UWCISA PhD & Academic Career Mentorship Program in Audit & Assurance, Cybersecurity, or Accounting Information Systems (AIS)


The mentorship program’s purpose is to provide undergraduate and MAcc School of Accounting and Finance students who are interested in pursuing a PhD with an opportunity to learn more about an academic career in audit & assurance, cybersecurity, accounting information systems (AIS), or related fields. Specifically, the program will expose students to the research and teaching responsibilities of accounting professors in one (or more) of these areas and provide students with valuable information about benefits and costs of pursuing a PhD in the applicable area(s). 

This program is co-sponsored by ISACA Toronto Chapter.

ISACA Toronto Chapter logo


At the start of a program term, each successful applicant will receive a tailored mentorship program schedule outlining the responsibilities they will commit to for that term, which include:

  • Attending at least three relevant research workshops in the audit / assurance, cybersecurity or AIS area hosted by SAF or similar groups (e.g., related workshops hosted by other UW faculties or other nearby universities, academic conferences held locally or online, etc.).
    • Applicants will also read the introduction of each paper and meet with their mentor before and after each workshop to discuss relevant aspects of the paper.
  • Committing approximately 5-10 hours to various activities that could include any or all of:
    • Shadowing the research activities of their mentor (e.g., data collection or analysis);
    • Discussing research papers to learn about conducting research;
    • Attending talks put on by senior faculty with advice about academic careers;
    • Shadowing the preparation or delivery of teaching activities of their mentor.
  • Preparing a blog (max 1000 words) and/or short video describing aspects of the mentorship program that were particularly informative. This blog may be used by UWCISA (the University of Waterloo Centre for Information Integrity and Information Systems Assurance) in its marketing material or published on UWCISA’s webpage


Applications are to be submitted by the faculty member who has agreed to serve as a mentor of an interested student. Potential mentors must be faculty members active in both research and teaching with a focus on audit & assurance, cybersecurity, AIS, or related fields. Interested students who have a mentor in mind should contact the Manager of the mentorship program (Tim Bauer, Associate Director UWCISA, tdbauer@uwaterloo.ca) to discuss the possibility of submitting an application.

Applications can be emailed directly to the program Manager prior to the applicable deadline. Deadlines, funding constraints, and eligibility criteria are described below. Applications should include the following:

  • Student’s name, year in the SAF program, and ID #
  • Faculty mentor’s name and position
  • Anticipated program term (fall or winter) or anticipated program start and end date
  • Statement from faculty mentor confirming planned mentorship of the student


Successful student applicants will receive a $500 award for participating in the program, which is graciously sponsored by ISACA’s Toronto Chapter. This award will be paid upon the successful completion of the program.

The mentorship program Manager, in consultation with mentors or other faculty members (as necessary), will evaluate the suitability of the applications and determine the number of successful applicants, subject to funding constraints and eligibility criteria.

Applications will be accepted at the beginning of the Fall and Winter term in any given year. Fall (Winter) applications must be submitted by the second Wednesday of September (January) to be considered for that term.

Students and mentors are welcome to discuss a mentorship between deadline dates and resulting applications will be considered at the next deadline (e.g., an application can be submitted in October and will be considered for the following January deadline).

As the program is subject to funding restrictions, the number of available positions each term will vary. Further, while all SAF students are eligible to apply, priority will be given to upper-year students, students who are not Fellows in the Fellowship Program, students who have not completed this or a similar mentorship program in a previous semester, or students who have otherwise not had opportunities to gain deeper exposure to academic research and teaching.

Students who are not accepted into the program in a given term due to capacity restrictions will have the option to have their name included for consideration in a future term if so desired.

Learning about an audit academic career

While I expected that the timeline for completing a research paper could be quite long, I didn’t expect that publishing a research paper can also be a long process with a lot of back and forth for peer reviews. I also didn’t expect that a paper could be flat out rejected – it’s hard to imagine putting in all the effort and resources into completing a project but being rejected by journals. I also think it’s interesting that the research doesn’t seem to be reaching the senior and associate levels in accounting firms.

mentorship student

Image of laptops