Designed to prepare individuals for careers in research, the Ph.D. in accounting program offers broad-based training that develops the student’s skills in conducting empirical research in accounting using archival data.

Emphasis is placed on developing a set of research skills for addressing research questions broadly related to financial reporting, managerial accounting, corporate governance and auditing.

Students will work closely with faculty in small classes, seminars, research projects and other assignments aimed at developing strong competencies for conducting start-of-the-art research in accounting.

The program is full time, with completion averaging between four and five years.

Admissions Requirements

Must complete university-wide graduate requirements in addition to the following.

  • A completed application form
  • A statement of academic interests and goals
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (no more than five years old)
  • Three recommendation letters
  • A current resume with employment or other experience
  • TOEFL or IELTS (international students)

Annual application deadline is February 1.

Department of AccountingDoctoral StudiesDegree Requirements

Program Highlights

  • Admission is for highly-motivated individuals
  • Prepares individuals for careers in teaching, research and consulting
  • Students work closely with accounting faculty members
  • Strong focus on analytical skills and competencies for conducting high-quality research
  • Annual stipend is $25,000 with opportunities for additional scholarships and fellowships
  • Paid tuition and fees (up to 21 credit hours per year)

Interest Areas & Research Methods

The program features a broad spectrum of training and methods that allow students to tailor their work to fit their various research interests. Current emphasis is on training students to conduct state-of-the art research on the relationship between accounting information and capital markets, the determinants and consequences of financial reporting quality, the role of auditing and assurance services in shaping financial reporting quality, and how economic and financial statements effects of the interactions between corporate governance and managerial discretion. Other topics of interest include empirical research on performance measurement and the implications of fair-value accounting for financial reporting quality.

Preparation & Requirements

A background in business and accounting is desirable, but not required for admission into the program. A student without accounting/business background may be required to take as many as five graduate level business courses in addition to the Ph.D. level courses. In addition, students in the program are expected to possess basic mathematical skills (linear algebra & probability theory) and to complete several courses in statistics designed to enhance their research capabilities. However, a student entering the program with inadequate skills in mathematics will be obliged to overcome the deficiency through additional coursework. Relatedly, knowledge of statistical software (e.g. SAS, STATA, SPSS, R) and text-processing programs (e.g., Perl, Python) is recommended (and may be acquired during the program).

Program of Study

During the first two years, students enroll in coursework designed to provide the basic theoretical and empirical skills necessary to undertake research in accounting. Students take a minimum of four Ph.D. level seminar courses in accounting, wherein they study a wide array of accounting research. Individuals admitted into the program are typically offered fellowships for up to four years. Students who receive such fellowships may not accept outside employment and are expected to work with faculty as research assistants to gain valuable hands-on research experience. Furthermore, the students gain teaching experience by teaching courses at UTSA under the direction of faculty mentors. In addition to scholarly aptitude, success in the program is heavily influenced by a student’s creativity, motivation and perseverance.

Faculty Research & Resources

The accounting faculty is a critical resource for our doctoral students. Our program is currently ranked No. 9 nationally in archival auditing research. The Ph.D. program in accounting is staffed with high-quality faculty members with broad-based knowledge in various areas of accounting, and who have published their research in top journals in accounting and business. These publications have appeared in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting & Economics, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Accounting Literature and Accounting Horizons among others. The faculty members serve the Ph.D. students as their teachers, mentors, supervisors, advisors, co-authors, dissertation committee members and in several other ways that enhance the students’ research experience and productivity in the program. The faculty members also play a critical role in assisting the students to secure top positions in academia, industry or government. For good results, the student must show a strong desire to learn and collaborate with faculty in areas of shared research interest.

Scholarships & Assistantships

Early application is strongly recommended to be considered for scholarships, assistantships or other forms of financial support. Please note that admission into the program is not a guarantee of financial support. Ph.D. students who are selected for funding typically receive a financial package for a period of up to four years.

See Current Compensation Package

For more information contact Harrison Liu, Ph.D. program advisor at

The Ph.D. Project

Participating University