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Admission Criteria

Students are admitted to the accounting doctoral program only for the fall semester and on a full-time basis. For admission to the program, an applicant must have:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree from a recognized educational institution
  • A superior academic record
  • A minimum GMAT score of 600 (must be less than five years old)
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper), 250 (computer), or 100 (internet), for applicants whose first language is not English, even if they have a degree from a U.S. university; TOEFL score must be less than two years old)
  • Personal qualifications of sound character, perseverance, intellectual curiosity and an interest in scholarly research

Our Ph.D. in Accounting admissions decisions are made after a consideration of all candidates who apply in a given year, based upon (a) GMAT scores, (b) past work experience in business contexts, (c) past GPA, (d) strength of letters of recommendation, and (e) quality of the personal essay by the applicant. Online or face-to-face interviews may also be requested in some cases, but not all.

Application Requirements

Online application

Applicants must complete the online application for admission to graduate studies at Michigan State University with fees paid.

Reviews of applications will begin December 1 and will continue until positions are filled. The deadline for applications is January 15. All accepted students begin the doctoral program in August – there are no spring or summer starts.

College transcripts

We require college transcripts showing grades received while pursuing all prior undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees, if any. Official copies should be sent directly to the Department of Accounting and Information Systems:

Business College Complex
632 Bogue St Rm N270
East Lansing, MI 48824

The Office of Admissions will accept the following as certified copies:

  • The copy is notarized with name/stamp/seal/date and submitted by the applicant in a sealed envelope.
  • The copy of the original is attached to an MSU faculty written translation signed and dated by faculty member when original is not in English.
  • The copy is stamped “true copy” or “duplicate” by the international institution (must be in sealed envelope).
  • The original transcript is viewed by an MSU department employee.
    The employee makes a copy and stamps the copy “compared with original.” The applicant and employee must both sign and date the copy.


We require three letters of reference from individuals who are able to appraise your personal interests, abilities and the likelihood that you will successfully complete your Ph.D. program. There is no specific recommendation form. Letters of recommendation should be uploaded via the recommendation portal. Alternatively, you may mail the letters to the department’s address (see above) or email to

Standardized test scores

To be considered for admission, you must submit a valid GMAT score (less than five years old). The Michigan State University Ph.D. in Accounting code for the GMAT is QH0-5P-04. International students must submit valid TOEFL scores (less than two years old) in order to be considered for admission. The Michigan State University code for TOEFL score is 1465.

Written statement of personal goals

This statement should address (a) the area(s) of accounting in which you are interested, (b) why you believe the program and faculty at Michigan State University fit your interests, and (c) your career objectives upon completion of your degree. This statement should be no longer than two pages (double-spaced).

Please note that when you complete the online application, you will be asked to complete an “academic statement” and a “personal statement.” Your statement of personal goals can be used for both the academic statement and the personal statement.

For answers to questions that you might have, please email

Take the next step to become a leader in business scholarship and research. Apply to the accounting doctoral program at Michigan State University.