The program information below was valid for the fall 2016 term (September 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016). This is the archived version; the most up-to-date program information is available through the current Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Fields (areas of research)

  • Empirical/Archival Research in Accounting
  • Judgement and Decision-Making
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Length of program 
    • Normally, there will be no more than four terms of course work in order to ensure timely completion of the program and to provide time for research. Course work may, however, include prerequisites to the required courses, particularly if the student has been admitted with an Honours Bachelor's degree. No student who requires more than two terms of prerequisite course work will be admitted to the program. It is expected that, after completion of any prerequisite course work, the student will complete the course requirements and write the comprehensive examination within two years, and complete the thesis within four years of admission.
    • The University Senate has set the following time limits for a PhD program:
      • from an Honours Bachelor's degree: 18 terms (6 years)
      • from a Master's degree: 12 terms (4 years)
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • Successful completion of a Master's degree or Honour's Bachelor's degree with at least an 80% average.
    • Students from various backgrounds, including economics, mathematics, statistics, behavioural science, and related disciplines are encouraged to apply. Admissions will not be confined to those with a background in accounting, commerce, or business administration.
  • Application materials 
    • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
    • Résumé
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 


  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be capable of conducting research in a selected functional area within the School of Accounting and Finance. This will require specialization in the following ways:

    Selection of an appropriate core discipline specialty from economics, finance, behavioural science, or related core disciplines, so as to provide the foundation for the chosen functional area and methods specialty. A sound foundation in economics and finance is essential for several of the functional areas. Accordingly, economics and finance may be an appropriate component of the core discipline.

    Selection of one functional area chosen from auditing, financial accounting, management accounting, or taxation.

    Selection of one area of methods specialty from empirical, analytical, or experimental.

    While specialization is essential for a student to be able to conduct research in a chosen functional area, breadth in the core disciplines is also important. The student is expected to be familiar with important research questions and methods in all functional areas.

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students will select appropriate coursework for their chosen core discipline, functional area and methods. Course selections shall be approved each term, in advance, by the Graduate Officer. The specific requirements are as follows:
    • Students must complete 12 graduate level courses (0.50 unit weight) as follows:
      • ACC 781 Introduction to Research 1: will be offered to all PhD students in their first year and will introduce them to important research questions and methods in all functional areas. This course will stress issues of research design.
      • PhD Seminars: 4 PhD seminar courses (0.50 unit weight) within the School of Accounting and Finance.
      • Core discipline requirement: graduate-level courses from at least 2 of the following: economics, finance, psychology, sociology or other core disciplines to provide the appropriate foundation for the chosen functional area and methods specialty.
      • Statistics and Quantitative Methods: graduate-level courses chosen from the following: statistics, econometrics, psychometrics, research design or similar areas; and mathematical economics or game theory.
      • Students are expected to regularly attend the School's research workshops since an early orientation to research is critical for success in the program.
    • The Graduate Studies Committee of the School of Accounting and Finance must approve each student's course work. It may modify or extend course requirements where it deems the student's background and research interests warrants it. At the discretion of the Committee, additional courses beyond the minimum PhD requirements may be required of individual students. The Committee may also substitute 2 senior undergraduate courses if the chosen graduate-level core discipline or methods courses are unavailable.
    • When entering the program, each student will be assigned a faculty advisor who will assist the Committee in approving appropriate course work and ensure an early orientation to research. The Faculty Advisor and Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee will jointly approve the student's choice of specialization, which must be identified by the end of the first spring term of study following which the Graduate Studies Committee will review the student's program and appoint a new Faculty Advisor, if necessary. Formal reviews of the student's progress will be conducted by the Graduate Studies Committee. Students whose progress does not meet the program's standards will be required to withdraw.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
  • PhD Research Paper
    • Students are required to complete a PhD Research Paper in the first spring term.
  • PhD Internship
    • In each term, up to a minimum of 6 terms, each full-time student must complete a research internship with one or more of the faculty members affiliated with the School of Accounting and Finance. This research internship consists of a maximum of 10 hours of work per week. Where appropriate given the background and needs of the student, the Graduate Officer may substitute work as a teaching assistant or a course instructor.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination
    • Upon satisfactory completion of course work (no failures, 78% average) students will write a comprehensive examination measuring knowledge in the chosen core discipline, functional area and methods specialty. The Graduate Officer will form an Examinations Committee. This committee will set the comprehensive examination and recommend pass/fail to the Graduate Officer. The Graduate Officer must approve the comprehensive examination before it is taken and the pass/fail status before the students learn of the results. The written examination component of the comprehensive examination will have two requirements:
      • Specialist - to measure whether the student has the necessary foundation, methodological knowledge and skills to conduct research in the chosen methods specialty.
      • Breadth - to measure understanding of the various research questions and methods used in accounting research. A specialist level of knowledge will not be expected in research issues outside the student's selected core discipline, functional area and methods specialty.
  • PhD Thesis
    • Within one month of successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the Graduate Officer will consult with the candidate to identify a potential thesis supervisor and other members of an Advisory Committee. This is only an initial Advisory Committee; its membership may change over time as the thesis research evolves. The supervisor must be an Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) as described in the Organization of Graduate Studies section of this Calendar. The supervisor must be from the School of Accounting and Finance, although if there are two co-supervisors, only one need be from the School of Accounting and Finance. One member of the Advisory Committee will be from outside the School of Accounting and Finance but within the University. Further regulations concerning the Advisory Committee are found in the Academic Regulations section of this Calendar.
    • The student will submit a proposal for the PhD thesis containing a detailed statement and justification of a research problem and method and a review of relevant literature. An acceptable proposal will demonstrate that the candidate has developed a research plan that should lead to an acceptable thesis and that the candidate has a clear understanding of the problem addressed, the relevant literature, and the research method. Normally the proposal should be a description of planned work rather than a work in progress. The proposal will be presented at a research seminar in the School of Accounting and Finance.
    • The completed thesis will be defended in an oral examination conducted in accordance with the general requirements of the University.
  • Other requirements 
    • Language requirements: no language requirements, other than English, are specified.