PhD in Accountancy

Be Among the Best in the Nation

Consistently ranked in the top 20 by Public Accounting Report, Missouri's PhD program* offers exceptional faculty and doctoral education. The purpose of our PhD program is to train and prepare students for an academic career at institutions having teaching and research missions in a four-year program. We focus on training students for state-of-the-art archival research. The faculty’s research expertise is primarily in the areas of financial accounting and auditing.

Accepting applications through April 15, 2022, for Fall 2022 admittance.

*All programs of study are subject to the approval of a student’s doctoral program committee.

Students currently enrolled in this program
Graduates since 2010
Placements since 2010


We admit two students per year to the program. We do consider international applicants, but only if they have evidence of strong English-language skills and have either studied in or worked in an English-language setting. We do not consider international applications from individuals that do not meet these conditions. Completed applications must be received no later than the prior February 1. Earlier applications are encouraged, and admissions are for the subsequent fall semester.

Click here for detailed admissions requirements for the PhD program

Degree Requirements

Prerequisites for admission to the PhD program are a minimum of two calculus courses (and preferably three), an introductory statistics course, and intermediate-level microeconomic theory. Students enroll for ten hours a semester, and the course work requirements are completed in two and one-half years (five semesters). The sixth semester (winter of the third year) is spent preparing for and taking the comprehensive written examination, and the fourth year in writing the research thesis. The University of Missouri requires 72 total hours of course work beyond a baccalaureate degree. Specific course work requirements are: 18 hours in doctoral-level accounting research courses; 15 hours of course work in supporting theoretical fields; 18 hours of course work in research tools (statistics, research design, quantitative methods); A minimum of 14 hours enrollment in ACCT 9090: Research in Accounting.

Students are required to take five research seminars: accounting research methods (ACCT 9460); financial accounting (ACCT 9466); auditing (ACCT 9444); international accounting (ACCT 9401*), and topics in accounting (ACCT 9457). In addition, students enroll in ACCT 9401* while completing the first-year summer paper (see below).

(*This course numbering is in the process of being revised to ACCT 9419.)

Students are required to take 15 hours in supporting fields. There is flexibility in tailoring each student's program, though generally the choices come from the fields of economics, finance, organizational studies, or cognitive psychology.

Students are required to take Economics 7370: Introduction to Quantitative Economics, and Statistics 7510: Regression. In addition, a minimum of four additional courses related to the student’s program emphasis is required. Students will typically select either an empirical or an experimental emphasis and take appropriate courses (econometrics, statistics, experimental research design, and analysis of variance).

An important part of learning research skills is participating in research workshop presentations. The School of Accountancy has a weekly research workshop that meets on Friday mornings to discuss current research-in-progress presented by faculty and Ph.D. students, and by invited faculty from other universities. Attendance is required at these seminars, and written critiques of selected papers may also be required.

An independent research project under the guidance of a faculty member, is undertaken in the summer following the first year in the doctoral program. Students enroll in ACCT 9401* and receive three credit hours. It is the student's responsibility to develop a project in consultation with an interested faculty member. Students receive a research stipend from the School of Accountancy equivalent to a summer TA/RA appointment. A final draft of the project report must be presented in one of the weekly Friday workshops before the end of the subsequent winter semester.

(*This course numbering is in the process of being revised to ACCT 9419.)

A comprehensive written examination in accounting is required following the completion of all doctoral course work requirements. Normally this occurs early in the winter semester of the student's third year in the program. Preparation of the exam is the joint responsibility of the PhD Director, the PhD Policy Committee, and faculty involved in doctoral course work. The exam consists of questions in the candidate's area of specialization and general questions covering other areas of accounting research. At the discretion of the Director, a follow-up oral examination may also be required if deemed necessary. Failure to pass the comprehensive written and oral examinations can result in dismissal from the program. However, the PhD Policy Committee may, if it is deemed appropriate, allow a student to retake the written examination a second time after a minimum of 12 weeks (in accordance with University of Missouri procedures described in the Graduate Catalog).

Students are assigned to specific faculty members to work as research assistants during the program. This is a strong feature of the Ph.D. program as it facilitates the development of a mentoring relationship with research faculty throughout the program. A faculty member’s willingness to mentor students is a prime factor in making RA assignments.

Students work as teaching assistants in semesters they are not assigned as research assistants. TA appointments are made by the Director of the School of Accountancy, in consultation with the Ph.D. Program Director. Throughout the year, the University offers a number of programs for Ph.D. students designed to facilitate the development of teaching skills.

The Graduate College requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for academic eligibility; however, the School of Accountancy requires a higher GPA of 3.25, both cumulative and in each semester in the program. Students who fail to maintain a GPA of 3.25, or who otherwise fail to achieve satisfactory progress in the program, may have their financial support package suspended, be placed on academic probation, or dismissed from the program. See the University of Missouri Graduate Catalogue for additional information on academic probation and dismissal.

Each summer, the Ph.D. Program Director evaluates the annual performance of doctoral students that are not yet at the dissertation stage, and prepares a written report to each student. Follow-up meetings may also be held at the Ph.D. Program Director's discretion. Information on student performance is solicited from the entire faculty. The Director of the School of Accountancy conducts teaching evaluations.

The dissertation chair is responsible for evaluating the progress of students at the dissertation stage. The dissertation chair reports any performance evaluation issues to the Ph.D. Program Director and the Director of the School of Accountancy.

The final requirement of the PhD program is a research thesis. Preliminary work on defining the research topic should begin in the student's third year, leading to a written proposal and formal presentation in a Friday afternoon seminar early in the fall semester of the fourth year in the program. Following completion of the comprehensive examinations, the student's PhD Program Committee may be reconstituted to select appropriate faculty given the student’s dissertation topic. An oral defense is required upon completion of the dissertation.

The University requires a minimum enrollment of two credit hours per semester and one credit hour per summer in ACCT 9090 to maintain full-time enrollment in the PhD program after completing compulsory course work requirements and comprehensive exams. This enrollment continues through the final semester of the dissertation defense, typically the summer following the 4th year in the program.

Program Administration

The PhD Program Director, members of the PhD Policy Committee and faculty members teaching PhD seminars are required to be members of the University of Missouri doctoral faculty. The University of Missouri requires each student have a four-member Doctoral Program Committee (with one member from outside Accounting). This committee is initially assigned by the PhD Program Director who also chairs the committee until the comprehensive written and oral examinations are passed. At this point, the chair and committee membership will be reconstituted to select appropriate faculty given the dissertation topic area selected by the student. See the Graduate Catalog for additional details on doctoral program general requirements and administration at the University of Missouri.

The following forms must be filed at appropriate stages of the program:

  • Forms D-1 and D-2 are filed upon successful completion of course work.
  • Form D-3. Filed at the completion of written exams.
  • Form D-4. Filed after the thesis defense.

By the Numbers

Academic Year Enrollment Graduated Placed
2020-2021 8 1 1
2019-2020 8 1 1
2018-2019 8 1 1
2017-2018 9 2 2
2016-2017 8 2 2
2015-2016 8 2 2
2014-2015 9 2 2
2013-2014 9 2 2
2012-2013 8 2 2
2011-2012 9 1 1
2010-2011 8 3 3

Placement Details