Virginia Accounting Schools
The universities and colleges in Virginia offer a variety of accounting programs that can help you reach your career goals. Colleges and universities in Virginia provide bachelor’s, master’s, and even online accounting degree options. Students can choose between different program formats, curriculum, and concentration options, making it easy to find a program that best matches their interests. This overview of accounting schools in Virginia will equip you with information on schools and programs for studying accounting in the state.
- 29 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Virginia.1
- 15 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Virginia.1
- 17 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
- 18 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
- 22 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
- 10 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
- 1 program ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
- 0 programs ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
- 2 schools ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
- 6 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 Virginia
US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018
- University of Virginia #25 tie
The Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018
- George Mason University
- James Madison University
Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016
- University of Virginia (McIntire School of Commerce) #5
- College of William and Mary (Raymond A. Mason School of Business) #12
- James Madison University (College of Business) #41
- University of Richmond (Robins School of Business) #46
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Pamplin College of Business) #64
- Christopher Newport University (Luter School of Business) #93
AACSB Accredited Accounting Programs in Virginia
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 Virginia have been accredited by the AACSB:
- College of William and Mary (Raymond A. Mason School of Business)
- George Mason University (School of Business)
- James Madison University (College of Business)
- Old Dominion University (Strome College of Business)
- University of Richmond (Robins School of Business)
- University of Virginia (McIntire School of Commerce)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (School of Business)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Pamplin College 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 Virginia in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Virginia being 60.7%:
- Bridgewater College 85.0%
- University of Virginia 82.7%
- College of William & Mary 76.0%
- University of Richmond 72.3%
- Washington & Lee University 71.9%
- James Madison University 69.0%
Schools in Virginia with Accounting Degrees
Undergraduate Accounting Programs
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce offers a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Accounting. Students study a broad liberal arts background for their first two years before focusing on business courses and accounting subjects. The accounting curriculum emphasizes the analytical and conceptual skills necessary in the field, as well as how to understand and analyze quantitative information. Through courses such as Intermediate Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Federal Taxation, and Strategic Cost Management, students learn how to use accounting information to make decisions in business. The University of Virginia also offers a Master of Science in Accounting.
College of William and Mary
At the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary, students can complete a Bachelor of Science (BS) with an Accounting major. The core accounting curriculum includes classes such as Strategic Cost Management, Auditing and Internal Controls, and Financial Reporting and Analysis. Through these courses and others, students learn business fundamentals as well as specialized accounting knowledge. After the core classes, students can choose from a number of accounting electives, from Accounting Information Systems and International Accounting to Not-for-Profit Accounting. These courses are designed with the input of current professional accountants, and graduates are prepared to work in accountancy in both business and the public sector.
University of Richmond
Students at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in Accounting. This degree focuses on accounting theory as well as the current complexities and challenges in the field. Students start their major with fundamental business courses before taking accounting courses such as Cost and Managerial Accounting, Federal Tax, and Financial Accounting. The Robins School also offers optional additional concentrations in areas such as economics, finance, international business, management, or marketing. Through coursework and classroom experience, students learn a mix of theoretical concepts and real-world skills needed to work in the accounting profession.
Graduate Accounting Programs
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Department of Accounting and Information Systems at Virginia Tech offers a Master of Accounting and Information Systems (MACIS) degree. This program is ideal for those interested in professional accounting careers or those who want to pursue a professional accounting designation such as CPA. MACIS students can choose from four different tracks, including Audit, Financial Services, Information Systems, and Tax. Students can choose their specialty and use Virginia Tech’s professional networks, alumni associations, and faculty connections to search for possible career opportunities. The program is open to individuals with any type of undergraduate degree, but those with an undergraduate accounting or business degree may complete the program in 12-18 months, and those without an academic accounting background may need to complete additional courses, finishing the program in about two years.
James Madison University
Students at James Madison University can earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA). This full-time, on-campus program prepares students to fulfill the knowledge requirements for the CPA examination and the educational requirements for licensure. Both undergraduate business and non-business majors can apply for this program, although non-business majors may need to complete additional foundational courses. Through classes such as Tax, Financial Management, Accounting Theory, and Audit, students learn both technical expertise and business skills. James Madison also offers local and regional connections to students for networking and post-graduation career opportunities.
Online Accounting Programs
Regent University offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting that can be completed online or on-campus in Virginia Beach. This degree can be a foundation for accounting grads who want to pursue further education and the CPA designation, as well as those interested in the public, private, or nonprofit business sectors. Through courses such as Financial Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, Federal Tax, and Forensic Accounting, students learn how to use accounting data to make business decisions. Coursework focuses on skills such as financial statement preparation and strategic management, and students also learn about accounting law and ethics. Both the online and on-campus degrees cover the same material and are 120-credit hour programs.
George Mason University
At George Mason University, students can earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) entirely online. For those interested in pursuing the CPA designation, this program fulfills both the educational and 150-semester hour requirements to sit for the CPA examination. Students can attend in a quarterly, cohort fashion or on a part-time basis with a flexible schedule. Core courses include Advanced Issues in Financial Accounting, Fraud Examination, and Global Accounting Environment, and students are able to choose from a variety of accounting elective courses. The curriculum focuses on advanced accounting knowledge as well as leadership and management strategies. Online graduate students still gain hands-on experience through projects, real-life case studies, and an optional one-week international study tour.
Virginia CPA Requirements
The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires that applicants complete 120 semester hours before they can qualify to take the CPA exam, although individuals must complete a total of 150 hours before gaining licensure. Applicants must also have at least a bachelor’s degree and have completed at least 24 hours in accounting and 24 hours in business classes. CPA candidates then must pass the CPA examination. After passing the exam, individuals should complete a year, or 2,000 hours, of accounting work that must be verified by a supervising CPA. Applicants who fulfill these requirements can apply for CPA licensure, and Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours are required to maintain the professional designation.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Virginia
Virginia is home to many large financial institutions, some of which employ accounting and finance program graduates from local schools. Capital One Financial is located in the state, as is national mortgage underwriting group, Freddie Mac. Many government and military entities operate in the area as well, providing job opportunities for accounting professionals. Graduates and CPAs can also find work in local and statewide CPA firms or businesses. Through these companies or others, accounting graduates in Virginia may find opportunities to work within the state after graduation.
Virginia Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Accountants & Auditors Employed||Average Annual Salary|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.
Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Virginia
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
Student Review: “I loved my time at Liberty University! I especially loved the experience and work that I was able to do in the accountancy program. I have to admit that I was very apprehensive about getting an accountancy degree from an online school. One of the more comforting things about Liberty University is the fact that they have an enormous campus with thousands of students, as well as online programs with more than 60,000 students. I was able to visit the campus in Lynchburg, VA upon graduation of my accounting degree and was so impressed with the campus life, faculty and other students in the program. The accounting program and corresponding curriculum was very difficult online, and I can certainly see how I would have benefited from being able to actually be in the class with other students learning the material, rather than attempting to do it all on my own online. Overall, I enjoyed the accounting program very much and now have a meaningful career in accounting that I would not be able to enjoy if it were not for Liberty University. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!” -Student at Liberty University
Northern Virginia Community College
6699 Springfield Center Dr
Springfield, VA 22150
Student Review: “I truly am enjoying my time at Northern Virginia Community College. I find that the classes offered really meet my busy schedule. The teachers I have been in classes with have been so terrific they provided me with such great understanding of the material and lessons. I have a better grasp on many different subjects now that are gearing me towards a great career. I find the campuses, and I have been to several, very attractive and appealing to the eye. NVCC has some of the newest technology and state of the art equipment. I find that I feel protected and safe while I am on campus and if I ever need any type of assistance I can receive it from the campus police, who are always around.” -Renee C., student at Northern Virginia Community College
Old Dominion University
1 Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
Student Review: “I really enjoyed the accounting program at Old Dominion University. Some of the teachers were heartfelt and truly cared for the students; others were only there for a paycheck and it showed. Whether passionate or not, every teacher I had was extremely knowledgeable about accounting and most had real world experience. It seemed that part of the curriculum was to relate lessons to real world applications; I think this helped me greatly. Accounting isn’t the most exciting topic but the teachers still made it interesting. I didn’t care for the amount of pre-requisite courses that were required. Due to the large number required, I graduated a semester later than I could have. I’m not complaining, however; college was the most exciting and adventurous time of my life.” -Student at Old Dominion University
University of Virginia
1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Student Review: “The accounting program at the University of Virginia is top notch. It is a part of the McIntire Commerce School and students apply to it during their second year at the school. In the accounting program, the professors are excellent. Unlike many of the other classes I have taken, the accounting courses have actually been taught by the professors and not a TA. In addition to the great professors, the accounting program has already helped me in terms of job prospects. All of the Big 4 utilize on campus interviewing and take an astronomical number of students for both internships and full time jobs. I have also really enjoyed the guest lecturers that have spoken during my accounting classes. Finally, the guest speakers brought into the program have been fantastic. My favorite was a partner from PWC and that lecture convinced me to go the accounting track.” -Calvert B., student at University of Virginia
Student Review: “The University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Business is considered by several rating systems as one of the best undergraduate business programs in the United States. I chose to attend this program even though I lived about an hour’s drive away. The University is a very writing-intense school. It did surprise me a bit to find that many of my assignments were not to calculate math problems but to write essays comparing and contrasting company reports and financial statements, such as explaining the use of balance sheets versus income statements rather than performing the quick assets ratio. We still learned all of the ratios but with the meaning behind why we would perform such calculations. Most of the professors were more than happy to talk to students regarding any of the assignments, accounting in general, and school in general. There are also many opportunities to work with businesses using accounting knowledge through school groups such as Enactus (formerly known as SIFE). There was no resource I might have needed that wasn’t offered at this University.” -Michelle S., student at University of Virginia
1007 Pamplin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Student Review: “For me, the accounting program at Virginia Tech was very challenging but highly rewarding. An accounting degree can be obtained from just about any university, but what set Virginia Tech apart for me was the quality of the teachers as well as the extensive networking opportunities they provided. Many of my classmates (myself included) found jobs and interning opportunities through our teachers’ contacts. Not to mention, the Pamplin School of Business has an extensive career fair every September called “Business Horizons” in which the Big 4 accounting firms recruit heavily. Being close to the DC area allows many VT accounting grads to work in the city for the government, government contractors, or private firms.” -Conor C., student at Virginia Tech
Student Review: “The Virginia Tech accounting program has been a great experience for me. Through the years I have learned a great amount due to the passionate group of teachers that work in the department. For being such a large university, the professors in the department make it feel like a small tight knit community. They are available whenever you need to talk to them. The class offerings are plentiful and I have not taken a class that I did not enjoy.” -Craig L., student at Virginia Tech
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/accredited
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, Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm