University of Texas at Austin
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McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

The Texas McCombs doctoral program in Accounting boasts one of the most prestigious doctoral programs in the country and has graduated more than 300 Ph.D. students since its inception in 1934.

In the 2019 Public Accounting Report survey of U.S. accounting faculty, the Texas McCombs PhD program in accounting was ranked first in the nation, followed by Stanford University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Chicago. This ranking reflects the program’s diversity and excellence across all areas of accounting education and scholarship.

Our distinguished faculty conducts research across a wide variety of specializations, including financial reporting, management accounting, auditing and taxation.

The Texas McCombs PhD curriculum prepares you for academic life by developing research and writing skills. Doctoral students also secure one term of teaching experience. As a graduate of the program, you will be well-equipped to make contributions to accounting knowledge, assemble evidential bases for policies and practices of the accounting profession, and open major new sources of curriculum content.

The demand for skilled educators is strong, and doctoral graduates in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin have enjoyed considerable placement success over the years.

If you aspire to a career as an accounting educator and researcher, a doctoral degree from the Department of Accounting will give you the foundation needed for success.

Exclamation point inside a word bubbleOur application deadline for Accounting is December 15th.

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#1 Accounting Doctoral Program US News and World Reports

Areas of Specialization

If you are a practicing accountant, these topical areas will be familiar to you. However, we welcome students with backgrounds in Mathematics, Economics, Engineering, Finance, Psychology or other related disciplines to apply, and we can remedy any lack of accounting knowledge through additional coursework.

Most students enter our accounting doctoral program with some institutional knowledge in one or more of these areas:

Financial Accounting

Financial accounting researchers are interested in the use of accounting information by investors, creditors, analysts and other decision makers.  We are also interested in the preparation of accounting information by managers who may respond to economic incentives and use discretion to manage earnings. Finally, we are also interested in the regulation of accounting information by standard setters and other regulators who are evaluating the relevance and reliability of current and potential accounting information.


Auditing researchers are interested in questions of independence, governance, compliance, auditing processes and biases. Again, this research helps global standard-setters and regulators adopt standards and policies that protect the integrity of our accounting information. 


Managerial accounting research topics include optimal employee compensation and governance, using information for efficiency management, motivating creativity, and others.


Taxation research covers topics of tax policy such as economic incentives, transfer pricing, compliance with tax enforcement, multistate taxation, and numerous topics about accounting for income taxation, where tax rules overlap with financial reporting standards. 

Research Topics and Methodologies/Faculty Expertise

Research Methodologies

When you earn a doctorate, most of your time is spent developing deep expertise in research methods. There are three (3) main methods used by accounting researchers. In all cases, your doctoral studies will involve strong grounding in statistics, and typically a choice of either economics or psychology as an additional foundation. 


Archival research involves the statistical analysis of historical data to examine relevant research questions that are based on economic theory for its predictions. Thus, archival research requires a strong background in both statistics and economics, both of which we provide at University of Texas through rigorous coursework in the business school and the economics department. 


Experimental or survey methods are commonly used to obtain data to conduct what is broadly known as behavioral research. Behavioral research relies on psychology for its theories. Because this research is interested not just in what people do, but why they do it, it is often necessary to conduct controlled experiments or to survey participants. Researchers in accounting and finance using experiment or survey methods have provided compelling alternative explanations where economic theories sometimes fall short. 


Analytical research uses quantitative, mathematical models to explain and predict behavior. This research is grounded in game theory from economics. Students wanting to conduct analytical research should have even stronger mathematical backgrounds than other applicants. We will design a program of study that builds on those initial strengths with additional coursework in mathematics and economics. 

Preparation and Qualifications

The Texas McCombs Accounting doctoral program assumes that students have taken enough accounting courses to establish a background equivalent to an undergraduate or master’s degree in accounting. A traditional accounting background such as a CPA is not required.

It is desirable for students to have a solid understanding of applied microeconomic theory, econometrics and mathematics (linear algebra, calculus) prior to the start of the program. Adequate computer programming skills are necessary in coursework.

Successful applicants who do not have a sufficient accounting background can have the opportunity to take any needed accounting courses in the coursework phase of the program or the summer prior to entering. However, it is in the applicant’s best interest to secure a reasonable accounting background before applying to the Ph.D. program.

See Admissions for further information.


We prepare you to become an intellectual leader. The primary goal of the Texas McCombs Ph.D. program is to prepare students for exceptional academic careers. Over the last five years, McCombs Accounting Ph.D. alumni have gone on to excel at:

Ryan Hess 2021 Stanford University (post doc); Oklahoma State University
Ryan Ballestero 2021 Kent State University
Dan Rimkus 2021 University of Florida (October 2021 graduation)
Shannon Garavaglia 2020 University of Pittsburgh
Jakob Infuehr 2019 University of Southern Denmark
Antonis Kartapanis 2019 Texas A&M University
Kristen Valentine 2019 University of Georgia
Colin Koutney 2018 George Mason University
Zheng Leitter 2018 Nanyang Technological University
Brian Monsen 2018 The Ohio State University
Xinyu Zhang 2018 Cornell University
Jeanmarie Lord 2017 University of Montana
Ben Van Landuyt 2017 University of Arizona
Shannon Chen 2017 University of Arizona
Prasart Jongjaroenkamol 2017 Singapore Management University
Ying Huang 2017 University of Texas - Dallas

Are You Ready to Change the World?

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Texas McCombs Doctoral Program is seeking individuals who are interested in transforming the global marketplace. Are you one of these future thought leaders?