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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Accounting

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Entry requirements
  • How to apply
  • Student experience
  • FAQs
​​

Why choose this research degree?

  • Make an original and significant contribution to knowledge in accounting
  • Produce a high quality thesis under the supervision of a qualified member of academic staff
  • Access the very latest business research and learn from high profile academics
  • Be part of the UNSW Business School’s vibrant, globally recognised research community
  • Opportunity to be published in a leading international journal

Who is this degree for? 

  • Graduates with excellent results in their undergraduate (honours) degree
  • Postgraduates with excellent results in their masters by research degree 

Job and career prospects 

  • Academic and research positions in Australia or overseas
  • Accounting  research and analysis roles

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Accounting consists of seven core courses, one elective course and a thesis. The research thesis must demonstrate a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the field of study.

Core courses

The following courses are completed in the first year of study.

Study seven compulsory core courses

ACCT5909 Current Developments in Auditing Research

An examination of current areas of research in auditing and substantive studies in each area. The following topics will be considered: theory about auditing; overview of audit research; nature of audit work; agency theory and the existence of the audit function; human information processing in auditing; audit teams and the review process; experience and expertise; independence; audit fees and other service fees; effect of the audit report; and future development in audit theory & research.

ACCT5951 Current Developments in Accounting Research - Financial

Review of alternative approaches to the development of theories in external reporting. Explication and evaluation of substantive theories and associated research studies. Examination of research findings related to the accounting and reporting environment, agency cost and financial contracting, the properties of reported accounting numbers, predictive value of accounting information, the use of information in capital markets, and the use of accounting reports by individual decision makers.

ACCT5952 Current Developments in Accounting Research - Managerial

The aim of this course is to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary management accounting research, which emanates from different philosophical perspectives and employs different theories and research methods. Research is divided into two broad streams: work that seeks (a) to explain and design, and (b) to understand and interpret the practice of management accounting in organisational societies. Topics covered include design approaches using behavioural decision theory, contingency theory, institutional theory, and others and interpretive approaches using symbolic interactionism and theories of culture. There is also brief coverage of national differences in management accounting practice and of critical analyses of the development and operation of management accounting systems.

ACCT5997 Seminar in Research Methodology

This course considers the relationship between science and scientific method; provides an introduction to the interpretation of the key statistical techniques used in accounting research; and considers and reviews some of the principle research methods that have been used to address issues in accounting.

ACCT5998 Project Seminar

Please contact the school for further information.

COMM8002 Quantitative Research Methods

This course introduces students to various advanced quantitative data analysis techniques required to design research projects and conduct the necessary data analysis. In conducting empirical studies, it is necessary to understand the benefits and drawbacks of various techniques, so that appropriate analytical techniques can be selected to answer the research questions being tested. These skills are an integral part of research methodology in a project/thesis.

COMM8003 Qualitative Research Methods

This course will enable student to acquire in-depth knowledge, skills and experience necessary to conduct a qualitative research study.

The course focuses on advanced issues critical for qualitative inquiry. It will also include the review of exemplary papers adopting a variety of qualitative research methods from organisation studies, management, marketing, accounting, information systems, and other business disciplines.

The course will adopt a workshop style where students will actively engage in debates and work with empirical material.

Then choose one course from*:

*Course selection in consultation with supervisor or postgraduate research coordinator.

ACCT5967 Special Topic in Accounting

May consist of an examinable readings program defined to meet the needs of a particular student or a formal program undertaken by a group of students whose research projects are in a common area.

COMM8000 Intellectual Foundations

This course is concerned with the nature of social science inquiry. It is intended for students in the business and management disciplines and those early in their masters and doctoral research program. The course is broken into four sections: (1) an introductory overview to the philosophy of science, (2) a review of epistemology – the nature and scope of knowledge − (3) a review of ontology – the what can be said to exist − and (4) specific applications to the major disciplinary areas.

COMM8001 Introduction to Research Methods

This course will enable student to acquire fundamental knowledge, skills and experience necessary to conduct a qualitative research study.

The course focuses on fundamental issues critical for qualitative inquiry, such as philosophical foundations, theory building, the design and conduct of qualitative study (of different types), methods of data collection and analysis, researcher role and relationships with subjects researched, the quality of qualitative research, presentation of findings and writing a research proposal and a thesis.

It will also include the review of exemplary papers adopting a variety of qualitative research methods from organisation studies, management, marketing, accounting, information systems, and other business disciplines.

  • The equivalent of a three-year undergraduate degree plus an equivalent postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline with an overall average grade of at least 75 (Distinction).
  • OR
  • The equivalent of multiple undergraduate degrees (e.g. a dual degree) with at least one in a relevant discipline and an overall average grade of at least 75 (Distinction).
  • OR
  • The equivalent of a four-year degree of Bachelor with first or upper second-class Honours in a relevant discipline.

English language requirements also apply.

NOTE: These are the minimum requirements for admission. Admission will ultimately be at the discretion of the UNSW Business School and will rely on the Business School having appropriate research supervision capacity and resources available for the applicant’s research interests.


Information on how to apply for this degree is available at How to apply for a research degree.

While the UNSW Business School is at the heart of the Kensington campus 'village' that is bustling with cafes, bars and retail, the whole of Sydney is right on our doorstep - including world-famous beaches, a wide variety of food, entertainment and culture, plus stunning scenery to enjoy and explore for free.

There are more than 300 clubs and societies at UNSW covering social activities such as music, movies and sport, but also academic interests including an Actuarial Society, a Business Society, an Economics Society and a Society of Financial Technology amongst many others. Joining a student club is a great way to meet new friends and broaden your experience. But as well as that, you may also make potentially important research or academic connections with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Find out more about UNSW’s Clubs and Societies

Stay active

Exercise boosts your mental wellbeing and can help you deal with exam or assignment pressures. It's easy to stay fit with UNSW’s state of the art sporting facilities on campus in Kensington, including a 50m indoor pool, fitness centre, squash courts and a range of competitive sports teams.

Find out more about the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre

Explore

While the UNSW Business School at the heart of the Kensington campus ‘village’ that is bustling with cafes, bars and retail, the whole of Sydney is right on our doorstep including world-famous beaches, a wide variety of food, entertainment and culture, plus stunning scenery to enjoy and explore for free.

Find out more about UNSW Campus Life

Strong support

When you join the UNSW research community, you join a passionate collective of people who are using research to transform minds, transform lives, and transform the world.

We want all our research students to reach their maximum potential and to achieve this we offer in-depth faculty supervision and support, as well as study skills workshops and mentoring programs.

Our ‘Meet the CEO’ series offers unique behind the scenes business insights, and there are a number of orientation, leadership and mentor programs specifically designed for postgraduate students.

Find out more about student support

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Quick facts for students

Program code
1521
Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Assumed Knowledge
Accounting, Research experience
Study Mode
Face to face
Duration
Full-time 3-4 years; Part-time 5-8 years
Commencing semesters
Semester 1 - March
Semester 2 - July

​​​​​​​​Research Study Options

Browse the list of study options available for research students

 ​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Search Degrees​​

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