PhD in Business Administration

Accounting specialization


UBC's PhD program in Accounting has a reputation for producing strong researchers. Recent graduates from the program have been placed in schools including Boston College, Purdue University, University of Hong Kong, University of Toronto, University of Alberta, Brock University and Queen's University.

The research faculty in Accounting publish in the top journals in the field, and engage in empirical research in financial accounting, auditing and taxation. Our program draws effectively on strong research faculty in other fields, including finance, economics, policy analysis, and management science. Of particular importance are the variety of research workshops held each week which expose students to current research by leading researchers from UBC and other universities in accounting and the related fields.

Most students have had prior studies in accounting, but some have entered into the program with backgrounds primarily in finance, economics, or mathematics and then developed their understanding of accounting by taking appropriate undergraduate or Masters' courses in accounting. 

Each student is expected to develop their research skills by taking courses in finance, statistics and economics, as well as the research seminars in accounting. The faculty work closely with students to develop their research skills. Except for those funded from outside sources, at least four years of funding is guaranteed to all admitted students. Part of this funding is in the form of a research assistantship, which gives students the opportunity to learn by participating in the research of the faculty.

Please note that we will not be accepting applications for the PhD program in Accounting for September 2022. The next admission date for the Accounting specialization will be September 2023 (the application for September 2023 applicants will available starting in September 2022).

Program of study

Students are required to take a cross-divisional course in research methods, a course in teaching methods, and the following four courses in the accounting division.:

  • COMM 651 Analysis of Accounting Information in Markets
    An examination of theoretical research into the role of public accounting information in capital markets and its relation to market prices, and the impact and disclosure of private investor and private management information.
  • COMM 657 Empirical Methods in Accounting Research
    An introduction to empirical accounting research, emphasizing the use of theoretical arguments in developing testable hypotheses, econometric methodologies used to address accounting research problems and data issues that arise in testing hypotheses.
  • COMM 658 Research Workshop in Accounting
    Discussion of accounting research presented by faculty and PhD students from UBC and other universities.
  • COMM 659 Advanced Topics in Empirical Accounting Research
    A selection of special topics in accounting research.  The exact topics covered depend on the research expertise of the faculty members teaching the course in any given year.

You select your remaining coursework from other divisions and departments such as Finance, Economics and Mathematics, with the guidance of the PhD advisor.

You begin active research in the first year of your program by completing a summer research project. Most students write their comprehensive examination after their second year of course-work and spend the remainder of the program working on their dissertation research.

Sample program sequences

A typical schedule for a PhD student in Accounting may be as follows. (Selection of the elective courses will depend on your background and interests. You are expected to attend the weekly accounting research workshops (COMM 658) throughout your entire program.)

Year 1 - Fall: COMM 693 (research methods), and two or three elective courses
Year 1 - Spring: COMM 651, COMM 659, COMM 695 (finance)
Year 1 - Summer: Summer Research Paper

Year 2 - Fall: COMM 671 (finance), and two or three elective courses
Year 2 - Spring: COMM 657, COMM 674 (finance) and one elective course
Year 2 - Summer: Comprehensive Examination

Year 3 - Teaching Methods Course, preparation and presentation of thesis proposal

Year 4 - Preparation and Defense of Thesis

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