Ph.D. in Accountancy: Program and Curriculum

Timetable and Progress Benchmark

The expected time to complete the program is five years.

Time Table Progress  Benchmark
1st year
  • Complete all required courses
  • By the end of the 2nd semester, identify at least two faculty mentors to work with


* Submit a proposal for the summer paper

2nd year
  • Finish a summer paper (1st semester)
  • Present the summer paper in the Research Workshop
  • Complete all required and elective courses
  • Attend all research seminars
At end of the 2nd year and before Comps Comprehensive Exam
Beginning the 3rd year  
1st year after Comps Submit a Draft proposal for the thesis Identify thesis chair Summer paper submission to a leading journal
2nd year after Comps Thesis Proposal



Course # Course Title Credits
ACCY 8101 Year 1: 1st Semester (KUMAR) -
- Doctoral Seminar in Empirical Research (Core) 3.0
- Econometrics 1 (Methods) 3.0
- Microeconomics 1 (Theory) 3.0
- Elective* 3.0
ACCY 8102 Year 1: 2nd Semester (ZHANG) -
- Doctoral Seminar in Theory (Core) 3.0
- Econometrics 2 (Methods) 3.0
- Microeconomics 1 or 2 (Theory) 3.0
- Summer Research Paper (Paper) 3.0
ACCY 8103 Year 2: 1st Semester (KUL) -
- Doctoral Seminar in Mgmt. & Control (Core) 3.0
- Econometrics 3 or Special Topic** (Methods) 3.0
- Doctoral Seminar in Finance (Elective) 3.0
- Req. Elective* 3.0
ACCY 8104 Year 2: 2nd Semester (GORE/KANG) -
- Doctoral Seminar in Empirical Research -II (Core) 3.0
- Time Series Analysis, Statistical Modeling & Analysis or Special** 3.0
- Elective 3.0
Total Credit Hours 45.0

Please note: all doctoral courses can be taken in another school or institution, subject to approval of the department’s doctoral subcommittee and the GWSB doctoral committee.

*Among the four required elective courses, one must be a doctoral level seminar in finance; the other three can be any other doctoral level courses, and can include up to two master's level finance courses.

**Special Topics include (1) Time Series Analysis, (2) Limited Dependent Variables, or (3) Advanced Econometrics, or equivalent courses which suit the student’s needs.


Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is a test of a student’s readiness to work as an independent scholar at the highest level. The student should be familiar with not only the leading research in the chosen area of study, but also in the broader areas of research within related disciplines.

By the time students take the comprehensive exam, they should behave like a scholar rather than a student. The comprehensive exam tests whether the student has the:

  1. Familiarity and expertise in the chosen field of research.
  2. Familiarity in related areas of research in accounting, economics, and finance.
  3. Ability to use the tools and methodologies to execute research at the highest level.
  4. Ability to integrate and synthesize existing research.
  5. Ability to think creatively.

The written comprehensive exams are usually composed of two parts:

  1. An in-class or take-home examination on three or four questions, each written by a different faculty member.
  2. A critique of an unpublished research paper.

An additional oral examination may be required at the discretion of the exam committee, depending upon the outcome of the written exam. The written exam is graded by a committee of core doctoral faculty in the department.

Not every student will pass the comprehensive examination on the first attempt. Students who do not pass may retake the exam in a subsequent semester. Failure on the second attempt will lead to dismissal.