Accounting PhD program information

Admission requirements

The minimum qualification requirement for admission to the program for a Doctor of Philosophy in Accounting is:

  • a degree of bachelor with first class honours or upper second class honours in accounting (or a closely related discipline) from an Australian university; or
  • another qualification (for example, a Masters degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification) that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in point (a); or
  • a combination of qualifications and professional experience that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in point (a).

Please note that there are other admission criteria that students must also satisfy. Admission is competitive and only a limited number of students are admitted to the PhD program each year.

In addition to the standard information required in the online application, please note the following:

  • Applicants are required to prepare a one-page statement of purpose, and
  • Short-listed applicants may be required to sit an interview.

Applicants who do not satisfy the minimum entry standard for the PhD program may be offered entry conditional on satisfactory completion of a preparatory program.

PhD program structure


Candidates are typically required to undertake up to eight semester-length courses over the first twelve months (when studying on a full time basis) of the candidature. These eight courses include five core courses and up to three elective courses. The minimum coursework for students having completed equivalent courses includes four core courses and two elective courses. The coursework provides training in research in accounting, research methodology and statistics. The coursework also equips candidates with knowledge and skills specific to their PhD topic area as well as broader research training to foster high quality research.  The required courses are listed below.

Core courses

  • BUSN8007 Analysis of Financial Reporting
  • BUSN8013 Seminar in Research Methods in Commerce
  • BUSN8200 Judgement and Decision Making Research in Business
  • STAT6038 Regression Modelling, EMET 6007 Econometric Methods, or EMET 8005 Economic Models and Introductory Econometrics; or a higher-level statistics or econometrics course
  • BUSN8100 Empirical Research in Financial Accounting


Additional more specialised courses can be selected from advanced RSA courses when offered, including BUSN8145 Corporate Governance: Research Preparation; BUSN8056 Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services; or BUSN8101 Special Topics in Commerce (studying financial accounting, management accounting, public sector accounting, or taxation); or advanced courses from other disciplines deemed of appropriate level (e.g., finance, econometrics, management, psychology, statistics or sociology). Electives are determined in consultation with the candidate's supervisory panel.

Candidates must complete the coursework with at least a 70% average in each semester before they can progress to the thesis stage.

Research seminar program

The RSA research seminar program consists of weekly seminars presented by national and international researchers. PhD students are expected to attend and participate in the seminars throughout their candidature.

Thesis proposal and defence

In addition to the coursework component, each candidate must develop and defend a detailed thesis proposal in consultation with their supervisory panel. To proceed with the thesis, the candidate must successfully defend the proposal. The proposal defence is presented to the School after 12 or 18 months of commencement (or 24 months on part-time basis), at which time it is formally assessed by a review panel.


Candidates proceed to the thesis component following completion of the coursework at the required standard and successful defence of their proposals. Students are expected to consult widely with their supervisory panel, which can assist, advise and provide support for a timely and successful completion. Students are also required to present their research three to six months prior to the submission of their thesis for examination.

Annual progress review

In each year of their candidature, PhD students are required to submit an annual plan and progress report as a basis for periodic progress review. The annual plan details the coursework and research intended to be undertaken in the following twelve months. The annual progress report provides a report on work completed by the students, current progress and any problems that may impact on their research.

Please see Research Student Milestones for further details.

Research integrity training

All Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates must complete the Research Integrity Training (RIT) course and pass the Research Integrity Milestone exam, within 3-6 months of enrolment. Completion of the course and test is a compulsory milestone for all HDR students.

Thesis submission and examination

Information on the process of thesis submission and examination can be found here: Submitting a thesis.