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Dr. rer. pol.


Stipend & Tuition Waiver

Granted to all successfull candidates

Programme Start

5 Years

Application Deadline
15 January

Accounting Concentration

This concentration is one of the three concentrations offered in the Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme.

It is offered by one of the most productive faculties in Europe. Ranked among the top in Europe of Brigham Young University’s prestigious research ranking, Frankfurt’s Accounting group is known for its innovative research in capital markets and managerial accounting.

We train our students in applying state-of-the-art techniques to address questions that advance contemporaneous accounting research. Our faculty is at the forefront of their research area and shape the profession not only through originality, but also by their editorial work and involvement in global research initiatives. Our Doctoral programme, uniquely positioned in Germany, includes a structured coursework programme that provides students with methodological skills as well as with an in-depth knowledge of economics, finance, and accounting. Faculty has a proven track record of working closely with Doctoral students throughout the programme and has placed students in some of the best research schools in the world.

Accounting research has little to do with refining the workings of double-entry bookkeeping. Instead, scholars examine a broad range of questions about the role of information in markets and within firms. Accounting research is strongly related to practice, studying questions such as the enforcement of international accounting standards or the way firms use incentives and performance measures to motivate employees. But accounting research is also empowered by the latest theoretical insights from economics, finance, psychology and related disciplines (sociology, linguistics, even biology) and has recently made significant strides forward by adopting methods developed by (big) data science. Accounting, contrary to some stereotypes, therefore is one of the most exciting fields of research in business.

Accounting Curriculum

Standard Classes

Mathematics and Statistics

This class sets the foundations for later applications of analytical methods. This includes linear algebra, calculus, optimization, and probabilistic inference. Frankfurt School also offers a preparatory maths class in the summer, for those aiming to brush up before entering this course.


A graduate-level micro-economics course. It begins with consumer decision making and general equilibrium, followed by game theory. Also covered are bi-forms, i.e. the combination of the two game theoretic solution concepts as applied by incomplete contract theory.


The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve, prior empirical studies.

Advanced Empirical Methods

This course covers extensions to standard regression techniques and offers alternatives. Bayesian statistics, prediction and validation, simulation models, and machine-learning techniques are among the key topics.

Accounting Classes

Grounded strongly in economics and quantitative methods, our faculty encourages students to explore creative, new ideas in a rigorous way.

We prefer students to extend the boundaries of the field by incorporating insights from adjacent areas such as finance, management, and the behavioral sciences rather than making incremental technical improvements.

The accounting concentration offers the following courses to help students achieve those goals:

Accounting Information and Capital Markets

Course Description

This empirical Doctoral seminar in the Accounting concentration aims to provide a broad overview over the most important strands of literature, while the in-class discussion will also highlight test design choices. 

Aside from general class participation, students are expected to present select papers during class, the (take-home) deliverables at course conclusion are a research proposal and a referee report.  Students can opt to gain programming experience (SAS/Stata) through a (guided) replication of an existing study. 

The course is normally scheduled to meet weekly throughout the semester. If external students enroll, the format will be changed to three blocks of adjacent classes (4+4+3).


Accounting, Econometrics (master level)

Course Structure

  • Introduction to Empirical Accounting Research: The role of accounting research from informational and contracting perspectives
  • Empirical accounting research classics: Accounting numbers and stock prices
  • Accounting-based valuation
  • Earnings responses and value relevance
  • Conservatism: Motivation, measures, and consequences
  • Returns and cost of capital
  • Investor information processing and stock market anomalies
  • Earnings management
  • Earnings quality
  • Standard Setting 1: Disclosure versus recognition
  • Standard Setting 2: Comparative accounting research, IFRS adoption

Topics in Empirical Accounting Research

Course Description

This course is designed for PhD students in accounting and may also be of interest to PhD students with research interests in related fields, particularly corporate finance and management. The main goal is to enhance students’ understanding of empirical economics-based research in accounting. A secondary goal is to broaden the students’ view of what constitutes accounting research by showing how it is embedded in work in other disciplines such as economics, finance, and biology.

This course surveys leading academic research in economics, finance, and accounting and highlights in particular emerging topics and new research methods. Throughout the course, I intend to emphasize research design issues, identification strategies, and new (uses of) data. Students are allowed to take each module separately for credit, but are encouraged to attend the complete course.

Course Structure

Part I: Organizational design, performance measurement, and incentives

  • Complementarities in organizational design and empirical consequences
  • Delegation of authority
  • Incentives and reward systems
  • Performance measurement

Part II: Disclosure and contracting

  • (Implicit) contracting theory, supply and loan contracts
  • Conservatism and the confirmatory role of accounting information
  • (Voluntary) disclosure choices and computational linguistics

Part III: Political economy of accounting and finance

  • Corporate political activity and firm policies
  • Media and other information intermediaries
  • Enforcement and regulation in (international) capital markets

Part IV: Managerial characteristics, (firm) culture, and firm outcomes

  • Do managers matter?
  • Cultural heritage vs. innate characteristics of managers
  • Plough vs. hoe or Rice vs. wheat: the origin of time preferences and why it is important

Empirical Methods in Accounting and Finance

Course Description

  • Fixed effects regression
  • Difference-in-differences estimators
  • Regression discontinuity design
  • Synthetic control estimator
  • Instrumental variable regressions
  • Governance of the research process


Econometrics I and II

Course Structure

The course is structured in three parts (not necessarily chronological):

  • Part 1: Empirical methodologies (focus on regression discontinuity, difference-in-difference estimators, synthetic control estimators)
  • Part 2: Discussion of recent empirical papers with a focus on financial intermediation, corporate finance, and possibly with a link to accounting
  • Part 3: Development of own research ideas

Performance Measurement & Incentives

Course Description

This module provides an introduction to academic empirical research on performance measurement and incentives. It covers topics such as financial and nonfinancial performance measures, subjective performance evaluation, target setting and target ratcheting, relative performance evaluation and management control systems.


Econometrics I

Course Structure

  • Intro: Paradigms in Management Accounting Research: Theory & Methods
  • Explicit & Implicit Incentive Design Frameworks
  • Performance Measures (I), especially Stock Prices & Accounting
  • Measures & Nonfinancial Performance Measures
  • Performance Measures (II) Organizational Design (Decentralization, Interdependencies), Subjectivity
  • Management Accounting at the Top of the Firm: Corporate Governance
  • Relative Performance Evaluation
  • Target Setting
  • Economic and Behavioral Aspects of Budgeting
  • Cost Behavior and Management
  • Management Control Systems & Informal Controls such as the Balanced Scorecard Framework
  • Behavioral Aspects in Management Control

Game Theory

Course Description

The course aims to familiarize students with the basic concepts of game theory.

Students learn different classes of games and a variety of solution concepts to predict strategic behavior in these games.

They will learn how to capture practically relevant situations in a game and the necessary tools to solve these games.


Students should have completed a Doctoral class in Microeconomics.

Course Structure

The course combines theoretical developments of game theoretic concepts with applications of these concepts to questions in economics, finance, and management. The course starts with simple games and shows the solution concepts for these games. It then gradually enriches the games and the respective solution concepts. For each class of games, several examples will be provided how to apply the material learned in the course, always with an eye on how students can apply these concepts in their own research


You will have a budget for three additional courses suitable for your chosen area of specialisation. These can be offered by Frankfurt School but often are found at other research universities. Faculty and the program office help you identify appropriate courses.

Independent Study Courses

The Frankfurt School’s Accounting Seminars offer new insights into a broad range of accounting, managerial or economic issues. The seminars are a forum for mostly external researchers to present and discuss their work, employing rigorous methodological approaches, including theoretical models, empirical-archival methods or experimental methods.

The Accounting Seminars usually take place on Wednesdays from 2.00 to 3.30 pm.

Before or after the talk, the faculty welcomes the opportunity to meet the speaker individually and exchange ideas. 

The Accounting Department welcomes not only all members of the Frankfurt School community to these seminars, but also external guests.  If you are interested in attending as an external guest, please let us know by e-mail.

Below you can find a list of this year's seminars.

Accounting Seminars

Research Topics

Throughout our courses, we emphasize research design issues, identification strategies, and new (uses of) data, to enable students to start their own high quality research projects. Students are also welcome to join research projects of the faculty and will find a stimulating, cooperative, and challenging research environment.

Our faculty’s research interests are quite broad in the areas of financial accounting, managerial accounting and related areas. Using mostly empirical-archival research methods, we are currently exploring questions in the following areas (among others):

Performance measurement
Economic and psychological consequences of incentive and information systems
Consequences of corporate disclosures
Corporate governance issues, such as compensation contract designs
Determinants and consequences of accounting quality
Auditing and enforcement of financial accounting information

Accounting Faculty

Affiliated Faculty

Achieve remarkable successes

Frankfurt is among few schools in Germany and even in Europe to offer full-fledged coursework, which prepares students for the demands of dissertation research, on par with what has traditionally only been available in top schools in the U.S. The program has achieved remarkable successes:

Doctoral students have been invited for visiting scholarships in top schools in the U.S. (e.g., MIT) and in Australia (University of Melbourne).

The accounting faculty has placed their Doctoral students at renowned international research institutions
in Europe

  • London Business School
  • Free University Amsterdam
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • University of Mannheim

in Australia

  • University of Melbourne

and in the U.S.

  • University of Chicago
  • Michigan State University

Doctoral students have presented their dissertation work in highly visible and competitive conferences such as the Singapore Management University Accounting Symposium and the MIT-Asia conference

Become an integral part of the Accounting group

We want our students to share the faculty’s passion for research. Students are an integral part of the Accounting group, benefiting from the many workshops, conferences, and visitors and overall lively, informal, but intellectual culture.

We encourage students to work together with faculty on their research ideas and students have easy access to all the group’s research resources, including essential databases such as WRDS, IncentiveLab and many more.

Doctoral students have their own discretionary annual research budget.

The annual Doctoral Boot Camp provides students with an informal setting to present their research ideas, proposal, and early draft papers for the entire faculty and receive constructive feedback.

Faculty play key roles in the profession, serving as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for the major journals in the field (including, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, The Accounting Review, Accounting, Organizations, and Society, Management Science, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies).

Student funding and scholarships

Frankfurt School offers fully-funded study places for the Doctoral programme in order to attract and support the brightest minds in academia.

Students are expected to devote 100% of their working time to their masters and Doctoral studies at Frankfurt School for up to five years.

Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a cost-of-living stipend. The monthly stipend comprises of € 1,200

The stipend will be granted for five years conditional on the continued satisfaction of all academic programme requirements.

From the second year onwards Doctoral students may receive an additional €400 for their involvement as a teaching or research assistant. Frankfurt School students thus have a total of €1,600 for their living expenses.

Furthermore Frankfurt School covers costs related to research, including conferences and overseas visits.

Application process

1. Target Group

Outstanding graduates of a Bachelor‘s or Master’s programme in business administration, finance, management, accounting or related fields who aspire to launch an academic career.

Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are welcome to apply with their most recent academic transcript. Please note that the degree has to be completed by the time of the beginning of the programme.

2. Online Application

The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. You will need to upload the following required documents. Please note that you need a certified English or German translation for all documents, that are not originally in German or English. The application platform will be open between September 15th and January 15th.

Required Documents

  • CV and list of publications (if existent)
  • Certified copy of your University Entrance Qualification (Abitur, A-levels or equivalent)
  • Certified copy of your University Degree Certificate or equivalent and academic transcript of records
  • Official GMAT or GRE results
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency Test (TOEFL IBT min. score of 100/IELTS min. score of 7.0)
  • Two letters of recommendation from a former academic tutor or from another person in an academic environment.
  • Motivation letter and research interest (description of a possible research project, 2-5 pages, demonstrating how the candidate plans to apply his/her particular interests, skills and expertise to the pursuit of his/her academic objectives)

3. Interview

Successful applicants will be invited to a Skype interview with faculty members of the chosen concentration.

4. Results

The final decision regarding admission to our Doctoral programme will be made by the Committee for Doctoral Proceedings. It is based on the applicants overall portfolio and the interview. The results will be communicated after the final decision.