U.S. research-focused nontraditional doctoral accounting programs: A status update

Margaret E. Knight, Creighton University
Douglas M. Boyle, The University of Scranton
John L. Eckroth, Portland State University
Dana R. Hermanson, Kennesaw State University


This study presents current information about U.S. research-focused nontraditional doctoral accounting programs, including overarching program issues, program specifics, and accomplishments of program graduates. Based on online information regarding 19 programs, a survey of 15 program directors, and data collection regarding a sample of program graduates, the findings suggest (a) rapid growth in this premium-priced, typically three-year program market, with 14 new programs since 2013; (b) a strong academic and/or applied research orientation in these programs; (c) challenges related to program cost, faculty workload, and competing demands for student time (that can increase program length); (d) over 100 students currently enrolled in these programs who are focused on academic accounting careers; (e) two different models of offering accounting content (dissertation-only model versus a more comprehensive model with accounting courses and often an accounting concentration); (f) a mix of internal and external program faculty and frequent use of overload compensation for faculty; and (g) evidence that many graduates (who typically are CPAs with prior teaching experience) are achieving success in securing academic positions at institutions apparently with a balanced focus on teaching and research, being promoted, and publishing in notable academic journals. We hope that this analysis is helpful to prospective students, those managing or teaching in nontraditional doctoral accounting programs, and those hiring or considering hiring graduates of these programs.