Online PhD IN Accounting Program Overviews

Dec 11, 2019

Get info about online doctoral degree programs in accounting. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Accounting programs are very rarely hosted online. A select number of online Ph.D. in Accounting programs are available almost exclusively at private, for-profit institutions.

If students are looking for programs more commonly available through distance education, they can find a Ph.D. in Business Administration program with an accounting specialization. Although these programs are research-based, students also learn the skills, formulas and tactics to analyze budgets, potential gains and overall business performance. Programs can ready graduates for jobs in both accounting and management.

Regardless of the specific degree, applicants should ensure that potential programs meet accreditation standards set forth by the appropriate board before enrolling.

Accounting Ph.D. Programs

Public and non-profit colleges and universities almost never host doctoral degree programs for accounting online, so prospective students should expect to enroll in a private, for-profit school. In this case, they should be sure to choose a school and program that has been accredited by the appropriate governing board.

However, Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration programs with an accounting specializations also adequately prepare graduates to enter advanced financial management positions within academic institutions, private businesses or nonprofit organizations.

Learning Environment

Ph.D. in Business Administration programs are generally 60-120 credit-hours in length and can be completed in two years. This advanced degree can be taken entirely online and can typically be modified to fit a student's specific academic requirements and incorporate focuses, such as accounting. In this case, students must speak to an advisor over the phone to set up their specialized schedule and curriculum. Some programs provide students with options to download content in formats such as text or video, which enables them to work offline.

Accounting students wishing to enroll in an online doctoral degree program must have access to computer that can connect to the Web. Some software programs may be required, such as Microsoft Excel. Online programs are typically taught by certified professionals who are available for consultation through e-mail and chat forums.

Common Courses

Ph.D. candidates may choose to enroll in graduate-level elective courses. Most doctoral degree programs incorporate specialized accounting courses with general business administration courses, although a program with a built-in concentration offers a wider variety of such classes with more narrowed areas of study. Examples can be found below.

Advanced Accounting

This course presents accounting principles for making cost decisions at the managerial level. Topics include cost management and standards, budgeting and planning profits.

Theory of Accounting

This class teaches graduate students to blend auditing, finance and decision-making theory into practical managerial accounting. These skills streamline an accounting operation by creating a standard for an organization.

Cost Accounting

Students learn how to manage budgets and determine what types of costs a business might encounter. They learn how to plan and evaluate performance, analyze expenditures and make solid, educated cost decisions based on statistical data.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates can expect to acquire positions in almost any public or private sector industry, including government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (, the median annual income of accountants and auditors was $70,500 annually as of 2018. The same source states that the number of accounting and auditing positions nationwide is expected to increase by 6% between 2018 and 2028.

Continuing Education Information

A Ph.D. is the terminal degree for this field; however, degree holders are eligible to take an examination to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination must be taken at a secured testing center, but students can find practice exams and study materials online.

Although online Ph.D. programs devoted exclusively to accounting are very limited, students can also pursue online Ph.D. programs in business administration with a specialized focus in accounting. Some for-profit, private schools offer two-year doctoral programs in accounting, while research-based two-year Ph.D. in Business Administration programs often give students the option of developing advanced accounting skills through an accounting concentration.

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