Illinois Accounting Schools

This overview of accounting schools in Illinois will help you find the information you need to compare schools and make an informed decision. The public and private colleges and universities in Illinois offer a variety of accounting majors such as government accounting, internal auditing, and managerial accounting. You may also find that online accounting schools are a convenient and flexible alternative to traditional on-campus courses that may offer deeper opportunities for independent study.

Quick School Facts

  • 50 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Illinois.
  • 53 private colleges and universities offer an accounting degree in Illinois.
  • 49 schools offer a certificate in accounting.
  • 46 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.
  • 49 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  • 4 schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Undergraduate Business Programs in 2013: University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (21), DePaul University (60), Bradley University (98), Illinois State University (99).
  • 4 schools ranked in US News Best Business Schools in 2013 (graduate schools): Northwestern University (4), University of Chicago (6), University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (47), DePaul University (93).

Continue reading to find profiles of popular programs, available majors, and more about accounting schools in Illinois.

AACSB Accredited Accounting Programs in Illinois

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a globally recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. Only 180 accounting programs are currently accredited and have been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB. The following accounting programs in Illinois have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • Bradley University (Foster College of Business Administration)
  • DePaul University (Richard H. Driehaus College of Business)
  • Eastern Illinois University (Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences)
  • Illinois State University (College of Business)
  • Loyola University Chicago (Quinlan School of Business)
  • Northern Illinois University (College of Business)
  • Pace University (Lubin School of Business)
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale (College of Business)
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (School of Business)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (College of Business Administration)

Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree

The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Illinois in 2013 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree:

  1. University of Illinois Urbana Champaign 65.3%
  2. Bradley University
  3. University of Illinois Chicago
  4. Northern Illinois University
  5. Loyola University Chicago
  6. Illinois State University
  7. Augustana College
  8. Western Illinois University
  9. North Central College

This list includes the top schools in Illinois with at least 20 candidates. There were 42 schools in Illinois that sent first-time candidates with a bachelor’s degree and the pass rate ranged from 0% to 65.3% (including schools with fewer than 20 candidates) according to the 2013 NASBA report. For data on all schools, see the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Illinois Accounting Graduate Degree Programs

Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University’s College of Business and Management offers a Master of Science in Accounting, which is designed to meet the 150 credit hour standard for sitting for the Uniform CPA Exam in Illinois. This program covers the subject matter CPAs must master to provide high-level accounting services to business, government, individuals, and not-for-profit organizations. Northeastern Illinois University is located in downtown Chicago and offers students access to excellent faculty, numerous student-run organizations, exchange programs, and many other instructional and social opportunities.

University of Illinois

University of Illinois offers a Master of Accounting Science degree through its College of Business. A one-year program, the University of Illinois Master of Accounting Science helps students build on undergraduate knowledge in the areas of public and non-public accounting. A substantial number of graduates of this program are partners in the Big 4. University of Illinois is located in Champaign, Illinois, and is a recognized leader in education and research.

Illinois Accounting Undergraduate Degree Programs

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University’s Department of Accountancy offers a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy that prepares students to work as accountants equipped with foundational knowledge in the science of accountancy. The four main focuses of this degree program are technical knowledge, developing problem-solving abilities, building communication skills, and instilling an understanding of accounting ethics. Northern Illinois University is located in DeKalb, Illinois, and its member colleges are regularly ranked for having top programs by US News and Bloomberg Businessweek, among others.

DePaul University

DePaul University offers a Bachelor of Accountancy program that equips students with the core skills needed to work in accounting and begin preparation for the Uniform CPA Exam. DePaul University also offers a five-year program that can lead directly from a Bachelor of Accountancy to a Master of Accountancy. DePaul University is one of the largest private universities in the US, but it ensures that its focus remains educating students. DePaul University is located in downtown Chicago, which allows its instructors to combine real world experiences with classroom instruction.

Top Ranked Accounting Schools in Illinois

US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs

  • University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign #2 (2012)

US News Best Accounting MBA Programs

  • University of Chicago (Booth) #2 (2012)
  • University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign #4
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg) #13
  • Loyola University Chicago #27

Businessweek Top Undergrad Accounting Programs

  • University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign #12
  • Loyola University – Chicago #34
  • Northern Illinois University #54
  • DePaul University #69
  • Illinois State University #98
  • University of Illinois – Chicago #110
  • Bradley University (Foster) #113
  • University of Akron #114

Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Illinois

With the world-class city of Chicago and several major metropolitan areas within its borders, Illinois offers many opportunities for accounting grads. In addition to the options of starting a new accounting firm in one of Illinois’ many cities or seeking a position in accounting within Illinois’ state and local governments, accounting grads can choose to work for the major accounting firms headquartered in Illinois. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, more commonly known as Baker Tilly, maintains an office in Chicago and an office in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. Baker Tilly is one of the twenty largest US accounting firms and boasts an impressive client satisfaction rate. Illinois-based openings for accounting grads at Baker Tilly are frequent. Mowery & Schoenfeld is based in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire, and is focused on providing accounting services to businesses. Due to its growth, Mowery & Schoenfeld is able to provide competitive benefits and seeks well-qualified accounting grads to join its team. Kessler Orlean Silver is a mid-size firm based in Chicago. Although many of its client businesses are located in Illinois, Kessler Orlean Silver has the resources to provide its clients with accounting services virtually anywhere. Kessler Orlean Silver prides itself on challenging its employees and recognizing their accomplishments and invites interested applicants to contact its office.

Illinois Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Bloomington-Normal 410 $57,390
Champaign-Urbana 470 $61,620
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville 33,640 $74,280
Danville 120 $58,010
Rockford 640 $59,890
Springfield 1,320 $56,340

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.

Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Illinois

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

College of DuPage
425 22nd St
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-2800

Student Review: “I found the campus convenient to access as it was near a major toll road. There were many parking lots, but they were often very full and it could take a long time to find a parking spot. The accounting professors were all older men and one woman who had real life experience in their fields, which is great. At a lot of universities, teaching assistants are used to teach classes, especially classes for underclassmen. The program was hard and was a considerable amount of work, but if you studied you would be okay. I was extremely pleased at how much I learned and how much more business savvy I became. Everything I learned is applicable in real life situations and I find that I better understand people when they talk about “business” in the office. It was refreshing to take a program where I actually felt like the material was applicable and useful.” -student at College of DuPage

Loyola University
1032 W Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Student Review: “This school, specifically the Quinlan School of Business, is considered to be prestigious in the city of Chicago. It is a fantastic school with some occasional downfalls. The accounting program is tough and one of the lengthiest programs at the school, and for good reason. There is a lot to learn and it is essential to be prepared for the CPA exam or to continue into a masters program. My major dislike is one I would also consider as one of my major likes about the program – the professors. My first accounting professor, who was the reason I transferred to accounting, was wonderful. She was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about accounting. She reflected that through her students. I had another professor who gave up his successful career in order to teach because it was his passion. He loved his students and never missed a day. A few other teachers however, were either well past their teaching years or they were dull and uninterested. In order for a student to be passionate, the teacher needs to be passionate. Other positives are the internships that can be procured while attending this school. There is a great career services center and the classes here will prepare you for any internship with many big companies, considering we are in Chicago.” -student at Loyola University

Oakton Community College
7701 North Lincoln Avenue
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 635-1600

Student Review: “I enjoyed my college experience. My professor for my summer school class was very approachable and you could tell she was fond of her job, so she took it seriously. My accounting professors throughout the year though, were pretty boring, so I felt like the class wasn’t being taken seriously. But overall, I loved the accounting program I was in.” -Student at Oakton Community College


South Suburban College
15800 State St
South Holland, IL 60473
(708) 596-2000

Student Review: “So far I have taken only one accounting course and I plan to take several more to finish up my accounting associates degree. My experience with accounting at South Suburban has been an excellent one. The professor who I took financial accounting with is younger and does a great job of explaining difficult concepts such as LIFO and FIFO and reconciliation of accounts. The only challenge I have faced is purchasing the required materials for this class which include a pricey textbook and online code. With strategic enrollment, I am scheduled to graduate a year from now.” -Brittany V., student at South Suburban College

University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 W Harrison St #3030,
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-5602

Student Review: “All in all, the accounting program at UIC was very solid. I had a fantastic time but was also strapped for time on numerous occasions while juggling a secondary biology degree. However the classes/workload were very fair, and I learned a fair amount of knowledge while taking the course. However if I were to do it again I would have focused more time on my studies as opposed to hanging out with friends and such, since UIC has a very nice student body. I liked the professors at the school, however I disliked the amount of busy work that was assigned, and lack of real world applications. I’d give it a 4 out of 5 though, and would recommend it to others looking to go into the field.” -David H., student at University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
901 West Illinois St
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-0302

Student Review: “Going to school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and getting a dual degree in both accounting and finance was a fantastic decision. Their accounting program is consistently ranked in a top few colleges in the nation, and the classes are very thorough, yet manageable. The accounting classes at UIUC take a very interesting approach, as most of the assignments are case-based. Students are given a case (anywhere from 1-50 pages) of background information on a company, and then a question(s) on that company. These cases are done about an equal amount in groups and on your own. This approach to learning provides students with a very realistic way to learn. Having worked a full-time job for a few months now, groups at my company approach client projects and issues in a similar way. Having dealt with approaching situations like this in college, I find myself feeling more comfortable and very grateful for all of the practice and experience I gained at UIUC.” -Dan W., student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Student Review: “My accounting experience at the University of Illinois was one of a kind. The facilities and curriculum are designed to treat you like a young professional and prepare you for the challenges you will face in your first years of accounting. The classes are focused on teaching you the principles of accounting and to think critically about the business. For example, there are mandatory classes that focus on control systems, business ethics, and sustainable business strategies. These classes helped me understand the operations of business as a whole, instead of just the book keeping work. The faculty is outstanding. Many of the professors have strong professional background prior to entering academia, which means you will get taught by people with real world experience. My last class at the university was taught by a doctoral student who previously worked as an audit partner for Deloitte. I know that my education at the University of Illinois has set me above other graduates in the same field of study. If you are thinking about attending this school, it has my full recommendation.” -student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Businessweek Top Business School Rankings Undergraduate Business School Programs: https://www.bloomberg.com/businessweek/graphics/2013-bs-undergrad-rankings/rankings2.html
3. US News & World Report Best Graduate Business Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings/