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The Institute of Internal Auditors North AmericaBreadcrumb SeparatorInternal Audit FoundationBreadcrumb SeparatorMichael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant

​Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant

To encourage internal audit studies by doctoral candidates, the Internal Audit Foundation supports an ongoing doctoral dissertation grant program. This program provides funds to selected doctoral candidates interested in the field of internal auditing.


In 1990, the doctoral dissertation grant was named in the memory of a leader in internal audit research and education, Michael J. Barrett, DBA, CIA. Dr. Barrett served on the Board of Research Advisors for the Internal Audit Foundation and in many other IIA leadership positions. In 1990, he was awarded The IIA's Bradford Cadmus Memorial Award. Dr. Barrett was chairman and professor of the accounting department at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He was instrumental in establishing internal audit courses at the universities where he served, and at many other colleges and universities. The Foundation offers the Michael J. Barrett Grant as an incentive to future professors who will continue research and education in our profession.

Topics of Interest

Visit the Foundation's web page for topic suggestions. Each year, the Foundation announces new priorities and topics for future research opportunities. While these priorities indicate specific interest in possible research projects, doctoral candidates should not feel limited to the priorities. Grant applicants should submit dissertation subjects related to internal auditing to be considered for the grant program.


Any doctoral candidate pursuing an advanced post-graduate degree (such as Ph.D. or DBA) in auditing, accounting, or business from an accredited educational institution is eligible to apply for the doctoral dissertation grant. Applicants should submit their dissertation proposals, along with a detailed cover letter, to the Foundation. (See Submission Information at the bottom of this page.) Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation by professors directly supervising or connected with their dissertation efforts.

Items to Include in Proposal

  • Dissertation title
  • Name of doctoral candidate/applicant
  • Name of degree-granting institution
  • Objective of research: Purpose and plan of accomplishment for proposed dissertation
  • Need for research: Timeliness and importance of dissertation topics; perceived problems to be addressed; anticipated benefits to the internal auditing profession
  • Research plan: How will the project be implemented? Include specifics on organization, methodology, scope, and work plan
  • Candidate's qualifications: Specify what particular experience, interest, and accomplishments you have relative to your dissertation topic
  • Schedule: List individual tasks and estimated completion time in months from start date. Include any situations that may affect timely completion after funding is granted

NOTE: Proposals should not exceed six pages, exclusive of exhibits, appendices, or attachments.

Cover Letter

An accompanying cover letter written by the applicant should include:

  • The degree you will receive (such as a Ph.D. or DBA).
  • The major and minor fields covered in your doctoral program.
  • The full name of the degree-granting institution where you will complete your dissertation and its business school accreditation.
  • The names and positions of the two professors who are directly involved in the supervision of your dissertation who will send letters of recommendation to the Foundation.
  • Your schedule for completion of course work, qualifying examinations, and beginning of dissertation research.
  • Future professional or career plans after completing the doctoral program.
  • A one-half page summary (abstract) of the dissertation.


To be eligible for the Foundation's doctoral dissertation grant, a candidate should:

  • Intend to teach in the field of auditing for at least two years.
  • Be enrolled in a school that offers a doctoral degree in business with a concentration in accounting or auditing.
  • Have completed or be within one year of completion of the necessary course requirements and pre-dissertation examinations required by the degree-granting institution, and be at the dissertation stage at the time of award. If all requirements have not been completed, you should include a schedule for completion of the remaining requirements in your cover letter.
  • Intend to devote full time to the dissertation during the term of the award. If less than full-time work is expected, explain the reason(s) in your cover letter. Justified reasons will not disqualify the candidate.

Selection of Grant Recipients

Screening and selection of candidates is the responsibility of a review committee of the Committee of Research and Education Advisors (CREA). This committee includes both academicians and practitioners actively involved in the profession of internal auditing.

Selection Criteria

Submissions are evaluated based on:

  • Relevance of the topic to internal auditing.
  • Soundness of methodology.
  • Coherent organization and clarity of presentation.
  • Quality of data (where applicable).

Amount of Grants

If your proposal is selected, you will be awarded a grant of up to $10,000 to help bring your research to life. Up to two awards are given each year.

Timing of Payments

The total grant is paid over a period generally not exceeding one year. Payments begin about the time the candidate begins the dissertation research. The grant is usually divided into three installments corresponding with the submission of dissertation progress reports.

Deadlines and Announcement Dates

The deadline for submitting a grant application is October 15 of each calendar year. Winners will be determined by December 15 of the same year.

Submission Information

Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Award
The Institute of Internal Auditors
1035 Greenwood Blvd #401
Lake Mary, FL 32746
Fax: +1-407-937-1101

Grant Recipients and Dissertations

View the list of previous grant recipients.