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Pennsylvania Accounting Schools

This overview of accounting schools in Pennsylvania will detail different options for pursuing an accounting degree or certificate in the state. Pennsylvania is home to numerous quality colleges and universities, many of which offer one or more accounting programs. Students can pursue online degree options, accelerated programs, or part-time options. Read on below to find out information about rankings, program details, and career opportunities for those with accounting degrees in the state of Pennsylvania.

Quick Facts

  • 39 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Pennsylvania.1
  • 65 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Pennsylvania.1
  • 28 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
  • 27 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 80 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 32 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
  • 3 programs ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
  • 1 program ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
  • 9 schools ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
  • 8 schools ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016.5

*Public or private not-for-profit colleges and universities only.

Top-Ranked Accounting Schools in Pennsylvania

US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018

  • University of Pennsylvania #4
  • St. Joseph’s University #16
  • University of Scranton #17
  • Pennsylvania State University #25 tie

US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018

  • University of Pennsylvania #2

The Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018

  • Bucknell University
  • Drexel University
  • Duquesne University
  • Lehigh University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Temple University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Washington and Jefferson College

Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016

  • Villanova University (Villanova School of Business) #1
  • Pennsylvania University (The Wharton School) #16
  • Pennsylvania State University (Smeal College of Business) #19
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business) #26
  • Lehigh University (College of Business and Economics) #32
  • University of Pittsburgh (Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business) #49
  • Duquesne University (Palumbo Donahue School of Business) #55
  • Drexel University (LeBow College of Business) #78

AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Pennsylvania

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a globally recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. Only 186 accounting programs are currently accredited and have been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB.6 The following accounting programs in Pennsylvania have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • Lehigh University (College of Business and Economics)
  • Saint Joseph’s University (Erivan K. Haub School of Business)
  • Villanova University (Villanova School of Business)

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

Each year, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases a report including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.7 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Pennsylvania in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Pennsylvania being 55.4%:

  1. University of Pennsylvania 93.8%
  2. Lehigh University 78.0%
  3. Messiah College 75.9%
  4. Bucknell University 75.4%
  5. Lycoming College 75.0%
  6. Villanova University 73.6%

Schools in Pennsylvania with Accounting Degrees

Undergraduate Accounting Programs

University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) with a major in accounting. This program is built on a broad liberal arts foundation, and the general education requirements include mathematics, economics, finance, humanities, and behavioral and natural sciences. After accounting majors complete these broad courses, they can take accounting courses such as Accounting and Financial Reporting, Strategic Cost Analysis, and Financial Measurement and Disclosure. UPenn also offers a number of elective accounting classes like Corporate Valuation, Taxes and Business Strategy, and Accounting for Mergers, Acquisitions, and Complex Financial Structures. This curriculum is designed to give students a strong knowledge of finance, business, accounting, and interpersonal skills.

University of Scranton

At the University of Scranton, students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. Students start their general education with liberal arts course requirements before taking accounting classes, which emphasize finance and accounting concepts, theory, and their applications to everyday business. Accounting majors can choose from three tracks: general accounting, forensic accounting, or accounting information systems. The general track teaches students to maintain financial records, obey regulatory measures, prepare corporate taxes, and do internal audits. The University of Scranton also offers a five-year combined Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, or a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) that can be completed entirely online. Scranton’s alumni network and career services offer support to students and recent graduates to help find professional opportunities.

Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) with a major in accounting. The accounting program emphasizes the application of classroom knowledge to the real world, and students learn the skills necessary to succeed in the industry. The core classes of the degree cover the basics of financial and managerial accounting as well as accounting information systems and business ethics. This curriculum prepares graduates to continue their education and eventually sit for the CPA examination. Students have access to the network of university-industry partners and alumni in the accounting field. Graduates from Saint Joseph’s can go on to work in the public and private sectors, government, law, or as entrepreneurs.

Graduate Accounting Programs

Duquesne University

At the Palumbo Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University, students can earn a Master of Science in Accountancy (MAcc). This full-time, 30-credit graduate program can be completed in nine months. The curriculum focuses on knowledge in forensic accounting, financial reporting, information systems, and common ethical issues in the field. Students learn communication strategies and develop leadership skills through small, hands-on classes. Accounting courses include subjects such as Fraud Examination, Internal Audit, Contemporary Topics in Financial Reporting, and Advanced Cost Accounting. Through this curriculum, students earn the minimum 150 credit-hours and knowledge-base necessary to sit for the CPA examination. Applicants need to complete a minimum of 18 undergraduate credits in accounting before starting the MAcc program.

University of Pittsburgh

The Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh offers a Master of Science in Accounting (MAcc). This program is ideal for those interested in pursuing leadership positions in financial and managerial accounting. Students complete the core curriculum, which includes classes in Forensic Accounting, Business Law, and Individual and Corporate Tax Accounting and Planning, before choosing electives within the business school. The coursework prepares students to sit for the CPA examination upon graduation. The MAcc program requires some accounting prerequisites, but students do not need to complete all of these fundamental courses before applying for the program. Depending on an individual’s academic background, this graduate program may take between two and four terms to complete.

Online Accounting Programs

Clarion University

Clarion University offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting (BSBA) that can be completed online or at the Clarion campus. The program is ideal for those interested in the accounting, business, or law, and graduates learn how to organize, analyze, and communicate accounting and financial information. The curriculum includes some business core classes, such as Financial Management or Operations Management, before students can take accounting electives. Students then complete accounting classes, from Cost Accounting and Business Taxation to Auditing and Accounting for Equities. The online BSBA emphasizes the technology relevant to accounting today as well as the common ethical and moral issues in the field.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University’s online “World Campus” offers a Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) degree. This degree is designed for this with an undergraduate academic background in business or accounting, and some prerequisite courses are required. The 30 credit-hour curriculum includes courses such as Business Tax Planning Theory and Practice, Strategic Cost Management, Financial Reporting, and Auditing Theory and Practice. The coursework prepares graduates to sit for the CPA examination and fulfill the education licensure requirements. Online students also have the option of pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Accounting, which is the first four courses of the MPA, before continuing to apply to the master’s degree program. Graduates with an MPA degree can pursue positions in auditing and public accounting, industrial and managerial accounting, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting.

Pennsylvania CPA Requirements

CPA candidates in Pennsylvania must complete 150 credit hours and have at least a bachelor’s degree from a Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy-approved accredited institution. At least 24 of these hours must be in accounting courses. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree and 120 credit hours may sit for the CPA examination, but they must complete all 150 hours before applying for licensure. Individuals must pass the Uniform CPA examination. Applicants will then need to pursue one year of experience in the field, totaling at least 1,600 hours. All work completed will have to be supervised or approved by a Certified Public Accountant. Individuals can then apply for CPA licensure, and this licensure must be maintained through Continued Professional Education (CPE) hours earned through professional development courses or self-study.

Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania is filled with job opportunities for accounting, tax, and finance experts. Several Fortune 500 companies are located in Pennsylvania including Comcast, Rite Aid, and Aramark. These companies and others may offer roles in internal auditing, corporate tax preparation, accounting roles, and financial reporting. Graduates can also pursue positions in government, public accounting, or not-for-profit organizations. The major cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Lancaster are home to numerous CPA offices and consulting firms. Graduates with degrees in accounting may find opportunities to work in companies, firms, or organizations all across Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton 2,880 $75,020
Erie 940 $62,440
Harrisburg-Carlisle 3,320 $69,520
Lancaster 1,790 $65,790
Newark 11,210 $88,020
Philadelphia 8,930 $82,090

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8

Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

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.

Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000
http://drexel.edu/

Student Review: “The Drexel University LeBow College of Business accounting program is one I’ve found challenging so far. I’m currently a junior and have taken four accounting classes so far. I found the professors to be very enlightened and helpful. They are always willing to meet during office hours to help with a problem and answer questions. I’ve found that even if you can’t make their office hours they will make time to meet with you. Drexel also has what they call a co-op. During co-op you work for a company in your field of study for two terms to get a feel of what it’s like to work in your field. I found this experience very rewarding and extremely helpful in my education. I feel like I have an advantage over others when I graduate because I’ve gotten real world accounting experience. What I disliked is that some of the general business professors could be hard to understand and weren’t engaging when teaching the material. It was sometimes hard to focus and I think the quality of those general required courses could be improved with better professors.” -Student at Drexel University

East Stroudsburg University
200 Prospect St
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
(570) 422-3211
https://www.esu.edu/

Student Review: “The accounting program at ESU was not exactly what I expected. I was disappointed with the teachers in the accounting classes. My first accounting class was the generic financial accounting and it was only available as an online course. The professor did try to offer hours where students could see her, but it wasn’t easy with everything else going on with school and work. The tests and quizzes were nearly impossible to pass, not because of the content, but because of the format of the online classroom. If your syntax was off, you got the problem completely wrong. My next class was managerial accounting, and that was my first time meeting a real CPA and having a teacher in front of me for accounting. This made a huge difference. My initial distaste for accounting was replaced with a love for the challenge once I was given the opportunity to be taught in a classroom.” -Jeffery White, student at East Stroudsburg University
stars-3

Grove City College
100 Campus Dr
Grove City, PA 16127
(724) 458-2000
http://www.gcc.edu/

“The Grove City accounting department is one of the stronger departments in the college. I really enjoyed all of my accounting classes, with my personal favorite being the basic Accounting class that they offered (101). I personally never got a chance to participate in an internship, however the Career Services Office did help me get my first job following graduation. They also prepped me for grad school, which I hope to attend in the next couple years. My professors were all extremely helpful, and I really enjoyed getting to know them.” -Joshua B., student at Grove City College

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1011 South Dr
Indiana, PA 15705
(724) 357-2100
https://www.iup.edu/

Student Review: “The accounting program at IUP seemed to me to be as good a program as any. IUP is a generally low cost state school with a well established business program. A large portion of the staff do not have English as their native language, so following them could be trouble at times. They also had many programs to help prepare me for my future career (including a wonderful Business Honors Program which I was a part of). The teachers, when approached, were very eager to help me with any problems or questions I had and the work was reasonable. I would highly recommend it to any person interested.” -Elijah H., student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
stars-5

Pennsylvania State University
University Park
State College, PA 16801
(814) 865-4700
https://www.psu.edu/this-is-penn-state

Student Review: “Penn State is an amazing University to attend. I was so happy to get accepted and couldn’t wait to make my way to Happy Valley. The first two years of pursuing my accounting degree, I basically took general business classes to have a basic understanding of many aspects of business. These classes were large and you obviously can’t get very intimate with your professors. Once I got accepted into the accounting department in the Smeal College of Business, I began taking classes geared toward my division of accounting. I had a goal to become a CPA and to find a job auditing in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Penn State has really helped me achieve that because that is exactly what I’m doing. I worked extremely hard, even taking summer classes every summer to complete Penn State’s program. I have recently taken one of the exams toward becoming a CPA, and have a full-time position at an accounting firm. I could not have been happier with my choice of attending Penn State.” -Student at Penn Statestars-5

Penn State Harrisburg
777 W Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057
(717) 948-6250
https://harrisburg.psu.edu/

Student Review: “I attend The Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg campus for accounting. I really enjoy the experience that I have gone through while at the university and feel that the program really prepared me for life in “the real world.” I not only learned a great deal about accounting, but I learned a plethora of different subjects that made my learning experience much better. The different curriculum that I had to take at the university made me a very well rounded student and person overall. I really liked all of my professors and the various class types that were offered. The only thing that I might change about the program would be offering more online classes and also encouraging professors to stick to the online program instead of using other websites that require students to shell out an extra $100 a semester on top of the books.” -Cierra R., student at Penn State Harrisburg

Seton Hill University
One Seton Hill Dr
Greensburg, Pa 15601
(800) 826-6234
https://www.setonhill.edu/

Student Review: “The accounting program at Seton Hill is excellent. I came to this school knowing little about the business field, so when starting the accounting courses, I was very nervous. Throughout taking these courses I was learning more and more and getting more comfortable with the classes. For my accounting courses we used the Accounting Principles Jerry J. Weygandt 9th edition book. This book was excellent and broke down the accounting process very well. I would recommend this series of books to other colleges and for beginners in accounting. We also had to complete a Capstone project. A Capstone is something that is completed every semester for accounting and it is really just a way of making sure that you have been learning material throughout the course. We then keep the Capstone and use it for our portfolio.” -Kiyah C., student at Seton Hill University

Slippery Rock University
1 Morrow Way
Slippery Rock, PA 16057
(724) 738-9000
http://www.sru.edu/

Student Review: “My experience in accounting at Slippery Rock University was probably about average. The curriculum was easy if you worked hard enough. The only thing that made some of the classes difficult was not the material discussed, but rather the professors that taught the courses. Many were not able to tell the student what they were looking for, which led to some hard assignments due to unclear instructions. The university did however bring in several speakers that were higher up in the subject. All of the speakers had a CPA or an MBA and were very knowledgeable in their respective fields. This major could be improved if the quality of the professors were improved.” -Student at Slippery Rock University

stars-3

Temple University
1801 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-7000
https://www.temple.edu/

Student Review: “Temple University’s accounting program in the Fox School of Business is among the best in the nation. The introductory courses are hands-on; the professors and TAs are very helpful and want to make sure the students understand the basics. The managerial and cost accounting classes are challenging but extremely rewarding. The program is one of the larger departments within the business school, so there are an adequate number of faculty members available to answer questions or provide career advice. In addition the core curriculum, students are encouraged to join a Student-Professional Organization, which helps hone skills and creates networking opportunities by inviting industry professionals to speak to students throughout the semester. These sessions often pave the way for internships or full-time jobs. I do wish the program would teach more computer skills, such as spreadsheets and databases. But overall, the accounting program is top-notch.” -Greg S., student at Temple University

stars-5

University of Pittsburgh
4200 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 624-4141
https://www.pitt.edu/

Student Review: “As an accounting major at the University of Pittsburgh, I am generally dissatisfied by the accounting program at my university. Disregarding the general redundancy of the business school at Pitt, the accounting program does not focus on applying the concepts in class to real world scenarios. The school itself has an extremely lackluster internship and job connection program, and the accounting department seems to be filled with teachers who are uninterested in teaching. I have had some excellent teachers; unfortunately, there have also been teachers who have failed to help me further my studies, but have rather set me back through their awful teaching methods. I enjoy studying accounting, but at times, the University of Pittsburgh’s program leaves much to be desired and has had me questioning my decision to attend the school for accounting in the first place.” -Student at University of Pittsburgh
stars-3

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-accounting
3. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
4. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2017.
5. Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-best-undergrad-business-schools/
6. AACSB-Accredited Universities and Schools, Accounting: https://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-members
7. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2015 University Edition: https://nasbareport.com/
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Pennsylvania: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_pa.htm