The program information below is valid for the fall 2023 term (September 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023).

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.

Graduate research fields

  • 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 specialty area within the School of Accounting and Finance. This will require specialization in the following ways:

    Selection of an appropriate core discipline from economics, behavioural science, or related core disciplines, to provide the foundation for the chosen area and methods specialty.

    Selection of one subject area chosen from: accounting information systems, auditing, financial accounting, management accounting, or taxation.

    Selection of one methods specialty from archival, analytical, experimental, or field.

    While specialization is essential for a student to be able to conduct research, breadth is also important for an accounting academic career. The student is expected to be familiar with important research questions and methods in all subject areas.

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students will select appropriate coursework for their chosen subject area and methods specialty. 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 Accounting Research: will be offered to all PhD students in their first year and will introduce them to important research questions and methods in accounting. This course will stress issues of research design.
      • ACC 782 Experimental & Field Research in Accounting, and ACC 783 Archival & Analytic Research in Accounting will be offered in alternating Winter terms to first- and second-year students. These courses will introduce research methods used in accounting research.
      • At least 2 other accounting PhD seminar courses (0.50 unit weight), chosen from two different subject areas.
      • Core discipline: 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 subject area and methods specialty.
      • Statistics and Quantitative Methods: graduate-level courses chosen from the following: statistics, econometrics, psychometrics, research design or similar areas.
    • In addition to formal coursework, students are expected to 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 appropriate graduate-level 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 Graduate Officer will jointly approve the student's choice of specialization, which must be identified by the end of the first spring term of study. At this time, 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
  • PhD Research Paper
    • Students are required to complete a PhD Research Paper in the first spring term.
  • PhD Internship
    • Each PhD student must complete a minimum of 6 terms of research internship with one or more faculty member in the School of Accounting and Finance.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination
    • Students are required to meet the University-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements outlined in the “Minimum requirements for the PhD degree” section of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC), with certain noted exceptions that are specific to the Faculty of Arts Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements:
      • Comprehensive examination purpose: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Timing: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements. 
      • Committee: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements with the exception that in the Faculty of Arts, the Graduate Chair can approve the committee for comprehensive examinations.
      • Who Chairs an examination: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Format / Content: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Academic integrity: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
    • In addition to the University-level and Faculty-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements, students in the PhD in Accounting program are also required to meet the following requirements:
      • 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 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 PhD Program Director 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.