The Carroll School is preparing the way for a new stream of students in the accounting department—those who will be pursuing their doctorates in that fast-growing discipline. The accounting Ph.D. program will become the third doctoral offering at the School, adding to finance and organization studies.

Getting ready for a fall 2017 launch, the accounting department is now reaching out to prospective students.

Professor and accounting chair Mark Bradshaw described the new Ph.D. program as the “obvious next step” for a department that has grown steadily in stature and reputation over the past decade. “When you look at our peer schools,” he said, referring to such institutions as Duke, New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania, “almost all of them have doctoral programs in accounting.”

A doctoral program offers a number of advantages, Bradshaw noted. For one thing, he said, “It adds a renewable inquisitiveness each year, as new Ph.D. students enter the program and question the status quo.”

The new Ph.D. thrust comes at a time when demand is rising rapidly for undergraduate accounting programs, even as the ranks of new faculty remain flat. As a result, said Sugata Roychowdhury, accounting professor and director of the accounting Ph.D. program, “There’s a severe shortage of accounting Ph.D.’s in the country.”

The program will start off with no more than four Ph.D. aspirants and will eventually grow to roughly 15 students—about average for such programs in accounting. All will receive tuition waivers and stipends for living expenses in addition to other stipends for research assistance and teaching at the undergraduate level.

“Nothing solidifies the research environment of a department more than having a Ph.D. program,” said Roychowdhury, noting that doctoral research adds to the rigor of academic programs and strengthens reputation. He said doctoral programs also “make it easier to attract illustrious faculty” who do cutting-edge research, and they provide undergraduates with an additional source of interaction.

Among the prospective students being eyed by the department are seniors in the Carroll School’s Honors Program, especially those in accounting, finance, and economics.

Roychowdhury said that while undergraduates in management might typically think about becoming CPAs or investment bankers, often they don’t look at the professor in front of the classroom and ask, “What’s that like as a career?” Carroll School professors will encourage selected undergraduates to consider a life of research and teaching in the accounting discipline.