Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the financial world or fresh out of your master’s degree program, there’s plenty of appeal in chasing after a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Accounting.
Unfortunately, too many students find themselves lost and confused as they embark upon this path.
To ensure that you have all the information you need to successfully obtain your PhD in Accounting, let’s walk through each step of the process that ends with you walking across the stage with your doctoral diploma in hand.
Often requiring between 72 and 90 credit hours to complete, securing a PhD in Accounting serves as the perfect platform to display your expertise in the inner workings of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), as well as other facets of the modern accounting industry.
Additionally, focusing on this kind of graduate degree also allows for academic research and theoretical discussion, leading plenty of PhD candidates to remain in academia.
The following PhD in Accounting programs are offered online. I’ve also included related programs, such as a Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, as well as PhD programs in Management or Business offering a concentration in Accounting.
As you learn about the PhD in Accounting path, it’s only natural to wonder what exactly this program has to offer that a PhD in Finance can’t also provide to prospective students. After all, these two fields are heavily intertwined in terms of subject matter and job prospects.
In reality, these two disciplines are different sides of the same coin. Earning a PhD in Accounting revolves around auditing and recording past fiscal matters, while going the finance route focuses on leveraging this information to generate future projections and support sound business decisions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a PhD in Accounting and taking on a position as a professor can net you an average annual salary of $153,000. As for professors in the finance field, expecting compensation that falls somewhere between $117,000 and $133,000 during the same timeframe is a realistic outlook.
When it comes to actually working through your coursework and ending up on the big stage with this kind of post-graduate degree in hand, you have two primary paths to success; taking classes on campus or completing your PhD program via a digital classroom setting.
Depending on your current professional and personal situations, splitting your time between flexible online learning and the real-world interaction (dissertation defenses, counselor meetings, fieldwork, etc.) could be the key to avoiding unnecessary burnout and scheduling stress.
As far as your actual coursework goes, you can expect to touch on a wide array of topics and concepts.
Some of these subjects include:
Learning what to expect now can give you a better idea of how to schedule courses and properly prepare for this learning experience later on down the road.
If you don’t want the “run-of-the-mill” PhD experience, then it’s worth looking into a unique specialization or concentration that helps differentiate yourself from other degree recipients.
Some of the most popular accounting concentrations include:
Each unique concentration on this list – as well as others offered by your target institution – requires a commitment to additional research and coursework, so make sure that you’re absolutely prepared for this added challenge before you rush into the situation headfirst.
To enter into a PhD in Accounting program, you’ll most likely have to jump through a few admissions hoops to beat out the rest of the applicant field. Submitting official transcripts of your bachelor’s and master’s coursework, as well as maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, often serves as the first few steps of the process.
From this point, providing three letters of recommendation – usually via supporting faculty members – comes next. Finally, don’t be surprised if submitting your professional resume or achieving certain scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) also enters the picture.
If you’re like most other members of an incoming cohort, chances are you want to know what’s waiting for you on the other side of the podium once you have your degree in hand. A quick look at the BLS’ career outlook projections shows that this field is right in line with the rest of the market in terms of job growth and potential.
Specifically, jobs in this sector are experiencing a 13 percent growth rate – a number that’s right in the middle of the national average. Whether you work as a professional accountant or auditor earning about $63,550 a year, or you take on a tenured position as a professor and lay claim to a salary that scales up to $153,000, it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t have much of a problem at all in finding a career that fits your needs and goals.
Of course, not every PhD student takes on this learning experience to move into a new and promising field. This means that determining the “worth” of your time in the classroom can rest upon intangible considerations as well. Are you looking to scratch your competitive itch and take on a new academic challenge? Perhaps your current employer wants you to earn a PhD as part of your continued movement up the corporate ladder.
Regardless of the motivation behind this decision, understanding what drives you to apply for entry into a PhD program can help set you up for the successful completion of this terminal degree opportunity.