The PhD in accounting program consists of course work, a comprehensive examination, an internship and a thesis. At the completion of the program, the student is expected to be capable of conducting research in a selected functional area within the School of Accounting and Finance.
FOUR YEAR OVERVIEW
|Year in Program||Fall||Winter||Spring|
Dissertation topic - Thesis progress report
|Dissertation design/proposal||Dissertation proposal deadline|
|Dissertation research/ “Going on the road”||dissertation defense|
- 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.
Students must take at least five Accounting PhD seminar courses, which must include:
- ACC 781 Introduction to Accounting Research
- ACC 782 Experimental & Field Research in Accounting
- ACC 783 Archival & Analytic Research in Accounting
The student will choose at least two additional elective PhD seminar courses. Normally, to ensure a breadth of exposure, the five seminar courses to fulfill this requirement will be taught by five different faculty members, and the two elective courses will be in different subject areas. This does not preclude students from taking additional elective courses with any faculty member on any subject.
Acc781 will be offered in each Fall term to first-year students, with second-year students encouraged to attend. Acc782 and Acc783 will be offered in alternating years in Winter term, to both first- and second-year students. Elective PhD seminars will also be offered on a rotating basis, such that normally a given course is offered at most once in two years. Elective courses may be offered in any term, but normally first- and second-year students will be expected to take at least one Accounting PhD elective in each Winter term. Upper-year students will be encouraged to continue taking courses after the comp exam.
Students will select appropriate course work for their chosen core discipline, functional area and method. Course selections shall be approved each term, in advance, by the graduate officer.
Accounting PhD courses are listed within the 700 series (e.g., 701, 702, etc.).
Details of graduate-level courses offered by other departments are available through individual department sites and can be accessed through the Graduate course search which allows users to search courses in a specific subject/faculty or using keyword search.
If a required course is not offered at UW and permission is received by the graduate officer to take the course at another Ontario university, an Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS) application must be submitted.
Coursework Requirements From the Graduate Calendar
- 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 PhD Policy 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 PhD Policy 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 PhD Policy Committee. Students whose progress does not meet the program's standards will be required to withdraw.
The policy for PhD students taking School of Accounting and Finance courses is that all course work should be finished by the end of the term. This avoids the problem of students carrying forward work from one term to the next and thereby getting behind in their studies. Students are encouraged to also follow this rule when taking courses outside the School of Accounting and Finance. Even though instructors may be willing to offer a grade of "incomplete" and allow some course work to be submitted after the end of the term, it is not in the students' interest to accept this offer. Please consult the PhD director before choosing to receive a grade of incomplete
PhD SUMMER RESEARCH PAPER
All students are required to complete a PhD Research Paper in the first spring term.
|Winter, 1st year||Find an advisor and research topic|
|Spring, 1st year||Carry out your research and write your paper|
|Early Fall, 2ndyear||Present your research before faculty and other doctoral students|
The following policy was approved by the PhD Policy Committee, April 2003
The degree requirements for the PhD degree of the School of Accounting and Finance, as printed in the University Graduate Calendar, require a research paper to be completed as part of the course work stage of the program. The following guidelines are to clarify the procedures for this requirement.
Summer Paper Guidelines
- Normally, the research will be conducted during the summer following the student's admission to the program.
- It is the student's responsibility to obtain a faculty supervisor for the research paper. The Graduate Officer of the School will advise and assist in this process as necessary.
- The format for the research paper should be as specified in the Regulations for PhD Proposals and PhD Research Papers.
- The research paper shall be presented to faculty and PhD students at a seminar, which will normally be held on the Friday preceding the start of regular classes. The student will be allowed an uninterrupted block of time and then the audience will ask questions. The length of time permitted for the student's presentation will depend on the number of students presenting, although 15 or 20 minutes may be a suitable amount.
- Following the seminar presentation, the faculty supervisor for the paper shall inform the student within a few days of the modifications and extensions required to respond to issues raised in the seminar. In order to avoid conflicting with the student's work in fall term courses, these changes should be completed within two weeks. Accordingly, many of the changes may be incorporated in a section on suggestions for future work rather than actually being implemented. When these changes are carried out to the satisfaction of the faculty supervisor for the paper, the faculty supervisor shall assign a grade for the paper. The basis of the grading shall be 60% for the written paper, 30% for the presentation, and 10% of the revisions.
- The summer research paper must be completed with a passing grade before the student may write the comprehensive examinations.
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.
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.
The comp exam committee will consist of the Graduate Officer (non-voting chair), and the instructors of ACC 781, 782 and 783. The committee will solicit questions and feedback from other instructors, and from the relevant specialty areas for the specific students in the exam cohort. In designing and selecting questions, the exam committee will endeavor not to disadvantage students who chose different electives than their peers.
Details of Format
The comprehensive examination is in 3 parts, consisting of 4 hours each in parts 1 and 2 and 3 hours in part 3, for a total of 11 hours. The first two parts are common to all students. The third part is, in general, common to students within a research method.
Parts 1 and 2 contain a series of questions designed to examine the student more broadly. The knowledge expected for these exams is drawn from the courses required of the students (in particular, Accounting (ACC) 781 Introduction to Accounting Research, 782 Experimental & Field Research in Accounting, 783 Archival & Analytic Research in Accounting, and two other accounting PhD seminar courses, and from other sources specifically identified by the examination committee at least four months prior to the examination date. Since it is expected that material covered in ACC 781 would be covered in more depth in the 4 seminar courses, ACC 781 may not need to be separately examined with specific questions. However, this is a matter to be decided each year as part of the preparation of the examination.
Part 3 examines the application of the student’s core discipline (economics, behavioural science, etc.) and methods specialty (empirical, analytical, experimental, etc.) to accounting research. The particular area of accounting research may be the student’s functional area but, in the interest of maintaining consistent standards across students, this will be decided each year based on the interests of the students. For example, if there are students interested in empirical financial and empirical tax, only one examination may be offered. The research topic may be in the intersection of financial accounting and tax research. Similarly, if there are students studying behavioural/experimental, but some are interested in assurance and others in managerial accounting, only one examination may be offered.
Details of Expected Knowledge
Students should have a general knowledge of accounting research, broadly defined, as discussed in the 5 required accounting PhD courses and in the weekly research seminars. Students should be able to discuss the contributions of important papers, and cite specific examples of research ideas contained in papers studied. Students should have deep knowledge of research in the chosen area of specialization, including theoretical and methodological contributions that may extend beyond the syllabi of these courses. A deeper understanding is expected within the specialization than outside it, and greater familiarity is expected with papers studied in courses than those read outside courses. If a question requires detailed understanding of papers not studied in a course, they will be provided to students at least two weeks before the start of the examination.
Students are responsible for all of the papers presented in the School of Accounting and Finance research workshop series (including recruiting seminars) during the 20-month period from the beginning of September in the 2nd preceding calendar year to end of April in the year of the comprehensive exam.
Writing the Examination
In answering exam questions, students should make an attempt to do more than simply repeat the findings of previous studies. Synthesis and expression of supported opinion are encouraged.
Students are provided with the use of a university-provided “clean” computer without Internet access to write the exam. However, if a student desires to hand-write answers exam booklets will be provided.
The outcome of the examination will be announced to the student by email from the graduate officer within 3 weeks of the end of the comprehensive exam.
The candidate will be given a pass/fail grade on each of the three parts of the comprehensive examination. A candidate who passes all three parts of the comprehensive examination will proceed to the dissertation stage of the program.
The comprehensive exam will be considered satisfied when the candidate has passed all components of the exam. The comprehensive exam will be considered failed if the candidate receives an exam unsuccessful outcome on any component. No component may be repeated more than once.
On a candidate’s first attempt at the comprehensive exam, the outcome shall be one of:
- Passed: the candidate successfully completed all requirements of the exam;
- Passed conditionally: the candidate will be considered to have completed the exam successfully upon having satisfied conditions established by the examining committee. The conditions shall:
- Be communicated to the student in writing;
- Contain the date by which the conditions must be satisfied;
- Identify the member(s) of the examining committee responsible for determining that the conditions have been met. Normally, this determination will be made by at least one member of the committee other than the student’s supervisor or cosupervisors. Failure to satisfy the conditions within the designated time limit shall result in an outcome of Re-examination.
- Re-examination: the candidate will be required to repeat the exam. In this case, the student shall be provided written communication that identifies the deficiencies in the exam that led to this outcome and the deadline by which the re-examination must take place.
When a candidate is re-examined, the outcomes are limited to:
- Exam Unsuccessful: the candidate will be deemed to have failed to satisfy the program’s comprehensive exam requirement. In this case, the student shall receive written communication identifying the deficiencies in the exam that led to this outcome.
A student who is deemed to have failed to satisfy the comprehensive exam requirement (Exam Unsuccessful) may not continue in the current PhD program.
THESIS PROGRESS REPORT
Thesis Progress Report Guidelines
The following guideline was approved at the School of Accounting and Finance meeting February 2020.
PhD students should present a thesis PROGRESS REPORT to the SAF faculty in the December following their successful completion of the comprehensive exam. The goal of this presentation within a few months after comps is to help PhD students to reach the thesis proposal milestone in a more timely way. This guideline is in addition to our current expectation that all post-comps students should present their thesis progress to the faculty at least once per year.
- Students are expected to work closely with their supervisor(s) in developing their topic and in preparing their report and presentation.
- The suggested length for the thesis PROGRESS REPORT is 5-10 double-spaced pages. A suggested format is the What/Why/How structure.
- The presentation format will be 15 minutes of uninterrupted presentation, followed by up to 15 minutes of Q&A.
- The report should be submitted to the PhD Coordinator two weeks before the presentation date in December.
A dissertation is a research project that is a thorough, original exploration of a question. Typically, it is more involved than a single research paper that is published in a journal.
- More extensive literature review
- Often has more hypotheses or sub-questions
- Considerably longer document
|Within 1 month after comprehensive exam||Find a supervisor|
Within 1 year of the passing the comprehensive exam
(plan for early winter rather than spring or summer)
Submit your dissertation proposal which includes:
Present your proposal before SAF faculty.
Faculty decide whether it is acceptable, and what else may be needed.
The thesis advisory committee is determined following presentation (formally chosen by the PhD Policy Committee, in consultation with your supervisor)
PhD Proposal Policy
The following policy was approved by PhD Policy Committee May 2005
The PhD student will present a PhD thesis proposal seminar within one year of passing the comprehensive examination. If the proposal seminar is not held within one year, the student must seek approval for an extension from the PhD Policy Committee. No more than one extension will be granted except under extraordinary circumstances.
- Within one month after a student passes the comprehensive exam, the PhD Program Director will assist the student in identifying a thesis advisor to work with the student on the PhD thesis. The PhD student will present a PhD thesis proposal seminar within one year of passing the comprehensive examination. If the proposal seminar is not held within one year, the student must seek approval for an extension from the PhD Policy Committee. No more than one extension will be granted except under extraordinary circumstances.
- All faculty and doctoral students will be invited to attend the seminar and provide constructive feedback on the proposed research. The purposes of this milestone are to provide the student with an opportunity for significant help from people outside the Advisory Committee, and to provide the student with more wide-ranging feedback than could be provided with a series of one-on-one chats with individual faculty. Generally, early proposal seminars are preferred to later ones, to allow input before the thesis research is too far advanced for major elements easily to be changed.
- At least eight working days prior to the seminar date, the student will make available to faculty and PhD students a paper outlining the proposed research; otherwise the seminar will be postponed. This paper will be no more than 30 pages exclusive of appendices and references, and will be prefaced by a single-spaced abstract of approximately 250 words. The paper will be typed, with the main body of the text double-spaced in a 12-point font, with footnotes no smaller than 10 point.
The purpose of keeping the proposal short is to make sure that the proposal lays bare the essentials of the research being proposed and does not cloud the presentation with side issues and lengthy accounts of work already accomplished. Similar page limits apply to journal submissions, so a concise writing style is a valuable skill to develop.
- The proposal seminar will normally be chaired by the Graduate Officer. However, if the Graduate Officer is away or is the candidate’s supervisor, another member of the PhD Policy Committee will serve as chair.
All research faculty members should attend this seminar. Discussion should be open and frank. Faculty members are encouraged to identify problems and potential remedies at this stage of the research rather than at the time of the final PhD thesis examination.
As with the final PhD thesis defence, the student will be allowed up to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to present the proposal. A general discussion of the proposal will follow. Faculty members advising the student are reminded that it is the student’s responsibility to respond to issues raised during the PhD proposal seminar.
- To encourage full and frank discussion of the proposed thesis research, faculty should stay for an in camera meeting following the proposal seminar, led by the chair of the proposal seminar. The purpose of this meeting is to produce an evaluation of the proposal and a set of suggestions to promote successful and timely completion of the thesis. At this meeting, the composition of the Advisory Committee will also be reviewed. Normally the Advisory Committee will be the faculty members with whom the student has worked in preparing the proposal, although there may be changes or additions to the Committee if the proposal seminar has identified significant issues or research directions requiring different expertise.
After discussion at the in camera meeting, the chair of the proposal seminar will decide by himself or herself whether or not there is a clear consensus regarding the decision (to accept or reject the proposal). If there is consensus, that decision will be declared to be the decision of the meeting. If there is no clear consensus, there will be a vote by secret ballot in which abstention is one choice. The PhD Policy Committee will then take a final decision using the results of the vote as one input.
Assuming the proposal is accepted, the PhD Policy Committee will formally choose the Advisory Committee to guide the student’s future thesis work. The Advisory Committee will commit to writing the evaluation and suggestions emerging from the in camera meeting of interested faculty together with any thoughts of their own, within one week of the proposal seminar. Faculty members are invited to promptly check that this document reflects comments made at the proposal seminar and the in camera meeting. The PhD Policy Committee will resolve any issues raised. After this process has been completed, one copy will be given to the student and another copy will be placed in the student’s file in the School of Accounting and Finance office.
PHD COMMITTEES, DEFENSES AND THESIS SUBMISSION
Students are required to defend their thesis research in an oral examination conducted according to University requirements.
See sections Advisory Committee, PhD Thesis Examinations, and Examining Board. Please speak to the graduate PhD coordinator when thinking about your defense date and thesis submission.