Emphasis in Accounting

Details about the Penn State Smeal College of Business Emphasis in Accounting Ph.D. Program.

Program Overview

The Accounting Ph.D. Program bases its excellence on a clear and strong commitment to the development of outstanding research and teaching skills. While the preparation is rigorous, you will enjoy the benefits of a highly supportive atmosphere. Accounting Ph.D. students make a commitment that is consistent with our goals of pursuing excellence in doctoral study, and are rewarded with the opportunity to compete for challenging faculty positions at quality institutions.


You will take several Ph.D. research seminars in accounting, as well as seminars in economics, finance, and other disciplines to support your chosen area of interest. Through a series of accounting research seminars, you will learn to build a framework of strategies to address research issues in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation. The seminars teach you which research methods can be used to address these issues, and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Additionally, the department has a weekly research colloquium at which researchers from the top universities in the country present their research papers.

Areas of Study

The program focuses on the following areas of study:

  • Alternative Accounting Standards
  • Analysts' Forecasts
  • Accounting Disclosures for Capital Markets
  • Market Disclosure Incentives
  • Insider Trading
  • Auditors' Opinion Decisions
  • Auditing as a Socially Constructed and Influenced Process
  • Employee Stock Options
  • The Effects of Regulation on Financial Institutions' Decisions
  • Tax Policy
  • Investment Management

About the Accounting Department

The mission of the Smeal Accounting Department focuses on the enhancement and dissemination of knowledge of accounting and the accounting profession. The department provides the knowledge and skills necessary for entry into any branch of the accounting profession, promotes adaptability in the changing requirements of the field, encourages continuous professional development, and provides a doctoral program with a strong research emphasis to produce competitive candidates for careers in academia.

The department ranks No. 27 for research productivity worldwide according to the University of Texas at Dallas Research Database, and the department faculty are engaged in a robust range of research topics including insider trading, employee stock options, investment management, and tax policy.

Learn more about the Smeal Accounting Department.

For more information on the Smeal Ph.D. Emphasis in Accounting, contact:

Professor Karl Muller
Smeal College of Business
The Pennsylvania State University
384 Business Building
University Park, PA 16802-3603

Phone: 814-865-0202
Fax: 814-863-8393
E-mail: kam23@psu.edu