Wharton’s doctoral program in Accounting takes a multidisciplinary approach (including economics, operations management, and statistics) to meet the needs of today’s complex markets, integrating finance and economics with broader perspectives on organizational issues and the corporate regulatory environment.


The Accounting PhD program trains students to do rigorous research in accounting, a specialized area of financial economics. The program is highly analytical and quantitative. We look for strong undergraduate preparation in microeconomics and mathematics, while some prior accounting or finance training at the undergraduate or graduate level is an advantage. Institutional understanding of how accounting information is used by capital market participants and/or within firms is useful and best obtained through relevant work experience, but is not required of applicants.

Close working relationships with faculty members provide an excellent learning experience while at Wharton and can continue throughout the student’s career. Our program provides students with opportunities to interact with faculty and get started on relevant research early in the program. Required research elements include the accounting workshop colloquium, the first-year research assistantship, and the first and second year summer research papers.

Sample Schedule

Sample Program Sequence

Years 1 and 2
  • Coursework
  • Examination
  • Research Papers
  • Research Activities
  • Completion of Other Requirements by Field

Summer: Basic Mathematics for Economists

Fall: Microeconomic Theory, Applied Econometrics I, Probability, Finance Elective

Spring: Game Theory and Applications, Applied Econometrics II, Empirical Research in Accounting, Finance Elective


Fall: Accounting Theory Research, Accounting Seminar Colloquium, Econometrics/Statistics Elective, Other Elective

Spring: Empirical Research in Accounting, Accounting Seminar Colloquium, Econometrics/Statistics Elective, Other Elective

Year 3
  • Directed Reading & Research
  • Admission to Candidacy
  • Formulation of Research Topic
Year 4
  • Continued Research
  • Oral Examination
  • Dissertation

Core Courses

ACCT 910 is taken in Fall of the second year (1 credit).

ACCT 921 is taken in Spring of the first year (1 credit).

ACCT 922 is taken in Spring of the second year (1 credit).

Accounting Core (6.0 courses)

All Students: Required.
ACCT 910 Accounting Theory Research I (1 credit)
ACCT 921 Empirical Research in Accounting I (1 credit)
ACCT 922 Empirical Research in Accounting II (1 credit)
ACCT 930 Empirical Design in Accounting (1 credit)
Additional Accounting courses include the following electives:
ACCT 981 Workshop Colloquium
ACCT 982 Workshop Colloquium II


All Students: Required.
ECON 681 Microeconomic Theory
ECON 682 Game Theory and Applications
Additional Economics Courses include the following electives:
ECON 705 Econometrics I
ECON 706 Econometrics II
ECON 708 Agency, Information and Incentives


All Students: Required.
FNCE 911 Proseminar in Finance (individual and corporate)
Additional Finance courses include the following electives:
FNCE 912 Financial Institutions
FNCE 921 Introduction to Empirical Methods
FNCE 924 Intertemporal Macroeconomics and Finance
FNCE 934 Empirical Methods in Asset Pricing


A one-year graduate level sequence in econometrics or statistics is required. Accounting PhD students are encouraged to take STAT 520/521. Students may, with the approval of the Accounting PhD coordinator, satisfy this requirement with STAT 510/520, STAT 512/520, STAT 550/551, or ECON 705/706. In extraordinary cases, with approval of the Accounting PhD coordinator, a student may satisfy the econometrics/statistics requirement with other course sequences.
STAT 510 Probability
STAT 512 Mathematical Statistics
STAT 520 Applied Econometrics I
STAT 521 Applied Econometrics II
STAT 550 Mathematical Statistics
STAT 551 Introduction to Linear Statistical Models
ECON 705 Econometrics I: Fundamentals
ECON 706 Econometrics II: Methods and Models

Students must pass all required courses with a grade of B- or better. Except for the accounting seminars, students with superior training may substitute higher level courses.

Get the Details.

Visit the Accounting Department website for details on program requirements and courses. Read faculty and student research and bios to see what you can do with an Accounting PhD.


Accounting Program Doctoral Coordinator
Prof. Wayne Guay
Yageo Professor of Accounting
1329 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
Phone: (215) 898-7775

Faculty Members
PhD Students