PhD in Accounting

University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School Accounting PhD Program Video

The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School Accounting Doctoral Program prepares graduates to succeed as accounting scholars and educators at top business schools worldwide. The Accounting PhD program features rigorous coursework, thorough research training, and close working relationships between doctoral students and faculty to prepare students to be leading accounting academics. Our graduates have an excellent track record of placements at research-oriented business schools and in succeeding in those environments.

All accounting doctoral students are provided with four years of financial support, with three of those years being appointments as a research assistant working with faculty members. The remaining year is provided in exchange for teaching development activities. This ensures that all graduates develop both excellent research and teaching skills.

Addressing the Growing Shortage of Accounting Faculty

In response to the growing shortage of academically-qualified university accounting faculty members, especially those with recent experience in the practice of auditing and tax, concerned practitioners, leaders from over 70 of the largest firms, and 10 state CPA societies have joined together to fund the Accounting Doctoral Scholars (ADS) Program. The ADS Program is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Foundation under the oversight of an Advisory Council. The initiating sponsors have committed financial support totaling nearly $16 million over an eight-year period for the Program.

Accounting PhD Program Curriculum

Accounting doctoral students must complete two years of coursework in programs of study tailored to the PhD student's interests. In addition, accounting PhD students must also take graduate-level courses in economics and statistics and five accounting PhD seminars. Finally, accounting PhD students will be required to take additional coursework in finance, econometrics, game theory, cognitive psychology, experimental design, and other areas as appropriate.

Katz accounting doctoral students' research interests have included experimental economics, behavioral auditing, capital markets, corporate governance, organizational design and incentives in health care and economic modeling of accounting phenomena.

Accounting PhD Seminars

  • Introduction to Accounting Research
    This seminar is designed to provide new accounting doctoral students with an overview of accounting research. The course will discuss the variety of topics and methods addressed by accounting scholars and will seek to provide insight into the characteristics that distinguish the highest quality research. Analytical research methods and topics, as well as applications in managerial accounting, will receive particular emphasis.
  • Experimental Research in Accounting
    The course covers recent experimental studies that apply behavioral decision theory, psychology, and economics to address a variety of accounting research questions. The course focuses most heavily on recent work. The goals of this course are to (1) familiarize students with recent experimental research in accounting, (2) help students develop the skills necessary to critically evaluate such research, and (3) generate ideas for future experimental research topics.
  • Capital Markets Research in Accounting
    This course provides students with a solid understanding of capital market research in accounting and empirical research training. The class covers topics such as the relation between stock prices and earnings, stock market anomalies, and analyst and management forecasts. Students replicate some classic finance and accounting papers in order to provide them with some hands-on experience working with Compustat, CRSP, IBES, and SDC data using SAS statistical programming. The class is designed to help students to better evaluate research in workshops, develop new ideas, and do empirical tests.
  • Economic Models of Agency and Control
    This seminar provides students with an introduction to incentive problems in firms and markets and how contractual arrangements serve to mitigate these problems. Students are introduced to the classic papers in agency research and current working papers spanning economics, accounting, and corporate finance.
  • Empirical Research in Managerial Accounting
    This seminar focuses on studying management control and performance measurement issues largely from an economics perspective using archival methods. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, analysis and economic impact of cost systems, use of accounting measures for performance evaluation and compensation, impact of incentive systems on organizational performance, non-financial measures, and balanced scorecard.

Accounting PhD Placements

The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School is one of the best programs in the country with respect to our placements. View recent placements from our program.

Accounting PhD Distinguished Alumni

Many of the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School Accounting PhD Program alumni are now chaired professors at top business schools:

Accounting PhD Honors, Awards, and Editorial Positions

  • The Deloitte Foundation awards a very competitive $25,000 Doctoral Fellowship each year to 10 students in the country. Since 2010, three of our students (Patrick Martin in 2010, Bryan Stikeleather in 2012, and Michele Frank in 2014) have received these prestigious fellowships.

  • University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School Accounting PhD students have been awarded outstanding dissertation awards by AAA sections. For example, Jason Schloetzer was awarded the Managerial Accounting Section’s Outstanding Dissertation award (2009) and both Jennifer Joe (1999) and Jason Brown (2010) were awarded the ABO Outstanding Dissertation award.

  • University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School Accounting faculty and PhD student collaborations have resulted in best paper awards at several conferences. A paper by Karla Johnstone, Chan Li, and Shuqing Luo won the 2012 Best Paper at the Auditing Midyear Conference, and a paper by Harry Evans, Don Moser, Drew Newman, and Bryan Stikeleather won the 2012 Best Paper award at the Management Accounting section of the AAA meeting in August.

  • Two of our faculty members currently play prominent roles at The Accounting Review – Harry Evans is the Senior Editor and Don Moser is an Editor.

Accounting PhD Faculty and Doctoral Student Collaborative Work

View a sample of published papers by accounting PhD students and professors.