This PhD programme gives you the opportunity to develop new insight into accounting and accountability processes with a view to influencing policy and practice. It is open to those who have previous experience in academic research in accounting.
You can follow a traditional thesis approach, where you write a dissertation reflecting on contemporary problems facing the world of accounting, or you may decide to produce a 'three paper' thesis. This consists of a number of research articles, framed by an introduction and conclusion. Your supervisors support you to submit these papers to conferences and for publication in international journals, so you can begin to build you international research portfolio well before graduation.
You study at Essex Business School (EBS), world-renowned for research on governance, the impact of auditing and the effect of accounting practices in a globalised world. As one of the few centres of Excellence for Critical Accounting Practices, we explore alternative aspects of accounting through a social science lens. We champion issues such as responsible management, sustainability and global development, business ethics and social responsibility, producing cutting-edge research that aims to make organisations better places to do business.
Essex Business School is the largest department at the University of Essex and is ranked in the UK’s top 25 for research excellence and intensity (REF, 2014). We are home to cutting-edge researchers, such as Emeritus Professor Prem Sikka, who is regularly cited in the national and international media for his work calling businesses who avoid tax to account. We help you to develop new transferable skills, enhance your professional development and build a network of invaluable contacts from across academia and the private, public and third sectors.
Our accounting research centres, Essex Accounting Centre and BAFA Accounting and Finance in Emerging Economies, organise seminars throughout the year. These give you access to the latest academic thinking and the opportunity to network with colleagues and visiting scholars from across the world. You also have the opportunity to present your work at our PhD conference each year.
You may decide to study on a full or part-time basis and we also offer an Mphil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject. If you would like to undertake a doctoral degree in accounting, but do not have a Masters degree, you might want to consider our integrated option.
You may also be eligible for a PhD scholarship.
You benefit from world-class supervision and research training at Essex Business School. We are home to eight research centres across our two campuses, several leading journal editors and our research has been cited in the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve.
You are allocated two supervisors during your studies. They provide you with guidance and support to help you achieve your individual research goals and produce a high quality piece of doctoral work. Your supervisors help you to develop your research topic and create your personalised training plan. You meet with them at least once a month and are usually required to submit work before so you can seek feedback in these meetings. Twice a year, you have a supervisory board meeting to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
As well as supporting you to complete your thesis, your supervisors can help you to plan your career development. Our academics often co-author publications with doctoral students and can help you to develop the transferable skills needed for the jobs market.
Browse our staff pages to find out more about our areas of supervision.
PhD Accounting is based at our Colchester Campus, in the UK’s first zero carbon business school building. The building reflects our commitment to sustainability and our pledge to promote business ethics in line with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) .
You benefit from excellent research facilities, such as:
The University library is a short walk from our building and our Colchester Campus has ample IT labs.
Across the road from our building, buses take you to Colchester town centre and the railway station, where you can take trains directly to London. London Stansted airport is just over an hour away, providing connections to mainland Europe.
Our doctoral graduates hold academic positions in top universities around the world, and organisations in the public and private sectors. Our PhD programmes are designed to foster the business leaders and researchers of the future who use creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to meet the many challenges facing the international business world.
The University’s Employability and Careers Centre can provide careers advice, with Essex Business School also providing employability support, such as CV workshops, one-to-one advice and career resources.
You will need a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
You begin your studies by meeting with your supervisors and undertaking an intensive induction programme. You attend advanced research methods training and undertake compulsory modules tailored to your individual research needs.
Throughout your PhD, you have regular meetings with your supervisors. You are often asked to write up your ideas or reading notes to help establish good writing practices. By the end of your first year of research, you should have a solid understanding of the key debates in your field and have defined your research questions, outlining your original contribution to knowledge. Our finance students are also expected to have made substantial progress on their first research paper. Those studying via the integrated PhD route (or 1+3) will have completed an additional year to obtain a Masters before beginning their research.
In your second year, you are likely to finalise the design of your own research project and either collect primary data, or access and analyse large scale datasets. You may also make progress on your second research paper. You receive regular feedback on your ideas and findings from your supervisors and are encouraged to develop your own research ideas independently during this year. If you are undertaking fieldwork in another location, your supervisors will still be in touch via email or Skype.
In your final year, you continue to analyse your own research data and further refine your original contribution to knowledge. You will collate your work into a approximately 50-80k words thesis. Our finance students are also expected to make substantial progress on their third research paper.
You may attend a number of conferences in your final year to test out your research findings and thesis on an international stage. Your attendance may be funded by Essex Business School. As well as advising on how to prepare your thesis for examination, your supervisors can advise on future career plans in academia or industry.
Creating a 50-80k word thesis is a significant task. To help you finalise your PhD and produce high quality doctoral research, we have a number of support mechanisms.
You undertake a progress board every six months, where you, your supervisors and an independent chair mark your progress and set objectives for the next period. You are also encouraged to take part in peer group debates and discussions.
Our full-time doctorates are 36 month programmes. At the end of this time, you may be allowed up to 12 months to finish writing up your PhD.
Once you have submitted your thesis, you will be asked to attend a Viva Voce examination with examiners from within and outside of the University. A viva voce examination usually takes place within three months of submission of thesis.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
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At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
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