Postgraduate Research Course

PhD Accounting

PhD Accounting

Overview

The details
Accounting
October 2021
Full-time
5 years
Colchester Campus

Our Integrated PhD Accounting provides a route to doctoral study if you do not have a Masters degree, or have little to no research training. It enables you to spend your first year completing a full-time Masters-level qualification, which will equip you with the business knowledge and research skills needed to begin PhD study the following year. Your PhD will then be studied full time, over the next three years.

You can choose to follow a traditional thesis approach, where you write a dissertation, or follow a 'three paper' thesis, 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 research portfolio well before graduation.

Essex Business School (EBS) is world-renowned for research on governance, the impact of auditing and the effect of accounting practices in a globalised world and this PhD will give you the opportunity to engage with the debate and look at contemporary problems facing the world of accounting. 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.

You study at Essex Business School, at our Colchester Campus. We are a business school with an international outlook. Our doctoral students join us from all over the world and we are committed to the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Essex is proud to be ranked 25th in the UK for research quality (TGUG 2020).

The University of Essex is home to a number of cutting-edge research centres and institutes, where academics across disciplines and departments come together to collaborate around a common theme, often engaging with external partners at a national and international level. Our accounting research centres, Essex Accounting Centre and Centre for Accountability and Global Development, organise seminars throughout the year, giving you access to the latest academic thinking and the opportunity to network with colleagues and visiting scholars from across the world.

In addition, our researchers investigate matters that are closely linked to people’s lives, fitting with our belief that businesses and organisations should behave in a responsible and ethical way. Professor Thankom Arun, has recently been investigating whether there is truth in the claim that CSR in developing countries, when compared to developed countries, is influenced substantially more by moral, cultural and religious considerations and less by self-interest and profit seeking. By helping to understand why firms choose to act in responsible ways, it is hoped research such as this could lead to policy changes which encourage more of the same.

Essex Business School provides a highly flexible and supportive PhD experience, where your supervisors develop your professional skills and research expertise in your chosen area. We are the largest department at the University of Essex, with more than 100 doctoral students from more than 40 different nationalities. Essex is proud to be ranked 22nd for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.

We encourage you to attend international conferences and you will have the opportunity to present your work at our PhD conference each year.

If you already have a Masters degree or previous relevant research training, we also offer a PhD Accounting that you can study on a full-time or part-time basis. You may be eligible for a scholarship.

Why we're great.
  • Limited research training or no Masters degree? Our integrated route means you can still study for a PhD
  • Essex Business School is ranked in the UK’s top 25 for research excellence and intensity (REF, 2014)
  • We have strong relationships with external stakeholders and funders, including UK research councils and EU framework programmes
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

At Essex Business School, you benefit from world-class supervision and research training conducted by our senior academic staff such as Dr Pawan Adhikari. Pawan is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting. His expertise lies within public sector accounting, and his contemporary research follows two distinct directions: a contribution to accounting theory and promoting impact research in emerging economies. His impact research has highlighted the issues that emerging economies are facing while improving their accounting/accountability practices and is widely used in policy making. He serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management and in 2019, he was awarded the best postgraduate supervisor at the faculty level.

Professor of Management and Director of Postgraduate Research at Essex Business School Martyna Sliwa, oversees and leads on the provision of our graduate research programmes and ensures that we create an environment where our doctoral students can flourish as researchers in a thriving and mutually supportive PhD community. Martyna talks more about her role, why Essex Business School is unique and offers advice to prospective PhD students in a recent interview.

You work with 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.

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.

Take a look at our staff pages to find out more about our areas of supervision.

Specialist facilities

This integrated PhD is based at our Colchester Campus, in the UK’s first zero carbon business school building, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and business ethics; we are proud to be a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) .

You have access to excellent facilities, such as:

  • a PhD study area with computers
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) pods to meet with students, should you decide to become a GTA
  • a Bloomberg trading floor, complete with X_TRADER 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
  • study skills support for postgraduate students such as help with the University library, research databases, literature reviews and presentation skills
  • Bonds café with adjacent sun terrace

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 programmes are designed to foster the business leaders and researchers of the future. Our graduates use creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to meet the many challenges facing the international business world.

Our doctoral graduates have secured roles in academia at some of the best international universities, as well as organisations in the public and private sectors. Recent examples include careers with Leeds University Business School, Essex Business School, Cambridge Education, EY (Ernst and Young) and public sector roles around the world.

Our University Student Development Careers Services are on hand to provide careers advice and help you make the most of your Essex experience. You will also have access to CV workshops, one-to-one advice and career resources.

“At Essex you are encouraged to think outside the box and do things unconventionally. This gave me a great opportunity to bring together two aspects of critical study that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else.”

Anne Steinhoff - PhD Accounting

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

Structure

Course structure

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.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

See full list of modules

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Essex Business School - Research
(0 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

EBS Integrated Programmes: Dissertation
(60 CREDITS)

Your dissertation is the culmination of your course where you apply knowledge gained to produce an extended independent piece of work. You generate an original idea, analyse literature and current knowledge and produce a coherent argument that shows your ability to relate theory to practice. Your dissertation will help you develop vital skills for the workplace, as well as the ability to analyse real problems through an academic lens. You are assigned a supervisor for the duration of your project.

View EBS Integrated Programmes: Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Issues in Financial Reporting
(20 CREDITS)

Demonstrate a critical understanding of major current issues in financial accounting and reporting. You develop an awareness of financial reporting theory, the problematic nature of accounting measurements and disclosures, corporate disclosure regulation, the implications of market efficiency for financial reporting, and the potential role of accounting information in social reporting and collective bargaining.

View Issues in Financial Reporting on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Philosophies of Research and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Research Evaluation
(20 CREDITS)

Explore a range of theoretical, philosophical and methodological approaches to the conduct of doctoral research with a focus on the literature phase of a research project. You scrutinise the process of writing an academic literature review, develop a literature-based research plan for your dissertation, integrating subject-specific learning with insights on research methodology and epistemology.

View Research Evaluation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Research Methods in Accounting
(20 CREDITS)

This module equips you with a critical understanding of research methods and methodologies in the field of accounting. You develop the skills needed to explore issues in accounting and identify, choose and implement research designs and strategies.

View Research Methods in Accounting on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Management Accounting
(20 CREDITS)

Management accounting provides information required for decision-making, planning and control and cost management. You examine a range of contemporary issues in management accounting such as activity-based costing, strategic management accounting and other management accounting issues. You also evaluate contemporary approaches of management control theories to understand the current practices of management accounting locally and globally.

View Management Accounting on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: OPTIONAL

EBS (Colchester Campus) option from list
(20 CREDITS)

Assessment

You spend your first year of your Integrated PhD completing a full-time Masters-level qualification, which will equip you with the business knowledge and research skills needed to formally begin PhD study the following year. You PhD will then be studied full time, over the next three years.

During the first year of your PhD, you meet regularly with your supervisors and undertake an intensive study 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.

In your second PhD 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 Zoom.

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 an approximately 50-80k words thesis.

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. 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.

Dissertation

You can choose to follow a traditional thesis approach, where you write a dissertation, or follow a 'three paper' thesis, where you produce three research articles, framed by an introduction and conclusion.

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 and funding

Home/UK fee

£5,360

International fee

£16,230

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 tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

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.

Exhibitions

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.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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