Best Colleges to Study as an Accountant

Top Accounting SCHOOLS

More Info from Purdue University Global Online


A.A.S. / B.S. / M.S.

Purdue University Global - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's. Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, they make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from a prestigious university system—completely online.
More Info on Purdue University Global.
Colorado Technical University


A.S. / B.S. / M.B.A.

Colorado Technical University - Associates, Bachelor's & Master's. A popular choice amongst students from the midwest and online, Colorado Technical University offers fully accredited campus-based and online courses.
More info on Colorado Technical University.
Liberty University


A.A. / B.S. / M.B.A.

Liberty University - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's. Liberty University offers affordable online degrees. They offer a Christian-based learning opportunity suitable for students at any stage of their career.
More info on Liberty University.
Virginia College


Accounting Specialist
Private Sector Acctng

Virginia College - Associate's & Bachelor's. Virginial College offers courses taught by professionals with real-world experience and expertise. Their programs are set up to quickly get you from student to career.

More info on Virginia College.
More Info from Post University


A.S./ B.S.
Forensic Accounting Cert.
CPA Prep. Cert.

Post University - Certificates, Associate's & Bachelor's. Post University offers popular online options for students. In addition to associates and bachelors degrees, they also offer certificates for CPA preparation and forensic accounting.
More info on Post University.

You have decided you want to get a degree in accounting. Great choice, accounting is a growing profession and offers many entry level job opportunities, and lucrative career paths in a variety of fields.

Before you finalize your decision where to enroll to get your accounting degree take the time to do some research.

While rankings should not be the most important criteria in selecting an accounting program, it is helpful to look at rankings when developing your short list of programs to consider. Two popular national publications which rank US business schools and their accounting programs are Business Week and US News and World Report. They rank programs and Universities based on curriculum, graduation rates, academic resources, student activity, faculty resources, and the financial status of the school among other factors. Each publication collects their data independently and structures their ranking differently so the results are not the same. The Financial Times provides a global ranking of business schools MBA programs comparing schools from around the world which you may also find of interest.

The Princeton Review is another helpful source of information. It does not rank business schools in terms of overall quality. Rather, the Review, based on responses to student surveys, creates eleven category specific rankings in the following areas: best administered; best campus environment; best campus facilities; best professors; greatest opportunity for minority students; greatest opportunity for women, most family friendly, best career prospects, most competitive students, toughest to get into; and best classroom experience. You may find the information provided in response to these specific attributes helpful in finding a business school that best meets your specific needs, personal and professional goals.

A number one national ranking does not mean a particular program is the best choice for you. However a look at the rankings will give you an idea of which schools offer the good educational opportunities. There are also regional rankings that may be more informative if you are looking for a school in a specific geographic region. If you are considering an online program try the Online Education Data Base which does an accounting school ranking for online education programs.  

If a program you are considering is not ranked it still may be the best option for you. You will however want to do some additional research into a program. You might check with the local better business bureau, the state agency responsible for overseeing higher education in your state and the state Attorney General or consumer protection agency to see if these offices have consumer reviews, complaints or other information concerning the school.  Most of the state agencies responsible for licensing accountants keep information on the CPA exam passage rates for accounting programs’ graduates. Passage rates on the CPA exam are a good indicator of the quality of the accounting program.

If you are a good student and interested in attending a school that is highly ranked you may find these recent rankings of interest. Remember the rankings are updated annually and will change. For example a school’s ranking will change as faculty come and go and a school’s financial well being improves with additional state support (if it is a public university) or if a program is the beneficiary of new endowments or funded chairs.

Business Weeks’ 2009 ranking of undergraduate business schools lists Virginia’s McIntire School as # 1 followed by Notre Dame, Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Michigan’s Ross School and Brigham Young’s Marriot School.

If you are looking at graduate programs in accounting Business Week ranks Penn State’s Wharton’s accounting program as #1. Other highly ranked graduate accounting programs are University of Chicago’s Booth School, Michigan’s Ross School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School and Columbia’s graduate accounting program in that order.

US News’ 2009 ranking of undergraduate business schools listed as their top five schools: University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkley, University of Michigan and New York University.

US News’ 2009 ranked graduate accounting programs in this order: University of Texas in Austin McCombs School, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago’s Booth School and University of Michigan’s Ross School.

Financial Times’ 2009 Global MBA rankings list University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as #1 with London, Harvard, Columbia and Insead (France and Singapore) following.

Once you have a short list of business programs you will want to research the cost of attending the school, the opportunities for financial aid, the curriculum, faculty, and the schools support services on the school’s website. It is highly recommended you not finalize your selection of a school before visiting the campus, talking with current students, sitting in on a class and meeting with faculty and staff. In a recent survey of MBA students 80% indicated their campus visits were the most useful source of information for making a decision as to which program was best suited to their needs.

When you do your online research and campus visit here are some ideas of questions you should ask:

What is the total cost of attending the program, including tuition, fees, housing, educational materials and cost of living in the area in which the school is located?

What type of financial aid is available does the school offer assistance in applying for financial aid?

Does the program have a Career Services Office? What is the Office’s record of placing graduates? What types of jobs were recent graduates placed in? What firms or businesses recruit on campus? Dose the Office also help students find internships? What are some recent internship placements?

What is the student faculty ratio?

Is the faculty committed to teaching? What is the availability of faculty to students outside of class?

Is the class schedule flexible enough to allow you to meet your other commitments?

Searching for an accounting program that is a good fit with your needs and goals is not expensive but it can be time consuming. Don’t shortchange yourself. Spend the time it takes to make an informed choice of programs. Selecting the right school for you is a worthwhile investment of your time.

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