PhD Program with an Accounting Emphasis

The PhD program in Business Administration with an accounting emphasis is designed to produce leading scholars for accounting research and teaching.  Our PhD students usually acquire jobs at universities where quality research, teaching, and service are encouraged and rewarded. 

The School of Accountancy (SOA) equips our PhD students with the capability to discover critical accounting research questions, coupled with the ability to address them effectively.  PhD students must master both empirical and/or behavioral methodologies, and obtain exposure to other research methodologies. The design of the PhD coursework, the arrangement of graduate assistantships, and advisor/advisee relationships are aimed to achieve these objectives. 

PhD students are required to pass their comprehensive examinations related to PhD courses and research seminars, defend their dissertation proposals, and ultimately complete a final dissertation. Additionally, SOA also wants to ensure that our PhD students are capable of instructing graduate and undergraduate level accounting coursework. 

Finally, we expect our PhD students to actively participate in the accounting community.  Presenting, discussing, and reviewing papers in academic conferences engages one in valuable research.  The length of our PhD program is four years with financial support, given satisfactory academic performance.  

This web-page outlines SOA requirements for PhD Students. SOA's PhD student in accounting handbook provides more details. A separate SOA web-page lists current PhD students with emphasis in accounting, and provides placement information on our PhD graduates, as well as listing others in academia who acquired some of their accounting education at UH-Mānoa.

SOA Requirements for PhD Students

Besides meeting University and College requirements for the Ph.D. in Business Administration, SOA has additional requirements for those with an accounting focus, including coursework, participation in accounting research seminars, papers, shadowing a professor's teaching, commitment to the profession, and a dissertation. 

All PhD students must complete ACC 625 Accounting and Tax Research and ACC 616 Accounting Theory and Development. Students enterring from a different field must also take various accounting classes. Students are also encouraged to take seminar classes in related fields, such as finance. Additionally, regular participation in SOA research seminars is expected.

Accounting Research Seminars provide a solid framework for students to view research in an integrated way. Each accounting seminar has a final exam, in addition to any papers written as part of the class. SOA's Ph.D. committee and other SOA faculty work together to develop a curriculum for each accounting seminar. The seminars are financial accounting research, managerial accounting research, behavioral accounting research, research in auditing, and research in accounting information systems. 

PhD students write a paper during their first and second summers. Each PhD student is also required to present the paper in a research workshop in the following year. Students are assigned to faculty for research support.

All students must first shadow a professor in an accounting course, before teaching that course. Efforts in improving teaching skills are highly encouraged, such as attending seminars at the UH-Manoa's  Center for Teaching Excellence. Students who are non-native English speakers are required to continue to improve their English.

A commitment to the accounting profession is expected.  Each PhD student should commit to studying and passing one or more of the following professional qualifications: CPA (preferred), CMACIA or CISA

Membership in the American Accounting Association (AAA) is required for PhD students seeking an accounting emphasis. Each student is expected to attend at least one AAA meeting (preferably the Annual Meeting) to show their commitment to accounting and build meaningful connections in the field during their first two years. The student is encouraged to join as many sections of the AAA as appropriate (such as Financial Accounting and Reporting Section, Auditing, Management Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, and International). SOA attempts to sponsor PhD students to the AAA Doctoral Consortium.