PhD in Accounting: Online and Campus-Based Programs

In a Ph.D. program in accounting, you will study economics and conduct research. Find out whether you can pursue this degree through online study. Explore the prerequisites for enrolling in a Ph.D. program in accounting, review your coursework and specialization options, and get career info for doctoral-level job options, like accounting professor. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Basic Courses Do Accounting Ph.D. Students Take?

The doctoral program, typically lasting four years, provides a thorough understanding of accounting and is a research-intensive program. In your first two years, you will have to take courses in accounting theory and research as well as courses in mathematics and economics. During your third year, you will take your chosen electives, and you will complete your dissertation in the fourth year. First- and second-year courses include:

  • Accounting theory
  • Techniques in researching accounting
  • Microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Statistics
  • Math for economists
  • Econometrics

Common Courses Techniques in researching accounting, accounting theory, statistics, math for economists, econometrics
Degree Prerequisites Undergraduate or graduate degree with economics and math courses, GRE scores or GMAT scores, relevant work experience
Specialization Options Corporate accounting, public accounting and taxation, accounting information systems
Online Availability Online programs are available; less research-based and still requires dissertation
Career Options University professor, academic researcher
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for postsecondary teachers)*
Median Salary (2018)$78,470 (for postsecondary teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Program Prerequisites?

You are required to have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited university or college. Also, you will need to take either the GRE or the GMAT exam. With either exam, high quantitative scores will show the university's admissions board that you can successfully handle the mathematical concepts in an advanced accounting program. These are the only formal requirements students must meet to apply to the program.

However, most successful applicants and students meet other requirements. You should have a few years of working experience in an accounting firm or a financial institution. Academically, you should have taken undergraduate or graduate-level economics or mathematics courses. Some academic training in finance or accounting is expected. You will benefit from gaining all of this experience before you apply to this very rigorous program.

What Specializations Might I Choose?

While in this program, you are expected to choose a specialization. Most likely, you will take your electives in that specialization. Your dissertation will also be in your chosen area of accounting. The three main specializations in accounting are public accounting and taxation, corporate accounting and accounting information systems.

Public accounting focuses on the tax work that accountants do; this includes preparing individual tax returns or auditing a company's financial documents. The corporate accounting specialization is good for you if you want to learn more about accounting firms and the accountant's role in the business world. The accounting information systems track teaches you how to create, manage and organize information systems from an accountant's perspective. This track teaches students how computer software and hardware can be effectively used to help an individual or a company record and reach financial goals.

Is It Offered Online?

If a campus-based program is not an option, you can also take this program online. However, only universities that do not have physical campuses offer these programs. Basically, a campus-based program probably will not have an online option.

Online accounting graduate courses are slightly different than campus-based programs. Online courses focus on accounting techniques, marketing, business and law. They are not as theoretical and research-intensive as most campus-based courses. Like campus-based programs, a dissertation is required.

What Career Can I Have With This Degree?

The program is designed to prepare you for careers in academia as a university professor or a researcher. As a university professor, you would teach the accounting courses students must take at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The specific area of accounting you teach would depend on the specialization you choose.

As an academic researcher in accounting, you would gather current information about the accounting industry. You'd publish articles, papers or books about accounting. You might even write the material used in university-level accounting courses. Also, as a researcher you could compile data and create reports for government, non-profit and private agencies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • The University of Texas at San Antonio

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: San Antonio
  • The University of Texas at Austin

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin
  • Carnegie Mellon University

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh
  • Bentley University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Waltham
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Champaign
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford