Ph.D. with a major in Accounting

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  Apply Today

Begin your application today by entering the Graduate Admissions Portal.

Submit your application by:
January 15Priority deadline. Application review begins and will continue until positions are filled.
March 1Application submission deadline. All supporting materials must be received by March 15.

  Contact Us

  • Email Dr. Allen Blay, program director, for more information on the Accounting major, its content and curriculum.
  • Email Gail Palo, Ph.D. academic program specialist, for more information about the admissions process.

Graduate Programs Office
  877-587-5540 (toll free)

Accounting is one of seven majors offered through FSU’s College of Business’ Ph.D. in Business Administration. The major admits two or three candidates each fall, and the program takes four to five years to complete. 

  • Emphasizes capital markets, decision-making, financial reporting and assurance services
  • Offers tracks in behavioral accounting research, typically with psychology coursework, and empirical financial accounting research, typically with finance and econometrics coursework
  • Includes research courses in statistics, economics and/or mathematics; a second-year research study, comprehensive exams and dissertation

For an overview of FSU’s Ph.D. in Business Administration and its seven majors, download the brochure.

  Student Accomplishments


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Northeastern University; University of North Florida; University of Arizona; California State University – Fullerton; University of Baltimore; IE Business School – Madrid; Virginia Commonwealth University; New York Institute of Technology; Kansas State University; Georgia State University; Florida Gulf Coast University; University of Central Florida; NC State University; University of New Hampshire; College of Charleston


  • Andrea Tillet, McKnight Fellowship, AICPA Minority Doctoral Fellowship, The PhD Project (KPMG Foundation)
  • Eduardo Fuste, McKnight Fellowship, The PhD Project (KPMG Foundation)
  • Cathryn Meegan, Legacy Fellowship
  • Christina Lewellen, 2013-14 AICPA Doctoral Scholars Program
  • Michelle McAllister, 2013-14 AICPA Doctoral Scholars Program
  • Josette Pelzer, 2013-14 Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program, The PhD Project (KPMG Foundation)

Defended dissertations

  • “An Examination of the Relationship between Individual Fraud Impressions formed during Fraud Brainstorming and Subsequent Auditor Judgments and Decisions” by Michelle McAllister; Dr. Allen Blay, major professor
  • "The Information Role of Earnings Quality in Management Forecast Activity" by James R. Moon, Jr.; Dr. Frank Heflin, major professor
  • The Influence of Organized Labor on Audit Quality and internal Control" by David Bradley Bryan; Dr. J. Kenneth Reynolds, major professor
  • "The Economic Effects of Earnings Management Pre- and Post-SOX" by Terry W. Mason; Dr. Richard Morton, major professor
  • "Does Comparability Restrict Opportunistic Accounting?" by Anthony W. Chen; Dr. Frank Heflin, major professor
  • “Tax Haven Incorporation and Financial Reporting Transparency” by Christina Maria Lewellen; Dr. Bruce Billings, major professor
  • “The Allocation of Audit Office Resources” by Jonathan D. Nash; Dr. J. Kenneth Reynolds, major professor
  • “Understanding Barriers to Critical Audit Matter Effectiveness: A Qualitative and Experimental Approach” by Josette Renee Edwards Peltzer; Dr. Allen Blay, major professor

  Program Requirements


All Accounting doctoral students must complete graduate level courses in Finance as well as undergraduate level courses in Statistics, Calculus I, Calculus II, and Linear Algebra.  The Accounting doctoral adviser and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs must approve courses satisfying the above requirements.

Major Requirements

All Accounting doctoral students must complete courses in three areas: Tools for Analytical Research (TAR), Primary Accounting and Support.

I. Tools for Analytical Research (TAR) area

Students typically take a selection of analytical-tool courses from the disciplines of statistics, economics, and/or finance. These courses provide the tools and skills necessary to understand and conduct research in accounting. The TAR area in accounting consists of seven courses and students must earn a grade of "B" or better in each course to satisfy the TAR requirement. Note that this requirement means that TAR courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Students must take the following three TAR courses:

  • ECO 5403 Static Optimization
  • FIN 5840 Applied Econometrics
  • FIN 5935 SAS Boot Camp

Plus four of the following TAR courses:

  • ECO 5416 Econometrics I
  • ECO 5423 Econometrics II
  • ECO 5TBD Graduate Economics Elective
  • FIN 6842 Research Methods in Finance
  • PSY 5916 Structural Equations Modeling
  • PSY 6919 Research Design and Analysis I
  • PSY 6919 Research Design and Analysis II
  • STA 5206 Analysis of Variance
  • STA 5207 Applied Regression Methods
  • STA 5440 Introductory Probability I
  • STA 5507 Applied Nonparametric Statistics
  • STA 5707 Applied Multivariate Analysis
  • STA 5856 Time Series and Forecasting Methods

II. Primary Accounting Coursework

The primary area courses and seminars provide opportunities for in-depth study. The following doctoral seminars and courses are required in Accounting:

  • ACG 6885 Introduction to Accounting Research
  • ACG 6939 Auditing Research and Financial Accounting Research
  • ACG 6896 Doctoral Seminar in Capital Markets
  • ACG 6916 Supervised Research - Research Paper Requirement
  • FIN 6835 Doctoral Seminar in Experimental Research

In addition to these courses, first- and second-year students will participate in a professional development series that will be an additional registered course in each semester of the first two years of the program. The development series is designed to introduce doctoral students to the roles and responsibilities of faculty members, including research ethics, communication with faculty at other universities, the research review process, balancing research, teaching and service, among other topics.

Further, the Accounting Research Colloquium meets regularly (2:30-4 p.m. on Fridays) to share the results of recent research conducted by FSU faculty members and doctoral students and by invited scholars from other universities. Attendance at the colloquium is required of all accounting doctoral students.

As indicated above, each student must complete a research paper requirement (ACG 6916). This paper is based on independent research by the student, primarily during the second year of the program, and under the supervision of one or more faculty members. The student must have a written proposal for the project approved by the supervising faculty prior to taking the accounting preliminary examination. The research project is undertaken in the student’s area of interest to facilitate development toward his/her dissertation. The project culminates with the student presenting the paper in the Accounting Research Colloquium. Students must complete this presentation by the end of their third year to be making substantial progress toward the degree. Ideally, the research study would lead to a publication in an academic journal.

With the exception of ACG 6916, students must earn a grade of "B" or better in each course to satisfy the primary area requirement. Students must earn a grade of "S" in ACG 6916. Note that this requirement means that only ACG 6916 is taken on an S/U basis to satisfy the primary area requirement.

III. Support Area Coursework

Support area courses are selected to complement the primary area of study and to allow the student to pursue further his or her research interests. Normally, four courses are required in the support area. Support area course work is taken within and outside the College of Business. The support area will be a function of the student’s particular field of study and could include courses from Psychology, Finance or Economics. Specific courses are selected in consultation with the student, the accounting Ph.D. Adviser and the support area adviser. Courses must be approved by all parties and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Students must earn a grade of "B" or better in each course to satisfy the support area requirement. Note that this requirement means that all support area courses must be taken for a letter grade. The Support Area courses cannot be used to satisfy other requirements.

Sample Course Sequence



First Year


  • ACG 6885
  • GEB 6931
  • ACG 6939
  • GEB 6931
  • FIN 5840*
  • FIN 5935*

Second Year

  • ACG 6835
  • GEB 6931
  • ACG 6896
  • ACG 6916
  • GEB 6931
  • Primary Area Exam

Third Year

  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation Proposal

Fourth Year

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation

Fifth Year

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Defense

* Students are encouraged to enter the program in the second half of the summer semester and complete FIN5840 and FIN 5935 before full matriculation.

TAR/SUPPORT = TAR area course OR support area course

  Application Process

Admission decisions are made by the college’s Doctoral Admissions Committee and are based on a combination of factors, including prior academic record from accepted universities; GRE or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores taken within the past five years; letters of recommendation; experience; record of accomplishments. Admission is competitive and focused on students with grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher and GMAT scores of at least 600 or GRE scores of at least 155 on each section of the revised GRE.

Application Checklist

  • Login to (applications will only be accepted through this portal)
  • Begin your application by logging in with your FSUID or clicking the link to register to get one
  • Complete your online application form
  • Include the names and contact information for at least 3 (required) references
    • This will generate automated email sent to your references by our system to request that they submit a recommendation for you and answer a series of standardized questions.
  • Submit your Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages)
  • Submit a current resume or C.V
  • Pay the nonrefundable $30 application fee
  • Request that each college or university you have attended submit an official transcript to FSU
    • Transcripts are considered official if they are sent directly to FSU (either through the U.S. mail or electronically) by your undergraduate or graduate institution. In some cases, an unofficial transcript may be used during the initial review process, however an official transcript must be submitted prior to admission.
  • Request that official GMAT or GRE scores (and TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable) be submitted to FSU 
    • Test scores will only be considered official if sent directly from the testing service. The code for ETS to send (GRE and TOEFL) scores to FSU is 5219. The code to send GMAT scores to FSU is PN8K567.
    • An English proficiency exam score (TOEFL or IELTS) must be submitted for international applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received a college degree from an institution where the instruction is primarily in English.
    • Have transcripts and test scores sent to or:
      Admissions Office 
      PO Box 3062400, 282 Champions Way 
      Florida State University

International Applicants

International applicants whose native language is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-speaking country are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official test results in order to be admitted to The Florida State University. The College of Business requires a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test and 100 on the internet-based test, or a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS exam, taken within the past two (2) years.

A minimum score of 25 for each section of the TOEFL is strongly recommended. In addition, international graduate applicants seeking teaching assistantships are required to pass a test of spoken English.

For more international applicant information, visit for information concerning financial responsibilities, degree equivalency, etc.

  Program Costs

Ph.D. students typically take 27-33 credit hours each year. Here are the estimated program costs for the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Florida residents: $479.32 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $12,941.64 - $15,817.56 per year.
  • Non-Florida residents: $1,110.72 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $29,989.44 - $36,653.76 per year.

Note: These costs do not include required books, supplies for courses, or required health insurance. Costs are subject to change. Fees above do not include some per-term flat fees for FSUCard and facilities use. For a breakdown of on-campus student fees and their explanations, visit the university’s Tuition Rates page.

      Residency Information

    The doctoral program is a full-time program that lasts four to five years. Students should plan to live in the Tallahassee area year-round, including summers. Our program is not set up for individuals who wish to take courses part time or online.

      Financial Assistance

    The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. The goal of the college is to provide assistantships and/or fellowships to all of our admitted doctoral students, subject to overall enrollment and fiscal limitations. Most doctoral students who request funding, who maintain a satisfactory level of academic and work performance, and who are in residence receive financial assistance from the college. Annual stipends and supplementary assistance such as travel expenses for conference attendance will vary among cohorts and programs. Students who are not Florida residents should note that tuition waivers associated with assistantships only cover the out-of-state portion of their tuition for year one of the program. Out-of-state tuition waivers are generally not available for years two through five.

    Doctoral students on assistantship are supported for four full years of academic support, contingent upon satisfactory performance in the program. Under certain conditions, students may qualify for a fifth year of support. Students who would like to request fifth year funding should notify their faculty advisor by the end of the second spring term in the program.


    The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. There are various scholarships available for graduate students. Visit our graduate scholarships page to learn more.

    (Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all completed application materials before January 15 to be eligible for additional funding opportunities at the university level).

    • For a full list of Florida State University funding and awards, visit
    • For more information on Florida State University's research and research funding, visit
    • For more information on Florida State University's graduate fellowships and awards, visit

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