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Ph.D. Curriculum

The purpose of the Ph.D. Program in Accounting and MIS is to improve the academic disciplines of accounting and management information systems by establishing an environment that facilitates our students' development as scholars.

All students are full-time and in residence. The program normally takes 4-5 years, depending in part on the student's economics, mathematics, and statistics background.

The program is characterized by the following stages:

  1. Coursework, which may continue throughout the program;
  2. Active participation in our weekly Accounting and MIS Colloquium;
  3. Ph.D. Seminars (5);
  4. Preliminary Examination, administered by the Department of Accounting and MIS;
  5. Presentation of scholarly research before the faculty and Ph.D. students at the Accounting and MIS Colloquium;
  6. Completion of two minor areas, administered in association with other academic departments throughout the University;
  7. Oral Candidacy Examination, administered in association with The Graduate School;
  8. Oral Dissertation Defense.

Satisfactory performance on the Preliminary Examination and the presentation of a research paper are necessary conditions to be permitted to take the Oral Candidacy Examination. It is expected that the students have completed the Preliminary Examination and research presentation by the end of their third year in the program.

The University specifies minimum standards for Graduate Programs in its Graduate School Handbook. The Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Accounting and MIS sets its own standards, which are sometimes more stringent but not in conflict with those of the Graduate School.

Ph.D. Coursework

In the first two years, students take 3-4 courses per semester for all three semesters (Fall, Spring and Summer). Many students continue to take coursework throughout their entire program. Students also begin taking Ph.D. seminars during their first year. The seminars are substantial courses that typically demand more time than "regular" courses. See the section  the Department of Accounting and MIS offers.

Ph.D. students are required to take the introductory 2-semester Ph.D. microeconomics sequence: Econ 8711/8712 (Autumn) and Econ 8721/8722 (Spring). Completion of the microeconomics sequence and a Master’s pass on the Microeconomics Qualifier Examination administered by the Department of Economics are required by the Department of Accounting and MIS to fulfill the Economics minor requirement.

Accounting and MIS Ph.D. Program requires two minors. Most students fulfill the second minor requirement with the Graduate Minor of Statistics, which involves the completion of four semester courses: STAT 6201, STAT 6450, STAT 6410, and one additional statistics elective. See the section below on graduate minors other departments offer.

Students are also encouraged to take courses in econometrics, mathematical statistics, linear algebra, and linear programming as well as Ph.D. seminars offered by other departments. Students consult with their advisor on the appropriate coursework plan given their background and research interests.

Students are invited to arrive the summer before beginning their first year in the Ph.D. program to take introductory courses to prepare for the required coursework, and many students take advantage of this opportunity.

Ph.D. Seminars

The department offers the following five Ph.D. seminars in accounting and MIS: Interdisciplinary, Financial Empirical, Capital Markets, Econometric Issues in Accounting, and Analytical Managerial and Control. The department offers additional seminars as needed on topics such as experimentation, auditing and management information systems. Students are required to take each seminar once and often take seminars multiple times in their chosen area of interest.

Preliminary Examination

The purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to allow the students to demonstrate they can be successful researchers in their chosen field. Several components are important to be successful. The examination is designed to provide information to the faculty and student on whether they have attained sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge.

The faculty has agreed that on the preliminary examination students are responsible for:

  1. published research in major areas of Accounting and MIS that was published during their time in the Ph.D. Program;
  2. working papers that were presented in our weekly Accounting and MIS Colloquium during their time in the Ph.D. Program, including an ability to write a critical evaluation and suggest extensions;
  3. an understanding of the major research methods used in Accounting and MIS.

The examination will include a common question to be answered by all students, whether their field is Accounting or MIS. The examination may include a take-home portion.

A more detailed, official description of this and other aspects of the Ph.D. Program can be found in the Handbook of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Accounting and MIS.

Minor Areas

The most common graduate minor areas for our students are Economics and Statistics. The outside department designs and offers the minors.  Some departments have standard examination procedure for granting a minor. Other departments require satisfactory grades in a specific number of courses. Some potential graduate minors include:

  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Finance

Presentation at the Thomas J. Burns Research Colloquium in Accounting and MIS

All students are required to present a paper Spring of their third year in order to be eligible to apply to take the Oral Candidacy Examination. This presentation may be the student's proposal or it may be joint work with faculty or other Ph.D. students.

Oral Candidacy

The accounting and MIS Department administers the Candidacy Examination in association with the Graduate School. The student must circulate the written examination, which consists normally of his or her dissertation proposal, at least two weeks prior to the date of the oral exam. This means the student must have received permission from his or her advisor well in advance of the planned date, so that an examination committee can be formed. Accounting and MIS rules require unanimous approval of the oral examination in order for the student to become a candidate. There must be a minimum of one semester between the student’s candidacy examination and final dissertation defense. For example, if a student’s candidacy exam occurs in the fall semester, the earliest they can defend their dissertation is the following summer semester. Because of this rule, students typically schedule their candidacy exam during the spring, summer, or fall semester before going on the job market to ensure they can defend their dissertation prior to their first semester as a faculty member.