Online Doctoral Degree in Accounting

Earning a doctorate in accounting may help position individuals at the pinnacle of the field, qualifying them for more influential professions. Graduates may be able to broaden and advance their careers in a variety of specialized areas, such as teaching, corporate finance, or research.

Students may opt for one of two accounting doctorate programs: A Ph.D. in accounting or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). An accounting Ph.D. prepares students for the theoretical principles of the field as well as helps them develop research skills. A Doctor of Business Administration with a focus in accounting, on the other hand, approaches the discipline from a more practical standpoint, offering students the knowledge to tackle real-world issues. Graduates of either program can become valuable employees. In fact, a recent study conducted by the American Accounting Association found that doctorate accounting graduates will meet only about half of the demand of available positions.

Admissions Requirements for Online Doctorate Programs in Accounting

Admissions requirements vary from institution to institution. The majority of online business colleges mandate explicit requirements prior to admission, which may include anything from an undergraduate degree in a related subject to a minimum grade point average and GMAT score. Additionally, it is important to note that a majority of programs require a master’s degree for enrollment. As you do your research, check with an admissions counselor from any prospective school for more details.

How an Online Accounting Doctoral Program Works

Online accounting programs are generally broken up into curriculums consisting of 1-3 courses at a time and are usually arranged in segments running 10-16 weeks long. Each course entails approximately 10-15 hours of work per week, between instruction, assignments, and studying. Students may choose how they wish to complete the entirety of the program. For instance, many students enroll in continuous quarters or semesters throughout the year, enjoying the fixed short breaks in-between, while others opt for lengthier, self-chosen breaks between segments. Programs consist of about 120 units and may be completed in as little as four years, if courses are taken continuously. However, although there is flexibility, many schools require that the degree program be completed in no more than seven or eight years.

Coursework for both doctoral programs is made up of a variety of core or foundational courses, and specialized or research-based courses. Foundational curriculum may include theory, principles, and ethics courses, whereas more specialized coursework may focus on advanced research and forensics. Additional graduate-level elective courses, which usually can be chosen by students, may be required by some schools as well.

Online and Offline Components

Doctorate-level online accounting programs usually consist of both online and offline components. Online components may include weekly readings and assignments, discussion board postings, and responses to classmates via online forums or other virtual portals. Instructors deliver lectures online, and while some courses may require students to be online at the time the lecture is given, most programs allow students to download and stream recorded presentations at their convenience.

Commonly, the key offline components are made up of on-campus residency requirements. Such requirements may be structured as a few separate weekend retreats with mentors designed to broaden knowledge, prepare for dissertations, and celebrate milestones. Additionally, residency requirements present opportunities for students to network with and learn from instructors, faculty, and personnel in the field. The majority of schools also hold physical graduation ceremonies, which students are encouraged to attend. While several schools administer examinations and even the dissertation processes online or via conference call, other schools conduct these progressions only in person. Because offline components may vary between institutions, make sure to discuss specifics with an admissions counselor as you explore potential colleges.

Examination Requirements

Although not all online doctorate programs in accounting are the same, the majority of schools require at least one of the following evaluations:

  • Accountancy Core Preliminary Examination
  • Oral Examination
  • Dissertation

Once a set number of courses are completed successfully, students are eligible to take the Accountancy Core Preliminary Examination, which is typically administered only once a year. The oral examination is a platform where students present their proposal for the dissertation. The dissertation process consists of either a thesis or written examination administered by the doctoral committee, or, in some cases, both. Once all coursework requirements have been met and the dissertation process is complete, students are granted the Ph.D. or DBA degree.

American Accounting Association

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