5 Best Ph.D. in Accounting Online Programs

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Updated: March 13, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

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Due to the popularity of the field of teaching, more Certified Public Accountants are growing to wonder what it would be like to become an accounting professor. The good news is CPAs can teach accounting programs in selected postsecondary institutions without a doctorate. However, if you’re planning to become a tenured university professor, you need to obtain a doctorate in accounting, specifically a Ph.D.

Getting your Ph.D. in Accounting online may appeal to you whether you have experience in the industry or are just out of your master’s program. Online accounting degree programs provide the same quality of education as their conventional on-campus counterparts but at a much lower cost and more flexibility.

Quick audio summary:


Pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting can be a wise choice if you’re already working in the field and want to improve your earning potential and job chances. A Ph.D. in accounting is the terminal degree of the field, which means that it is the highest academic achievement accountants can obtain.

An online Ph.D. may also require doctoral students to conduct original research to advance their expertise in the discipline and prove their competencies.


Doctoral degree holders can pursue lucrative accounting careers in academia, finance, and business management. Did you know that business schools rarely offer a Ph.D. in Accounting online? We did the research for you and rounded up the five best online programs! Each outstanding online Accounting Ph.D. program was picked based on these factors:

Visit our Methodology page and explore our online Accounting Ph.D. ranking process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

5 Best Ph.D. in Accounting Programs Online

Capella University

Capella University

Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management

Capella University’s online Ph.D. in Business Management is a superior degree program of choice for students looking for doctorates in accounting. The Ph.D. programs offer an accounting specialization that students can complete in four to six years upon requirement completion. Candidates must complete eleven core courses, one elective course, three virtual residencies, a comprehensive exam, and dissertation research. 

Graduate students interested in the online Ph.D. in accounting must earn a Master’s in Business Administration or a similar discipline from a regionally accredited school with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. International students can apply for the program by showing proof of English literacy by taking the TOEFL exam and transcript of records. 

The online accounting doctorate program at Capella University was created to satisfy the demand for accounting ethics in the twenty-first century. The program offers students abundant support, from financial aid to career guidance. Additionally, online students will learn from the same experienced on-campus faculty. Students gain skills by analyzing theoretical constructs and using cutting-edge accounting solutions in the global era to make significant contributions to the field.

Trident University

Trident University International

Ph.D. in Business Administration with Accounting/Finance Concentration

Trident University’s online Ph.D. in Business Administration provides students with several concentration options, including accounting/finance, that can be completed in a 3, 4, or 5-year plan. The Ph.D. in business administration requires online students to complete ten core courses, concentration courses, a dissertation proposal seminar, and a comprehensive exam.

Ph.D. students majoring in accounting/finance are expected to have a strong background in finance, accounting, or economics to do research in fields including economic growth and development, international finance, auditing, financial reporting and management, and taxation.

Interested applicants must have a master’s degree in business administration or other related fields with a 3.0 minimum GPA on a 4.0 scale. Prospective students for the online doctoral degree must have information technology skills to effectively conduct and deliver meaningful research results. 

One of the best features of this online doctorate is the school’s individualized support to its online learners. Online students will have a Students Success Advisor for one-on-one support with administrative issues and a personal academic advisor during the program’s research phase.

And because there are zero in-person requirements for the accounting program, online students can be confident that the degree will not interfere with their work schedules.

Atlantic International University

Atlantic International University

Online Doctor of Accounting (Ph.D.)

Atlantic International University’s online Ph.D. in Accounting is a customizable Ph.D. program where students are not required to study the same subjects or use the same textbooks or other educational resources as any other student.

This online doctorate in accounting equips students with knowledge of the conceptual framework and develops the abilities necessary to manage problems involving various accounting alternatives. The curriculum requires students to complete accounting research that examines the production and application of control, planning, and performance data, in addition to orientation and accounting courses. 

Interested students must have a master’s degree in accounting or another closely related field and five years of field or life experience. AIU also accepts life credits. The policy for accepting such credit is restricted to one-third of the program’s credit requirements, and proof of such experience is required. 

With a doctorate in accounting from AIU, doctoral students can study and conduct research in many important accounting and computer science fields. Upon graduation, students should have advanced knowledge of financial accounting theory and accounting information systems. 

National University

Advanced Accounting, Online Ph.D.-BA

The online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration at National University offers one of the best accounting specializations. The Ph.D.-BA at National University requires students to complete sixty credit hours in forty-five months, including twenty courses that give students a chance to concentrate on research-based leadership methods.

Students in the advanced accounting concentration will critically examine accounting data, including business and financial transactions and statements related to the assets, liabilities, and operating results of business enterprises and nonprofit organizations.

Applicants for the accounting Ph.D. online degree must have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a generalized or specialized business area. Students with professional experience in finance, accounting, or business, are frequently given priority. 

The PhD-BA at National University helps graduates pursue advanced positions in businesses and corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and academic institutions of higher learning. Students will concentrate on research-based leadership tactics, polish their current expertise, and delve into upcoming technologies while learning from the school’s experienced faculty and staff. 

Michigan State University

Michigan State University - Broad College of Business

Ph.D. in Accounting

Prospective students who can study full-time on-campus are best suited for the traditional Ph.D. in Accounting at Michigan State University. This doctoral program provides students with a comprehensive curriculum through the help of internationally renowned faculty and a diverse school environment.

The program trains students for careers in accounting research and teaching through accessible course material covering various subjects, including management, accounting, economics, information systems, finance, psychology, and statistics.

Students with superior academic records in bachelor’s degrees can apply for the Ph.D. in accounting program at Michigan State University. Students with no master’s degree, however, will be required to complete business administration courses that will prove their competency for the Ph.D. Program. The program only admits new students in the fall semester and on a full-time basis.

Collaboration between faculty and students is a big aspect of the Broad experience at Michigan State University. One of the university’s advantages is its faculty, which actively undertakes research in various fields, giving students exceptional opportunities.

Doctoral accounting students can collaborate with some of the most renowned experts in auditing, forensic accounting, financial accounting, managerial accounting, and taxation.

The 8 Most Common Courses in Ph.D. in Accounting Online Programs

Keep in mind that every school has distinct needs for the accounting curriculum. For instance, some professors can be rigid about doctorate students taking a combination of core credits and electives, while others would be more lenient, provided that the research being done is high-caliber.

Here are the most common courses found in an online Ph.D. in accounting:

Accounting Information Systems

These accounting courses can assist you in learning how to create, maintain, safeguard, and use accounting information systems (AIS), which are the digital record-keepers of the sector.

Accounting Theory Research

Taxes, revenues, and audits are all topics that fall within the broad category of accounting theory. This course will also guide students in learning Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Corporate Finance

These courses, which combine elements of both business and finance, can help you prepare for positions as an accountant in the corporate world.


The use of statistics in economics is known as econometrics. Models, procedures, analysis methods, and associated mathematical ideas are covered.

Introduction to Accounting Research

One of the main components of a doctoral program is research, and this basic introductory course can help you create a framework for what will be required of you at the Ph.D. level.

Statistics for Business Research

The core principles of logic, probability, and statistics are expanded upon in these accounting classes, which approach all topics from a business standpoint.


You’ll have your pick of seminars and workshops to advance your research if your program requires a dissertation.

Internships, Fellowships, and Assistantships

These three components are rare to find in online degree programs in accounting. But if there are any, most online schools allow students to complete the required hours on businesses near their locations. 

DBA vs. Ph.D. Doctorate Online Degree

There are two types of doctoral degree programs in accounting: Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Business Administration. Depending on the theory and financial discipline you intend to operate within, you may prefer or decide to pick one of the two forms of accounting doctorate degrees over the other. 

Doctor of Philosophy

A doctor of philosophy in accounting, or a Ph.D., is the most common option for an accountant looking for a terminal degree. Research, theory, and application are extensively emphasized in this degree choice. 

A Ph.D. is a fantastic decision if one of your goals is to become a well-known and renowned professor in your field. 

You must fulfill the criteria as a professor to be given tenure. One of these demands is doing research and publishing in a scientific journal. People who pursue a Ph.D. will be prepared for that as part of their work as professors in a particular academic setting.

Online PhDs in accounting are rare to find. 

Doctor of Business Administration

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is another option for a terminal degree. Those who have received a DBA can still pursue teaching positions in higher education. However, you should remember that a Ph.D. is a superior, more research-based option for that industry. 

Those who pursue an online DBA will also pick up skills and prepare for executive leadership positions after they graduate. Many online DBA holders will continue to hold accounting executive positions within a company.

Many online schools, such as George Fox University and Liberty University, offer an online DBA in accounting. 

Ph.D. in Accounting Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the employment growth for Accountants and Auditors to 4% from 2022-2032. You can pursue several lucrative occupations with an online Ph.D. in accounting, working in practically any sector of business, government, or charitable organizations. Every organization must keep track of its spending and revenue through budgets.

Here are a few great careers with a Ph.D. in Accounting.

College and University Professors

Professors at colleges and universities give classes to students and carry out research in their respective fields of expertise. The duties of postsecondary teachers include curriculum development, student counseling, grading, directing departmental policy, and publishing academic papers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 8% between 2022 and 2032. Typically, candidates for these roles must be Ph.D. holders.

Consultants, Analysts, and Advisors

Consultants, analysts, and advisors—also known as management analysts—help their clients increase their profit margins. They are frequently employed by large firms where they create recommendations for cost-cutting actions, restructuring, and improved procedures by analyzing financial data, chatting with personnel, and examining general practices. They can also conduct personal financial planning for individuals without a business.

The BLS predicts that between 2022 and 2032, the job outlook for management analysts will increase by 10%, exceeding the national average for all occupations. Prospective applicants can exhibit a competitive resume in a promising employment market by earning a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) credential.

Financial Managers

A financial manager, sometimes known as a management accountant, views an organization’s financial operations and financial records. These experts manage investments, oversee personnel, and assist in setting budget-related rules. Additionally, they sort through financial data to produce vital reports for higher executives, who use the data to set policies and goals.

This field is expected to see a 16% increase in job prospects between 2022 and 2032.

Best PhD in Accounting Online Program - fact

Professional Organizations for Accounting Professionals

Being a member of a professional organization will be advantageous for accountants. These organizations offer accounting professionals and students many opportunities through career tools, internet services, mentorship programs, and annual conferences.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The AICPA is a non-profit organization that represents CPAs across the US. Students can also acquire membership and access more than 300 self-study courses, online conferences, and web events, allowing them to advance their education whenever and wherever they like.

American Accounting Association

AAA allows for the intelligent management of access to computer resources, the enforcement of rules, the auditing of consumption, and the provision of data required for service billing. They ensure their position as accounting thought leaders through their combined efforts in teaching, research, and building a strong network.

The Institute of Internal Auditors

The IIA is the premier source of advice and knowledge within the field of internal auditing. The IIA helps students plan their overall success strategy. You’ll have access to a global network of professionals, top-notch training options, awards and recognition, and employment opportunities.

Institute of Management Accountants

A Certified Management Accountant can obtain membership from the IMA. This organization helps professionals and students enhance their professional knowledge and expertise, provides them with opportunities and connections on a global scale, and improves their innovation potential. Another advantage of becoming a member of this institute is having access to training and educational resources.

National Society of Accountants

The NSA assists small business owners and their teams with tax and accounting issues. NSA members gain access to the NSA Help Desk, a personalized software search, and member-only discounts on CPE. Additionally, members can access practice management tools and one free copy of the NSA’s Tax Implications of a Divorce Booklet.

Professional Association of Small Business Accountants

PASBA is an organization that connects small business owners with accountants near their areas. Members have access to regional and national gatherings, networking, practice evaluation, the blueprint for success manuals, an online business forum, and a mentorship program.

Is an online doctorate in Accounting worth it?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an online doctorate in Accounting worth it?

For many students, a doctorate in accounting is worthwhile. For people who want to work as postsecondary accounting teachers, a doctorate is the only way to enter that field. A professional’s chances of obtaining the most sought-after and in-demand accounting positions are also increased by earning an accounting doctorate.

Online courses provide more flexible study schedules, allowing working professionals to complete their education without giving up their jobs.

How long does an online doctorate in Accounting usually take to complete?

Depending on the school, program, and student, the length of an online Ph.D. may take 4 to 7 years. Some students may need longer if they enroll part-time, take a break, or have difficulties with their dissertation.

How hard is an online Ph.D. in Accounting?

An online accounting Ph.D. program is just as hard as its on-campus counterpart. It requires rigorous study, excellent writing abilities, and commitment to in-depth research, just like any other doctoral degree.

How much does an online Ph.D. in Accounting cost?

The cost of online tuition varies greatly among schools. In-state versus out-of-state tuition, private versus public universities, and on-campus versus online education are all potential cost factors.

Is there any financial aid available for online Ph.D. students?

Students pursuing online Ph.D. degrees in accounting can access various financial aid options. Loans, grants, and scholarships are all examples of potential financial sources.

Key Takeaways

A Doctor of Philosophy is a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest form of education accounting professionals can achieve.

Online Ph.D. programs are the perfect fit for students interested in academic research and teaching in postsecondary education. Additionally, these degrees are mostly preferred by working adult students due to their flexibility and lower cost.

Accounting is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. While a bachelor’s degree can help you enter entry to mid-level positions, a Ph.D. will open more lucrative careers.

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