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Accounting Schools in CA with Degree Overviews

Jul 26, 2019

There are about 60 schools within California that have accounting programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Many public and private universities in California offer accounting education. Commonly, accounting can be studied at bachelor's and master's degree levels, either through accountancy or taxation programs or business administration programs with concentrations in accounting. Many master's degree programs are designed to prepare students to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Though less common, doctoral-level programs also exist. In addition, some schools offer accounting minors as well as undergraduate and graduate certificate programs.

Career Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that accountants typically need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Accountants who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission must be CPAs. As of January 2014, aspiring CPAs in California need to have a bachelor's degree and 150 semester units of relevant coursework, according to the California Board of Accountancy. Accountants will also need to pass the Uniform CPA Examination to become certified. The not-for-profit universities mentioned below are the 10 largest schools offering accounting programs in the state.


California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

Located in San Luis Obispo, this university offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in accounting. Undergraduate students take courses in intermediate accounting, accounting ethics and auditing. The university also has a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting program with concentrations in tax and financial accounting. This 1-year program is designed to prepare students to meet the CPA education requirements. Students specializing in tax must also complete an internship.

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

Found in Pomona, this university has a minor program in accounting that provides basic instruction in the field and can be completed by students pursuing any major at the school. The BSBA sub-plan in accounting has emphases in corporate accounting, public accounting, not-for-profit accounting and taxation. The university also offers a MS in Accountancy program. Graduate students can take advanced accounting coursework and participate in internships. Students who don't have an undergraduate degree in a business field may need to complete a set of prerequisite courses before beginning their graduate coursework.

California State University - Fullerton

This university is in Fullerton and provides a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BABA) with a concentration in accounting. Undergraduate students are required to complete a capstone course and a global business course. Accounting elective options include fraud detection, cost accounting and financial statement analysis. The MS in Accountancy program requires a capstone project and accounting seminars. The school also has a MS in Taxation, and students complete courses in tax research and corporate taxation along with a capstone project.

California State University - Los Angeles

Located in Los Angeles, this university offers a variety of accounting program options. Students pursuing a degree in another field can enroll in the accounting minor program. The BSBA in Accounting program can teach students about cost accounting, auditing and financial accounting. The undergraduate certificate program in accounting is available for students who already have a degree in another field or are pursuing a degree outside of accounting. The MS in Accountancy program requires 45 credits of coursework and allows students to specialize in accounting information systems, taxation or public accounting.

California State University - Northridge

This university is in Northridge and has an accounting bachelor's degree program with options in professional accountancy or information systems. Undergraduate students take courses like financial accounting or auditing. The MS in Accountancy program takes one year to complete and is offered during nights and weekends. Students who complete this program meet the education requirements to become CPAs. Finally, the college has an 18-month MS in Taxation program that provides opportunities like a tax challenge project, tax development journal or a federal tax clinic.

California State University - San Bernardino

Found in San Bernardino, this university provides accounting minor and certificate programs as well as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Administration with an accounting track. These programs include courses like financial statement auditing and taxation. The BS in Administration program with an accounting information systems specialization also has courses in management accounting and computer science. At the graduate level, students can pursue a MS in Accountancy program that can prepare them for the CPA exam. Students who have a bachelor's degree in a different field may need to take prerequisite coursework before they can begin completing the program requirements.

National University

Located in La Jolla, this university has an accounting minor program and also provides undergraduate and graduate accounting certificate programs. The BS in Accountancy program can teach students about tax returns, accounting information technology and ethical business procedures. The Master of Accountancy program is designed for students who don't have a bachelor's degree in accounting; it also prepares them for the CPA exam.

San Diego State University

Found in San Diego, this institution offers a BSBA in Accounting program, and students get to take courses in accounting, business, management and finance. An accounting minor program is also available. Students who already have a bachelor's degree in a field other than accounting can complete the certificate program. The MS in Accountancy program has specializations in accounting information systems, financial reporting and taxation. All of the specialization options meet the education requirements needed to qualify for the CPA credential, and students may also be prepared to pursue additional certifications, depending on their specialization. Graduate students who have completed the prerequisite courses can complete the master's program in just one year.

San Jose State University

This university in San Jose provides a BSBA in Accounting program that teaches core concepts in economics, accounting and business ethics. Undergraduate students can also complete the BSBA in Accounting Information Systems program, which has courses in systems analysis, database design and networking. The 13-month MS in Accountancy program prepares students without an accounting background for the CPA exam. The MS in Taxation program can help students understand key tax concepts for public, corporate and government accounting.

University of Southern California

Located in Los Angeles, this university has an accounting minor program for non-business majors. The BS in Accounting program has accounting, accounting information systems and graduate specializations. Graduate students can complete a Master of Business Taxation or Master of Accounting program. The PhD in Accounting program requires students to complete research, a teaching experience and a dissertation. Doctoral students may also study topics in managerial accounting, tax accounting, auditing and financial accounting.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Accounting Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo 4-year; public; small suburb Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting,
Master of Science in Accounting
$9,816 in-state; $21,696 out-of-state*
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona 4-year; public; midsize city Minor in Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting,
Master of Science in Accountancy
$7,353 in-state; $19,233 out-of-state*
California State University - Fullerton 4-year; public; midsize city Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Accounting,
Master of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Science in Taxation
$6,886 in-state; $18,766 out-of-state*
California State University - Los Angeles 4-year; public; large city Minor in Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting,
Certificate in Accounting,
Master of Science in Accountancy
$6,749 in-state; $18,629 out-of-state*
California State University - Northridge 4-year; public; large city Bachelor of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Science in Accountancy or Taxation
$6,893 in-state; $18,773 out-of-state*
California State University - San Bernardino 4-year; public; midsize city Minor in Accounting,
Certificate in Accounting,
Bachelor of Arts in Administration - Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Administration - Accounting Information Systems,
Master of Science in Accountancy
$6,922 in-state; $18,802 out-of-state*
National University 4-year; private, not-for-profit; fringe rural Minor in Accountancy,
Undergraduate Certificate in Accountancy,
Bachelor of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Accountancy,
Graduate Certificate in Accountancy
$13,320*
San Diego State University 4-year; public; large city Minor in Accounting,
Certificate in Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting,
Master of Science in Accounting
$7,488 in-state; $19,340 out-of-state*
San Jose State University 4-year; public; large city Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting Information Systems,
Master of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Science in Taxation
$7,796 in-state; $19,676 out-of-state*
University of Southern California 4-year, private, not-for-profit; large city Minor in Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Accounting,
Master of Accounting,
Master of Business Taxation,
PhD in Accounting
$56,225*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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