Program FAQs

When looking at any program, you need to consider faculty fit (Do the faculty share your research interests and desired method? Do faculty members actively mentor Ph.D. students?), placement fit (Where did the faculty members obtain their degrees? Where have recent graduates placed?), and resources (What is the TA/RA mix, amount of pay, years of support, conference/research support, etc.?).

The goal of our program is to place students at research universities, preferably ones with a Ph.D. program. Our program focuses on preparing students to critique and produce scholarly accounting research that is publishable in premier accounting journals.

Research is a critical component of earning a Ph.D. in accounting from GSU. To determine whether this program is right for you, read over some academic accounting journals (see below); at least some of the articles should whet your appetite for conducting accounting research.

During your time in our program you will be reading and critically reviewing articles such as those found in the journals below. Our program (via faculty mentoring and coursework) focuses on preparing you to eventually work at a research university and publish in these types of journals:

A good starting place is The Accounting Review (TAR). Sponsored by the American Accounting Association (AAA), TAR publishes articles in all areas of accounting. Abstracts are free to view at the above link.

Some other premier journals

  • Journal of Accounting Research (JAR) – published by University of Chicago, more narrowly focused than TAR
  • Journal of Accounting & Economics (JAE) – published by University of Rochester, more narrowly focused than TAR
  • Contemporary Accounting Research (CAR) – published by Canadian Academic Accounting Association

Typically, students who earn a Ph.D. in accounting from GSU go on to become tenure track professors at research universities.

Accounting professors are involved in teaching, research and service; the mix depends upon the university. Typically this involves:

3-4 courses taught per academic year
You are expected to publish in premier journals.
Depends on the university

Most universities will evaluate you for tenure after 5-6 years. The tenure decision is based primarily on the quality of your research as well as your teaching performance.

The idea that a professor teaches class a couple of hours a week and otherwise lives a life of leisure is a myth. A typical work week can be 50-60 hours, with the vast majority of hours spent outside the classroom. However, it is true that an accounting professor enjoys a great deal of flexibility on the job. We work hard, but we get to choose (mostly) when we work and what we work on.

This is a rewarding job for those that choose this path.  It is intellectually stimulating, and we are making a difference both in our research and in the classroom.

This is a long-term commitment that cannot be done on a part-time basis. A typical Ph.D. student takes five years to complete the program. The main focus of an accounting Ph.D. program is RESEARCH.

The first two years of the program are devoted to coursework and exploration into potential research projects. This coursework consists of research seminars as well as statistics and economics courses. This is followed by a comprehensive exam, typically in the summer semester of your second year.

Once the comprehensive exam is successfully completed, the dissertation and other research projects with faculty take up the remainder of a student's program. The goal is to have a portfolio of research in addition to your dissertation upon graduation.

Throughout your program you will be acting as a teaching assistant and/or research assistant. The life of a Ph.D. student is just as busy as the life of an accounting professor.

The Robinson College of Business currently requires 42 credit hours of coursework. Students are required to pass a comprehensive exam after completion of their coursework in order to achieve "ABD" (all but dissertation) status. Required coursework consists of 24 credit hours in the major and 18 credit hours of tools courses. The current major requirements for Accounting consist of three topics seminars (Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Auditing), a readings course (taken in conjunction with your second year summer paper requirement), critical analysis (a current topics seminar), plus one approved elective. The sequencing of the seminars depends on the year you enter the program. A summary of the major requirements is presented below:

  • ACCT 9200 Auditing (3 credit hours)
  • ACCT 9300 Managerial Accounting (3 credit hours)
  • ACCT 9400 Financial Accounting (3 credit hours)
  • ACCT 9100 Critical Analysis (9 credit hours)
  • ACCT 9900 Readings course (3 credit hours)
  • Approved elective (3 credit hours)

In addition, the following tools courses are required (3 credit hours each):

  • Econ 8100 Applied Microeconomics
  • MGS 9920 Probability & Statistics I
  • MGS 9940 Experimental Design
  • MGS 9950 Regression
  • MGS 9960 Multivariate Analysis
  • Approved theoretical/quantitative elective

There is flexibility within this program to substitute courses that meet your individual needs at the discretion of the Ph.D. program coordinator.

There is currently a shortage of accounting Ph.D.s in the marketplace, with more openings than candidates to fill them. The relation between supply and demand depends on the area of accounting. There is an ongoing demand for new doctorates in all areas of accounting, and this demand is expected to increase due to the fact that 53% of current accounting professors nationwide are age 50 or older.

However, placement at research universities is competitive. The better your portfolio of research, as well as evidence of your teaching ability, the better your quality of placement will be upon graduation. Please see the AAA website for studies on supply and demand.

Admissions FAQs

Admission is highly competitive and many factors are considered. Among these are:

  • GMAT: quantitative & verbal
  • Degrees and GPA, rigor of coursework
  • Professional work experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essays, interviews (maturity, passion, creativity, and intellect of candidate)
  • Fit with faculty

We typically accept 2-3 students each fall into our program.

We admit students only once per year during the fall semester. The application deadline is January 8.

No. Earning a Ph.D. in accounting at GSU is a full-time endeavor that requires an investment of your time for a minimum of five years.

The majority of our students do have a master's degree. However, we evaluate the entire application packet and if you are strong in all other areas, a master's degree may not be necessary.

The majority of our students do have work experience. However, we evaluate the entire application packet and if you are strong in all other areas, work experience may not be necessary. It also depends on your research interests. It is difficult to pursue Ph.D. research in some areas, such as auditing, without relevant work experience.

There is no absolute minimum GMAT score necessary to be considered for admission, but a serious candidate should aim for the highest score possible in both the quantitative and verbal sections. Both types of skills are important for succeeding in our Ph.D. program. The average GMAT score for students currently in our program is 700. GMAT performance is one of several factors that we consider.

No. Although a CPA license will be given positive consideration when the committee evaluates your application, it is not necessary.