Unveiling The Top Accounting Degree Programs 

Everybody loves a list so giving you the top accounting degree programs – ten to be precise - seems the right thing to do! How did we come up with this list of great accounting programs, institutions & schools? 

The US News & World Report has done a great job and come up with their list of fifty. 

But we’ll just look at the top ten accountancy colleges/universities.

The idea is to:

  • Give you an overview of each college

  • Names their business schools

  • Talk about their undergraduate & Graduate/Masters programs

  • Provide some key facts that could help you decide which one could be right for you

So without further ado here we go with the top accounting degree programs:

1. University of Texas at Austin

Not that we like long sentences but it’s actually the McCombs School of Business that houses the Department of Accounting. So what do they offer?

  • The Undergraduate program – known as the Texas Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

  • The next step up is the Traditional MPA (Master in Professional Accounting) a 12 to 18 month gig that gets you fully ready to take the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exams

  • And maybe you saw this coming, but you can combine the BBA and the MPA (called the integrated MPA) over a five year period to get fully fit to be a CPA

The University of Texas at Austin also tops the list of other publications such as the Public Accounting Report. As you’d expect when you head the list of top accounting degree programs, it’s a tough nut to crack to get admission but the rewards for your accountancy career will be huge.

2. University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Another long name but another fantastic organisation. Housed in the Department of Accountancy, there’s four key courses on offer:

  • The undergraduate program is called the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (BS). And like many of its counterparts it’s no longer enough to qualify you take the CPA exams in Illinois (or other states for that matter)

  • The Graduate programs come in a few more flavours. There’s the Master of Accounting Science (MAS) which is a one year program for students with an accounting undergraduate history. Next up is the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) which is more aimed at non-accounting students.

And of course, you can combine the BS with the MAS to get you the whole way through to the top of the accounting profession. 

3. Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo

One of the oldest establishments in the country. And it’s highly rated by recruiters. The accounting program is part of the BYU Marriot School.

  • The undergraduate program is called the BS Accountancy (Bachelor of Science)

  • Next up is the BYU MAcc Program (Master of Accountancy) which is rated number one by the Public Accounting Report, has very high placement rates with employers and normally takes two years to complete.

4. University of Pennsylvania

Let’s move onto number four in the top accounting degree programs: . And of course we have a very famous name here being the Wharton Accounting Department. There’s a four year undergraduate course or the Accounting department’s MBA program. To be honest, their website is a bit sketchy on detail on their programs and very heavy on accounting theory itself! Interesting approach we say.

5. University of Michigan 

Now for the Ross School of Business. The key offering here is the MAcc program which is a ten month course that will have you ready for the CPA. However, for the undergraduate there’s the three year BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) where you can take an elective in Accounting

OK, so we’re half way through the ten top accounting degree programs out there. Plenty more great faculty names to come so read on. (And don't forget to review our article on "What Can You Do With An Accounting Degree?" as well).

6. The University of Southern California

What a a fab title for their accounting school! The Leventhal School of Accounting. We like that a lot. And it’s actually part of the Marshall School of Business.

  • Their accounting undergraduate program offers a very distinctive approach which includes the Collaborative Learning Center

  • The Masters of Accounting (MAcc) is a full time, one year program where over 50% of the students have come from an accounting undergraduate background. Some other interesting stats were 51% of the class were women and the average age is 24. Does that fit into the profile of college you were looking to go for? 

There’s no doubting that these top accounting degree programs offer incredibly diverse school environments

7. Indiana University, Bloomington

Not as zippy a name as some of the others but the Kelley School of Business still has a strong ring about it and a very crisp and informative website.

  • Their four year undergraduate program is known as the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting and whilst this doesn’t get you over the CPA line they still boast a whole range of top employers such as PwC, General Mills and Motorola

  • However, on the graduate program side of things they have three courses to offer. First up is the Master of Business Administration in Accounting which they refer to as the 3/2 program as you complete the BS & MBA together in five years.

  • Or you can take the Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) which is a one year course. And finally there’s the good old MBA with an accounting major or minor.

Realistically, if an accountancy career is what you’re chasing and you’re still an undergraduate then it’s the 3/2 program you’ll want to check-out.

As you can see, there’s a rich diversity of colleges & universities that make up the ten top accounting degree programs.

8. The University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame operates its accounting program through the Mendoza College of Business. We’ll resist any quips about bells and fairy tale creatures to concentrate on what’s important. There does seem to be a heavy focus on the academic side of accounting which will appeal to many students.

  • These guys refer to an accountancy undergraduate major which is a bit of change from the others – that is they don’t wheel out the “major” moniker too often

  • Higher on up it’s the M.S in Accountancy (MSA) program which gives you the option of two tracks being the Financial Reporting and Assurance Services or Tax. Clearly the former is the best option if you’re heading for accounting departments of public accounting firms

A great statistic we found on their Viewbook was 75% of their 2009 MSA graduates ended up in public accounting firms with 60% in the Big Four. Compelling stuff and what you’d expect of top accounting degree programs.

9. New York University

Their accounting department goes under the banner of the Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Definitely the most words award here in the top ten accounting degree programs!

In their undergraduate college two accounting majors are offered one being a bit more general in nature with the other focusing in on getting CPA ready. Rather worryingly the information on the MBA program (which can be combined with the undergraduate program) sends you to their 2004-5 brochure. Hmm. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of brush up there.

And so we come to the last, and certainly not least, of our top accounting degree programs.

10. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The business school is called UNC Kenan – Flagler. Their flagship undergraduate program is called the BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration but oddly there isn’t an accounting major so we’ll have to move on quickly to the MAC (Master of Accounting) which is a one year full-time program that boasts 95-100% placements

So, there you have them – the top accounting degree programs. We’d love to hear from you on what colleges or universities you think should be in here.