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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Ph.D.: Accounting Concentration

Ph.D.: Accounting Concentration

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021

This program will prepare you to become an outstanding accounting educator/researcher in the areas of managerial accounting, financial accounting, auditing, and taxation. The program is research-oriented, emphasizing interaction between students and faculty to facilitate quality publications in both behavioral accounting research and archival accounting research.

  • Learn how to conduct quality accounting research
  • Participate in faculty-sponsored research projects as a co-investigator and/or a co-author
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the academic accounting profession, including teaching, research, and service

Admission requirements and prerequisites

A minimum admissions index score of 1250 is required to be considered for admission. The index is based on the formula GPA x 200 + GMAT (and a TOEFL of 580 for ESL students).

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute. In either case, the exam must have been taken within five years of the time of application to WSU. A GMAT conversion will be applied to the GRE score submitted by applicants who take the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides a conversion chart. The converted GRE score will then be applied to the Carson College of Business admissions index score in the same manner as a standard GMAT score.

In addition to these requirements, a successful applicant typically has attained, at a minimum:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited university
  • 3.25 GPA
  • 600 GMAT score

Admission preference is given to applicants possessing one or more of the following:

  • A master’s degree in accounting or a related field
  • Relevant work experience
  • Evidence of research interests similar to those of current faculty

As an entering Ph.D. student, you should be competent in mathematics (including linear algebra and calculus) and business (accounting, economics, finance, management) and have adequate computer skills and a good command of the English language. If you are deficient in any of these areas, additional coursework (beyond the major course of study) may be required.

Major field requirements

15 credits

These requirements will enable you to develop proficiency in your primary area of study:

  • Acctg 596: Overview of Accounting Research
  • Acctg 596: Behavioral Accounting Research
  • Acctg 596: Archival Data Research
  • Mktg 593: Survey of Research Methods
  • A minimum of 3 additional hours of accounting or related courses approved by the coordinator of the Ph.D. program in accounting

Doctoral program course requirement

1 credit

  • MgtOp 598: Research and Professional Development Seminar

Research methods and statistics requirements

15 credits

Completion of a minimum of 15 credits of graduate-level statistics covering topics such as experimental design, ANOVA, multivariate analysis, regression, psychometric theory, and structural equation modeling are required. You may combine courses from psychology, economics, statistics, etc., as indicated below, to meet this requirement.

Required courses

Behavioral track

  • Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design (e.g., Psych 511 or Stat 512)
  • Regression Analysis (e.g., Psych 512 or Stat 535)
  • Quantitative Methods and Research Design (e.g., Psych 513)

Archival track

  • Statistics for Economists (e.g., EconS/Fin 510)
  • Econometrics I (e.g., EconS/Fin 511)
  • Econometrics II (e.g., EconS/Fin 512)

Two of the following

  • Psychometrics (e.g., Psych 514)
  • Nonparametric Statistics (e.g., Stat 514)
  • Applied Multivariate Analysis (e.g., Stat 519, MgtOp 519)
  • Applied Linear Models (e.g., Stat 530)
  • Time Series Analysis (e.g., MgtOp 516)
  • Introduction to Statistical Theory (e.g., Stat 556)
  • Statistical Computing (e.g., Stat 536)
  • Advanced Topics in Operations and Statistics (e.g., MgtOp 596)
  • Course approved by the coordinator of the Ph.D. program in accounting

Supporting field requirements

6 credits

Fulfilling these requirements will enable you to develop an integrated portfolio that demonstrates proficiency in a major field of study. The supporting coursework may consist of graduate-level courses and seminars in economics, finance, psychology, sociology, management, management information systems, marketing, or other subject matter consistent with your area of research concentration. You will choose the supporting field courses in consultation with the coordinator of the Ph.D. program in accounting and/or your advisory committee.

Independent research paper

You will be expected to complete a substantial research paper reflecting appropriate mastery of a specific area of literature, research design, methodology, and analysis. The paper provides an opportunity for you to work with faculty members on research, gain experience relevant to preparation of your dissertation, and to develop a publication record before entering the job market. More details are available in the College of Business Ph.D. Policies and Procedures Manual (Section 2.5).

Students normally begin their research paper following completion of the second semester. But you may initiate the effort earlier. You will present the completed paper in a research workshop prior to taking your comprehensive final exams.

Sample program of study

Year 1

First semester

  • Acctg 596: Introductory Seminar
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • MgtOp 598: Research and Professional Development Seminar

Second semester

  • Mktg 593: Survey of Research Methods
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • Supporting Field Course


Independent Research Paper

Year 2

First semester

  • Acctg 596: Behavioral Seminar
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • Supporting Field Course
  • Supporting Field Course

Second semester

  • Acctg 596: Archival Seminar
  • Supporting Field Course
  • Supporting Field Course
  • Accounting Major Course


Preparation for Comprehensive Exam

Year 3

First semester

Comprehensive Exams

Second semester

Dissertation Proposal

Year 4

Dissertation and Other Research


Beau Barnes
Associate Professor
Department of Accounting
Todd Hall 242

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 11
Number of students enrolled in program: 8
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 100%

Universities and colleges employing recent graduates:

  • Kent State University
  • University of Montana
  • Ohio University
  • University of San Diego
  • Loyola Marymount, and more