs?

A:If you enroll for a PhD accounting program you will need a reasonable academic understanding of the subject. This means that most programs will want candidates to have an undergraduate or master's degree in accounting. There are some universities who might make exception for students who have studied accounting in some other degree, for example some MBA students.

Q:I am planning for an accounting PhD in the south. Can you tell me about the coursework?

A:If you are going for an accounting PhD in the south, it is important to know that the coursework can vary from one program to another. In addition, you are given the option to pick the coursework of your choice so that you can base your thesis on it. However, there are some general courses covered in most of the accounting PhD programs. These include economics, information systems, management, and operations.

Q:What is an advanced accounting phd program?

A:An advanced accounting PhD program is a post graduate degree that is the highest accounting qualification one can achieve. It is necessary to first complete a bachelor and a masters degree in accounting to be eligible for a PhD Program. The program can be completed in 5-7 years, depending upon the pace of the student.

Q:Is an online phd accounting more convenient to pursue as compared to the one offered at a campus?

A:Yes, an online program can seem easier to manage as compared to the program being offered at a campus. It is important for you to know that in an online program, you will be able to study at any time of the day according to your schedule. You can pursue work side by side without having to compromise on either.

Q:What will I learn in an online phd in accounting program if I enroll soon?

A:A Phd in accounting is the highest form or degree you can enroll in after completing a masters degree. This program is research oriented and will take anywhere between 5 to 7 years to complete. You will acquire a thorough understanding of all major concepts in accounting and finance. A PhD in accounting will qualify you for many executive level job positions.

Q:What are the application requirements of the Online PhD Accounting degree?

A:Online PhD accounting degrees have the same application requirements as the on campus PhD accounting programs. In order to apply you need to have completed a bachelor's degree and a masters degree in a related subject to accounting. Some schools may also require you to have work experience.

Q:What are the admission requirements for the Phd In Accounting?

A:When applying to the PhD in accounting, students need to have a completed master's degree in a field related to accounting. Other than educational requirements students will also be asked to submit the following: application form, letters of recommendation, college and university transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores and the statement of purpose.

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