It is desirable for students to have a solid understanding of applied microeconomic theory, econometrics and mathematics (linear algebra, real analysis, optimization, probability theory) prior to the start of the program. Adequate computer programming skills (e.g. R, Matlab, SAS, STATA, Python) are necessary in coursework. A traditional accounting background such as CPA is not required.
II. Course Requirements
All required courses must be taken for a grade (not pass/fail or credit/no credit). Exceptions are made if the required course is offered pass/fail or credit/no credit only. Each course must be passed with a grade of P or B- or better. Substitutions of required courses require approval by the faculty liaison. Waiving a course requirement based on similar doctoral level course completed elsewhere requires the approval of the course instructor, faculty liaison, and the PhD Program Office.
The faculty encourages students to take at least three courses (in addition to ACC 698/699) related to the academic program each quarter during the academic year in the first two years of the program and some additional selected courses during their third year of study. Students must complete all required courses in order to advance to candidacy. Students should discuss and confirm course schedules with their faculty liaisons each quarter.
Students may be exempt from a required accounting course (or be required to substitute with another accounting course) if the course is not offered in the first three years of the student’s program. In general, students are expected to complete all Accounting PhD courses offered during their first three years in the program.
Possible substitutions include but are not limited to:
Suitable courses will depend on the student’s research interests, and might include subjects such as behavioral science, statistics, political economy, linguistics, computer science, mathematics, logic or marketing. Course selection for breadth requirements have to be approved by the liaison.
One graduate level course in a field other than accounting, finance, or economics.
All students are required to register for ACC 698 “Practicum in Teaching” or ACC 699 “Practicum in Research” for one unit in every quarter of the academic year and during the summer quarter. Students register for ACC 698 and ACC 699 on Axess and receive a letter grade for ACC 698 and ACC 699.
We estimate that students in their first and second year will spend 10 hours per week per quarter during the academic year and 20 hours per week in the summer quarter on the practicum. Students in years three through five will spend approximately 14 hours per week per quarter during the academic year and 10 hours per week in the summer quarter on the practicum.
In years three through five, students have the option to work up to 6 hours/week during the academic year and up to 10 hours/week during the summer as an RA or CA. Students sign up for RA or CA work on the CARA system. In addition, at any point during the program, students have the option to work as a grader up to the appropriate limits per school and university policy. Students sign up as a grader on CARA.
International students may be restricted in the number of hours they can work as RA, CA or grader due to their visa status.
The purpose of the accounting group’s research practicum is to give our doctoral students hands-on exposure to accounting research. In the student’s first academic year of study, each student will be assigned to work with a different faculty member each quarter. During these first-year series of practica, students will gain exposure to the given faculty members areas of research through a variety of activities, such as reading and discussing research papers, collecting data for a research project, working on an aspect of the faculty member’s research or performing a literature review.
In the second year of the program, research practica will involve serving as a research assistant for the sponsoring faculty member. In the third through fifth year of the program, the research practica ideally evolve from a research assistant to collaborative relationship with the sponsoring faculty member. The pace of this evolution is determined by the progress of the student in the program and the research agenda of the sponsoring faculty member. These practica are meant to provide the student with valuable research experience through the initiation, development and completion of both existing and new research projects, writing referee reports under the supervision of the faculty member, and similar career-building activities.
The scope and nature of the research practicum will be determined by the sponsoring faculty member each quarter. In addition to the activities determined by the sponsoring faculty member, students are required to regularly attend the accounting seminars and internal workshops.
The purpose of the accounting group’s teaching practicum is to give our doctoral students hands-on exposure to aspects in teaching. A teaching practicum can involve a variety of activities such as conducting review sessions, or development of teaching material including case writing The scope and nature of the teaching practicum will be determined by the sponsoring faculty member each quarter.
Students are required to enroll in a minimum of two quarters of ACC 698 prior to the end of the fourth year in the program.
IV. Summer Research Papers and Presentations
Satisfactory completion of the following research papers and presentations are required for admission to candidacy.
First-Year Summer Paper
Each student is required to write an original research paper during the summer after the first year of coursework. This research paper is due before the start of the fall quarter of their second year, and is required to be presented to the faculty during an accounting workshop at the beginning of the fall quarter at a time announced by the liaison. The student receives a pass/fail grade for the 1st year summer paper.
Second-Year Summer Paper
Each student is required to write a second original research paper after completing two years of coursework and the area field exam. This second research paper is due at the start of the winter quarter of their third year, and is required to be presented to the faculty during that winter quarter at a time announced by the liaison. The second year summer paper is expected to be more substantive than the first year summer paper. Ideally, it can be developed into a doctoral thesis. The student receives a pass/fail grade for the 2nd year summer paper.
V. Field Exam
The purpose of the field exam in accounting is to examine (1) the student’s command of the past and current academic literature in accounting; (2) the student’s ability to understand, critique and apply the methods used to conduct research in accounting; and (3) the student’s ability to evaluate research in accounting and independently develop suitable research designs to address research questions in accounting.
The field exam tests whether the student has the solid understanding of accounting research necessary to conduct meaningful research in accounting. Studying for the field exam may also help the student identify gaps in the literature as well as research areas and questions of interest to her/him. The questions on the field exam focus on topics covered and skills developed in the students’ coursework during the first two years in the program.
The field exam in accounting is usually a written exam conducted over two days during the summer after the second year. The format and date will be announced by the liaison.
Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is a judgment by the faculty of the student’s potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program. Students are required to advance to candidacy by September 1 before the start of their fourth year in the program.
VII. University Oral Exam
The oral examination is a defense of the dissertation work in progress. The student orally presents and defends the thesis work in progress at a stage when it is one-half to two-thirds complete. The oral examination committee tests the student on the theory and methodology underlying the research, the areas of application and portions of the major field to which the research is relevant, and the significance of the dissertation research. Students are required to successfully complete the oral exams by September 1 before the start of their fifth year in the program.
VIII. Doctoral Dissertation
The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original contribution to scholarship or scientific knowledge, to exemplify the highest standards of the discipline, and to be of lasting value to the intellectual community. Accounting does not have any general guidelines beyond the University requirements, and instead defer to the student’s Dissertation Reading Committee.