How to Pursue a PhD in Accounting

How to Pursue a PhD in Accounting thumbnail
A PhD is a typical requirement to become an accounting professor.

According to the American Accounting Association, U.S. colleges and universities have difficulty keeping accounting programs staffed with faculty because of a shortage of accountants who pursue PhDs. As of March 1, 2010, 70 accounting firms, 45 state CPA societies, and two other sponsors have pledged support to the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program, a scholarship program designed to help combat the shortfall of accounting faculty. A career as an accounting professor can combine the professional challenges of a CPA with the stability and flexibility of a university position.

Instructions

    • 1

      Identify potential accounting PhD granting programs. A PhD is a research degree, and your research interests during the program can affect your job possibilities after graduation. There are two primary categories of research: archival, which focuses on mathematical modeling based off archived data, and behavior, which studies how and why people make decisions using the study of psychology. Most universities offer PhD programs, and make available information on the research interests of accounting faculty.

    • 2

      Take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Universities admit students to PhD programs based on a number of criteria, but the GMAT serves as the standard measurement. Study books and preparatory courses help maximize your score and improve your options.

    • 3

      Apply to multiple programs. Most admission requirements include an updated resume, two or three letters of recommendation, official copies of GMAT scores, transcripts from all previous university education and a statement of purpose. Statements of purpose highlight your specific accounting interests and qualifications; they're generally about two pages in length, but check each program’s individual requirements. Deadlines occur usually once per year, so applying to multiple programs increases your chances of starting your PhD studies within your desired time frame.

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