Emphasis in Accounting Research

We are pleased to offer an Emphasis in Accounting Research. This emphasis is designed for students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in Accounting. Students who pursue this Emphasis take at least 9 credits of qualifying courses. Three of these credits must include the following courses which are offered in the fall semester:

Introduction to Academic Research in Accounting

1 credit

Develops a framework for understanding scholarly research in accounting and will gain exposure to classic and current accounting research studies.

Data and Analysis in Accounting Research

1 credit

Develops fundamental empirical skills, such as the use of databases and regression analysis. Applications will include replication of a published accounting research study.

Design of Accounting Research Studies

1 credit

Applies the scientific method to accounting research questions by studying research designs used in scholarly accounting research and their effectiveness for causal inference. Applications will include addressing a research question using alternative designs.

Additional required course in the spring semester:

Current Research in Accounting

1 credit

Focuses on reading and discussing current academic research papers presented by William & Mary faculty and external accounting researchers. This course is open to any student interested in how research informs business practices and is well-suited for students considering careers in academia. Attendance at research presentations is required. Topics change each year so the course may be repeated once for credit.

The remaining additional credits may be selected from the following courses in the spring semester:

Taxation and Business Strategy

3 credits

The economics-based course provides a conceptual framework for understanding tax issues in the context of business decisions and business strategy. Students learn about the role of taxes throughout the firm's life cycle: choice of organizational form, employee compensation, investment opportunities, capital structure and dividend policy, financial innovations, international operations, and business combinations. The key conceptual components include:

  • Consideration of the tax implications for all parties to the transaction
  • Consideration of both explicit and implicit taxes, such as lower before-tax rates of return on tax-favored investments
  • Consideration of both tax and non-tax costs

Ultimately, the course provides a useful framework for thinking about taxes in all tax regimes (i.e., across countries over time).

Driving Organizational Performance

3 credits

This course focuses on advanced and contemporary topics concerned with the design, interpretation, and use of internally-generated information to support internal organizational decision-making and performance.

Data Analysis & Simulation for Accounting

3 credits

Designed to introduce students to basic modeling, analysis and simulation techniques. Emphasis will be placed on problem identification and formulation, sensitivity analysis, and model construction. Tools such as MS Excel, Solver, Crystal Ball, and @Risk will be used to solve accounting-related business problems.

Financial Statement Analysis

3 credits

This course introduces students to the elements of financial statement analysis and increases students' ability to extract and use information from financial reports. While financial statements are prepared in accordance with specific accounting rules and principles, most of the numbers in financial statements are based on a set of assumptions and choices made by management. In this class, students learn how to identify and adjust for the effects of accounting choices on the comparability of reported earning and other accounting performance measures across countries, across firms, and over time. Students also learn how to evaluate circumstances where accounting rules can cause disruptions in trends making it difficult to forecast earnings and free cash flows. In addition, students learn techniques to identify earnings management, as well as assess whether the financial statements reflect the riskiness of the firm. Finally, because many large companies operate in a global environment, the class will examine problems created by differences in accounting standards across countries (e.g., U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles versus International Financial Reporting Standards), as well as issues inherent in multinational companies such as how foreign currency affects financial statements.

Probability | MATH 551

3 credits

Topics include: combinational analysis, discrete and continuous probability distributions and characteristics of distributions, sampling distributions.

Mathematical Statistics | MATH 552

3 credits

The mathematical theory of statistical inference. Possible topics include:

  • Maximum likelihood
  • Least squares
  • Linear models
  • Methods for estimation
  • Hypothesis testing
Operations Research: Stochastic Models | MATH 524

3 credits

Reliability | CSCI 668

3 credits

Other courses may be used to complete the emphasis with the consent of the department chair.