A Thesis Or Dissertation Is Required to Earn an Accounting Ph.D.

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Is an Accounting Thesis Or Dissertation Required to Earn an Accounting PhD?

A Thesis Or Dissertation Is Required to Earn an Accounting Ph.D.

If you enter an accounting Ph.D. program or a D.B.A. program, you will probably be required to write a full research paper, normally called a dissertation. Although both thesis and dissertation are often used interchangeably, there is a difference in these original works. Therefore, when you hear or read that someone is using both terms, be sure to learn if they are referring to the same thing. In the United States, a thesis (derived from the Greek word meaning “position”) is most commonly required for the completion of a Master's degree program and is normally less complex than a dissertation. A thesis requirement may be in the 30 to 75 page range while a dissertation may extend to up to 250 pages, sometimes more. Like a thesis in a Master's situation, a dissertation is usually the final requirement to earn the doctor title.

If you hope to earn an accounting Ph.D., the thesis/dissertation is somewhat different than in some other specialties, like Psychology, English literature, Engineering, etc., in that the majority of accounting requirements are standardized and set by other third parties (AICPA, FASB, etc.). This makes it more challenging to “create” a new idea, perform extensive research on it and state a new, unique position on your topic. In fact, the primary difference between an accounting Ph.D. program and a Doctorate of Business Administration (D.B.A.) is the focus of your accounting thesis or dissertation. Ph.D. studies are directed at the creation of a new approach or methodology to a situation, whereas D.B.A. studies target research on a current theory being explored in much greater depth, resulting in your learning and publishing new information about the subject.

In almost all accounting Ph.D. programs, online or on campus, you will be required to write an accounting thesis or dissertation as your final step to "doctor hood." A final note of potential importance: Determine if, in addition to writing the research paper, you are required to have it published or just available for publication, should a source desire to do so. Some accounting doctoral programs may have this requirement, while many others will not. Obviously, a publishing requirement adds another variable that may delay the earning of your doctorate. As long as you are aware of this, and all requirements for the program, you can proceed with confidence.



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