• MPhil/PhD Accounting
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time Study mode details
Start date September, January or April

Research overview

We have recently been awarded research grants from professional bodies including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Our faculty members are regularly invited to advise policy makers at institutions including the Bank of England, the Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Competition and Markets Authority.

Our research is hugely varied, with strengths including:

  • management control
  • capital markets accounting
  • accounting for sustainability
  • taxation
  • corporate governance and auditing

Tax administration

Our Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC) seeks to strengthen the theoretical and empirical understanding of tax operations and policies. It operates in partnership between the University and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

TARC’s research is multidisciplinary, with its research team comprising:

  • economists
  • accountants
  • experimentalists
  • psychologists

Researchers include experts in experimental economics and the application of agent-based modelling, and we conduct research into computable general equilibrium.

The Centre has also pioneered the use of online experiments in collaboration with market-research companies to target specific sectors of the population.

Current projects

  • Risk-based auditing
  • Tax evasion and lifecycle choices
  • How audits affect the behaviour of taxpayers in a network
  • The determinants of HMRC customer experience
  • The role of intermediaries in customer relationships with HMRC
  • Taxpayer attitudes and motivations
  • 'Behavioural Compatibility between Individual Choice and Collective Action' is a collaborative research project with the Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics (IQTE) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China. The project focuses on five key areas:
    • The implementation of VAT in the financial sector
    • Consumption externalities in social networks, and macroeconomic outcomes
    • Poverty reduction and the reduction of inequality
    • Public goods and public services
    • Investors' behaviour and the emergence of capital market


The Department of Accounting is located within the University's Business School, which has its own dedicated computing facilities as well as access to the extensive computing facilities of the wider University. Research students have their own workrooms, available 24 hours a day, with individual workstations and access to the School's databases.

You will work with the Xfi Centre for Finance and Investment. The Xfi centre provides a high quality teaching facility and offers students, financial professionals and global financial institutions a direct gateway to practical business solutions through the work of leading academics and practitioners. The building features:

  • the Thomson Reuters Financial Information Laboratory
  • a dealing room
  • a networked lecture theatre and syndicate rooms
  • an atrium café with wireless internet access

The Business School's £18 million New Building has also recently been completed, increasing our capacity yet further.

We have access to important databases such as:

  • Bloomberg
  • WRDS
  • Morningstar Direct
  • Business Insights
  • Datamonitor
  • LSPD
  • CRSP
  • SDC Platinum

and Thomson Reuters products:

  • 3000Xtra
  • Datastream Advance
  • Wealth Manager
  • Trader

Other resources for research students include a series of working papers from universities, NBER and CEPR.


Skills training

The skills and expertise that you build now are fundamental to your continuing professional development (CPD), and will be part of your toolset throughout your working life.

We strongly recommend that our students take part in the University's Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which offers training in skills such as:

  • research management
  • personal effectiveness
  • communication
  • networking
  • team-working
  • career management

Working while studying

The Business School provides research students with many opportunities to develop skills in teaching, as well as other forms of employment (both academic and non-academic). We actively support students who wish to take on ad-hoc or part time work during their studies.

The School has a Code of Practice for Employment, which complements the University's central Code of Good Practice for the Employment of Postgraduate Students. If you wish to undertake employment during your studies, you must ensure that you read both the School Code and the University Code before commencing any duties.

Alumni employment positions

We are very proud that our graduates have forged successful careers throughout the world in a variety of occupations. Here are just a few:

  • Lecturer, Mahidol University International College
  • Lecturer, University of Birmingham
  • Lecturer in Accounting (E&R), University of Exeter
  • Tax Inspector, Agency of Revenue Italia
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher, FAU-Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Research Manager, Northwestern University
  • Senior Lecturer in Economics, Oxford Brookes University
  • Teaching Assistant, Queen Mary University of London
  • Lecturer in Economics, RMIT University
  • Lecturer, Shanghai University University of Finance and Economics
  • Lecturer in Business Economics, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Senior lecturer, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Lecturer, University of Exeter
  • Post Doctoral Associate, University of Exeter
  • Visiting Faculty Member, University of Exeter
  • Lecturer, University of Manchester
  • Assistant Professor, University of the Punjab, Lahore Pakistan
  • Real Estate Strategist, Zurich Insurance
  • Programme Manager, Cambridge University
  • Project Manager, Erasmus+ National Agency
  • Statistician, Museums Galleries Scotland
  • Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Warwick

Further information

Entry requirements 2020

You'll need a good first degree (i.e. at least the equivalent of an Upper Second Class Honours Degree from a UK university) in the relevant subject, and a taught Masters degree in the discipline is normally required.

Applicants with ESRC-accredited Masters degrees are especially welcome to apply, as are those with merit or distinction-level qualifications. Masters degrees should be in a subject relevant to the proposed research, and it is particularly advantageous if research methods and techniques as well as independent research (e.g. dissertation or project) featured prominently in the curriculum.

If you don't yet have a Masters degree but are wishing to undertake research you may be offered a place on one of the School's taught MRes*, MSc or MA programmes instead of direct +3 entry. We don't offer a formal four-year New Route PhD programme, so you would join the MRes/MSc/MA programme and then apply for the MPhil/PhD programme in that first year. Acceptance would be conditional on your performance in the taught programme.

We'll consider applications according to:

  • your academic qualifications and experience
  • the quality of your research proposal
  • the availability of staff to supervise your proposed research

*Our MRes programmes are officially accredited as research degree training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK's leading research and training agency addressing economic and social concerns.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 3 per cent per year of study.

Tuition fees per year 2019/20

Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 5 per cent per year of study.


The Business School offers a generous range of scholarships and bursaries for postgraduate students. Funding has been made available in previous years from sources including:

  • Distinction Scholarships
  • Thomson Reuters Scholarships
  • Excellence Scholarships

Funding opportunities are subject to change, so for the latest information we recommend searching our funding database.

Current available funding

Contact us

For questions about the application process

Postgraduate programmes based in Exeter

Postgraduate Admissions
University of Exeter
Innovation Centre
Rennes Drive

Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)
+44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
WebEnquire online

Postgraduate programmes based at the Penryn Campus, near Falmouth

Student Recruitment and Admissions
Treliever Road
TR10 9FE
Phone: +44 (0) 1326 371801
WebEnquire online

Visit the Postgraduate Admissions pages for information and advice.

For questions about the programmes and supervision

Business School Postgraduate Research Administration Team

Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0) 1392 726255

Research training and employment opportunities

Your future: your training needs

The skills and expertise that you build now are fundamental to your continuing professional development (CPD), and will be part of your toolset throughout your working life, whether academic or elsewhere. We’re also very keen that you should consider taking part in the University's Postgraduate Researchers' Programme which offers training in a wide range of generic and transferable skills in key areas such as research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking, team-working, and career management.

It’s great if you can enter the programme with research training and experience of research at Masters level, but we don’t expect you to be the finished article. You’ll get together straight away with your supervisor to identify your training needs, and you’ll both monitor and adapt them as your research develops and new challenges emerge.

In the first year of your PhD study the appropriate department(s) in the Business School will specify discipline and subject-specific training which may be methods training, research philosophy, or thematic modules to upgrade your knowledge of the subject. You may be asked simply to attend some modules; you may be required to pass others that are vital to your doctoral studies.

You’ll also need to attend staff-postgraduate seminars addressed by visiting speakers and School staff and you’ll present your research to fellow students and academic staff at our annual research conference or a similar event. This is a key opportunity to get feedback from staff and fellow students on your research, as well as giving you the chance to enhance your presentation skills. Successful presentation is a criterion of upgrade from MPhil to PhD status

External training experiences

We can source most training requirements within the University of Exeter, but where this is not feasible, for instance on specialist software, or cutting-edge methods or techniques vital to your studies, we work with partner organisations like research councils, professional associations and training companies to provide external training. 

You need to be able to communicate your research clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences, and we encourage doctoral students to present their work to external audiences at seminars, symposia and conferences. Each student is allocated a yearly allowance for professional development.

When do I get started?

You should enter your doctoral programme in October at the start of the academic year if at all possible. This is when taught modules commence within the School, as does the University’s research training programme and the widest array of training courses. After the training-needs assessment with your supervisor you may be asked to attend one or more first semester modules commencing in October and, if the training is deemed essential to your programme, this may be a requirement for any offer of a place.

October is also the start of the academic year for all students, with a formal induction programme as well as a vibrant calendar of events, and you’ll definitely benefit socially if you start your studies with other new students.

Employment opportunities

The Business School provides research students with many opportunities to develop skills in teaching, and other academic and non-academic employment, and actively supports students who wish to take on ad-hoc or part time work during their studies.

The School has a Code of Practice for Employment of PGR students which complements the University's central Code of Good Practice for the Employment of Postgraduate Students. Students who wish to undertake work during their studies must ensure they read both the School Code and the University Code before commencing any duties.

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