The Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in accounting and information systems prepares individuals for careers in research, teaching, and service at the university level. The program stresses high-quality research at the frontiers of knowledge. A majority of the student's time in the program is dedicated to developing, refining, and applying their research skills.

In addition, the accounting and information systems specialization has a strong track record of producing high-quality teachers. Our approach values collegiality, and students work closely with faculty in an apprenticeship-type approach.

The department's core areas of research include auditing, financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax, and archival and behavioral research. Our faculty members contribute to significant advancements in the field, as evidenced by our recently published journal articles.

Academic Requirements

The admissions process is highly competitive. Ideal candidates possess a strong academic background including prior study of accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level. Work experience is also valued.

In addition to meeting the UW–Madison Graduate School requirements, students should have the following:

  • A strong mathematical background. Students with an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting or the equivalent are preferred. While many students have completed master's degrees or an MBA program, these are not critical.
  • In limited cases, a degree in the related fields of psychology, economics, or sociology, coupled with demonstrated interest in accounting, is sufficient.

The following courses are recommended to be taken prior to entering the program. (In some cases, these courses can be completed early in the program itself.)

  • Two semesters of undergraduate calculus
  • An upper division course in linear algebra
  • An upper division course in microeconomic theory, taught using a mathematical approach

Coursework in Major Area

Three seminars in accounting research are required:

  • Introduction to Accounting Research
  • Behavioral Accounting Research
  • Archival Accounting Research

Students in our program develop a basic research background in both archival and behavioral empirical research. The program is one of the most balanced programs in the country in terms of support for different research methodologies and topics. Most students ultimately specialize in the research area and methodology that best suits their skills and research interests. Both behavioral (including experimental economics) and archival methods are strongly supported.

Students also develop specialization in a related field such as economics, psychology, or sociology. Finally, students build a foundation in statistics that supports their research interests. Methodology courses in economics, agricultural economics, or psychology will generally provide a strong foundation.

Independent Research

Students present to the faculty an original research project—often co-authored with a faculty member or with another student—after their first year in the program and again by the end of the student's third year in the program.

General Ph.D. Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements of the specific academic department, all students must meet the general Ph.D. requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business.

Faculty Research Interests

Research interests:
  • Internal and external auditor judgment and decision-making
  • Corporate governance
  • Strategic interactions between auditors and managers
  • Auditor expertise
  • Data analytics
Research interests:
  • Managerial accounting and cost management
  • Health care fiscal management
  • Accounting and control in hospitals, universities, and high technology firms
Research interests:
  • Executive compensation
  • Corporate tax reporting
Research interests:
  • Auditor judgment and decision-making
  • Use of specialists in auditing
  • Auditing complex estimates
Research interests:
  • Decision-making in financial accounting, auditing, and managerial accounting
  • Corporate governance
  • CFO compensation
  • Auditor client acceptance
  • Fraud
  • Client-auditor negotiation
  • Audit budget-setting process
  • Accounting curriculum effectiveness
Research interests:
  • Intersection of financial and tax reporting
  • Influence of tax and financial reporting on capital markets
  • Importance of tax and accounting information on business decisions
Research interests:
  • Role of accounting information in securities markets
  • Valuation-relevance of earnings component information
  • Economic effects of changes in accounting regulation
Research interests:
  • Financial reporting issues related to income taxes
  • Corporate tax avoidance
  • State and local taxation
Research interests:
  • Managerial accounting and strategic cost management
  • Corporate governance
  • Performance measurement
  • Incentives
  • Sustainability
Research interests:
  • Auditing
  • Audit quality
  • The role of reputation in markets
  • Experimental economics
  • Impact of agency costs on firm valuations and performance
  • Related party transactions
  • Audit markets
Research interests:
  • Financial Accounting Standards Board pronouncements
  • Accounting standards
  • Financial reporting issues
Research interests:
  • Financial accounting
  • Relationship between firms’ underlying operations and financial reporting outcomes
  • Pricing strategies and financial reporting quality
  • Predicting future performance in manufacturing firm operations
  • How different measures of firm income can provide incremental information
Research interests:
  • Managerial and cost accounting
  • Performance measurement
  • Motivation
  • Incentives and compensation
Research interests:
  • Financial reporting, including behavior of financial markets relative to accounting disclosures, accounting choice, disclosure, and regulatory policy
  • Financial institution financial reporting
Research interests:
  • Financial accounting and reporting
  • Earnings quality
  • Informativeness of accounting measures
  • Financial markets
  • Audit reports
  • Corporate governance
  • Managerial ownership
  • International financial markets

Connect with Current Students

We encourage you to contact our doctoral students in accounting and information systems to hear their perspectives on the Wisconsin Ph.D. Program.

View current student profiles

See Our Placement Results

Graduates of our Ph.D. specialization in accounting and information systems have accepted tenure-track positions at top research universities.

View recent placements