Wisconsin Accounting Schools
There are numerous colleges and universities in Wisconsin offering degree and certificate programs for aspiring accountants. The following overview of accounting schools in Wisconsin will help you understand and compare your options for taking the next step in your accounting career. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs, you may find that online accounting schools are the right choice. Many students find that online accounting schools offer greater flexibility and opportunities for learning independently. Continue reading below to learn more about accounting school options in Wisconsin, top programs in the state, certified public accountant requirements, and information about career opportunities for graduates.
- 29 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Wisconsin.1
- 19 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Wisconsin.1
- 17 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
- 21 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
- 30 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
- 6 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
- 1 program ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
- 1 program ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
- 1 school ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
- 1 school 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 Wisconsin
US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018
- University of Wisconsin-Madison #18
US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018
- University of Wisconsin-Madison #21 tie
The Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018
- Marquette University
Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016
- University of Wisconsin (Wisconsin School of Business) #28
AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Wisconsin
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is a globally-recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. While over 800 business schools have been accredited by the AACSB, only 186 institutions hold AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs, having been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB.6 The following accounting programs in Wisconsin have been accredited by the AACSB:
- Marquette University (College of Business Administration)
- University of Wisconsin-Madison (Wisconsin School of Business)
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Sheldon B. Lubar 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 Wisconsin in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Wisconsin being 68.9%:
- University of Wisconsin Madison 84.6%
- University of Wisconsin La Crosse 74.3%
- Marquette University 72.1%
- University of Wisconsin Oshkosh 69.4%
- University of Wisconsin Milwaukee 68.4%
- University of Wisconsin Whitewater 67.1%
Schools in Wisconsin with Accounting Degrees
Undergraduate Accounting Programs
Marquette University in Milwaukee offers an AACSB-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with an accounting major. The program includes a broad liberal arts foundation, business core courses, and specialized coursework in accounting. Students gain critical thinking skills and apply theory to practical examples using the latest technology and resources available to professional accountants. Networking is encouraged through alumni and professional networks. The university also has an on-campus chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting organization encouraging service in the community. The BS degree can also be completed in combination with the Master of Science (MS) in Accounting in a total of five years through the dual degree option.
Mount Mary University
Those interested in certified public accounting may find the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting at Mount Mary University to be a good option. Mount Mary University is a private, Catholic women’s institution located in Milwaukee that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting. The BS degree program requires students to complete a foundational liberal arts core curriculum and 82 credits of accounting classes. The program is designed to prepare graduates to sit for the CPA exam and to become certified upon completion of additional graduate-level study. Students are encouraged to complete internships with local companies to gain hands-on experience. The university also offers a post-graduate certificate in Accounting and an MBA with on-campus and online course options.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater offers a >Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting that can be completed in combination with the Master of Public Accounting (MPA) to meet the CPA exam and certification requirements. On its own, the BBA takes four years to complete and has a sequenced curriculum to ensure students complete all necessary prerequisites in order. Internships in the third and fourth years of the program are highly encouraged and the university offers career resources for new graduates to find positions in the profession. The university is proud to acknowledge that previous graduates have been hired by many top businesses in the state, such as Wipfli, Johnson Controls, and Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Graduate Accounting Programs
Several graduate accounting programs are offered at Edgewood College in Madison through on-campus and online methods. The Master of Science (MS) in Accounting can be completed in one year of full-time study or two to three years of part-time study, and new students are admitted in the fall, spring, and summer terms. The program has many prerequisite courses that are likely to be met through the prior completion of an undergraduate degree in business or accounting; otherwise, students must complete this coursework before beginning the program. This program prepares students for both public and management accounting career paths through courses in advanced accounting and strategic management. Employment resources are available to students through internship placements, on-campus recruiting events, and career advising from experienced mentors and career counselors.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s accounting degrees are recognized as some of the best in the state and in the country.2,3,5 The Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree is designed to prepare graduates for various careers as Certified Public Accountants. Two program options are offered depending on the applicant’s academic background. The Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) enables undergraduate accounting students to complete both degrees in five years through an accelerated course schedule while the Graduate Master of Accounting (GMAcc) introduces students from other academic backgrounds to the field of accounting through a two-year program of study and a paid internship. The program arranges professional networking opportunities and encourages students to connect with alumni for mentorship.
Online Accounting Programs
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting offered through Concordia University is one of the school’s many MBA specializations that can be completed either fully online or through a hybrid format with on-campus classes in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Missouri. The program content covers a broad range of topics related to business administration including advanced accounting skills needed to successfully sit for the CPA exam. The online format offers great flexibility as students can enroll in the program at any time and begin taking courses right away. Additionally, no GMAT or GRE scores are required for entry. The program boasts a large international student population and global instructors with experience in many areas and regions. The program culminates with a capstone project enabling students to demonstrate their mastery of the program content.
Lakeland University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting using a hybrid format of on-campus and online classes. In this undergraduate program, students study accounting basics and complementary areas such as economics, business, and management information systems. The accounting degree also offers many areas of emphasis to specialize further, such as Forensic/Fraud, Insurance, and Sport Management. The university uses a teaching format called BlendEd that allows students to either attend classes at one of the seven campuses in Wisconsin or participate online from week-to-week as their schedules and commitments allow. Students who choose to participate online study the same material as their on-campus peers and must stay up-to-date with the same assignments and readings. Accelerated online classes are also offered for certain topics.
Wisconsin CPA Requirements
Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services oversees CPA certification. Aside from the 150 semester hours that are required for exam eligibility, CPA applicants in Wisconsin must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree and prerequisite coursework if the degree is not in accounting. As long as these are met and no disqualifying information is found on any standard background checks, a person can take the Uniform CPA Exam without having any work experience. In order to become fully certified, however, one year of experience in the field must be completed within the prior five years. Applicants can apply by completing the online application and submitting the required documentation.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Wisconsin
Accounting graduates may find a variety of job opportunities in Wisconsin as this state is home to numerous corporate headquarters, such as American Family Insurance, Johnsonville Foods, and Kohl’s. These corporate offices employ individuals with the business, financial, and accounting skills needed to coordinate and operate national and international businesses. Many more small- and medium-sized companies regularly recruit accounting program graduates to fill long-term positions for both entry-level and senior roles. Alternatively, accounting grads may find work in the non-profit or public sectors where financial acumen is also needed to ensure accurate records, budgets, and strategic planning processes. CPA and CMA holders have the added option of working as public accountants in diverse sectors.
Wisconsin 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 2018.8
Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Wisconsin
Chippewa Valley Technical College
620 W Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Student Review: “Most of my accounting program at the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, I did from home, online. The beginning was not easy (in high school I had never been an A student), but as the subjects got harder, in general they also got more interesting, and my grades got a lot better. The instructors were always very helpful. The courses I liked most were managerial accounting and cost accounting. In my final semester, we did some group projects, which were very enjoyable. The income tax classes taught me a lot of really useful things and since I have got a lot of extra money by using specific tax credits and deductions I had been taught. I wrapped everything up with an internship at a food bank, a not-for-profit that uses a different kind of accounting, which was really interesting.” -Maarten D., student at Chippewa Valley Technical College
1250 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Student Review: “I recently completed my degree in accounting at Marquette University, and I found it to be a fantastic experience that prepared me well for my current career. Though the coursework was challenging, I learned many valuable skills that can be applied to all areas of life and study. One of my favorite aspects of the program is that it offers out-of-classroom learning experiences. The curriculum is service-oriented, so we partnered with area nonprofits such as Hunger Clean-Up on class projects. The curriculum also offers fantastic opportunities to earn credits abroad, which I did during a short-term study trip to Antwerp with the business school. My professors and advisers worked hard to place me with mentors and internships around the city, some with national recognition. Overall, I felt the accounting program at Marquette integrated itself well into my college experience and was focused on developing me as a “whole person” and also preparing me for post-graduate life. My one complaint was that graduate and teaching assistants were not always available as I needed them to be, but that is a problem found on most campuses.” -Stephanie W., student at Marquette University
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, Wisconsin: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wi.htm