Individuals can earn a Ph.D. in accounting by enrolling in a doctorate-level accounting program, completing the required coursework and dissertation, and passing an exam. Specific coursework requirements vary by university, but may include classes such as econometrics, financial theory and research methods. Ph.D. programs usually take four to five years to complete.
In addition to the required classroom work during the first two to three years of the Ph.D. program, some universities require students to complete research or a teaching practicum. Two smaller research projects are usually required to help students prepare and select a topic for their dissertations.
Ph.D students must also pass an examination to prove they have the expertise to conduct successful research in accounting. The test is usually a written exam that covers both accounting and research methods. Finally, students must conduct research and present their final dissertation. Students who pass their dissertation defense are awarded a Ph.D. in accounting.
Obtaining a Ph.D. in accounting gives individuals a higher earning potential and allows them to pursue teaching or research positions in accounting. Ph.D. programs may be archival or behavioral. Archival accounting programs require significant mathematical skills and are based in finance and economics. Behavioral accounting programs focus on psychological aspects of economics, such as how individuals make financial decisions.