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. A recent study showed that the department ranks 15th in the world in research productivity. Among public universities in the United States, it is 4th, behind only the universities of Michigan, Texas at Austin, and California at Berkeley.
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 waived.)
- 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 ABEIS 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 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 two courses:
- 26:620:557 Social Science Research Methods
- 26:960:577 Introduction to Statistical Linear Models
Students who rely on economics and econometrics usually select their other two methodology courses from:
- 26:223:552 Microeconomic Theory
- 26:711:561 Introduction to Mathematical Economics
- 26:223:554 Econometrics
- 26:223:655 Advanced Econometrics
- 26:223:685 Game Theory
Students who rely on statistics and other social sciences often find the following courses appropriate:
- 26:960:575 Probability
- 26:620:685 Survey Research
- 26:834:609 Qualitative Methods
- 26:830:545 Research Design
- 26:198:621 Electronic Commerce
- 26:198:622 Machine Learning
- 26:198:644 Data Mining
- 26:960:576 Financial Time Series
Students also frequently find appropriate courses in other schools and departments in the university
Major (5 courses)
- 26:010:651 Advanced Topics in Financial Accounting
- 26:010:652 Advanced Topics in Managerial Accounting
- 26:010:653 Current Topics in Auditing
- 26:010:680 Current Topics in Accounting Research
A fifth course approved by the departmental coordinator. Currently 26:010:685 Business Ethics is recommended.
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. It can be taken in the third or fourth year if necessary.
Any particular course can be used to satisfy only one of the three requirements (methodology, major, minor).
First early research requirement (equivalent to one course): Full-time students should prepare for the early research requirement by taking Statistical Linear Models and Research Methods in the first year. Then they 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.
Writing proficiency requirement: In late May or early June at the end of the first year, students participate in the program-wide Intensive Writing Seminar.
Other rules and requirements: For details of rules and requirements that apply to all doctoral students in RBS, see Policies and Procedures.
Scheduling of courses
The AIS Department teaches one of its four regularly taught major courses each semester. Since students are admitted to the program every year, each course usually has both first and second year students.