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General Information

Accounting is an interdisciplinary area, combining study of financial information with areas such as economics, finance, decision theory, and cognitive psychology. The study of accounting involves examination of financial, managerial, and tax accounting problems, as well as related problems in auditing and decision-making.

The Ph.D. curriculum in accounting encompasses two major streams of research. The first stream examines the role of accounting information (both financial and managerial) in contracting and capital markets. This first stream is economics-and-finance based and relies heavily on empirical research methods using archival data. The second stream is judgment and decision making in accounting (also known as behavioral decision theory research). This second stream is primarily psychology-based and relies heavily on controlled experiments with human subjects. The approach is often applied to study auditing issues but also can be applied to financial and managerial accounting issues. The accounting Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students to publish research in top-tier accounting journals including The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, and Journal of Accounting Research and to take positions at leading research-based universities.

The Department of Accounting offers both major and minor areas in accounting. The remainder of this document first describes the policies for a major in accounting. This is followed by a description of the policies for a minor in accounting.

Department web site
Accounting Faculty

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited university and should have reasonable training in mathematics and economics. An admission committee of faculty members reviews all completed applications. While the committee considers all relevant factors in its recommendations, important factors include past academic performance, GMAT scores, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. The GRE exam can be substituted for the GMAT but the GMAT is strongly preferred. In some cases, we may request a personal interview.

Recommended Preparation Prior to Entry

In the summer preceding arrival at UW, new doctoral students are strongly encouraged to review important concepts in basic tool areas (e.g., economics, statistics, calculus, and linear algebra). Knowledge of financial and managerial accounting is required.

Accounting Area Faculty Coordinator

Prof. Dawn Matsumoto, Accounting Area Faculty Coordinator, would be glad to answer your questions. You can contact her by phone (206-543-4454) or by email (

The Accounting Area Faculty Coordinator advises new students until they establish a Supervisory Committee by the end of the Spring quarter of their first year (the committee consists of a major area advisor and a faculty representative from each supporting area. The supervisory committee assists the student in choosing appropriate courses, approves the course of studies, and monitors the student’s progress.

Course Requirements for Accounting Major
Typical Course Schedule
Course Requirements for Accounting Minor
Other Requirements