PhD in Accounting

Offered by the Department of Accounting and Information Systems of Rutgers Business School, this program prepares students for scholarly research and teaching. The department includes a number of world renowned scholars and is the home of the Rutgers Accounting Web - one of the oldest and largest accounting Internet sites in the world.

Characteristics of students most likely to be admitted
Some knowledge of accounting and a strong academic preparation.



Course work, the qualifying examination, and the dissertation

A total of 72 credits is required for the doctoral degree. These must include:

  • at least 18 credits in dissertation research.
  • at least 36 credits in degree courses. (This can be reduced only if some course requirements are transferred.)
  • 6 credits in the early research requirements.


Additional enrollments may also be required:

  • Students are sometimes required to enroll in non-degree courses to improve their English or their writing. They may also need to enroll in the non-degree course Teacher Training Seminar as part of their preparation for teaching.  These enrollments require payment of tuition, but they do not count towards the 72 credits required for the degree.
  • Students must enroll in 26:010:689 every semester until they have defended a dissertation proposal. This registration requires their attendance in the Accounting and Information Systems department’s weekly Rutgers Accounting Research Forum. A grade is given, but the enrollment is for zero credits and no tuition is charged. Even after they have defended a proposal, students are expected to attend the weekly Rutgers Accounting and Information Systems Research Forum. Applicants and potential applicants are also welcome.

During the first two years, students are expected to take at least three courses for degree credit each semester. They should then take the qualifying examination in May at the end of their second academic year. The last two years of the program should be devoted primarily to completing the dissertation, though they may be advised to take some additional courses. For more details concerning rules and requirements that apply to all RBS doctoral students, see Policies and Procedures.



Most doctoral students in accounting either investigate financial or managerial accounting, using methods from economics and econometrics, or investigate the behavior of auditors and other accountants using methods from statistics, psychology, or sociology. Other minors, including information systems and ethics, are also encouraged. Students can also major in accounting information systems, with a minor in accounting.


Methodology requirement (4 courses)

All students must take these four courses:

  • 26:223:552 Microeconomic Theory
  • 26:223:554 Econometrics - Cross Sectional
  • 26:711:561 Introduction to Mathematical Economics
  • 16:960:580 Basic Probability & Statistics is recommended, or equivalent probability course.



Major (5 courses)

  • 26:010:651 Accounting Theory I: Theory of Corporate Disclosures, Control, and Governance
  • 26:010:652 Accounting Theory II: Empirical Analysis of Financial Reporting
  • 26:010:653 Current Topics in Auditing
  • 26:010:680 Accounting Theory III: Advanced Topics in Capital Markets and Information
  • 26:010:685 Survey of AIS Research


Minor (3 courses):

The minor may include additional methodology courses or substantive courses from fields such as economics, psychology or information systems. Students are usually expected to include 26:390:572 Corporate Finance in their minor.  The department recommends the following as possible minor courses:

  • 26:198:644 Data Mining
  • 26:390:685 Floating Finance Research Seminar
  • 16:642:550 Linear Algebra & Applications
  • 26:711:563 Stochastic Calculus for Finance
  • 26:711:564 Optimization Models in Finance
  • 26:960:576 Financial Time Series
  • 26:960:580 Stochastic Processes


First early research requirement (equivalent to one course): Write a paper (usually a literature review) with a faculty member, to be presented to the department during the fall semester.


Second early research requirement (equivalent to one course): Write a paper (ideally a dissertation proposal) with a faculty member, to be presented to the department during the fall semester.


Preparation to teach: Students who enter the program with financial support may need to be ready to teach an undergraduate course in their specialty in order to be sure of having an employment opportunity from RBS during the Summer. Those who do not already have teaching experience may want to consider the non-degree course in Teacher Training Seminar that is offered each spring semester.


Other rules and requirements: For details of rules and requirements that apply to all doctoral students in RBS, see Policies and Procedures.