The doctoral program in Accounting and Management focuses on understanding the role of information and measurement systems for: Allocating resources among firms in the economy and between departments or divisions of individual firms; Rewarding and monitoring the performance of managers; Formulating, executing and evaluating strategy by firm managers; Understanding the profitability of suppliers, products, customers, distribution channels, and business units; and Managing franchise risk.

Students work closely with faculty in the Accounting and Management Unit. Research here encompasses Financial Reporting and Analysis and Management Accounting.

Read Student Profile

Curriculum & Coursework

Our programs are full-time degree programs which officially begin in September. Students are expected to complete their program in five years. Typically, the first two years are spent on coursework, at the end of which students take a field exam, and then another two years on dissertation research and writing.

Students in the Accounting and Management program must complete a minimum of 13 semester-long doctoral courses in the areas of business management theory, economic theory, quantitative research methods, academic field seminars, and the Business Education for Scholars and Teachers (BEST) Series. In addition to HBS courses, students may take courses at other Harvard Schools and MIT.


Students are required to complete a teaching assignment for one full academic term.

Field Exam

Students are required to pass a Field Exam in accounting and management at the end of their second or the beginning of their third year. The exam has two parts: a written exam and an oral examination based on the student’s written exam. Though students may choose to emphasize either financial or managerial accounting, the exam typically covers both subfields.

Research & Dissertation

Students in accounting and management begin research in their first year typically by working with a faculty member. By their third and fourth years, most students are launched on a solid research and publication stream. In accounting and management, the dissertation may take the form of three publishable papers or one longer dissertation.

Recent questions students have explored include: The ways in which managers use retail-level marketing actions to influence the timing of consumer purchases in relation to their firms’ fiscal calendars and financial performance as well as those of their competitors; The role of accounting information in strategic human resource decisions; The evolution, consequences and institutional determinants of unregulated financial reporting practices; The effects of adopting rolling forecasts on forecast quality.

See Program Requirements for detailed curriculum information.