With an online PhD in accounting, students are trained to perform research on managerial accounting, taxation, and financial reporting, though the primary goal of the program is to ensure that students have a strong foundation in finance, economics statistical inference, and decision theory. Within the program there is an emphasis placed on assisting students with acquiring a set of skills for addressing the general problem of evaluating accounting alternatives. Students will cover managerial accounting, taxation, and financial reporting, building a strong foundation of knowledge on the subjects of finance, economics statistical inference, and decision theory. Students who earn online doctorate degrees in accounting receive interdisciplinary training that will enhance their skills in piloting systematic and experimental research. The coursework you can anticipate from an online accounting doctorate will not cover the fundamentals of accounting, but rather research skills. Many of the online Ph.D accounting programs are comprised of two to three years of coursework, and require students to complete written and oral exams followed by a dissertation. However, depending upon how the faculty of your school views the entire dissertation process, the length of your program may adjust. The type of accounting research you are looking to do will also play a factor in determining the coursework you will be assigned.
About Online PhD Programs in Accounting
With the online Ph.D accounting program, there are some noticeable differences in terms of the format of the program in comparison to a campus-based program. Since nearly all of the work and communication is being conducted online, students will need to have extensive involvement with their schools faculty members. This engaging communication encourages students to participate more heavily in research projects. With accounting doctorate degrees online in place, students are challenged to maintain scholarly dialogues with their instructors throughout the program, whether it be through email, in a chat-room, or any other messaging application. Looking at the classes you might take, universities like Stanford Graduate School offer courses such as those listed below.
- Financial Reporting and Management Control. This course serves as an introduction to the role of accounting information in measuring firm performance as well as projecting profitability and firm value for external constituents – not to mention motivating a firm's management.
- Seminar in Accounting Research. A large portion of the readings are related to finance and economics – on such topics as market efficiency, limits to arbitrage, and behavioral finance.
- Applications of Information Economics in Management and Accounting. This course will look at a range of modeling paradigms that are becoming increasingly accepted in management and accounting. These models employ methods from information.
- Accounting Seminar. This seminar is meant to simplify your conception and execution of substantive individual research in financial reporting.
- Managerial Incentives and Corporate Governance: Concepts and Empirical Methodology. Three set of topics are discussed here. With the first part of the class examining a set of applied econometric topics that are useful in empirical accounting research – although all of the topics are well illustrated using contemporary examples from accounting, economics, and finance.
- Dissertation. After covering all of the information you will take in from the previously mentioned classes, you will begin working on your dissertation.
In terms of a student's dissertation, the topic they choose to discuss must be within the field of accounting, and include original research that strives to bring new information to the industry. In finding a subject that is of interest to you, some students are inspired by recommended research from a journal article they have previously read. In the online Ph.D program in accounting, your hands are never too handcuffed, as you have some room to work with in terms of choosing your topic.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Accounting
An online Ph.D in accounting is primarily meant for those who are currently working in the industry and have a bachelor's degree, but would like to further their education The benefit of any online doctorate in accounting is the knowledge and researching skills you will attain that are going to improve your performance in taxation, financial reporting, or any other act you take on. With an accredited online Ph.D in accounting, you can put yourself in a position to take on more of a managerial role within a company as you will become more qualified – increasing your responsibilities and financial benefits. Looking at the disadvantages of an online accounting Ph.D, the two years that you would need to dedicate to completing the program can be a problem for those who are unable to afford this type of commitment. If you of a higher position in this field, some of the assignments you may be given could be more tedious than of assistance, making an online doctorate in accounting not very beneficial. Ph.D's in accounting are designed for those who are looking to become an educator or instructor. If you have no intention of becoming an accounting professor or teacher, earning a Ph.D may be impractical.
Application & Admission Requirements
Colleges and universities are always looking to bring in the best and brightest into their accounting programs. These are students that have the determination to complete the program within an adequate period of time. The admissions departments for some schools are limited to the number of individuals they can take on. As a result, students selected are generally those who go beyond the minimum requirements put together by each institution. For those interested in applying, you will need to present your score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), an official transcript, as well as letters of recommendation (3 – none of which can be from family members). In order for any application to be complete and accepted, an application fee will need to be attached – this number can vary from school to school. Additional requirements can exist, such as a holding a grade point average above the mark of 3.0.
Career Options & Job Market
Graduates who have online doctorate degrees in accounting immediately put themselves in a strong position to acquire a job with a higher salary than their previous employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics accountants and auditors held about 1.3 million jobs in 2008. Professions in this industry are expected to experience much faster than average employment growth from 2008-18 – 22%. Any hesitant student considering the pursuit of a higher degree should feel comforted in knowing that there will be ample opportunities coming out of school as job opportunities are projected to be favorable. Graduates of online doctorate programs in accounting can chase a career as an auditor, accountant, or book keeper, using their newly acquired skills to better perform their duties. For those who have a Ph.D, more opportunities will present themselves, giving you the chance to tackle more difficult challenges and become more dependent upon by your employer.
Where to Find Information
- Connecticut's School of Business This link offers students a look at a strong Ph.D program, allowing you to compare against all of your prospective programs.
- MAAW's Blog – management and accounting An insightful blog that offers you information from a credible professor James R. Martin.
- The CPA Journal A series of publications that can be of assistance to those interested in pursuing a Ph.D in accounting or the industry as a whole.
- Harvard Business School This can offer you information about the curriculum for a doctorate program.
How to Get Funding
In terms of options for financial aid, students have multiple choices – ranging from loans to scholarships. There are a range of schools that hold Ph.D fellowship programs, and appropriately so, veterans are offered additional benefits. If you are interested in applying for any form of federal aid, you will need to first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online – also have your school's numerical code within reach. The next step will be to complete the GSM Application for Federal Financial Aid. Before you begin filling out any application, be sure that you qualify – this can be determined by reading over the major requirements for both. Online Ph.D programs in accounting become much more attractive when you have some form of financial assistance.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan. This aid program offers students low-interest loans while they pursue their Ph.D. The maximum loan available is $20,500 per academic year, and there is a fixed interest rate of 6.80%.
- Federal Perkins Loan. In the case of full-time students with the most need for financial assistance, the Federal Perkins low-interest loan can be awarded, offering an average of $3,500 per academic year – with a fixed interest rate at 5.0%.
- Campus-Based Aid. Campus-based programs are managed by the financial aid office of your university. Of course all schools actively participate in almost every program made available by the federal government.
- Is this the right move – before rushing into the application process, make certain that this decision will be beneficial for you in the long-term, and will not present multiple challenges for you in the short-term. Seek out information from those who are currently enrolled in online doctoral programs in accounting.
- Once you are sure, begin the application process. After looking into online Ph.D programs in accounting, the long application process will await you, and by starting early you can give yourself some flexibility.
- If possible, work before studying – jumping into an online Ph.D accounting program can be a challenge for those who have just received their bachelor's degree. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break from school and attempt the grab some work experience, giving you the chance to see what areas you could improve in, and also to find out if you will ever need a Ph.D.
- Funding – Online doctoral programs in accounting can be very valuable in the long run, however there are certain sacrifices that have to be made in order to earn this degree. While few students are expected to pay for their entire education by themselves, figuring out where your financial aid is coming from is extremely important.