15 Best PhD in Accounting Online Programs [2024 Guide]

Explore Online PhD in Accounting Programs. Compare doctoral programs, specializations, careers, and salaries.

PhD in accounting online programs

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the financial world or fresh out of your master’s degree program, you may find plenty of appeal in getting your PhD in Accounting online.

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Online accounting degree programs offer the same level of education as their traditional on-campus counterparts but are often more convenient and less expensive.

Online PhD in Accounting Degrees

Some of the most popular doctoral accounting degrees include the following. Click on the one that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide.

Financial Accounting

Managerial accounting.

Choosing a specialty can help prepare you for an interesting and rewarding career.

accountant working with a calculator

A PhD in Auditing can help you become an in-depth investigator for many types of businesses. Taking Auditing classes can give you the opportunities to learn economic principles, accounting, taxation, some government system types, and business policies.

Additionally, auditing is commonly used in the insurance field. Graduating with this degree can help you pursue a highly paid job and make yourself a great career.

The most common position for Auditing professionals is working for a large corporation or regulatory agency. If you like accounting, are responsible, and detail-accurate, then you probably already know how much you enjoy auditing.

people analyzing data displayed on computer screens

Finance is a little broader than Accounting but encompasses the topic. If you enjoy looking at the big picture of a company’s, organization’s, or even a person’s finances, this might be the doctoral program for you.

From accounting to investing to planning and advising on other financial strategies, you may be able to play an important role in managing the funds of a company or for your clients. You might work for an investment company, a large corporation, a non-profit, or even a government entity.

From financial analyst to investment specialist to CFO, you’ll have many career options available to pursue. Many degree holders teach Finance and/or Accounting subjects at the university level.

accountant working in her office

A PhD in Financial Accounting may be a great start for those who are looking for a career in academic or research organizations. Taking classes in Financial Accounting can help you learn about business and economics in general and gain statistical and research skills.

Many students study Financial Accounting for the possibility of personal growth and higher earnings.

After graduation, you may work in government agencies, educational institutes, and non-profit organizations, as well as big business.

accountants working in the office

Managerial Accounting forms most of the accounting departments in many businesses. Earning a PhD in Managerial Accounting can help students learn economic principles and gain leadership and management skills.

Studies in this degree can help you learn about investment and risk, cash flow valuation, and treasury risk management. After graduation, you may find yourself a career as an investment advisor, lead accountant, senior auditor, or department head.

A Managerial Accountant PhD is often in the top position in their sphere. A person who loves numbers, is accurate, and has a great eye for the details may find a great fit for any type of Managerial Accounting career.

accountant working in the office

A PhD in Taxation can help provide you with the knowledge to assist businesses and individuals to navigate tax law. It can help you gain the skills for addressing current and future issues of taxation.

You should be interested in economics, accounting, and finance if you want to get a PhD in taxation. After graduation, you may find a job as a government researcher, financial analyst, or corporate accountant.

What Is an Online PhD in Accounting?

accountant working with a calculator

Often requiring between 72 and 90 credit hours to complete, securing a PhD in Accounting may serve as the perfect platform to display your expertise in the inner workings of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), as well as other facets of the modern accounting industry.

Additionally, focusing on this kind of graduate degree also allows for academic research and theoretical discussion, leading plenty of PhD candidates to remain in academia.

The “online” part simply means that you get a similar education as you would attending class in person, but you get to complete your classes in a more flexible manner and often on a more flexible timeline.

Online PhD in Accounting Curriculum

students participating in a college class

As far as your actual coursework goes, you will likely touch on a wide array of topics, including:

  • Accounting Research Methods
  • Econometric Theory
  • Math Tools for Accounting
  • Small Group Theory
  • Teaching Best Practices

Most PhD programs in accounting require a dissertation, but there are a number of online DBA programs with no dissertation required. Concentrations are available in accounting, finance, and related fields.

Learning what to expect now can give you a better idea of how to schedule courses and properly prepare for this learning experience later on down the road.

Career Outlook for a PhD in Accounting vs. PhD in Finance

In reality, these two disciplines are different sides of the same coin. Earning a PhD in Accounting revolves around auditing and recording past fiscal matters, while going the finance route focuses on leveraging this information to generate future projections and support sound business decisions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a PhD in Accounting and taking on a position as an economist can potentially net you an average annual salary of $105,020. As for professors in the business and finance field, expecting compensation that falls somewhere between $80,300 and $191,760 during the same timeframe is a potentially realistic outlook.

Here are some other career options to consider.

  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Consultant
  • Investment Researcher
  • Department Manager

You might work for large corporations, investment firms, non-profit organizations, or the various levels of government. Every entity in every sector deals with finances.

How Do You Get a PhD in Accounting Online?

someone looking at his computer and thinking

When it comes to actually working through your coursework and ending up on the big stage with this kind of post-graduate degree in hand, you have two primary paths to success: taking classes on campus or completing your PhD program via a digital classroom setting.

Depending on your current professional and personal situations, splitting your time between flexible online learning and the real-world interaction (dissertation defenses, counselor meetings, fieldwork, etc.) could be the key to avoiding unnecessary burnout and scheduling stress.

The first step to earning your terminal Accounting degree online is to narrow down your selection of schools and apply.

PhD Admission Requirements

an admissions interview

To enter into a PhD in Accounting program, you’ll most likely have to jump through a few admissions hoops to beat out the rest of the applicant field. Submitting official transcripts of your bachelor’s and accounting master’s degree , as well as maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, often serves as the first few steps of the process.

From this point, providing three letters of recommendation – usually via supporting faculty members – comes next. Finally, don’t be surprised if submitting your professional resume or achieving certain scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) also enters the picture.

Accreditation

a collage of the accreditation board logos

Just like everything needs to line up in the ledger, so everything needs to line up regarding a university’s credentials. It’s best if a regional board periodically audits the school and validates the educational programs it offers with official accreditation.

Make sure the universities you apply to are accredited by one of these boards:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

If the university you attend isn’t accredited, other schools and potential employers may not respect your degree.

Financial Aid

a screenshot of student financial aid pdf

Speaking of money, earning your next degree will probably be quite an investment. Look for these opportunities to lighten your expenses.

  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Employer Tuition Assistance

You may also qualify for deferred loans to help you get through school and back into the workforce before you need to pay too much out of pocket. Start your search by looking into the federal student aid available for graduate students .

Universities Offering Online PhD in Accounting Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Capella University campus

Capella University is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is owned by Strategy Education, INC. This university delivers most of its programs online. It was founded in 1993 as The Graduate School of America.

Approximately 23% of the 38,000 students enrolled in Capella classes are doctoral candidates. Capella University works to make sure that students experience great support as they join a community of professionals. Their programs are designed to help students gain skills and knowledge that are relevant to their career goals.

  • PhD in Accounting
  • DBA in Accounting

Capella  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

City University of Seattle campus

City University of Seattle is a private university located in Seattle, Washington. It offers both campus and online classes, so you can find your preferred learning method. It all started back in 1973 when Dr. Michael A. Pastore founded City University to provide higher education for working adults.

Over the years, the school has increased its locations and student count. You can choose different degrees you want to study starting from certificate to Doctorate. There are different areas of study you can choose: Business and Management, Computer and Info Systems, Teaching and Education.

  • DBA in Business Administration (Finance concentration)

CityU  is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Drexel University campus

Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a private research university founded by Anthony Drexel in 1891. It offers approximately 70 bachelor degree programs and 100 graduate degrees. Out of the nearly 25,000 students enrolled per year, one-third of them are grad students.

The Drexel Dragons play in the NCAA Division I, and there are many other student organizations to participate in.

Drexel’s LeBow College of Business is among the elite 20 percent of business schools to be accredited by AACSB International.

Franklin University campus

Franklin University’s 100% online DBA with optional accounting focus areas that can be finished in as few as 3 years. This 58 credit hours program will prepare students to be problem solvers in their own businesses, can be a consultant to a business organizations, or a business teacher

  • DBA (Accounting concentration)

Franklin University  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

George Fox University campus

This is a Christian university located in Newberg, Oregon and founded as a school for Quakers in 1891. The private university has over 4,000 students and offers classes in psychology, social work, business, counseling, and accounting.

The university was called Friends Pacific Academy for a few years before it became a college in 1891. Also, have you ever heard of the athletic team named the Bruins? George Fox University has over 21 different sports – 11 for women and 10 for men. Attending this university is a great chance to grow professionally, spiritually, and academically.

George Fox  is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Indiana Wesleyan University campus

Indiana Wesleyan University, located in Marion, Indiana, is a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is also the largest private college in Indiana.

Most of the school’s 13,000 students are online, enrolled through IWU-National & Global. Through IWU, you can earn your pick of 80 bachelor degrees, 57 master’s, and 9 doctorates.

The Global campus includes a seminary for theologians and pastors.

The Wildcats play in the NCCAA Division I.

Indiana Wesleyan University  is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Kansas State University campus

Kansas State University, or K-State, is a public research university. Its main campus is located in Manhattan, Kansas. It first opened in 1863 and was the first institution of higher education in the state.

Originally, the university was named Kansas State Agricultural College. Nowadays, it is a popular university. Furthermore, it offers a great active student life. Kansas State University has sports teams that play as the Wildcats in the NCAA Division I.

  • Hybrid PhD in Personal Financial Planning

Kansas State  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University campus

Liberty University is one of the largest Christian universities in the world, and it is also one of the largest non-profit universities in the U.S. The school consists of 17 colleges in total, including the medical school and a school of law.

The university has a traditional Christian orientation with three Bible-classes for undergraduate students. Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell and Elmer L. Towns, and at first, it was a Lynchburg Baptist College.

However, it is not all about education and religion. The university is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference for 17 of its 20 different sports. If you are looking for a great place to get an education in a Christian setting, Liberty University could be a good fit.

Liberty  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University campus

If you are looking for an acclaimed non-profit university for your online studies, you may wish to look into National University. NU is a continually growing network of nonprofit educational institutions dedicated to supporting students through career-driven education and services that aim to help them succeed in their educational, work, and personal lives.

National University was founded by US Navy Captain David Chigos in 1971. Since then, it has created a community of over 30,000 students and 220,000 alumni from around the world. It is a top educator of US military students and the largest non-profit in San Diego.

The school offers over 190 degrees at all levels of higher education, including the following:

  • PhD in Business Administration – Advanced Accounting
  • DBA in Financial Management
  • DBA in Advanced Accounting

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Rutgers University campus

Rutgers University is an American public research university located in New Jersey. It is the largest higher education institution in the state.

Originally, the university was created as Queen’s College in 1766. It is the 8th oldest college in the U.S. The institution was renamed as Rutgers College in 1825.

Rutgers is known as the “birthplace of college football,” so you know it places a lot of importance on athletics.

Rutgers  is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Saint Leo University campus

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 and is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts university in St. Leo, Florida. It was the first Roman Catholic college in Florida and is one of the 5 largest Catholic colleges in the U.S.

Saint Leo University was also one of the first universities in the country that provided online education. Students that enroll in Saint Leo University have a great and active student life through a variety of organizations, clubs, and societies.

Saint Leo University athletic teams, named the Lions, participate in baseball, basketball, and golf for men, and swimming, softball, tennis, and volleyball for women.

Saint Leo  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Trident University campus

Trident University is a private online university in California. The university offers associate’s , bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Also, you can get certificates in education, business, and information systems.

Trident University was founded in 1988 with headquarters was in Cypress, California. It is a great way to get an education for veterans and the military, as the university is online, though Trident University is a flexible university for everybody.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Accounting

Trident  is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

University of Dallas campus

The University of Dallas is a private Catholic school founded in 1956 in Irving, Texas. Since then, the university has been ranked as a leading university for both Catholic and traditional academic students, ranked 6th in both best regional universities in the west and best value schools by U.S. News & World Report .

Today, the University of Dallas enrolls 3,000 students from all over the world, 1,000 of which are graduate students. It continues to provide higher education with a Catholic perspective. On-campus students will enjoy the 744-acre property.

UD  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of South Carolina campus

The University of South Carolina is a public research institution in Columbia, South Carolina. It has been listed as an up-and-coming university by  U.S. News & World Report . It was established in 1801 and is one of the oldest universities in South Carolina.

There are approximately 50,000 students enrolled in the university, which makes it one of the largest educational institutions in Carolina.

The school‘s 19 sports teams are competing in the Southeastern Conference and are known as Gamecocks. The university has a rich history of 200+ years of leadership in education.

  • Hybrid DBA in Business Administration – Finance

USC  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Walden University campus

Walden University is an online university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This university is a part of a global network managed by Laureate Education, Inc. Originally, it was established in 1970 by two teachers from New York City.

Walden University receives more than 75% of its funds from the US government and guarantees you that it can offer you a student loan. It offers plenty of degree programs, starting from bachelor’s to doctoral. It has nearly 50,000 students enrolled, most of who are online.

Walden  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Is a PhD in Accounting Worth It?

a person receiving a diploma at a graduation ceremony

Yes, a PhD in accounting is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 5% job growth in business and financial occupations over the next 10 years. Common careers in this field include financial analyst, economist, investment researcher, and financial consultant.

The salary statistics says that earning the highest degree in your field is may be worth it considering the potential increased pay you’ll likely receive over the life of your career compared to the investment in education.

Of course, not every PhD student takes on this learning experience to move into a new position. This means that determining the worth of your time in the classroom can rest upon intangible considerations.

It will take a heavy commitment of time for the next couple of years. Is becoming an expert in your field something you want to spend the time on?

If so, you can start the process now, conveniently, online.

phd accounting distance learning

Best Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs

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Updated November 30, 2023

Best Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Earning a Ph.D. in accounting online prepares graduates for jobs in business, finance, and academia. Many Ph.D. candidates in accounting eventually pursue executive-level positions in finance management or business administration, while others become college professors or research analysts specializing in accounting strategies. An online Ph.D. in accounting emphasizes not only advanced accounting skills but also strong communication, analytical thinking, and critical decision-making abilities.

Featured Online Schools

Graduates of a doctorate in accounting online program may have already earned Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure -- the most common credential among experienced accounting and auditing professionals -- qualifying them to perform critical tax preparation services and lawfully file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Students with an online Ph.D. in accounting may also pursue teaching jobs at the college level, or advanced research or managerial positions within an organization like the IRS, for example. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job opportunities for accountants and auditors will grow by 4% through 2032, as an increasingly complex tax structure drives the demand for qualified professionals in this field.

For career information, skip down:

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Accounting Program?

  • Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Accounting Degrees
  • Online Doctorate in Accounting Careers

Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Accounting

The best online doctorate in accounting programs.

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

#1 Best Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs

George Fox University

  • Newberg, OR
  • Online + Campus

Doctoral students seeking an online accounting degree benefit from the doctor of business administration in accounting program at George Fox University. Degree-seekers benefit from the flexible enrollment options at the private university. Doctoral learners conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The doctoral program includes a rigorous curriculum in accounting. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates conduct research and defend an original dissertation that contributes to the field. As the terminal degree in accounting, the doctoral program trains graduates for roles in academia, research, and industry.

Doctoral students pay for the program with federal financial aid, fellowships, and scholarships. Contact the program to learn more about doctoral admission requirements.

George Fox University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 456

Online Master's Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,845

#2 Best Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA

The online doctor of business administration in accounting program at Liberty University ranks among the best in its field. The private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible format. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

The online accounting program requires a minimum of 60 credits of doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. With a doctorate in accounting, graduates pursue academic, research, and industry roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about transfer credit policies, research support, and admission requirements.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 78,511

Online Master's Programs: 67

Online Doctoral Programs: 9

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,980

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Back to School Rankings

Online accounting doctoral programs differ in terms of curricula and structure. Students aspiring to advance their career in academia or research may be best suited to a philosophically oriented Ph.D. in accounting online, while others may choose a doctor of business administration accounting degree (DBA), which generally takes a more applied, practical approach to the subject. Below are some of the more common courses included in both types of degrees.

Curriculum for an Online Doctorate in Accounting

  • Accounting for Decision Making: This course emphasizes graduate-level cost management skills, exploring a variety of contemporary strategies used by finance managers and accountants in all types of business and commerce. Topics include the balanced scorecard, strategic analysis, and critical decision making, all of which are important for professional accountants.
  • Auditing: This course provides an advanced study of ethical responsibilities, fraud detection, and the policies of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board through case studies. Students prepare to put their auditing skills into practice in the field of tax auditing. This skill set also prepares accounting students to sit for the credentialing CPA exam.
  • Tax Research and Jurisprudence: In this course, students learn best practices for tax research and explore the judicial and statutory doctrines of existing and emerging tax laws in the U.S. The course's thorough approach is ideal for both practicing and aspiring auditors as well as CPAs who are looking to gain an acute understanding of current tax issues in the context of national jurisprudence.
  • Accounting Ethics: This course explores ethics for accountants in the context of the two primary ethical systems: utilitarianism and deontology. Students learn to apply an ethical set of standards to all accounting research, and practice accounting according to the profession's code of conduct.
  • Empirical Design in Accounting Research: This course typically follows a graduate-level introductory course in econometrics, designed to develop existing skills in advanced structured accounting research. Topics include causal inference, econometrics analysis, and empirical methodologies. Students may also explore panel data approaches to accounting research.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Doctorate in Accounting?

Many online accounting doctoral programs offer classes in an accelerated format, allowing students to graduate in 2-3 years. There are many additional factors, however, that can affect completion times, including whether a student attends full-time or part-time, individual program structure, and how often classes are available each semester.

A school can also choose to offer its Ph.D. in accounting online in an individual learning or cohort style. While the former offers a self-paced format for students seeking maximum flexibility, the latter groups students together through a cohort arrangement, best suited to students who prefer a collaborative learning environment.

Online accounting doctoral programs typically require a minimum of 16 graduate level courses, including a graduate thesis or dissertation. However, as is often the case for Ph.D. candidates, students may have the opportunity to tailor their program to include independent study or extended research options.

Accreditation for Online Accounting Doctorate Degrees

In researching schools for your Ph.D. in accounting online, the first consideration should always be accreditation. Any school on your short list should hold institutional accreditation from a governing agency, such as the Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Both regional and national agencies award institutional accreditation, though regional accreditation is both more common and more prestigious, as the process is more rigorous and thorough.

It's important for transfer students to examine a school's transfer policy in the context of its accreditation status. While most nationally accredited institutions accept credit from regionally or nationally accredited institutions, the majority of regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions.

Whether national or regional, a school's accreditation should be awarded by an agency recognized by either the Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), as these are the country's foremost authorities overseeing postsecondary accreditation. Additionally, some schools offer their online Ph.D. in accounting programs as a part of a business program and thus receive programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Prospective accounting doctoral students can check their school's accreditation status on the ED or CHEA websites.

Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Accounting Graduates

Doctorate in accounting careers.

Job-seekers who have earned a doctorate in accounting online can pursue careers in the highest levels of business and finance management, research, and academia. While entry-level accounting jobs do not require a terminal degree, graduates of a doctorate in accounting online program may qualify for positions in business that require extensive education and experience, such as financial manager and CFO. Others may pursue careers in academia, either as college level accounting professors or as researchers. Below are just a few of the most common accounting careers:

  • Median Annual Salary: $78,000
  • Projected Growth Rate: 4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $100,090
  • Projected Growth Rate: 3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $113,940
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $139,790
  • Projected Growth Rate: 16%

Doctorate in Accounting Salary

Accounting salaries vary, depending on your chosen practice specialty, location, and level of experience. Regardless of which type of doctorate in accounting program you choose, once you graduate, you'll be uniquely qualified to provide accounting, auditing, and financial management services for the upper echelon of the corporate world, as well as teach accounting at the college or university level. As in many fields, careers that require a graduate or terminal degree, including CFOs and economists, command incomes that are commensurate to a highly advanced skill set and extensive experience, as illustrated in the table below.

Median Annual Salaries

Accounting Professional Organizations

Among the most enduring career specialties in business administration and management, accounting offers a variety of benefits to members of professional organizations. The American Accounting Association (AAA) favors unique networking and professional learning services for accounting teachers and researchers, while the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) and National Society of Accountants (NSA) administer the field's qualifying CPA exam and fund several student scholarships in accounting, respectively. Students who join an accounting professional organization may receive subscriptions to exclusive industry publications; entry to conventions, workshops, and seminars; and access to career services. Below are some of the field's most prominent organizations:

  • AAA : This organization boasts the largest academic-based membership of accountants in the United States. Founded in 1916, it is also the oldest of its kind, known for its leading industry publications and research aimed at providing members with networking opportunities, continuing education courses, and career-building resources.
  • AICPA : While AAA hosts the largest membership of teaching accountants, the AICPA is the largest member association for professionals in the field, with more than 400,000 subscribers. The AICPA sets the ethical and professional standards for the field, administering the official CPA exam, as well as dozens of credentialing designations in other special interest areas in accounting.
  • NSA : NSA is among the premier national membership communities for professional accountants, offering networking, mentoring, and credentialing opportunities to help practicing accountants grow their business. NSA hosts several tax forums throughout the year and has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to accounting students.

For most college students, the process of applying for financial aid begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. While most schools consider the FAFSA the primary assessment tool for determining federal aid eligibility, many private lenders also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for additional scholarships, grants, and loans. It is not uncommon for schools to offer only limited financial aid for doctoral programs, though the FAFSA is still required by most schools to explore all funding options, based on income, ethnicity, geographical location, and other factors.

The BLS projects that accountants, auditors, and financial managers will continue to enjoy an increase in employment opportunities over the next decade, as they provide services with staying power for all sectors of the American economy. As a result, the field offers a variety of financial aid and awards to students pursuing a terminal degree in accounting, especially those with specialized experience, such as tax accountants and budget analysts.

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15 Best PhD in Accounting Online Programs [2024 Guide]

Getting a PhD in accounting online may help you maximize your career potential in the world of finance.

PhD in Accounting Online

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The flexible doctoral programs that can be found online may be much easier to fit into your busy schedule than traditional, campus-based ones. Additionally, since there are multiple types of PhDs to earn, you may customize your learning experience  in online doctoral programs into something that aligns with your unique and specific career goals.

PhD in Accounting Online Programs

Economists looking at financial documents

An accounting degree can help prepare you for a career with numbers. Depending on your particular talents, this might lead to employment with a bank, corporation, financial firm, insurance company or government think tank. You might also work for a number of private businesses. Every industry needs people to balance their books.

On the doctorate level, an accounting degree online can help qualify you for all of the usual opportunities and then some. Not only can it help you build a solid foundation in the basics, but it can also help you learn high-level skills for technical or specialized roles.

There are a number of ways to earn a doctorate in accountancy:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Accounting
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Management with an emphasis in accounting
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Accounting

Regardless of the path that you choose, it isn’t easy to earn a doctoral degree in accounting. However, it may be worth the extra sweat when you realize the extent of its earning potential and industry growth.

Accounting Careers & Salaries

Accounting Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors have a median annual salary of $73,560 per year.

This includes both accounting and non-accounting specializations, so to get a better, more accurate look at potential salaries for an accounting PhD, you should look at individual careers:

Keep in mind that the full salary ranges for these careers can be much broader than the averages. For example, while the median salary for Business Teachers with a PhD is $88,010 per year, its full range is $39,720 – $202,080 per year.

Accounting Specializations & Concentrations

Accounting Managers discussing during a meeting

There are many roads to a doctorate degree in accounting, and one of the options that you’ll have is whether or not to specialize. Do you want a general accounting degree that can be applied to a wide range of jobs, or would you prefer to learn unique, high-level skills for particular roles?

Here are a few areas of study that you might find emphasized in accounting PhDs:

  • Accounting Information Systems: Accounting information systems (AIS) are where companies store, track, manage and process their digital data. This concentration can help you understand the technology behind them.
  • Audit Accounting: Audits can be a major part of everything from tax work to business management within a company, but they’ll require skills in math, finance, technology and more.
  • Forensic Accounting: Forensic accounting is a sub-specialty of accounting that involves the investigation of people or businesses. It frequently but not always has crossover with audit accounting.
  • Managerial Accounting: Combining elements of business, finance, administration and even psychology, managerial accounting can be a valuable concentration for future business leaders.
  • Public Accounting: Public accounting is any kind of accounting work that isn’t done for the private sector. This is a common field of study for certified public accountants (CPAs).
  • Taxation: A taxation specialization requires classes on law, business, economics, ethics and financial management. It can also have further specialties-within-specialties depending on the tax field that you occupy.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question of specializing your degree. Consider your skills and career goals, and make a decision that aligns with your ambitions.

Choosing a Doctorate in Accounting Degree

PhD in Accounting student studying online

Unlike choosing, let’s say an online associate’s in accounting , choosing a graduate program is a major decision. You could be looking at anywhere from 3 – 7 years of additional schooling, and that’s on top of juggling other work-life responsibilities as a busy adult, so you’ll want to be sure of your choice before you commit.

The first thing to consider is the value of your school. Is it accredited? Does it offer online doctoral degree programs? Does it have worthwhile research opportunities? Can you leverage any classes into real-world internships or apprenticeships?

The next thing to consider is the value of your degree. What kinds of jobs will be open to you that weren’t open before? In your particular field of accounting, how much do salaries increase from master’s degree holders to doctoral degree holders?

Last but not least, consider things like tuition, credits, transfers and admissions criteria. These nitty-gritty details can help make or break your decision to enroll in a particular doctoral program.

Accounting Curriculum & Courses

accountant working on his computer at home

There’s a lot more to accounting than just punching numbers into a calculator, especially when you’re studying at the doctorate level.

Here’s a small sampler of possible classes for accounting students.

  • Econometrics: Econometrics is the application of statistics to economics. It covers models, methodologies, analysis techniques and related mathematical principles.
  • Accounting Information Systems: Accounting information systems (AIS) are the digital record-keepers of the industry, and these accounting courses can help you learn how to develop, maintain, protect and utilize them.
  • Introduction to Accounting Research: Research is one of the biggest parts of a doctoral program, and this basic, fundamental course can help you build a framework for what will be expected of you at the doctorate level.
  • Corporate Finance: Combining elements of both business and finance, these classes can help prepare you for financial management and accounting careers in the corporate world.
  • Accounting Theory Research: Accounting theory is a wide-ranging topic that can cover everything from taxes to revenues to audits. It’s also the place to learn about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • Decision Making: Also known by names like “Strategic Leadership” and “Behavioral Decision Making Processes,” these classes are all about assessing risks, analyzing data and making judgement calls.
  • Statistics/Probability for Business Research: These accounting courses expand on the basic models of statistics, logic and probability while channeling all studies through a business perspective.
  • Dissertation: If your program requires a dissertation, you’ll probably have your pick of seminars and workshops to further your research.
  • Colloquium: Some PhD programs will want you to attend colloquiums. If you’re enrolled in a long-distance program, these can usually be arranged locally.
  • Internships, Fellowships and Assistantships: There might be face-to-face requirements for your degree if your program emphasizes real-world experience. Talk to an advisor about satisfying these requirements as an online student.

Remember that every school is different when it comes to curriculum requirements. For example, some might be strict about doctoral students completing a mix of core credits and electives, but others might be more flexible as long as high-quality research is being done.

Admissions Requirements

accountant working at home

Schools can be quite selective when it comes to choosing students for their PhD programs. To increase your odds of success, you should take a detailed, in-depth look at the university’s admissions criteria. It will probably include some combination of the following:

  • Transcripts. You’ll need your full academic record from both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
  • Test scores. Most schools will want the GRE or GMAT. However, there are also “test-optional” schools that will waive this requirement.
  • Resume or CV. Do you have any experience in the field?
  • Letters of recommendation. The best letters come from recognized industry professionals and alumni of the school in question.
  • Statement of purpose. This is the personalized part of your application, so if you have any special projects or publications under your belt, you can make sure that the admissions board knows about them.

For more information about a school’s admissions process, do some research online. There’s no such thing as “too prepared” when you’re trying to secure a spot in a highly competitive doctoral program.

Accreditation

PhD in Accounting Accreditation

As a PhD candidate, you’re probably familiar with the importance of accreditation, and it applies to doctorate-level programs just as much as associate, bachelor’s and master’s programs.

If you’ve forgotten the names of important accrediting boards, you can find them listed at the website for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Remember that regional and national accreditation are the most important types of accreditation. They’re the gold standard. Programmatic accreditation is valuable, but it isn’t yet commonplace.

Accounting Program Accreditation

Accountants having a meeting

If you do want to go the extra mile and find an online DBA in accounting with programmatic accreditation, you’ll need to start with the accrediting boards themselves:

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs: The ACBSP is for business schools and departments at every degree level, including doctorates.
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: AACSB is widely recognized as one of the leaders of the industry, and it offers accreditation for more than 800 programs, including 190 accounting programs.
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education: With a global focus, the IACBE accredits business schools both domestically and abroad.

There are no accrediting boards that are exclusively devoted to accounting. Instead, accounting is considered a specialty of business programs, and it’s accredited through business-centric organizations.

Accounting Professional Organizations

accountants meeting at a seminar

Membership in a professional organization can be a worthwhile investment for both students and working professionals.

Not only do they offer academic- and career-related resources in the form of publications, job boards, conferences, trade shows and certification programs, but they can also help put you in touch with an entire network of people within your industry.

Here are just a few professional bodies that might interest you as an accounting student:

  • American Accounting Association
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • International Federation of Accountants
  • Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Institute of Management Accountants
  • National Society of Accountants
  • Professional Association of Small Business Accountants

As you can see, some groups are dedicated to accounting professionals while others have a broader focus in finance or business. Don’t be afraid to explore all of your options while pursuing an online doctorate in accounting.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid for PhD in accounting students

You’re probably familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and it’s still worth filling out as a PhD student. You won’t be eligible for the same grants and loans as undergraduates, but you might qualify for things like the Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students.

Another benefit of filling out the FAFSA is that it can establish an official record of financial need. This might come in handy if you’re applying for need-based aid from other organizations. For example, there are scholarships for low-income students that require applicants to have filled out the FAFSA.

Additionally, there are fellowships and assistantships that doctoral students can use to offset some of their college costs. These tend to be very competitive, so don’t wait to apply.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a PhD in Accounting?

PhD in Accounting student studying online at home

It can be difficult to estimate the cost of a PhD program. Unlike with bachelor’s and master’s accounting degrees, they don’t charge by the credit, and schools have different ways of calculating tuition.

For example, some schools will lower tuition rates for PhD students after three years of study, but this isn’t universal. Some schools will have high tuition fees but generous financial aid packages that pay for everything from textbooks to living expenses. There are even schools that offer stipends for those enrolled in full-time doctoral programs.

Ultimately, you’ll need to check with your university to figure out the exact price of their doctoral program.

Where Can I Get a PhD in Accounting?

PhD in Accounting student studying at home

Many universities offer doctorates in accountancy. The trick is finding good, reputable online doctoral programs offering accounting degrees. Here are just a few questions that you might put on your checklist:

  • Is the online program accredited the same way as the traditional program?
  • Are the classes completely online, or are they hybrid/combined classes that include campus visits?
  • Are there any face-to-face requirements for internships, fellowships or assistantships?
  • Will you have the same research opportunities online?
  • What will the dissertation process look like online?

Be picky about your online doctoral degree program. Since you might be hundreds of miles from campus while you study, you’ll want to be fully confident in your choice of schools.

Are Online PhD Programs Credible?

PhD in Accounting student working on his laptop

Online PhD programs are a legitimate way to earn your degree. In many cases, they’re identical to the programs on campus; they’ve just been digitized by the school that offers them.

Accounting online degree programs still involve the same or similar courses as those on campus, and they typically have the same requirements to graduate. Online accounting doctorate programs are just a 21st century way to learn.

Are There Any AACSB Accredited Online PhD in Accounting Programs?

PhD in Accounting student studying at a cafe

If you’ve been looking at accounting programs, you’ve probably run across the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). It’s a recognized industry leader that offers accreditation for many business schools and programs.

They also accredit accounting programs. According to their website, there are currently 190 institutions with AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs. Not all of them are on the doctorate level, and not all of them are online, but you can sift through their directory and see what they have to offer.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Doctorate in Accounting Online?

Doctorate in Accounting student studying online

It usually takes anywhere from 3 – 7 years to finish a PhD program. This number isn’t set in stone, however, and some students take even longer.

Your timetable can be impacted by many different factors such as your course load, credit requirements, dissertation length and full-time versus part-time status.

How Much Can You Make With an Accounting PhD Online Degree?

PhD in Accounting student studying online

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors have a median annual salary of $71,550 per year.

The top earners in the field can take home more than $128,680 per year.

What is an Online PhD in Accounting?

There are several options for a doctoral degree in accounting, including a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

They’re both high-level degrees that can help prepare you for specialized roles in the world of accounting. Additionally, they’re both available with fully accounting online degree programs.

What is the Difference Between a PhD in Accounting vs. PhD in Finance

Accountant working in his office

There’s a lot of crossover between a PhD in accounting and a PhD in finance. The classes, credits and research topics are often the same, and after graduating, the job prospects are often the same as well.

The difference mostly lies in the details. For example, finance programs are typically more focused on big-picture market economics while accounting programs focus on the day-to-day skills and tools that can solve a company’s problems. Finance programs may be better for future investors while accounting programs may be better for future professors.

The list goes on, but functionally speaking, both of these degree programs may be worthwhile choices if you want to make a career out of numbers.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Accounting?

Accounting Manager working with a colleague

Normally, if you are just trying to get started in the accounting degree, you may want to look for an entry-level position that requires a lower level degree, which makes degrees such as an associate’s degree in accounting worth it for many students. Once you gain experience in the field and are confident that accounting is the career for you, pursuing your doctorate degree in accounting can help open up high level job options.

The highest-paying careers usually have “manager” or “director” in the title, but you may also make a lot of money as a university professor, data analyst, policy researcher or financial consultant. The career possibilities are quite varied for accounting professionals.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Accounting Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Capella University

  • PhD in Business Management – Accounting

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Creighton University

  • DBA in Accounting

Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Drexel University

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

George Fox University

George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited as a whole by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Kansas State University

  • Doctorate in Personal Financial Planning

Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Liberty University

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Michigan State University

  • PhD in Accounting (campus)

MSU  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ligs University

  • PhD in Finance

LIGS University  is accredited by Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities.

National University

  • PhD in Business Administration – Advanced Accounting

National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Rutgers University

  • PhD in Management – Accounting

Rutgers  is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Trident University

  • PhD in Business Administration – Accounting

Trident University is accredited by WASCUC—Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior Colleges and University Commission.

University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign

  • PhD in Accountacy (campus)

The  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Doctorate in Accounting Online

Doctorate in Accounting student studying at home

Maybe you enjoy research. Maybe your career goals include a position of authority in a bank, university or financial firm. Maybe you’re just dreaming of Wall Street and its six-figure possibilities.

Whatever your reasons for considering a PhD in accounting, it’s a degree that can help you go places. Start reaching out to universities and inquiring about their online doctorate programs for accountancy. The first step in locating the best online accounting doctorate programs for you is often the hardest, but once you’re moving in your school search, you may be headed on a path to a brighter future.

phd accounting distance learning

Accounting School Guide

  • The 8 Best Online Doctorates in Accounting Degree Programs

phd accounting distance learning

Accounting is an incredibly stable, lucrative profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the 2017 median pay for accountants and auditors was $69,350, or over $33 an hour. They also predicted a 10% growth in accounting/auditing jobs between 2016-26, which is faster than average. In a rapidly evolving economy, advanced economic and accounting skills and knowledge are more valuable than ever. A Master’s degree doesn’t cover quite as much as it once did, and getting a Ph.D. in accounting is a way to incontrovertibly prove your mastery of the subject and open up job opportunities you’d never access without the degree. By earning you Ph.D. in accounting online, you’ll be able to save time and money while often being able to keep your current schedule, or making sure the degree program works around it. DBA’s in Advanced Accounting will give you the ability to use data to ensure an organization’s financial health. In business, students will be prepared to work in roles like chief accountant, senior audit director, and vice president of accounting. You could also apply all you’ve learned working for government agencies, non-profits, or teaching undergraduate or graduate students about accounting, building the next generation of top accountants from the bottom up. We ranked the following Accounting Ph.D.’s based on flexibility, affordability, special features, academic excellence, and more.

1) George Fox University

phd accounting distance learning

GFU is a Christian, private university known for its liberal arts and sciences, and professional studies. It’s based out of Newberg, Oregon, and was founded in 1885. It has been commended by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for its value, academic excellence and quality in its region. GFU offers over 4,100 students (14:1 student-to-faculty ratio) a wide selection of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It also participates in the Richter Scholars program, which sponsors 15-25 students each year to conduct original research.

GFU offers an online Doctor of Business Administration degree. Most of it can be completed online, but it does require an on-campus residency twice each year. Students can choose between accounting, management or marketing concentrations. It takes 4 years to complete (3 years of coursework and 1 of dissertation work), and 56 credit hours. The curriculum includes a business core, research/dissertation, and a teaching practicum or consulting practicum. The accounting concentration courses are Seminar in Accounting, Advanced Applications of Ethical Reasoning and Compliance in Accounting, and Advanced Topics in Accounting. The entire program costs $50,400 in tuition (which is subject to change). Students will be immersed in a number of business disciplines, while having the option to really delve into accounting. What makes GFU unique is its integration of Christian values into the business world.

  • Per credit hour rate: $900-3rd

2) Liberty University

phd accounting distance learning

Liberty is a private, non-profit Christian doctoral research university. It was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. Liberty now serves over 120,000 students worldwide. More than 95,000 of those students attend Liberty online. Liberty believes in both the intellectual and spiritual development of its students. Liberty believes understanding biblical truth is a means of achieving success. According to LU, it’s the nation’s largest nonprofit online university, and has been offering distance learning since 1985. Its online programs have over 245 different degrees, and the school has extremely competitive tuition rates.

Liberty offers a 100% online Doctorate of Business Administration (D.B.A.) in Accounting degree. Liberty also separates itself from other comparable programs with its Christian perspective mitigating its instruction in the cutthroat business world. The program features “in-depth analysis of tax and auditing techniques and accounting theory.” It requires 60 total credit hours, a maximum of 15 can be transferred in. There are eight-week courses, eight different start times per year, and no set login times. Students will be prepared to work as leaders in the corporate world, or in many other terminal accounting positions.

  • Per credit hour rate: 2nd-$565

3) Walden University

phd accounting distance learning

Walden is a for profit private school headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was founded in 1970. Walden is part of a network of 80 universities owned or managed by Laureate Education Inc, most of which are based outside of America. Walden serves over 52,500 students and has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Walden University has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accreditation agency, since 1990. A Senate committee that compared Walden to other comparable universities commended the competitiveness of its pricing.

Walden offers a Doctor of Business Administration. It comes in 16 specializations including accounting. It also comes in two options, “…traditional doctoral study or the consulting capstone option, which gives students a unique and innovative opportunity to apply their newfound skills and knowledge to solve real-world challenges as a consultant for an actual client.” The accounting specialization can be taken online, and requires 60 semester credits (up to 30 can be transferred in). Students will also have to do two 4-day residencies as part of this program. The program prioritizes guidance through its student advocates (specially-trained doctoral faculty members), decision-making, leadership skills, and both theory and applied research.

  • Per credit hour rate: 4th-$980

4) Capella University

phd accounting distance learning

Capella is a private, online university in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was founded in 1993. The school offers 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations, 25 certificate programs and over 1600 online courses. Capella has over 37,000 students (22:1 student-to-faculty ratio) that come from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries. The school’s faculty is made up of almost 1,500 professors, 86 percent of which have doctoral degrees. In 2000 Capella began offering Bachelor degree programs, and in 2006 it became a publicly traded company. Capella University’s business programs have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs since 2014. It offers admission to any student who passes a Capella-approved exam.

Capella’s School of Business and Technology offers an online PhD program with a concentration in Accounting. In order to graduate students are required to complete 1 core courses, 4 specialization courses in advanced accounting, one doctoral research project, and two residencies. This program offers students many different ways to save on tuition, including scholarships, lenient transfer credits, and a 10% military discount. The program builds research, writing and critical thinking skills, uses practical exercises to help students understand theoretical concepts, and builds knowledge through the study of ethical, legal, and regulatory frameworks that shape accounting theory and practice. Students looking for a streamlined path to a PhD in Accounting online should definitely check out this program.

  • Per credit hour rate: $965

5) Northcentral University

phd accounting distance learning

Northcentral is a virtual, for-profit university founded in 1996. It’s a Doctoral Research University headquartered in San Diego, California. It is currently owned by Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC and Falcon Investments, LLC. Northcentral offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral degrees in Business and Technology Management, Education, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Psychology. The school’s mottos is “One-to-One Education By Experience.” Currently Northcentral serves Over 10,900 students, and lives by its motto with a spectacular 1:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Northcentral offers an online Doctor of Business Administration. The program prioritizes research as a tool to build strategies that solve organizational issues. The program offers 52 start dates each year, so students can start taking a course they need any week in a year. This program comes in 18 specializations, including advanced accounting. It requires 54 credit hours, and is comprised of 18 courses. The program can be completed in just 39 months.

  • Per credit hour rate: 7th-$1053

6) University of Wisconsin Whitewater

phd accounting distance learning

UW-Whitewater is a public college and part of the University of Wisconsin system, based out of Whitewater, Wisconsin. It was founded in 1868. It offers 47 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs, with over 1,000 courses. Whitewater serves over 12,600 students currently, while maintaining a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school is also known for its Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP), which gives students paid opportunities to assist faculty and staff with important research. Students attend Whitewater from all over the world (currently around 40 states and 30 foreign countries).

UW-Whitewater offers an online AACSB Accredited Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) program. The program builds expertise in a specific business area, such as accounting. Through coursework and interactive exercises, students will build organizational knowledge and effectiveness from the tutelage of leading professionals int heir respective fields. This program culminates in a dissertation that contributes to business practice. Students will also need to complete a dissertation that contributes to business practice. The program requires 60 credits and uses a cohort model in which classes are one weekend each month for two years, followed by a year on the dissertation. The online platform for this program also facilitates discussions with faculty, submitting assignments, and engaging in other learning activities.

  • Per credit hour rate: 8th-$1400

7) Argosy University

phd accounting distance learning

Argosy University is a system of for-profit colleges owned by Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH), LLC as of 2017, after purchasing the enterprise from the Education Management Corporation (EDMC). It traces its roots to the late 1970’s, through three schools: the American School of Professional Psychology, the Medical Institute of Minnesota, and the University of Sarasota. It began its current incarnation in 2001. An estimated 60,000 students attended the school as of last year. It’s known for its programming in psychology, business, education, and more.

Argosy offers an online Doctoral Degree in Business Administration. You’ll build skills “conducting action research and comprehending theoretical and applied literature,” using them in a specialization of your choice. Students can choose between Marketing, Management, International Business, Information Systems, Customized Professional concentration, and of course, Accounting. The program requires, “60 credit hours distributed as follows: research requirements, 15 credit hours; core course requirements, 18 credit hours; concentration requirements, 12 credit hours; elective requirements, 3 credit hours; and doctoral research requirements, 12 credit hours.” Sample accounting courses include Financial Reporting Theory, Accounting Control Systems, Accounting in a Global Financial Community, and Contemporary Accounting Theory.

  • Per credit hour rate: 5th-$995

8) Florida Atlantic University

phd accounting distance learning

FAU is a public university based in Boca Raton, Florida, along with five ancillary campuses in the state. It was founded in 1961, and is part of the State University system of Florida. Over 30,500 students attend FAU, which has a 24:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It offers over 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through ten colleges in arts and humanities, the sciences, medicine, nursing, accounting, business, education, public administration, social work, architecture, engineering, and computer science. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized FAU for its high research activity. In 2014, USNR ranked FAU the 27th most diverse university in the country.

FAU offers a PH.D. program specifically in accounting. It strongly emphasizes research, and building skills needed to excel as a classroom teacher. Students are encouraged to teach while in this program. Sample courses include Advanced Econometrics, Advanced Accounting Theory, and a number of seminars. The program builds towards a qualifying research project, which flows into advanced research in accounting hours of study, then the preparation and execution of a dissertation. To earn this degree you’ll need 80 credit hours beyond a baccalaureate degree.

  • Per credit hour rate: 6th-$1024

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Accounting Resources

Online Doctorate in Accounting

phd accounting distance learning

Online Accounting Doctoral Degree: An Overview

Jobs for accounting doctorate degree holders, degree requirements, prerequisites for an online doctorate in accounting degree, online coursework.

  • Accounting in the global era.
  • Accounting ethics. 
  • Advanced auditing. 
  • Advanced research in accounting.
  • Financial reporting. 
  • Forensic accounting. 
  • Business financial systems.

How long does an online doctorate in accounting degree take to complete?

Example courses.

  • Advanced financial accounting theory
  • Tax research and jurisprudence
  • Advanced applications of ethical reasoning and compliance in accounting
  • Financial decision-making
  • Research methods

Cost and Return on Investment (ROI)

How much does an online doctorate in accounting degree cost , how to estimate the roi of your degree, certification , job outlook and salary, what doctorate of accounting degree holders have to say.

"Doctorate programs in accounting typically involve investing four to six years of study. With that significant investment, I encourage prospective students to do their due diligence before applying to programs. First, ask Ph.D. program coordinators or visit BYUaccounting.net for recent placement information. Also, email recent alumni and ask about the culture at their doctoral institutions. Faculty email addresses are usually available online, and many are happy to discuss their doctoral experiences with prospective students. This process helps prospective students find the program that is the right fit for them."

- Phil Quinn , University of Iowa, class of 2014, Ph.D. in accounting.

"While it was what I knew the least about at the time I made this decision, research is a key aspect of a Ph.D. in accounting program. The more I learned about research, the more I got excited about starting a program. The highlight of my doctoral studies was having an opportunity to learn about interesting and impactful research questions and to be able to do so under some incredible mentoring. … If, after some research into the field, prospective students are still interested, I encourage them to apply. There is still a demand for Ph.D.s in accounting, and it would be great to have more join our ranks."

- Nathan C. Goldman , University of Arizona, class of 2016, Ph.D. in accounting.

"I took one of Dr. Vasarhelyi's doctoral classes as a master's student, and he immediately spotted me and asked me to join the visualization projects of CAR Lab. I was never thinking about the doctoral program at that time. However, he encouraged me to try different things and was truly willing to provide me with all kinds of guidance. The program has a heavy emphasis on technologies and innovation. The program also has a deep connection with the leading firms and companies outside of academia to bring students real-world connections and experience."

- Xinxin Wang , Rutgers University, class of 2023, Ph.D. in management with a concentration in accounting information systems.

Top 10 Online Doctorate in Accounting Degrees 2024

Find your perfect school.

Top 10 PhD/Doctorates in Accounting Online Degree Programs Badge

In this ranking, we profile the top 10 online PhDs in accounting.

Online doctoral programs are limited, and even fewer programs exist for individuals seeking accounting degrees. However, through careful research, we found top PhD in accounting online programs that are both accredited and recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We researched both online PhD in accounting programs and online DBA programs that covered accounting topics or offered specializations in this niche business field. Our methodology is explained below.

Top 10 Online PhD in Accounting Methodology

We looked at approximately 30 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered a PhD in accounting degree or closely related discipline online, such as a doctorate in business administration with accounting courses or specializations. We narrowed our original pool of schools to find the top 10 PhD in accounting that are offered online by applying the following criteria: accreditation with a reputable governing agency, at least one option to complete an online doctoral or PhD in accounting or closely related discipline, and program or institution rankings with at least one major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the top 10 PhD in accounting degrees offered online according to raw affordability.

Featured Programs

Below are the results of our top 10 online PhD in accounting programs.

Note: This ranking/article was originally published in July 2019 and was last updated in June 2022. The 2022 tuition updates may affect the ranking order, but the list has not been re-ordered.

#10 – California Southern University

Online doctor of business administration, irvine, california.

School Profile

California Southern University logo

California Southern University offers an alternative to the online PhD in accounting. While still available online, the Doctor of Business Administration program is ideally designed for professionals with MBAs and a drive to pursue scholarly research and study at the doctoral level. First-year courses cover topics like:

  • advanced measurement and statistics in business
  • ethnography of corporate culture
  • management finance and control
  • organizational development and design

Several concentration areas are also offered so that students may delve deeper into an area of interest. While there is no specific accounting concentration offered, the financial management concentration covers topics that might appeal to those interested in accounting. California Southern is accredited and recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $32,700 (4-year cost)

#9 – Northcentral University

Online phd in advanced accounting, san diego, california.

Northcentral University logo

Northcentral University has one of the rare PhD in accounting programs offered online. Students earn their PhD accounting specialization 100% online by working with NCU professors to understand how to synthesize accounting data. Graduates of this program often seek leadership positions in accounting, auditing, or academia. Sixty credit hours are required, and 20 courses must be completed. The program takes approximately 45 months to complete. Northcentral has received accreditation and rankings from major publications. The rankings from U.S. News and World Report include institutional rankings and online program rankings. Several of the school’s online graduate programs have received top 200 and top 300 rankings.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $17,917

#8 – Creighton University

Online doctor of business administration in accounting, omaha, nebraska.

Creighton University logo

The research-oriented online Doctor of Business Administration at Creighton University is one alternative to a doctorate in accounting. DBA programs are offered online far more than PhD programs are. Creighton’s online DBA offers:

  • AACSB accreditation
  • research-active faculty
  • specialization options in accounting

Admission to the program is highly selective, and applicants must have professional managerial experience working in business, accounting, or closely related fields. In addition to work history, admission requires:

  • official transcripts
  • two letters of recommendation
  • evidence of competency in statistics and quantitative reasoning

Creighton is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks Creighton #104 among the best national universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $19,096

#7 – George Fox University

Online doctor of business administration-accounting, newberg, oregon.

George Fox University logo

One alternative to PhD program is the online DBA in accounting offered by George Fox University. Courses are taught by George Fox University’s experienced faculty and cover a wide range of accounting topics. These courses include advanced applications of ethical reasoning and compliance in accounting, advanced topics in accounting, and seminars in accounting. George Fox is consistently ranked among the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes and U.S. News and World Report. In the most recent edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News ranks George Fox #246 in best national universities and #80 in top performers on social mobility. Several of the school’s graduate programs have also received recognition. We rank George Fox #7 for online accounting DBA or PhD programs due to its affordability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $14,293

#6 – South University

Savannah, georgia.

South University logo

While researching online accounting programs, we determined the online DBA at South University meets the criteria of this ranking. The online DBA at South equips students to teach college business courses or serve as leaders or consultants in business. Initial topics covered in the online courses include:

  • ethics methods and statistics
  • group and team behavior
  • organizational development and change
  • research methods and statistics

The flexible online learning pathway allows students to earn their DBA in 22 months, making it one of the fastest degree programs on our list. For those interested in accounting, courses in the discipline may be taken, though there is currently no accounting specialization. South University is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $16,320

#5 – Atlantic International University

Online doctor of accounting, honolulu, hawaii.

Atlantic International University - 10 Online PhD in Accounting

Atlantic International University offers a Doctor of Accounting program designed for those researching PhD in accounting online programs. The distance-learning program is one of the few online doctoral degrees in accounting that is accredited and recognized by governing agencies. Core courses explore topics in accounting like accounting concepts and empirical methodology, accounting global economy, corporate financial reporting, management accounting and strategy, managerial incentives and corporate governance, and regulations research. A doctoral dissertation project and proposal are required as part of the program. As indicated above, AIU is accredited by the Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ASIC) and recognized with CHEA. Affordable accounting doctoral offerings at AIU earn it a spot on our list of online PhD in accounting programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $13,000

#4 – Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, arizona.

Grand Canyon University logo

Grand Canyon University’s online PhD in accounting type of programs include the DBA, which is available online. In this bridge DBA, students gain skills and research in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, and statistics. In fact, the specialization in management offers classes specific to accounting. Course topics include accounting practices, applied business probability and statistics, finance principles, and marketing management. GCU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The most recent publication of Best Colleges lists Grand Canyon University #293-#381 in best national universities and #42 in top performers on social mobility.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $11,583

#3 – Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, tennessee.

Trevecca Nazarene University logo

Trevecca Nazarene University’s alternative to the online PhD in accounting is the online DBA. This program is customizable with three tracks of study based on career goals. For those interested in accounting, the enterprise leading and managing specialization develops enterprise-level leaders who work in complex entrepreneurial settings. Several accounting courses are also offered and cover topics like current topics in accounting and finance, introduction to applied business research design, and managing complex accounting operations. Trevecca Nazarene ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 293rd to 381st best national university in the country. In addition to the best national institution ranking, the school ranks #147 in top performers on social mobility.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $11,585

#2 – Liberty University

Online dba in accounting, lynchburg, virginia.

Liberty University logo

Liberty University offers an alternative degree to the PhD in accounting online. The online DBA at Liberty offers a variety of specializations, including accounting. Specializations are designed to help students tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet career goals. Liberty’s online DBA offers classes delivered exclusively online. Accounting courses explore topics such as accounting ethics, auditing, financial accounting theory, and tax research and jurisprudence. Potential career options for students earning this degree and specialization include accounting executive, auditor, budget supervisor, certified management accountant, and certified public accountant. In addition to being an accredited institution, Liberty ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. These rankings include #293-#381 in best national universities and #335 in top performers on social mobility.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $8,360

#1 – Trident University International

Cypress, california.

Trident University International logo

Trident University International offers an online DBA for those interested in PhD in accounting online programs. The DBA is designed for business professionals who aspire to advance in executive and consulting careers in both public and private organizations. Students take 36-48 semester credit hours of core courses that cover a variety of advanced business topics. Students gain skills and competencies in business analytics, accounting, data-driven problem-solving, and decision-making. Admission requirements to the Trident DBA include a conferred master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. If you have not earned a master’s degree, GRE or GMAT scores are required. Also, for the DBA program, a minimum of five years of professional work experience in business is required. Trident is accredited and recognized by U.S. News and World Report and listed as an unranked national university. Trident offers the most affordable online PhD in accounting or closely related program on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees : $12,600

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can i do with a phd in accounting online degree.

With an online doctoral degree in accounting, you establish yourself as an expert in the field. A doctoral, such as the PhD in accounting online degree, is the most advanced degree in the discipline. By establishing yourself as an expert, you open doors to leadership roles and teaching. Not only are you qualified for the highest leadership positions, but may qualify to teach at the college level. Most academic institutions of higher learning require a PhD in accounting for professorships.

Outside of academia, qualified applicants can secure employment as accountants and auditors. The primary role of an accountant or auditor is to prepare and examine financial records for an organization or business.

Below are several types of accountant positions that may be pursued with accounting expertise:

Government accountants : The role of a government accountant is to examine records of government agencies, carry out auditing activities, and enforce adherence to government regulations and taxation.

External auditors : External auditors are employed by an outside organization, different from the one they are auditing. Their job is to review financial statements for errors and prepare reports with their findings.

Internal auditors : While the role of an internal auditor is similar to an external auditor, the difference is who they work for. Internal auditors work within an organization to ensure standards are being met. Internal auditors are not subject to regulation by governing agencies.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a PhD in accounting online degree?

According to the United States Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow six percent through 2028. This growth rate is about as fast as the average for all occupations and projected due to various reasons.

First, globalization is expected to impact the economy. As a result, a complex tax and regulatory environment will prompt employers to hire internal auditors and accountants. Employment growth is directly correlated with the overall health of the economy. When the economy grows, accounting specialists will be needed to prepare and examine financial records and documentation. This means hiring more experts in the field of accounting.

Another impact on employment growth for accountants is the anticipated technological change over the next decade. As platforms, such as cloud computing and automation, develop and change, accounting tasks will also shift. Technological automation will not negatively impact accounting roles, but will change the scope of the job. We will likely always need accountants, but experts in the field will be more in demand than those with less advanced skillsets. This means individuals with online PhD in accounting degrees or online DBAs with accounting specializations should fare well in the marketplace.

What is the earnings potential for individuals with a PhD in accounting online degree?

The earnings potential for accountants and auditors varies by industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for accountants and auditors, as of September 4, 2019, is $70,500. While the lowest ten percent of auditors and accountants earned less than $43,650, the highest ten percent earned over $122,840.

PayScale, a global compensation research organization that compiles salary data, reported the average accountant salary as $50,901 (September 2019). Certified public accountants (CPAs) earned a reported $65,397 and accounting managers earned $70,617 on average. PayScale also reports an increase in earnings based on the number of years of experience. As accountants gain experience, earnings increase.

Also, the type of industry an accountant works indirectly impacts earnings. BLS reported the top four industries for accountants as follows:

Individuals working as accountants or auditors in finance and insurance earned a median annual wage of $74,690. Management companies and enterprises paid their accountants an average of $73,180. The next highest-paid industry included accountant, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. This industry-type paid accountants an average of $70,640 per year. Government agencies employing accountants reported compensation of $68,420.

Most accountants work full-time and over forty hours per week. Longer hours are often seen during different times of the year, such as tax season or end of the budget year.

What are the admission requirements for PhD in accounting online programs?

As with all DBA or PhD in accounting online programs, admission requirements vary, Top tier colleges and universities ask for high undergraduate and graduate GPAs, regionally accredited master’s degrees (such as the MBA ), and competitive graduate test scores (GRE or GMAT).

The following are the most commonly asked for admission requirements for DBA or PhD in accounting online programs:

Master’s degree : While not all programs require a master’s degree in accounting, a master’s may be needed for admission. The master’s degree shows an applicant is ready for the rigor of DBA and PhD in accounting online programs require.

Competitive GPAs : Undergraduate and graduate GPAs are important. Most programs want to see GPAs of 3.0 at minimum.

Official transcripts : All online DBA or PhD in accounting online programs require official transcripts from graduate and undergraduate coursework and study.

Letters of recommendation : Two to three letters of recommendation are often required for doctoral programs. Letters should attest to research and academic interest.

Test scores : Most online PhD in accounting programs as for GRE or GMAT test scores received within the last five years. Minimum scores may be required.

Work history : While not all programs ask for work history, competitive schools like to see applicants with anywhere between two and five years of relevant professional experience.

How long does it take to earn a PhD in accounting online degree?

PhD in accounting online programs vary in length. The typical PhD takes seven years to earn. However, by earning an online PhD or DBA in accounting, less time may be required. In fact, many of the programs on our list require the completion of 54 to 60 credits. PhD programs typically take longer than DBA programs, but both require about the same amount of credits.

There are several ways to shorten the length of time it takes to earn a PhD in accounting online degree. The first is degree selection. By choosing an alternative to the PhD, such as the online DBA in accounting, less time may be spent in class. Online DBA programs take three to five years to complete. With an earned MBA, this time may be shorter.

Enrollment status is also a factor in determining how long it takes to earn either a PhD in accounting online degree or an online DBA. If you have the liberty of enrolling full-time, doing so will shorten the degree completion time. However, more classes mean less time allowed for outside responsibilities, such as work and family. While part-time enrollment is ideal for working students, the time it takes to complete your doctoral degree is generally longer. It is important to evaluate your academic needs, the pros and cons of full-time enrollment, and your time when determining which program works for you.

Additional Resources:

  • Doctorate Degree Online
  • Fast Online Degrees
  • High Paying MBA Concentrations

This concludes our list of 10 best PhD in accounting online programs.

Distance Learning College Guide

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Online PhD in Accounting Degree Programs

Doctoral degrees in accounting by distance learning.

Online PhD in accounting programs allow prospective students the opportunity to study on a flexible schedule, to advance preexisting knowledge of practice, accounting research, and education, as well as to enhance the critical thinking and decision making skills necessary to address modern day challenges in the field of accounting.

As you consider earning PhD in accounting online through distance learning, it is important to ensure the school you choose has achieved accreditation in order for your education to be respected in the industry.

Currently, not many colleges and universities offer online PhD in accounting degrees. A reputable institution will ensure the curriculum and courses offered are based on industry standards and provide the student with the opportunity to develop techniques of accounting practice utilizing advanced theoretical concepts.

Moreover, students will be able to strategically analyze presenting implications of issues that arise within the field, develop increased practical knowledge, and conduct empirical and scholarly research that will serve to contribute to the field of accounting.

The goal of an online accounting PhD or DBA program is to prepare students to calculate record and analyze financial data in an effective and efficient manner. Corporations, organization, partnerships, and sole proprietorships all depend on astute and discerning accountants to understand, analyze and manage their financial interactions.

Who is best suited for an online PhD in Accounting?

In order to earn an online PhD or DBA in Accounting, you are required to be industrious and highly motivated as most doctorate level students are attempting to successfully balance career, family and the pursuit of higher education. You must be able to work diligently without direct supervision , and actively engage in all levels of the virtual learning , balancing course requirements, participation and assignments.

There are several advantages to an online program of study because of the convenience and flexibility the virtual classroom offers. However, even with convenience comes with a certain level of dedication required for successful completion. An ideal online PhD candidate must then possess excellent time management and prioritization skills considering the intensity an online program of study requires.

Online PhD courses and specializations

Although all online doctorate programs in accounting are unique, there are some courses that are expected requirements for PhD in accounting students, such as:

  • Managing information technology and assets - focuses on including modern technology in business and accounting, as advances in technology have become a critical component in successful business management and the demands for capable accountants adept in these areas continue to rise.
  • Financial management - includes subject matter specific information with regard to financial planning in business, capital structure and budgeting, and asset valuation.
  • Budget planning - emphasizes strategic and tactical budget planning in an ever changing market for all levels of business.

Featured Colleges offering Online PhD in Accounting Degree Programs

Walden University - The Accounting specialization is designed to help accountants and auditors broaden their knowledge and business skills in various areas, including auditing, budget analysis, financial and international accounting, management accounting, accounting information system consulting, fraud examination, forensic accounting, and tax consulting and preparation services. Walden University offers the following online doctorate in accounting degrees:

  • D.B.A. - Accounting
  • PhD in Management - Accounting

phd accounting distance learning

Northcentral University - Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Advanced Accounting: This specialization is designed to provide learners with practical application of a broad accounting perspective and technical accounting knowledge, enabling the exploration of relationships among business activities, economic outcomes, and business performance. learners will be able to meet the demand for analyzing advanced management and organization of business transactions and statements related to the assets, liabilities, and operating results of a business.

Northcentral University - Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD) - Advanced Accounting: This specialization provides learners with application of a broad accounting perspective and research based accounting knowledge, enabling the exploration of relationships among business activities, economic outcomes, business performance and forensic analysis. Learners will be able to meet the demand for advanced analysis of management and organization of business transactions and statements related to the assets, liabilities, and operating results of business enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and higher education instruction.

Argosy University Online - Online Doctor of Business Administration- Accounting: Often referred to as a professional research doctorate, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program at Argosy is designed to enhance the capabilities of experienced professionals to enable them to meet the dynamic needs of modern organizations and academic institutions. Online doctor of business administration (DBA) with a focus in accounting features a curriculum that focuses on practical business concepts and active research rather than a purely theoretical approach.

Students pursuing advanced degrees online

Students that choose to pursue a doctorate in business administration with an accounting focus or purely an online PhD in accounting have secured an undergraduate or master level degree in accounting or a related discipline such as mathematics, business, economics or finance. Many of the students bring practical experience to the education environment by way of careers as tax accountants, budget analysts, financial or managerial accountants, and auditors. The diverse backgrounds of the students as well as the challenges of the learning environment make an online accounting PhD program interesting and rewarding.

What can you do with a PhD in Accounting?

Both public and private sector companies and organizations require the skills of an accountant who is technologically savvy and can offer prudent advice in calculating computing costs and efficiency gains in the marketplace. As such, those who have earned a PhD in Accounting are in the position to secure senior level positions in auditing, management accounting, budget analysis and financial and tax account, just to name a few. Upon successful completion of a doctoral program in accounting, graduates will be in the enviable position of increased marketability with a vast number of career opportunities readily available.

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Accounting PhDs and MPhil (Distance Learning)

University of portsmouth, different course options.

  • Key information

Course Summary

Tuition fees, entry requirements, university information, similar courses at this uni.

Distance without attendance

Key information DATA SOURCE : IDP Connect

Qualification type.

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Course type.

If you're ready to embark on a postgraduate research degree in Accounting, Portsmouth is the perfect place for you.

Our accounting research has an excellent reputation. 100% of our research in the area of business and management, which included accounting, was ranked as either outstanding or as having very considerable impact in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Many of our research projects are funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Accounting plays an integral role in the stability and development of global economies and financial markets. Through proper oversight and management, accounting can help prevent repeats of the devastating financial crises seen in recent decades.

When you do a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll play your part in investigating how pressing topics in accounting affect people and organisations all over the world.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity. You'll also develop research management skills, and an in-depth knowledge of the subject on which your PhD is focused.

After researching with us, our successful postgraduate research candidates have gone on to impressive positions in a variety of fields – from positions within academia, to careers in industry and the public sector.

UK fees Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)

International fees Course fees for EU and international students

An upper second-class honours degree in a relevant subject, or master's in a relevant subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

Portsmouth is a small and lively island city that contains everything students need. Students can focus on their studies with as little distraction as they like. Then, when it’s time to step away from the books, the seafront offers learners the perfect place to revive and time to reset. Everything is close by in Portsmouth. In the course of a day students could go from the deck of a historic ship to a bustling shopping street, before browsing... more

Forensic Accounting MSc

Full time | 1 year | SEP-24

Accounting PhDs and MPhil

Full time | 2 years | APR-24

Full time | 3 years | APR-24

Forensic Accounting (Distance Learning) (3 Year) MSc

Distance without attendance | 30 months | SEP-24

Forensic Accounting (Distance Learning) MSc

Distance without attendance | 1 year | SEP-24

University of Portsmouth logo

Accounting PhD, MPhil and postgraduate research degrees

Financial graphs and charts being discussed

Postgraduate research in accounting

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in accounting

Find a supervisor

Book an open evening

If you're ready to embark on a postgraduate research degree in Accounting, Portsmouth is the perfect place for you.

Our accounting research has an excellent reputation. 100% of our research in the area of business and management, which included accounting, was ranked as either outstanding or as having very considerable impact in the  Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) . Many of our research projects are funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Accounting plays an integral role in the stability and development of global economies and financial markets. Through proper oversight and management, accounting can help prevent repeats of the devastating financial crises seen in recent decades.

When you do a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll play your part in investigating how pressing topics in accounting affect people and organisations all over the world.

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Accounting below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our  How to Apply  pages.

Accounting PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Accounting, or submit your own research idea. 

Business and management studies at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 2nd of the modern universities by research power

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our business and management research

PhD and MPhil projects

Funded projects.

There are currently no funded PhD projects available in this area – for more information on funding your own research project, visit our pages on  funding your research degree .

Self-funded projects

  • Plastic accountability: Making the plastic industry circular

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our  Find a PhD Supervisor  page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our  PhD by Publication  page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover.

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through  The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 77% of our research is world leading and internationally excellent in  REF 2021
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The  facilities  and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the  Library , and  laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services  including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil:   2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my degree cost?

April 2024 fees.

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:   £4,712 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,356 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship )

International students  

  • Full-time: £17,900 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,950 (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,712

Members of staff: £1,850

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2023/24 please visit this page .

October 2024, February 2025 and April 2025 fees

  • Full-time:   £4,786 per year 
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,393 per year
  • Full-time:   £4,786 per year

International students

External candidates: £4,786

Members of staff: £1,950

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2024/25 please visit this page .

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the  Government Postgraduate Loan  (UK/EU students only).

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the  Government Doctoral Loan  (UK/EU students only).

For information on other sources of funding, visit our  funding your postgraduate research degree  page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate include an upper second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a  pre-sessional English programme  before you start your course.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our  Graduate School , alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the  Graduate School Development Programme , which offers training, workshops and events.

You'll also use our exceptional facilities, including our Bloomberg Suite – where you'll have access to data from Bloomberg, Datastream, and S&P Global, and use the latest statistical software, including Stata, Matlab, EViews and SPSS Statistics.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity. You'll also develop research management skills, and an in-depth knowledge of the subject on which your PhD is focused.

After researching with us, our successful postgraduate research candidates have gone on to impressive positions in a variety of fields – from positions within academia, to careers in industry and the public sector.

Apply for a research degree in Accounting by completing our online form. 

April (2024 start)

October (2024 start), february (2025 start), current research.

Explore the work we're doing across the 4 areas of expertise in our  Accounting  research.

Applied accounting and financial management

We're investigating the behaviours, actions and responses of both providers and users of accounting information. Explore our applied accounting and financial management research.

phd accounting distance learning

Accounting history

We're exploring the past of accountancy, through archives and historical documentation, to learn about the issues experienced by previous generations. Explore our accounting history research.

man using calculator at desk

Forensic accounting, management control and governance

We're exploring how accounting can help organisations combat financial crime, deal with the challenges of new technologies and more effectively govern themselves – to the benefit of all.

phd accounting distance learning

Accounting education

Through our research, we're taking a closer look at how best to educate the next generation of accounting professionals around the world.

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  • Postgraduate study

Postgraduate research opportunities A-Z

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Staff research interests search

Postgraduate research  

Accounting & Finance PhD

Stock market computer screen

Our thriving body of PhD students are currently researching: finance, market reactions to accounting, management accounting and control, judgment and decision-making in accounting and audit, corporate reporting and governance.

The Adam Smith Business School places a strong emphasis on the development of valuable transferable and personal development skills, such as finance-oriented computer programming, presentation and professional writing skills.

As a PhD student in Accounting & Finance, you will have opportunities to:

  • present and discuss your work in progress with colleagues and staff members
  • present and discuss your work in progress with staff members in other Scottish Universities through the Scottish Doctoral Colloquium
  • present your work in national or international conferences (usually at later stages of the PhD process)
  • attend the Wards research seminars
  • benefit from the College of Social Sciences Graduate School Research Training programme
  • complete a PhD research class that looks at a variety of topics such as the use of Stata and Minitab, case studies and various approaches to accounting research
  • attend research training on key literature (either solely on accounting or finance or a combination of accounting and finance empirical literature)
  • attend research training on necessary software programmes assisting you in your research (e.g., Nvivo, Stata)
  • attend research training on qualitative and/or quantitative techniques, with a focus on accounting and finance (econometrics in particular)

You may also have the opportunity to become a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), delivering tutorials to first and second year undergraduate students and helping with assessment of undergraduate assignments and examinations. Teaching is payable at a University-wide hourly rate and it is anticipated that an active GTA, subject to suitability and availability, should be able to earn up to £1,500 per annum. GTAs undergo compulsory training. PhD researchers may have the opportunity to become GTAs from their second year.  Vacant posts are advertised towards the end of semester 2.

Initial programme enquiries

For advice on academic issues

  • Finance:  Betty Wu  &  Diana Morales Arenas
  • Accounting:  Yvonne Joyce  &  Alvise Favotto

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Adam Smith Business School is triple accredited

Study options

Our PhD programmes are designed to satisfy a growing demand for rigorous and well-trained researchers in all aspects of accounting and finance. We offer:

  • PhD in Accounting
  • PhD in Finance (Accounting and Finance)
  • PhD in Accounting & Finance

Our programmes are an exciting blend of formal research training, high levels of interaction between faculty and students, and a rigorously developed and closely supervised thesis based on original and relevant research. Our PhD normally takes 3 years (full-time) to complete, although the maximum is 4 years.

In the first year, they will normally study a number of chosen courses in Accounting and Finance, which will develop their quantitative and qualitative research skills as well as their knowledge of accounting and finance research literature and methodologies. An appropriate programme of study is devised for each student in consultation with the director of the programme and the candidate’s supervisor. Students will also work with their supervisors to develop their PhD research proposal into a fully operational research plan. At the end of this period, the candidate presents a fully developed thesis proposal to the Thesis Committee. This committee is responsible for approving the student’s research proposal, over-seeing and guiding the student’s research progress.

Supervisors and students are required to complete a Progress Report in April/May of each academic year. All Progress Reports are reviewed by the PhD Convenor and by the Associate Dean of the College's Graduate School. A satisfactory progress report is a prerequisite for student registration in the following academic session.

Final assessment involves the submission of a thesis of between 70,000 and 100,000 words and an oral examination (viva voce).

Entry requirements

Our research degree applicants will usually possess a good Master’s degree (or overseas equivalent), with a significant component in Accounting and Finance.

Your proposed research topic should be in an area in which supervision can be offered. You may therefore find it helpful to consider the current research interests of our staff before submitting an application.

Required documentation

Applicants should submit:

  • Transcripts/degree certificate 
  • Two references
  • A research proposal (3000 words maximum)
  • Name of potential Supervisor

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 7.0 with no sub-test under 6.5
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ibt, my best or athome)

  • 94; with Reading 19; Listening 20; Speaking 20; Writing 21
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements , this includes TOEFL mybest.

Pearsons PTE Academic

  • 66 with no subtest less than: Listening 59;Reading 60; Speaking 59; Writing 74
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

  • 185 overall, no subtest less than 176

Oxford English Test

  • Oxford ELLT 8
  • R&L: OIDI level no less than 7 with Reading: 25-26 and Listening: 18-19
  • W&S: OIDI level no less than 8.

Trinity College Tests

Integrated Skills in English II & III & IV: ISEII Pass with Pass in all sub-tests.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country  and  within the last 6 years
  • students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country  and  within the last 6 years

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Fees and funding

  • UK: £4,786
  • International & EU: £25,290

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Irish nationals who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status, and Internationals with Indefinite Leave to remain status can also qualify for home fee status.

  • Fee status and policies

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Possible additional fees

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

  • Postgraduate research funding opportunities
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding

The Adam Smith Business School provides financial support for PhD students to attend international academic conferences to present their co-authored research.

eSharp  is an international online journal for postgraduate research in the arts, humanities, social sciences and education. It is run entirely by graduate students and aims to provide a critical but supportive entry into the realm of academic publishing for emerging academics.

The School hosts seminars, workshops and conferences open to staff and research students. 

Training opportunities

  • Information technology services  - core computer skills and also specialist training, such as Finding and Using Library Special Collections Material and use of quantitative data analysis software.
  • Staff development service  - Personal effectiveness, working with people, business skills.
  • English language unit  - English and study skills.
  • Learning and teaching centre  - compulsory training for Graduate Teaching Assistants and also a more in-depth training course, 'Approaches to Teaching, Learning and Assessment', useful for students considering an academic career.
  • Researcher development  - personal development planning, effective research skills, business skills.
  • Research skills and professional development  - a single website for research students to find out about college-based and university-wide training initiatives, resources and courses which develop their generic research and employability skills, and support their professional development.
  • Careers service  - one-to-one guidance interviews, careers workshops, practice job interviews with recruitment experts, networking opportunities with a variety of potential employers.
  • Student employability  - access to a range of resources designed to help students get the most out of their University careers and to give them the best possible head-start when they enter (or re-enter) the job market.

The College of Social Sciences Graduate School draws together internationally recognised scholars and respected practitioners to offer a range of research programmes.

Our programmes are based on thorough training in research methods and we encourage you to take part in numerous exciting seminars, conferences and events. We offer modern library, IT services and a wide-range of support services. You will be living in one of Europe’s most exciting cities which has a vibrant cultural and social life . 

Our Graduate School Researcher Development Programme  will support you to plan your professional development over the course of your PhD and ensure your employability.

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors.

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search .

Also see our:

  • Accounting Research Cluster & members
  • Finance Research Cluster & members

Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  • Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  • Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  • Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional. References may be uploaded   as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to  [email protected] , from the referee’s university or business email account.
  • Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area.
  • If you have any questions about your application  before  you apply:  contact the Adam Smith Business School
  • If you have any questions  after  you have submitted your application:  contact our Admissions team
  • Any  references  may be submitted by email to:  [email protected]

International Students

  • Advice on visa, immigrations and the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) can be found on our  International student pages

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    Study options. Our PhD programmes are designed to satisfy a growing demand for rigorous and well-trained researchers in all aspects of accounting and finance. We offer: PhD in Acc

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