The best doctorate degrees in accounting

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Why get a doctorate in accounting?

You’ve already earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting, yet you’d like to broaden your know-how further. Then, enrolling in a doctoral (Ph.D.) program in accounting may be the best choice for you.

This degree will extend your vast expertise and the ensure that you have the highest level of knowledge in the field. Holders of this graduate degree must first attend advanced classes in the field of study they have chosen and then finalize original research on a specific topic.

A doctorate in accounting opens excellent career paths and opportunities and can qualify you for various managerial accounting roles, such as financial controller, financial manager, or CFO. It also offers you the requisite knowledge to be eligible for post-secondary teaching roles.

The better ranked the program you graduate from, the more valuable your degree. Examine all your options and choose a prestigious institution, whether you opt for on-campus studies or hybrid formats. Let’s explore the best doctoral programs in accounting that are currently available.

Top doctorate programs in accounting

  • University of Illinois

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
    University of Illinois

    Listed among top 10 best value U.S. mid-west educational institutions, the Ph.D. program in Business Administration at the University of Illinois aims to educate tomorrow’s scholars to have successful careers at leading research institutions or universities.

    Financial support

    For 4 years, all Ph.D. students are granted a tuition waiver plus a significant stipend in exchange for their work as teaching assistants or graduate research experts. The students should constantly prove that they are progressing towards earning their degree.

    Admission information

    • Have a minimum GPA 3.00/4.00 in the final 60 semester hours of undergraduate studies
    • Have successfully passed Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) tests during the previous 5 years
    • Have passed an English competency test (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE-Academic) with excellent scores
    • Provide 3 letters of recommendation
    • Write a 500-word personal statement on research interests
    • Submit a 40-page sample related to their area of study


    Graduation information

    Semester hours: minimum 96 (baccalaureate) and 64 (MBA).

    Students should finalize 2 statistics, mathematics, or computing courses, 4 MBA core courses, and 6 in-depth, advanced courses. Students must also work as teaching or research assistants and write a dissertation.

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  • University of Pennsylvania

    University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania

    Wharton’s doctoral accounting program prepares students to become outstanding academic researchers. Besides implementing their research methods, students will benefit from constant mentoring by the university’s most prestigious faculty members.

    Financial support
    As an admitted Wharton doctoral student, you will receive a fellowship that offers a stipend and covers tuition costs and mandatory health insurance.

    Admission information

    • Submit 3 letters of recommendation
    • Scan and upload samples of previous academic work
    • Complete an essay online
    • Provide scores from previous 5 years for GRE or GMAT tests
    • Pay an $80 non-refundable application fee

    Graduation information

    Students should pass the required courses with B-grades or better and finalize their doctoral thesis.

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  • University of Michigan

    University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
    University of Michigan

    Graduates of the University of Michigan are usually invited to get faculty positions at leading universities such as Harvard, MIT, or Stanford. This Ph.D. program promotes research focused on recent macro trends in accounting, with insights from related disciplines like statistics, finance, economics, and political science.

    Financial support

    All students accepted in the Ross Ph.D. program receive substantial financial support for 5 years. This includes stipends, family healthcare coverage, as well as travel funding, and sponsorship for technology purchases.

    Admission information

    • Complete an online application
    • Upload their resume with a focus on relevant accounting experience
    • Write a 3-to-5 page statement of purpose
    • Provide a 500-word personal statement focused on life experiences and background
    • Register 3 letters of recommendation
    • Upload scanned copies of official transcripts
    • Pay a $75 application fee for US citizens and permanent residents or $90 for international applicants.


    Graduation information

    During the first 2 years, students must pass all mandatory courses in econometrics, finance, accounting, mathematics and compile all needed research papers. The remainder of the program involves collaborative research plus the completion of the dissertation.

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  • Indiana University

    Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana
    Indiana University

    The accounting doctoral program at the Kelley School of Business at this university is designed to grow scholars through comprehensive courses in accounting research and archival experimental methods.

    Financial support
    Kelley doctoral students have a financial package that includes tuition, an expenses stipend, plus full health insurance.

    Admission information

    • Submit an online application
    • Provide letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GMAT or GRE scores
    • Pass a TOEFL test if English is not their native tongue

    Graduation information
    To graduate, students have to complete their dissertation and teach as research assistants.

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  • Washington University

    Washington University St Louis, Missouri
    Washington University

    Olin Business School’s Ph.D. accounting program aims to give students a comprehensive base of knowledge doubled by the needed research skills to start a solid academic career as university researchers or educators.

    Financial support All enrolled Ph.D. students who are making adequate progress towards earning their degree receive financial support for 5 years. This includes full tuition remission plus an annual stipend of $37,000 for living expenses.

    Admission information

    • Upload copies of transcripts from all educational institutions attended
    • Provide GRE and GMAT score reports
    • Send IELTS or TOEFL score reports
    • Upload the CV and 3 letters of recommendation
    • Write a statement of purpose
    • Pay online the application fee

    Graduation information

    • Complete more than 36 credit hours and pass all the needed examinations
    • Show constant academic progress
    • Fulfill teaching requirements
    • Write and submit their dissertation
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  • Arizona State University

    Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona
    Arizona State University

    W.P. Carey School of Business provides one of the most prestigious accountancy Ph.D. programs in the country, providing students with hands-on exposure to real-world business strategies.

    Financial support
    Ph.D. students will get financial assistance for 4 years. In addition to their research activities, doctoral students should teach at least 1 course during the program.

    Admission information

    • Submit an online application
    • Write and upload a personal statement and an employee summary
    • Submit official transcripts from all previous schools attended
    • Provide GMAT or GRE scores
    • Submit at least 3 letters of recommendation
    • International applicants should prove their language proficiency and fill in an online financial guarantee form


    Graduation information
    Aside from the final dissertation, students must:

    • Complete 84 credit hours of coursework
    • Finalize research papers during the summer, after the first 2 doctoral years.
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  • University of Southern California

    University of Southern California Los Angeles, California
    University of Southern California

    One of the most renowned business Ph.D. programs worldwide, the Marshall Ph.D. program is student-centered and guarantees that most graduates are promoted to academic positions at top American business schools.

    Financial support
    The USC Marshall School of Business offers a complete financial support package to Ph.D. students for 5 years. After the third year, students become eligible for additional research fellowships.

    Admission information

    • Personal information and resume
    • Academic history data – GRE or GMAT scores, copies of transcripts, IELTS or TOEFL scores
    • Program materials – 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, research experience documents


    Graduation information

    Students will learn a distinct set of research methods tailored to their dissertation, with in-depth knowledge needed to conduct rigorous research.

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  • Stanford University

    Stanford University Stanford, California
    Stanford University

    Located in California, Stanford’s Doctoral program in accounting focuses on developing analytical and empirical research skills in accounting while providing interdisciplinary studies.

    Financial support

    For 5 years, all doctoral students receive a financial fellowship that includes tuition, healthcare coverage, a living stipend, plus the opportunity to hold a course or research assistantships. For 2020-21, the stipend is $45,850.

    Admission information

    • Fill in an online application, upload a CV, education information, and other relevant personal data
    • Submit GRE (preferred) or GMAT test scores
    • Write a brief essay/statement of purpose
    • Select and submit 3 letters of recommendation

    Graduation information
    To graduate, doctoral students must pass all 19 required courses, register for practicum in teaching and research, complete summer research papers and presentations, pass field exams, and write an original doctoral dissertation.

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  • University of Chicago

    University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois
    University of Chicago

    Ph.D. students  at the Chicago Booth School of Business have the freedom to cultivate their research interests and become part of a collaborative research community recognized for the groundbreaking impact on the academic accounting literature.

    Financial support All admitted Ph.D. students at Chicago Booth benefit from financial assistance, including a tuition grant, health insurance, a stipend, and access to travel and research funding.

    Admission information

    • Hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree issued by an accredited educational institution
    • Submit TOEFL/IELTS scores (valid for international applicants)
    • Upload transcripts from all educational institutions attended after high school, 2 letters of recommendation, essays, and a recent resume.
    • Pay the $80 application fee

    Graduation information

    To graduate, you should pass all the mandatory courses, take part in conferences and research workshops, co-author papers, and finalize your thesis.

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  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    MIT’s Management Sloan School Ph.D. program ecourages students to go beyond the boundaries of the accounting field and acquire a comprehensive knowledge of economics while pursuing their research work on contemporary financial issues.

    Financial support

    Students in good standing receive a full funding package for 5 years. This covers full tuition, health insurance, and a $40,800 stipend. The funding includes a fellowship and a teaching or research assistantship.

    Admission information

    • Hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting or an equivalent diploma
    • Submit GRE or GMAT test scores
    • Have a minimum of 7 (IELTS) or 577 (TOEFL paper test) – international applicants only
    • Upload copies of transcripts for each attended college or university
    • Provide 3 letters of recommendation, preferably in an academic format
    • Submit resume and a statement of purpose
    • Pay the $95 application fee


    Graduation information

    To graduate, Ph.D. students must fulfill methodology, research, and coursework requirements, pass all general examinations, and finalize their dissertation.

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