- What credentials characterize successful applicants?
Please see Admissions for a detailed answer to this question.
In general, the program looks for well-rounded new Ph.D. students with balanced strengths in motivation, academic skills, communication skills, quantitative skills, and institutional knowledge of accounting.
- Why is it necessary to send materials to both the Graduate Admissions Center and to the Department of Accounting?
Like many universities, The University of Texas at Austin utilizes a centralized admissions process in which applicants to graduate programs throughout the University send applications (which can be completed online), application fees, and official documents (transcripts and GMAT scores) to a university-wide location, which in our case is the Graduate and International Admissions Center, or GIAC. However, due to the volume of information GIAC receives, there is often a substantial delay between the date GIAC receives information (such as official transcripts or GMAT reports) and the date this information is forwarded to the Department. We can therefore expedite the review of your file if you send the following five items directly to the Department of Accounting Ph.D. Coordinator: (1) resume, indicating contact information, education, and experience, (2) your Statement of Purpose, (3) a photocopy of all university transcripts (have the official copies sent to GIAC), (4) a photocopy of your GMAT report (have the official copy sent to GIAC), and (5) originals of three letters of recommendation, in signed and sealed envelopes or sent directly by the recommenders.
- What is the minimum GMAT score the Department of Accounting will consider?
This is a difficult question to answer, because the accounting Ph.D. program does not impose any GMAT cutoff score as a minimum threshold. We consider the GMAT only in the context of a holistic review of all criteria, including the applicant's academic, practical, and socio-economic background. As practical guidance, however, most successful applicants score above 650 on the GMAT, and often score above 700. In addition to the overall score, it is also important to evidence balance between the verbal and quantitative dimensions of the GMAT.
- Does the Department accept the GRE instead of the GMAT?
Substantially all applicants to the accounting Ph.D. program submit GMAT scores. Therefore, for maximum comparability, the Department of Accounting strongly urges Ph.D. applicants to take the GMAT. This advice does not necessarily apply to other departments within the McCombs School of Business.
- What if my GMAT report is over five years old?
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) will not send official GMAT reports that are over five years old. However, if a Ph.D. applicant is in this situation (due, say, to taking the GMAT for a master's degree and securing some work experience in the interim), the Department of Accounting can petition the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School to accept an old report if there is credible evidence of the score. This evidence can come from a GMAT score noted on an official transcript, or from other verifiable sources. Please contact the Ph.D. Coordinator for further guidance.
- When is the TOEFL required?
The University of Texas at Austin requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for international applicants who do not have a previous university degree from a country in which the only official language is English. Applicants should be cautioned that successful accounting Ph.D. applicants often score in the upper 30s or 40s on both the verbal and quantitative dimensions of the GMAT. In general, the Department evaluates many sources of information that evidence the applicant's English communication skills, so the TOEFL (or its waiver) should not be overemphasized. If an applicant submits the TOEFL, the official scores should be sent directly to the Graduate and International Admissions Center, with a photocopy sent to the Department of Accounting Ph.D. Coordinator.
- Who should write my three letters of recommendation?
This is of course up to you, but if you have both academic and work experience in accounting, a reasonable strategy is to ask two of your former professors and one contact from your work experience to write letters of recommendation. (If you have not informed your employer of your doctoral aspirations, it is fine to request only academic references.) Please be sure to request that your recommenders not only fill out the recommendation grid on the form, but also append comments that attest to your potential for teaching and research in accounting. A free-form recommendation letter is fine for this purpose.
- Does one need a previous accounting degree to apply to the Ph.D. program in accounting?
The program assumes a reasonable institutional background in accounting, equivalent to an undergraduate or master's degree in accounting. We do from time to time admit Ph.D. applicants who do not have an accounting degree (such as applicants with an MBA degree), but these applicants typically have taken enough accounting courses to understand the institutional fundamentals of accounting. Applicants with no accounting background should first take enough accounting courses to acquire knowledge that is the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in accounting before beginning Ph.D. coursework.
- Does one need accounting work experience to apply to the Ph.D. program in accounting?
Work experience in accounting, like other credentials, is not so much a requirement as it is a factor that is considered at the margin in a competitive admissions process. Evidence from recent years indicates that successful applicants usually have at least one year, and often two years or more of full-time work experience in some facet of financial reporting, which can involve public accounting, accounting in industry, or taxation. Work experience helps Ph.D. students to incorporate new insights and developments from practice in future research and in teaching.
- What quantitative skills are desirable prior to beginning the Ph.D. program in accounting?
Strong grades in Calculus I and II, Statistics, and Linear Algebra are useful. If your coursework in these subjects is more than five years old, we urge you to systematically review these subjects before you apply.
- How exactly do I apply?
For step-by-step instructions, see How to Apply