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Accounting School Information

Find an Accounting Degree Program That Works for You

For anyone looking to work as an accountant, earning an accounting degree from a certified school is an essential first step. Although there are a variety of options for accounting degrees and certifications, most employers these days look for a bachelor’s degree in accounting at minimum. Of course, hiring managers always look favorably on those job candidates who are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or hold a master’s degree in the field. Additionally, earning a niche accounting certification such as Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Bank Auditor also improves employability.

There are many colleges and universities that offer accounting programs throughout the US. These programs are designed to teach basic bookkeeping along with other specific accounting skills that are valued in today’s varied business practices. In many cases, after earning an accounting degree, newly-certified accountants will be hired as bookkeepers for a company, but they may also be hired as payroll managers, budget analysts, internal auditors, forensic accountants, and even work their way up to a much-coveted CFO position.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Accounting Program

Many schools these days offer specialized coursework and flexible schedules that allow working professionals to continue working while simultaneously studying to become an accountant. For those who cannot attend a campus-based university, there are many options for online accounting programs. In fact, there are several online degree programs available for earning an accounting degree at the certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s level.

Getting your accounting degree from an accredited school can put you on the right track to a rewarding accounting career. In order to become an accountant and embark on a new career field, it’s incredibly important to find a quality accounting program that suits your specific needs.

Some important factors to consider in your research include:

  • Selectivity
  • Reputation of School
  • Types of Accounting Programs Available
  • Tuition and Costs
  • Student Reviews
  • Student to Faculty Ratio
  • School Amenities
  • Percent Employed at Graduation
  • Average Starting Salary after Employment

AACSB Accredited Accounting Programs

When searching for accounting programs, aspiring accountants should also consider a AACSB accredited accounting program. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a global non-profit organization that aims to advance management education. Programs that have received AACSB accreditation have undergone a rigorous evaluation process and are recognized as an exclusive group of just 180 schools.

Schools by State

US Accounting School Facts

  • There are about 2,487 colleges and universities that offer an accounting degree program in the United States.1
  • 1,005 schools in the US offer a certificate in accounting program.1
  • 1,185 schools in the US offer an associate’s in accounting program.1
  • 1,273 schools in the US offer a bachelor’s in accounting program.1
  • 549 schools in the US offer an advanced degree in accounting.1

Best Accounting Schools

There are several publications that rank the top accounting schools including US News, Businessweek, and Kiplinger’s. Each publication has their own methodology to rank the best accounting schools, which are typically based on student and recruiter surveys and other data.

Top 10 colleges for accounting according to US News for 2013:

  1. University of Texas – Austin
  2. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
  3. Brigham Young University – Provo
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. University of Southern California
  6. University of Notre Dame
  7. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  8. Indiana University – Bloomington
  9. New York University
  10. Ohio State University

Top undergraduate accounting schools according to the Public Accounting Report for 2013:

  1. University of Texas
  2. University of Illinois
  3. Brigham Young University
  4. University of Mississippi
  5. Notre Dame University
  6. University of Southern California
  7. Texas A&M University
  8. Indiana University
  9. University of Florida
  10. Ohio State University

*The Public Accounting Report is based on a survey of accounting professors from 200 colleges and universities.

Top ranked accounting schools that are also accredited by the AACSB for accounting:

  • Brigham Young University
  • Indiana University, Bloomington/Indianapolis
  • Ohio State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Southern California

Compare Top Accounting Schools

School Enrollment, Undergraduate Student Faculty Ratio (Undergrad) Undergrad In-State Tuition Average GMAT Score (for Master’s) Public or Private
University of Southern California 3,681 15.94 $44,700 650.0 Private
University of Notre Dame 1,928 14.87 $42,921 672.3 Private
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2,857 19.53 $18,268 666.0 Public
University of Illinois at Chicago 2,039 24.56 $14,964 586.3 Public
Ohio State University 6,181 36.52 $11,563 661.1 Public
Indiana University, Bloomington/Indianapolis 4,633 22.19 $11,233 661.8 Public
Texas A&M University 4,373 26.10 $9,330 617.6 Public
University of Florida 3,928 33.95 $7,371 622.2 Public
University of Mississippi 2,676 43.34 $6,282 n/a Public
Brigham Young University 1,507 10.32 $4,710 n/a Private

Source: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Profiles of Top Ranked Accounting Undergraduate Programs

The University of Texas–Austin

University of Texas – Austin offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a major in Accounting for prospective accounting professionals through its McCombs School of Business. As part of the degree program, most students complete two to three internships with top US companies, banks, and not-for-profit agencies. Starting in Fall 2014, several McCombs BBA courses will be taught in the school’s brand new, state of the art Active Learning Classrooms, which are modeled after the interactive Deloitte leadership development center classrooms in Westlake, Texas. Each student in the BBA program receives support from dedicated academic advisors and career advisors, and if interested in study abroad opportunities, business study abroad advisors. Students may also choose to participate in the school’s Undergraduate Business Council, Business Leadership Forum, and Honors Business Administration programs, among many other networking and learning extracurriculars. The University of Texas-Austin BBA program is frequently recognized as one of the best of its kind in the US, and is supported by a faculty renowned for research contributions.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign confers a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy to students who complete its academically rigorous undergraduate program. Graduates are prepared to begin entry-level careers in multiple fields of accounting including corporate or public accounting, information systems, or governmental accounting. A culminating internship experience is completed towards the end of the degree program, with internship placement selected based on the student’s academics, interests, and career goals. Students who plan to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Illinois who must meet the 150 credit hour requirement may also be interested in the integrated Bachelor/Master in Accountancy program. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Business offers various scholarships specific to accounting majors in addition to general scholarships offered through the university. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business has been recognized as a leader in academics, diversity, and professional preparation of graduates. The school is also consistently recognized as being a preferred institution for recruiters and top business organizations looking to hire recent graduates.

Brigham Young University–Provo

Brigham Young University – Provo offers a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy through its well-regarded Marriott School of Business. The competitive program includes an intensive 24 credit hour Accounting Junior Core, which is typically completed during the junior year of study. Students also complete a 10 credit Management Core as well as a liberal arts education to complete the degree. The student-focused program prepares its graduates for lifelong leadership development and a variety of professional accounting career opportunities. Students are also prepared to study accounting and related fields at the post-graduate level. Throughout their academic careers and beyond, students enrolled in the program receive comprehensive support from the school Advisement Center. Experiential learning opportunities available to undergraduates include on-campus internships and strategy capstone projects that are integrated with the curriculum. US News, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and the Public Accounting Report regularly rank the Brigham Young University undergraduate accounting program among the top such programs in the US.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California runs a challenging undergraduate program in accounting through its Leventhal School of Accounting and Marshall School of Business. Due in part to the school’s Pacific Rim location, globalization and international ties are emphasized throughout the curriculum as students learn accounting theory and practice and skills in business leadership and management. Accounting undergraduates may be interested in joining the school’s chapter of the Accounting Society, Student Honor Council, or the co-ed Beta Alpha Psi fraternity for financial information professionals. Students may also benefit from the school’s Meet the Firms event, held once per semester, which allows students to network with representatives from the Big Four accounting firms as well as various mid-tier organizations. Other networking and experiential learning opportunities at this top-ranked school include guest lectures, mentoring programs, and participation in faculty research. Students interested in continuing on to graduate programs may find opportunities with the university’s traditional Master of Accounting program or fully online Master of Business Taxation for Working Professionals.

The University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame, through its Mendoza College of Business, offers a top-ranked Bachelor of Accountancy program that helps students build the theoretical and foundational knowledge to succeed in the field of accounting. Key knowledge areas emphasized in the curriculum include problem-solving, collaboration, ethics, and the ability to recognize and respond to uncertainty. The curriculum is developed around an 18 credit hour core in accountancy, with opportunities to select further electives in accounting, finance, business, and other subjects. Students may take up to two internships for academic credit following the sophomore year of study. The school prides itself in involving undergraduate students in research opportunities in the laboratory as well as library or studio settings. Sponsored and facilitated study abroad opportunities are also available to undergraduates pursuing a business related major. Students who need to meet the 150 credit hour requirement to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam may be interested in one of the University of Notre Dame’s multiple business-related Master of Science programs.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University awards a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration–Accounting Specialization degree that can lay the foundation for careers in various areas of accounting. The accounting specialization courses are typically taken during the final year of study, while the business core is typically completed during the junior year. The accounting specialization can be pursued on a semester or quarter curriculum; qualified students may apply to take an Honors Accounting Curriculum on the quarter-based schedule during the sophomore year of study. Several opportunities for undergraduate research under the guidance of faculty experts are available, which may include research scholarships. Through the FisherDirect program, students may also access mentoring opportunities, networking events, guest speaker series, and other prospects for academic and professional development. Various scholarships specifically for students enrolled in the Fisher College of Business are made available each year to assist with the cost of tuition. Established in 1916, the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business has a strong reputation for academic, research, and professional quality.

Indiana University–Bloomington

Indiana University – Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business offers a challenging Bachelor of Science in Business–Accounting Major program that provides students with the foundation needed to work in the field of accounting at the entry level or to pursue graduate work in accounting, business, law, and related fields. While building accounting, critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills through hands-on and classroom learning, students are supported by a team of academic, career, and coaching advisors. The undergraduate accounting curriculum additionally emphasizes global awareness and personal and professional development. Qualified students may apply to the Kelley Business Honors Program during the freshman year of study. Students accepted to the program join an honors cohort and have access to additional networking and learning opportunities. Experiential learning opportunities available to all students through the Kelley School of Business include study abroad, internships, and field consulting. Indiana University–Bloomington is a top ranked school recognized for its faculty’s research productivity and recruiting activity for recent graduates.

University of Florida

University of Florida offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in Accounting that combines a 22 credit hour core in accounting with a 28-credit hour core in business to ensure that graduates are prepared to practice professional accounting or pursue advanced accounting study. Accounting students have access to dedicated study areas and research facilities as well as comprehensive support for career planning and academic advisement. The Fisher School of Accounting, through which the degree is offered, is one of a select number of free-standing accounting schools in the US and is highly regarded by ranking publications, employers, and other research and education institutions. The school has been offering accounting courses since 1923, and the majority of faculty hold terminal degrees in their fields. Students may elect to take advantage of the opportunity for an early application to graduate school through the Fisher School of Accounting 3/2 Program, an accelerated program for earning a master’s degree that can help students meet the 150 credit hour requirement for the Uniform CPA Exam.

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting that includes 30 credit hours of accounting courses and 24 credit hours of business courses in addition to a liberal arts degree foundation. Students receive faculty and advisor support throughout the degree program, which additionally includes opportunities for internships and other experiential learning. Perspectives on the global economy and cultural diversity are also emphasized in the program, as well as the school and faculty’s commitment to quality applied research. A weekly accounting workshop with guest research speakers is open to undergraduate accounting students. The school is home to several research learning centers, including the International Center for Futures and Derivatives and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The University of Illinois at Chicago’s accounting department and accounting degree program are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The school’s Master of Science in Accounting program, which can help students meet the credit hour requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, also holds AACSB accreditation.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor offers a Bachelor of Business Administration program through its Stephen M. Ross School of Business. This fast-paced program develops the skills and understanding that students need to become leaders in the fields of accounting and business. Students generally focus on business and accounting courses during the sophomore and junior years of study. Innovation and experiential learning are integrated throughout the curriculum. All students complete a culminating capstone course and may choose from capstones centered in integrated business, professional management, or research. In addition to its multiple research centers, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business hosts the top-ranked Ross Leadership Initiative, a leadership development center of excellence. Students pursuing an undergraduate degree additionally benefit from opportunities such as the BBA Council, student clubs, case competitions, and mentoring programs. The undergraduate programs at the Ross School of Business have been highly ranked by US News and Bloomberg Businessweek. The school is also highly ranked for its executive education programs, entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: http://www.aacsb.edu/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov