Ph.D. Program in Accounting Requirements and Guidelines 
School of Accounting, Florida Atlantic University
(Effective July 1, 2017)
The Ph.D. program in Accounting is an academic degree program offered by the School of Accounting and the College of Business. Accordingly, the program has a very strong emphasis upon research. Attention is also directed to the development of the necessary skills conducive to excellent classroom teaching.
Admission is based on criteria provided by the Graduate College and the College of Business (see their respective websites for additional details).
Upon admission, students specialize in financial, auditing, and accounting information systems research in one of two methodologies – Archival and Behavioral. Other tracks may be considered with the approval of the Accounting Ph.D. Program Coordinator.
Summary of Ph.D. Program in Accounting
- Complete the required courses with a B or better in each course
- Pass the qualifying research project (QRP)
- Satisfy the research participation requirements
- Pass the comprehensive exam
- Satisfy the doctoral dissertation proposal presentation requirement
- Complete and successfully defend the doctoral dissertation
- Be in good standing at the time of application for graduation (including completion and submission of all required forms).
The degree requirements are expanded upon below.
The following milestones represent the faculty’s expectation as to the timing of the completion of key components of the degree requirements. Failure to meet these milestones will be considered in the evaluation.
Completion and presentation of qualifying research project
Summer of second year / Fall of third year
January of third year
Completion of coursework
Fall semester of third year
Application for candidacy
Spring semester of third year
Summer semester of third year
Spring semester of fourth year
Advisors and Committees
The program is administered by the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Accounting, the Ph.D. Committee for the School of Accounting, or their designees (hereafter referred to as the Accounting PhD Director and the Accounting PhD Committee, respectively). The Graduate College Governance Document requires that each doctoral candidate have an advisor and a Supervisory Committee. These roles are fulfilled by the Director, his/her designee, the Committee, Program Advisor and the student’s Dissertation Committee, as discussed more fully in following paragraphs.
The Accounting PhD Coordinator is a Graduate Faculty member from the School of Accounting and is appointed by the Director of the School of Accounting. The Accounting PhD Coordinator is responsible for monitoring the doctoral program on a day-to-day basis, advising, and carrying out the administrative duties.
Accounting Ph.D. Committee
The Accounting PhD Committee consists of at least three Graduate Faculty members from the School of Accounting (one of which is the Accounting PhD Coordinator) and is appointed annually by the Director of the School of Accounting. The Accounting PhD Committee serves the function of the Supervisory Committee up to the dissertation stage. As such, the Accounting PhD Committee is responsible for monitoring the student’s academic progress, prepare, give, and evaluate the comprehensive exam, and evaluate the qualifying research project.
Before the end of the first year, each doctoral student is assigned a Program Advisor. The Accounting PhD Coordinator solicits School of Accounting Graduate Faculty members interested in serving as Program Advisers to match interested faculty with individual PhD students. The Accounting PhD Coordinator reevaluates the assignment annually, or upon the request of the advisor or advisee. The objective is to achieve a match of interests and personalities. The responsibilities of this advisor include the following:
- Work with the student to develop / modify a plan of study.
- Supervise the qualifying research project.
- Provide general guidance to the student in regards to the student's overall teaching, academic and career development.
When ready to enter candidacy, the student is responsible for finding a faculty member
to serve as the chairperson of the dissertation committee. In consultation with the
chairperson, the student will then contact additional faculty members to form a Dissertation
Committee. The Dissertation Committee serves as the Supervisory Committee during the
dissertation stage and is responsible for approval of the dissertation topic, evaluation
of the dissertation defense, and approval of the final document. The Dissertation
Committee consists of at least three Graduate Faculty members. At a minimum, the composition
of this committee will include three Graduate Faculty members from the School of Accounting,
one of which serves as chairperson. Any minor fields that the student has must also
be represented on the Dissertation Committee.
The Dissertation Committee cannot be formed until the student has completed all required courses, passed the qualifying research project, and passed the comprehensive exam. After the Dissertation Committee is formed, the student must apply for candidacy to the Ph.D. degree.
The Accounting PhD Committee evaluates each Ph.D. student at least annually. As part of this evaluation the student is required to complete / update an evaluation form since the last evaluation that details the progress on course work, current research activities, presentations, personal evaluation of progress, and goals for the coming year. This evaluation also serves to document review of progress on the plan of study, the minor requirements, completion of the QRP, dissertation committee members, etc. The Accounting PhD Committee will evaluate each student’s progress toward completion of their degree within a timely fashion and provide feedback including an overall assessment. The student is considered to be in good standing with the following exceptions.
- The student receives a course grade below a B.
- The student does not satisfy the research participation requirements.
- The student has more than one incomplete grade outstanding or has an incomplete grade outstanding that is not converted to a letter grade within one year following the end of the semester in which the incomplete grade is awarded.
- The student does not complete all courses in his or her plan of study within three academic years. This time limit may be extended if remedial course work is assigned by the Accounting PhD Committee.
- The student does not meet the milestones contained in this document.
- The student experiences a lapse in continuous enrollment. Continuous enrollment is determined by the Graduate College and generally requires full-time student classification during the fall and spring semesters.
- The student is not in compliance with all published policies pertaining to the Program or the University.
Upon receipt of an unsatisfactory evaluation, the Accounting PhD Committee may 1) recommend that the student be terminated from the program for severe deficiencies or continued unsatisfactory evaluations, or 2) provide the student the opportunity to remediate. If a student has the opportunity to remediate, the student is to complete a plan of action to address the deficiency and submit this plan to the Accounting PhD Coordinator. The student must then update the Accounting PhD Committee within six months as to progress to achieve a satisfactory rating. Failure to meet any of the deadlines within the plan of action may result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program. All evaluations are also forwarded to the Director of the School of Accounting for use in determining whether funding should be continued.
All required forms must be submitted to the COB Graduate Advisors Office and Graduate College. It is the student's responsibility to present the appropriate forms to the relevant committee or individual for signature.
Detail of Degree Requirements
The COB requires from 78 to 90 credit hours (including dissertation hours) depending on individual program requirements. The specific course requirements for a PhD in Accounting as stated below are within this range.
Prerequisites to program (may be taken before or after admission)
- Masters degree (either an MBA, MS in Accounting, or MAcc) or equivalent with a minimum six graduate accounting courses
- College-level Calculus, Matrix Algebra, Accounting Theory, and Graduate Communications (the communications course may be required based on verbal GMAT / GRE score and/or ESL)
Foundation Courses (9 hours)
- Advanced Accounting Theory (ACG6135)
- Advanced Microeconomics (ECO6115)
- Advanced Mathematical Economics (ECO6403)
Statistical and Quantitative Tools (12 hours)
- Research Methods I (QMB7565)
- Advanced Econometrics (ECO6426)
- Statistics and Quantitative Tools Electives (6 hours of approved courses)
Accounting Seminars and Qualifying Research Project (21 hours) 
- Scientific Method in Business (ACG7884)
- Seminar in Capital Markets in Accounting (ACG7896)
- Seminar on Financial Accounting (ACG7145)
- Seminar on Auditing (ACG7646)
- Seminar of Accounting Information Systems (ACG 7415)
- Seminar on University Busienss Education (BTE7175)
- Qualifying Research Project (ACG7916)
Supporting Areas (9 hours)
- The supporting or minor area program consists of doctoral / graduate level courses (a minimum of 6 hours must be doctoral seminars). The courses are based on the track selected by the student and the minor program must be approved by the student’s Program Advisor and the Accounting PhD Coordinator.
Advanced Research in Accounting / Dissertation (30 hours)
- Advanced Research in Accounting (ACG7978, 3 hours) - Study for comprehensive exam
- Advanced Research in Accounting (ACG7978, 9 hours) - Prepare dissertation proposal
- Dissertation in Accounting ( ACG7980, 18 hours)
Qualifying Research Project
By the end of the summer following the student's second year, he or she must submit to the Accounting PhD Director the qualified research project (QRP). While it is not required, the QRP may represent the completion of a project started in a second year seminar. Requirements for this paper are as follows:
- It must be scholarly work and represent the creation of new accounting knowledge and should be suitable for submission to an American Accounting Association meeting.
- The research topic must be approved by the student’s Program Advisor.
- Guidelines for Authors from a major refereed accounting journal should be used for format, etc. (for example, The Accounting Review)
- The student must present this paper to the faculty and Ph.D. students within two months after it is submitted.
After the presentation, the Accounting PhD Committee evaluates the paper and the presentation and assigns a pass, conditional pass, or unsatisfactory grade. If the Accounting PhD Committee provides a conditional pass, the Accounting PhD Committee may 1) require the student to complete additional follow-up work and submit it to the Accounting PhD Director or 2) require the student to take a writing or communications course. The writing or communications course would be required in the event the student's communications skills are deemed insufficient. If the Accounting PhD Committee concludes that the paper and presentation are unsatisfactory, the student may be recommended for dismissal from the program. The Accounting PhD Committee, at its discretion, may provide the student a second opportunity to submit and present a revised QRP.
Teaching excellence and classroom experience are important elements of a doctoral education. Students are therefore required to take a Seminar on University Business Education and are encouraged to teach. The objective is to make the teaching experience a significant and useful one.
For students on university stipend, students are currently expected to teach four of their eight semesters being funded by the university (this is subject to discretion of the Dean of the COB). The Director of the School of Accounting makes teaching-related assignments in consultation with the Accounting PhD Coordinator and is also responsible for evaluating the teaching. Continued funding is jeopardized if the student is unable to satisfactorily fulfill their teaching obligation.
The student is expected to be developing a research stream throughout the Ph.D. program. This includes developing research papers independently or with other students and faculty members for submission to journals and conferences. Students are also required to attend and actively participate in all of the following:
- Doctoral dissertation proposals and second year research project presentations.
- All faculty and guest speaker presentations sponsored by the School of Accounting.
- Any other meetings that students may be required to attend by the Accounting PhD Director.
The Comprehensive Exam
After the student completes the required accounting seminars, he or she must successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The scope of the examination is contemporary and classic accounting research and topics addressed in the required courses, seminars, and workshops.
The comprehensive examination will be evaluated by the Accounting PhD Committee. A written and oral exam is normally be required. After the examination, the Accounting PhD Committee assigns a pass, conditional pass, or unsatisfactory grade. If the Accounting PhD Committee's assessment is "conditional", the Accounting PhD Committee may assign the student remedial course work (not to exceed three courses) or other remedial work. If the student successfully completes this remedial work, he or she automatically passes the Comprehensive Examination. If the grade is "unsatisfactory", the Accounting PhD Committee may, at its discretion, allow the student to repeat the examination in whole or part at a time to be determined by the Accounting PhD Committee. If the Accounting PhD Committee decides that a second evaluation is unwarranted, the student is recommended for dismissal from the program. The same applies in the event that the student receives an unsatisfactory grade upon retaking the examination. The Accounting PhD Committee may, at its discretion, assign the student remedial course work (not to exceed three courses) to be completed between the first and second examinations.
The Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
The student is required to present a dissertation proposal to the faculty. Before the proposal is scheduled for presentation, the Dissertation Committee chairperson must recommend to the Accounting PhD Director that the proposal can be presented. The presentation should take place by the end of the fall semester of the fourth year.
During evaluation of the proposal, the Accounting PhD Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee assigns a pass, conditional pass, or unsatisfactory grade to the proposal and provides the student feedback on the proposal.
For conditional grades, the student is required to revise the proposal and submit the revised proposal to the Dissertation Committee Chairperson for evaluation within a set timeframe. For unsatisfactory grades, the student, at the Dissertation Committee’s discretion, may be recommended for dismissal from the program or be required to revise the proposal and defend the revised proposal within a set timeframe.
The student is required to complete a dissertation based on the approved proposal. Upon completion, the student will defend the dissertation to the Dissertation Committee.
The student is also required to present to the faculty any “interview” paper prior to including the paper and any faculty recommendations in an application package sent to prospective employers. The interview paper is the student’s research output that is commonly based on his / her dissertation. The student uses the interview paper to provide a sample of his / her research for others to evaluate in connection with faculty recruiting.
The dissertation and the dissertation defense are governed by the policies of the College of Business and the Graduate College.
 The purpose of this document is to explain the requirements and provide guidance relating to the Ph.D. program in Accounting. As such it should be considered only supplemental to the Graduate College Governance Document, the COB University Graduate College Governance Policy, COB Ph.D. Policy Manual, the Graduate Catalog, and other documents that may bear on the Ph.D. program.
 Only 6000 and 7000 level courses fulfill course requirements unless prior approval is obtained from the Coordinator. In addition, the student’s plan of study must also meet University requirements. Currently, the University requires 80 credit hours beyond a baccalaureate degree.
 Course offerings vary and it is sometimes necessary to use substitute courses in lieu of required ones. All substitutions must be approved in writing by the Accounting PhD Coordinator. Substitute courses must be comparable to those required, and prerequisites for required courses cannot be used as substitutes or electives.
 Students must take all accounting seminars. The nature of these courses may change from time to time based on the faculty involved in the program.