Top School in Pittsburgh for Becoming an Accountant

School and Ranking Information

Students seeking accounting and finance programs in Pittsburgh can choose from between about a dozen public and private schools within a 10-mile radius of the downtown area. Based on U.S. News & World Report rankings and the variety of accounting and finance programs, the three top schools in the Pittsburgh area for accounting programs are as follows:

  • Winner: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to the Tepper School of Business. Tepper's undergraduate finance track was ranked in the top ten, and its graduate program ranked in the top 20, nationally, in 2013. CMU offers a wide variety of programs and research options for its students.
  • Runner Up #1: The University of Pittsburgh (PITT) offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program as well as master's and doctoral programs in finance and accounting. Ranking right around #50 for both undergraduate and graduate business programs, PITT is known for offering innovative business programming.
  • Runner Up #2: Duquesne University (DUQ) also ranks nationally as a top university. DUQ has state-of-the-art labs for accounting and finance majors, and the school provides strong financial and career support to its students.

School Comparison Chart

Category Carnegie Mellon University University of Pittsburgh Duquesne University
Ranking(s) 2nd for undergraduate quantitative analysis program in 2013, nationwide*
8th for undergraduate finance program in 2013, nationwide*
16th for graduate business school in finance in 2013, nationwide*
47th for undergraduate business programs in 2012, nationwide*
61st for graduate business schools in 2013, nationwide*
166th for undergraduate business programs in 2012, nationwide*
Location Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh, PA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $45,760 (undergraduate), $38,614 (graduate)** $16,590 (undergraduate, in-state), $26,280 (undergraduate, out-of-state); $20,076 (graduate, in-state), $32,398 (graduate, out-of-state)** $30,034 (undergraduate), $19,044 (graduate)**
Finance, General Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees** Bachelor's degrees** Bachelor's degrees**
Finance, General Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 41** 174** 61**
Most Popular Finance, General Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (34 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (174 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (61 awarded)**
Accounting Degree Levels Offered Master's degrees** Bachelor's and master's degrees; certificates** Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-graduate certificates**
Accounting Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 2** 202** 82**
Most Popular Accounting Program in 2011-2012 Master's degree (2 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (159 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (65 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 87%** 79%** 73%**
Noteworthy 37th among best value schools in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation promotes green environments The Economist in 2011 ranked Pittsburgh as best place to live in U.S.

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Carnegie Mellon University

  • 23rd for National Universities in 2013
  • Business school's faculty includes eight Nobel Prize winners
  • The overall student-faculty ratio is 12:1, according to NCES

Tepper offers undergraduate students eight different business tracks, including finance. Students hone risk preference, quantitative and analytic skills through curriculum that covers corporate finance and investment analysis. Students also choose finance electives, which may cover discrete- or continuous-time finance, derivative securities, and cost benefit analysis.

MBA students typically choose four concentrations from the program's 12 selections, including finance. The program's core curriculum has included an accounting course, whether managerial or financial accounting, since Tepper's founding in 1949. From 120 electives, which include 20 finance courses, students select courses that match their interests. The M.S. in Computational Finance is a collective degree program offered by Tepper and other colleges, with curriculum focus in math, statistics, and quantitative financial engineering. Eight Ph.D. degree offerings include accounting and financial economics, with research options into numerous accounting related subjects.

Runner-Up #1: University of Pittsburgh

  • 58th for National Universities in 2013
  • Katz offered the world's first one-year MBA program
  • Katz alumni numbering 23,000 are found in over 90 countries

CBA's BSBA offering allows students interested in accounting to acquire skills in audits, cost accounting and management, preparation of budgets, and financial reporting. The school further offers students the chance to join the school's accounting association or Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting honors society. The finance major prepares students to use finance theory and methods to address investment and finance issues. Required courses teach skills in futures valuation, financial markets, and corporate finance.

Katz' MAcc and MBA degrees concentrate on finance, with the programs satisfying the 150-hour state CPA licensure requirement to sit for the state exam. MBA students take coursework in derivatives, valuation, value through restructuring, and market capitalization. Students further choose to pursue specialized coursework, applied practicum, field projects, and lab analysis work. MAcc program curriculum combines the MBA curriculum with more focused accounting courses and field projects that have students work for an actual client. Doctor of Philosophy in accounting or finance establishes a candidate's research proficiency in a chosen area of study. Accounting curriculum includes statistics, economics, and related seminars. Finance curriculum covers empirical finance research, international finance, and finance theory. The completed program includes proficiency in decision making, institution financial management, and corporate governance.

Runner-Up #2: Duquesne University

  • 120th for National Universities in 2013
  • The Palumbo School is celebrating its centennial in 2013
  • NCES showed in the 2011-2012 school year, 100% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid, which is the highest of the profiled schools

Palumbo's accounting program offers its graduates fulfillment of the state's CPA law. The 120-hour accounting undergraduate major combined with a 30-hour graduate program satisfies the 150-hour requirement, allowing students to then pursue licensure in Pennsylvania. There is an accounting lab that teaches students the latest accounting software, including Peachtree and PeopleSoft. Students typically have job offers prior to graduation. Finance students have access to the latest investment and finance tools at Palumbo's investment center. A variety of finance electives are offered, which may cover security analysis, credit management, theory of finance, and fund management. Donahue's MAcc program offers accounting skills in ethics, reporting and regulation, and forensics. The Donahue MBA program requires 33 core credits, with students completing the up to nine electives with concentrations and seminars, like finance and financial services.

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