Postgraduate Research Course

PhD Accounting

PhD Accounting


The details
October 2021
5 years
Colchester Campus

This integrated PhD (or 1+3) in accounting provides a route to doctoral study if you do not have a Masters degree, or have little to no research training.

You can choose to follow a traditional thesis approach, where you write a dissertation, or follow a 'three paper' thesis. This is where you produce three 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. We are the largest department at the University of Essex, with more than a 100 doctoral students from 41 nationalities.

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 home to cutting-edge researchers, such as Emeritus Professor Prem Sikka, who is regularly cited in the national and international media.

The course begins with a preparatory year, where you undertake a Masters. This equips you with the business knowledge and research skills needed to begin PhD study in year two. Throughout the programme, you are encouraged to reflect on contemporary problems facing the world of accounting.

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.

You may also be eligible for a PhD scholarship.

Why we're great.
  • Limited research training or no Masters degree? Our integrated route means you can still study for a PhD
  • Join a business school in the UK's 25 for research excellence and intensity (REF, 2014)
  • The University of Essex is ranked 4th in the UK for research excellence in the social sciences (REF 2014)
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Our department boasts 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 guidance and support to help you achieve your individual research goals, develop your research topic and create a personalised training plan. You meet with your supervisors at least once a month and are usually required to submit work before for feedback. Twice a year, you have a supervisory board meeting to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.

Your supervisors can also 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.

Specialist facilities

This integrated PhD is based at our Colchester Campus. You benefit from the UK’s first zero carbon business school building, visualising our commitment to sustainability and business ethics in accordance with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) .

You experience excellent research facilities, such as:

  • a PhD study area with PC access, providing a quiet place for conducting research
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) can meet with their students in our GTA pods
  • a Bloomberg Financial Market Lab, complete with industry-standard software
  • access to databases such as Bloomberg, Compustat, Passport GMID, Bankscope and Datastream
  • e-book finance and business packages to support part-time and distance learning (including Ebrary, NetLibrary, Oxford Scholarship Online, Palgrave Connect and SpringerLink)
  • final year students have access to office space to encourage successful thesis completion <\li>
  • group-working space in our stunning winter garden
  • Bonds café with adjacent sun terrace
  • study skills support for PhD students, such as help with the University library, research databases, literature reviews and presentation skills

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.

Your future

Our PhD graduates work at some of the best universities in the world, as well as organisations in the public and private sectors. Our research programmes are designed to foster the leaders and academics of tomorrow, who use creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to face the most important challenges facing the global economy.

You have access to the University’s Employability and Careers Centre, as well as a range of employability support within the department, such as CV workshops, one-to-one advice and career resources.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

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.

International & EU entry requirements

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.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component


Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

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:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, graduate employability, student support and more
  • talk to our Fees and Funding team about scholarship opportunities
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

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.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

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.


Virtual tours

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.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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