Ph.D. in the Accounting Area

This chapter presents the specific degree requirements (to add to the general requirements discussed in Chapter 1) for a Ph.D. in the Accounting area. Each accounting doctoral student must review the requirements listed in this chapter with the Ph.D. area advisor in accounting.

Accounting Research studies how properties of accounting measures and institutions impact how investors determine the value of claims to firms in financial markets (valuation), affect the usefulness for corporate control and managerial performance evaluation (governance) and how they impact how firms allocate their resources and make financial decisions (real effects). The main goal of the accounting doctoral program is to train students to do high-quality research in any of these areas. To achieve this goal, the Ph.D. students are required to take courses in economics, statistics, econometrics, and accounting theory, and to write research papers examining important and relevant issues pertaining to Accounting.


For doctoral students who have chosen accounting as their area, the Ph.D. degree requirements are as follows: 
1. Complete a review course in Quantitative Methods in the summer before the beginning of the first semester.
2. During the student’s first two years, he or she must take a minimum of four doctoral-level courses per semester. The chosen courses must be approved by the area faculty advisor.
3. The student is expected to attend all research seminars organized in the accounting area during the student’s tenure in the Ph.D. program.
4. During the second and third years, the student must formally register for the accounting research seminar and attend presentations of faculty members from other business schools that visit JGS to present their research. The student must write a short summary and critical comments on two papers presented in the research seminar during the semester. These reviews should be submitted to the area advisor and will be graded by a subset of area faculty for a Pass/Fail grade.
5. Students must successfully complete the summer research paper requirements during the first two years. This requires working with an accounting faculty member during summer, getting the faculty member’s approval of the resulting paper, and then presenting the paper at an accounting research seminar no later than the spring semester of the following academic year.
6. Students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam administered by the accounting faculty at the end of the second year. The exam will be jointly administered and graded by accounting faculty, under the supervision of the accounting area advisor. The exam is focused on the coursework taken in accounting and also measures the student’s knowledge of the area as a whole. A successful performance in the exam will demonstrate the student’s competency in accounting and provide the foundation from which he or she begins the research that will form the basis of the dissertation.
7. Students are expected to successfully defend their dissertation proposal by the end of the third year.
8. Complete and defend dissertation within a maximum of 7 years from the time of matriculation.

Sample Course Sequence for a Doctoral Student in Accounting 

Summer before the beginning of first semester
Quantitative Methods Review

Year 1 (Fall)
ECON 501 Microeconomic Theory I ECON 504 Advanced Economic Statistics
ECON 507 Mathematical Economics I MGMT 9xx Introduction to Accounting Research Workshop in Statistical Computing and Research


Year 1 (Spring)
ECON 508 Microeconomics II
ECON 510 Econometrics I
MGMT 9xx Analytical Research Workshop in Statistical Computing and Research


Year 2 (Fall)
ECON 509 Microeconomics III
MGMT 9xx Empirical Research in Accounting Elective


Year 2 (Spring)
MGMT 9xx Advanced Contemporary Accounting Research


Doctoral students will continue taking graduate-level accounting courses beyond their second year as well. Examples of elective courses are:

  • MGMT 911-914 Finance Seminars
  • ECON 511 Econometrics II
  • ECON 514 Industrial Organization and Control
  • ECON 523 Dynamic Optimization
  • ECON 579 Topics in Econometrics
  • STAT 622 Bayesian Data Analysis
  • STAT 522 Advanced Bayesian Statistics
  • STAT 621 Time Series Analysis
  • PSYC 550 Foundations of Social Psychology
  • PSYC 520 Foundations of Cognitive Psychology

Overview of Accounting Ph.D. Seminar Series 

I. Introduction to Accounting Research — The course offers a thorough and broad-ranging introduction to accounting theory and research. It covers origins and evolution of key relevant accounting institutions, thought, paradigms and methods.
II. Analytical Research – The course provides a thorough and comprehensive introduction into the key economic theories underlying a significant part of contemporary cutting edge accounting research. The course is designed to be sufficiently deep to support both students intent on pursuing analytical research and at the same time broad enough that students with an empirical orientation will gain a solid foundation.
III. Empirical Research in Accounting – The course provides a thorough and comprehensive synthesis of empirical accounting research, covering the key “classic” papers in the major research areas, methodological issues and emerging areas within empirical accounting research.
IV. Advanced Contemporary Accounting Research – The course provides a more advanced treatment of cutting edge, predominantly empirical accounting research. Accordingly, the course content is expected to change frequently to reflect the current state of accounting research.