Accounting doctoral programs train individuals to conduct analytical and empirical research on accounting issues. Both Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs are available in the accounting discipline. PhD programs are research-based doctoral programs that are highly academic in nature, while DBA programs are more appropriate for those pursuing a professional rather than academic career. If you are interested in engaging in academic research in the field of accounting or would like to teach accounting at the university level, consider obtaining a doctorate in accounting.
Doctoral programs in accounting are ideal for students who thrive in an academic environment and value intellectual challenges. The prerequisites for entrance into doctoral-level programs typically include GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a bachelor’s degree.
Earning a doctoral degree in accounting generally take three to five years to complete. Students usually spend the first two to three years of the program completing coursework, followed by oral and written exams. They spend the next one to two years or more on dissertation research and writing.
It is common for doctoral students to serve as teaching assistants or instructors for undergraduate accounting classes. Some PhD programs in accounting do not charge students tuition, and in exchange for research or teaching work, students receive stipends or fellowships.
Accounting Doctoral Programs: What to Expect
Undergraduate and master’s degree programs in accounting tend to focus on the fundamentals of accounting, while accounting degree programs at the doctoral level emphasize accounting research with an archival or behavioral focus. Behavioral research is related to the psychology of economic decision-making, and archival research involves statistical and technical analysis in economics and finance.
The coursework in a doctoral program varies depending on the type of research that a student plans to pursue. Below are examples of courses that accounting doctoral students might take:
- Seminar in financial theory
- Regression and correlation
- Introduction to econometrics
- Business management theory
- Quantitative research methods
Growing Your Accounting Career
Doctoral degrees in accounting prepare students to provide high-level consulting services or educate accounting professionals at colleges and universities. Other potential job opportunities include chief financial officer, business researcher, senior auditor, and controller.
The accounting profession is in dire need of doctoral degree holders now more than ever before. According to the IMA Research Foundation, the current US shortage of accounting faculty with doctorates will soon reach critical level. This could eventually lead to the erosion of the quality of business education and research in our country.
An annual survey by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) reports that the average base salary for new hires with an accounting PhD at nationally accredited postsecondary institutions is $135,500. Job growth and higher salaries in accounting education have made accounting doctoral programs more attractive in recent years. Because there are more jobs available, candidates have access to stable employment opportunities, as well as greater autonomy and control over their location.
If you have strong academic potential and a desire to become an accounting scholar, pursuing a doctoral program in accounting may be the right choice for you. Develop your skills as a world-class researcher and contribute to the education of others in the accounting field. Start working towards your doctorate in accounting today!