There is a shortage of accounting faculty and this shortage is predicted to worsen in the future. The number of new PhDs in accounting has declined from approximately 200 per year in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to just over 100 per year in recent years. Currently, we expect approximately 400 to 500 new accounting faculty positions to open up annually over the next to five to ten years. We believe that there has been a narrowing of the number of PhD candidates coming from fields other than accounting and other business related fields. If this is true, we believe that the number of accounting PhDs could be increased and the shortage could be reduced by increasing the number of nonaccounting/nonbusiness bachelor degree holders in accounting PhD programs.
In this study, we examined patterns in the undergraduate majors of accounting doctorates over a forty-year time period to determine whether there was such a narrowing and how it related to the total number of accounting doctorates issued. We find that the percentage of non-accounting undergraduates was highest when the number of accounting PhDs granted annually was the highest. We also analyze the frequency of topics and research methods used in accounting dissertations to determine whether shifts in topics and research methods are related to changes in the total number of accounting doctorates. Results indicate that topics addressed and methodologies used in dissertations have become less diverse. Thus, we could perhaps increase the supply of accounting PhDs by expanding the applicant pool to include undergraduates with nonaccounting/business degrees.