About the PhD in accounting

Learn more about admission, funding, and curriculum.

Getting in

We admit between 2–4 students each year. First, you need to meet the minimum PhD admissions criteria. Other criteria for admission include:

The average among our students: 3.5+ on a 4.0 scale. We also consider the rigor of your undergrad or master's institution(s).

GMAT score
Our students average over 700 on the GMAT. We do not accept GRE scores in lieu of GMAT.

Statement of purpose
Content and overall seriousness are considered.

Letters of recommendation
We're interested in their assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and ability to succeed.

Relevant work experience
Most incoming students have several years of work experience with top-tier public accounting firms or corporations.

English proficiency
This applies only to international applicants whose native language is not English. Automatic waivers of the English Proficiency Requirement are granted if you've completed a bachelor's degree (or higher) at an accredited university in the United States. We accept TOEFL and IELTS. The Graduate College minimum score requirements are:

IELTS: 7.0 with no subscore under 6.0*
DuoLingo: 105 minimum score*

*All IELTS and DuoLingo test-takers will be required to take the on-campus English Proficiency Evaluation when they arrive.

Financial support

Our financial aid package includes:

  • All tuition payments
  • A stipend for living expenses (approximately $30,000)
  • Health and dental insurance

PhDs earn the stipend by serving as research or teaching assistants. See details on the base funding package.

Other benefits

  • Paid time off to pursue independent research projects
  • Departmental and university-wide scholarships/fellowships that can supplement the stipend
  • Funding for travel to research conferences

Curriculum and plan of study

We encourage PhDs to remain in residence for their entire program; being on campus every day is necessary for your interactions with faculty, peers, and visiting scholars.

A typical student spends five years in residence. Depending on prior coursework, it's possible to graduate in four.


Year 1

  • Accounting coursework to prepare for research seminars
  • End of year: complete a plan of study with your advisor, a faculty member with interest in your research area

Year 2

  • Begin accounting doctoral coursework (fall)
  • Comprehensive exams in your minor area (i.e., finance, psychology, economics, stats)
  • Research project under the guidance of a faculty sponsor (summer)

Year 3

  • Major written comprehensive examination (end of year)
  • Additional coursework related to thesis topic

Year 4

  • Oral comprehensive examination
  • Proposal defense

 Year 5

  • Enter job market
  • Attend American Accounting Association annual meeting in August