WVU to Offer Nation’s First-ever Doctoral Program in Business Administration Specializing in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation

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West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics has announced that it will offer the nation’s first-ever Ph.D. program in accounting that offers a specialization in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.

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West Virginia University’s Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation program has been a model for other colleges and universities across the country,” said WVU President Dr. Jim Clements. “Our expertise has made us a national leader in this field.

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West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics has announced that it will offer the nation’s first-ever Ph.D. program in accounting that offers a specialization in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.

The announcement comes in the wake of WVU’s highly successful and internationally renowned Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation (FAFI) program, as well as an international job market that is hungry for qualified forensic accountants and fraud investigators. The program will officially offer a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, and will center its effort on those candidates with an interest in fraud, forensics and ethics research.

“West Virginia University’s Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation program has been a model for other colleges and universities across the country,” said WVU President Dr. Jim Clements. “Our expertise has made us a national leader in this field, and the addition of the Ph.D. program will provide WVU with an important opportunity to create scholars in the areas of fraud, forensics and ethics. I applaud the faculty for all they have done to make this possible.”

“Expanding doctoral programming is key to the achievement of our strategic goal to advance WVU's research reputation,” said Dr. Michele G. Wheatly, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The new Ph.D. program responds to this clarion call with innovative programming that will resonate with both industry and national needs.”

WVU’s business school plans to admit the first group of students to the program in August 2012. The program has been designed to prepare qualified individuals for a career in scholarly accounting research and teaching at the university level.

“This is an exciting time for West Virginia University and our expertise in the areas of forensic accounting, fraud investigation and ethics,” said Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, College of Business and Economics. “This new Ph.D. program is the next logical step in building a complete educational offering in these specific areas, and that step is due to the commitment and expertise of our excellent faculty. This program is a reflection of their long and dedicated work.”

Each doctoral student will be paired with accounting faculty, working closely with students and serving as research mentors throughout the duration of the program. The training, background and interests of the doctoral faculty support behavioral and archival research in fraud, forensics and ethics across the functional accounting areas of accounting information systems, audit, financial, governmental, international and managerial accounting. Therefore, the most competitive applicants for consideration would be those with an interest in fraud, forensics and ethics research.

WVU has a longstanding relationship with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and its College of Business and Economics houses the Institute for Fraud Prevention.

The university has also assumed a leadership position nationally and internationally in the business of forensics. The FORESIGHT project, funded by the National Institute of Justice, is designed to enhance the business expertise of forensic laboratories. The project has clients from across the country and around the world that are eager to better operate their forensic labs through a more comprehensive understanding of “the forensics of business and the business of forensics.” That topic was the subject of a WVU presentation last year to INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization, at its headquarters in Lyon, France. INTERPOL has 188 member countries and is the largest organization of its kind in the world.

Dr. Sartarelli and Dr. Paul Speaker were also featured speakers at the International Association of Forensic Sciences in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, in mid-September. The WVU officials led discussion in the areas of the forensics of business, the FAFI program and how to use the FORESIGHT project as a platform for quality.

“Our expertise and our experience provide a strong foundation for this Ph.D. offering,” Sartarelli said. “We have every confidence we will help produce scholars that will teach students who are eager to enter a growing forensic accounting and fraud investigation job market.”

For more information, go to http://www.be.wvu.edu/phd_accounting/index.htm , or contact Dr. Tim Pearson at timothy.pearson(at)mail(dot)wvu.(dot)edu or 304-293-7847.

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Dr. Timothy Pearson
WVU College of Business and Economics
(304) 293-7847
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