Top University in Philadelphia for Accounting Degrees

Many schools in the Philadelphia area have top ranking accounting programs. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have to offer for accounting, as well as tuition and degree information.

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School and Ranking Information

Roughly 11 universities within 15 miles of downtown Philadelphia offer accounting programs. The following schools are considered the top three based on rankings, degree levels offered in the field, graduation rates and tuition:

  • Winner: University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is in first place due to its multiple top-10 national rankings in 2013 from U.S. News & World Report, three levels of accounting degrees and undergraduate graduation rate of near 100%.
  • Runner Up #1: Temple University, a public school situated in Philadelphia, received second place for its low tuition rates and vast number of degrees awarded in accounting.
  • Runner Up #2: Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia is the second runner up for its top-10 ranking for universities in the North in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report, number of degrees awarded in the field and the accounting program's high level of demand at the institution.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of Pennsylvania Temple University Saint Joseph's University
Rankings (2013) 4th among undergraduate accounting programs*
2nd among graduate accounting programs*
8th among national universities*
125th among national universities* 8th for regional universities in the North*
Location Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia, PA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $43,738 (undergraduate), $30,108 (graduate)** $13,596 (in-state, undergraduate), $23,422 (out-of-state, undergraduate);
$12,956 (in-state, graduate), $17,888 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$37,830 (undergraduate), $13,740 (graduate)**
Accounting Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees** Bachelor's and master's degrees** Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-graduate certificate**
Accounting Degrees and Certificates (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 20** 232** 143**
Most Popular Accounting Program in 2011-2012 Master's degree (11 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (225 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (125 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 96%** 66%** 79%**
Noteworthy Penn's The Wharton School is the first university-based school of business in the world The Fox School of Business hosts many student organizations, including four specifically for accounting students Accounting was SJU's fourth most popular major in 2011, according to U.S. News & World Report

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

Winner: University of Pennsylvania

  • Penn's faculty includes recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Award and National Medal of Science
  • Ranked 13th among best value schools in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Bloomberg Businessweek ranked The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania the 5th best business school in the nation in 2013
  • Penn's business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting. The undergraduate program is a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a concentration in accounting. Four accounting courses are required that cover financial accounting and cost-managerial accounting. Also, students are required to take two more core accounting courses, which can be in subjects such as auditing, mergers and acquisitions, taxes, or valuation.

Wharton also offers a Master of Business Administration with an accounting major. The 2-year program includes core accounting courses in tax planning, financial reporting, cost management, and auditing. Students also take courses in leadership, management, statistics, operations, and marketing. The program begins with a pre-term program, which includes a 2-day learning team retreat.

For the 20-course Ph.D. in Accounting program students are required to complete the core foundation work in areas such as accounting theory, economics, statistics and finance. A dissertation is required. Further program requirements include participating in teacher development workshops.

Runner-Up #1: Temple University

  • Temple had a 67% acceptance rate for 2012-2013, according to NCES figures
  • Temple has student chapters of professional accounting organizations, such as the Institute of Management Accountants at Temple and the National Association of Black Accountants
  • Temple's business programs are accredited by AACSB

The Fox School of Business at Temple University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in accounting. The curriculum includes eight required courses, which cover subjects in cost accounting, auditing and income taxes. This is a 124-credit program. Students who wish to be eligible for CPA licensure can complete Temple's 1-year Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program. The 30-credit MAcc is designed to prepare students for the CPA exam. Courses cover topics in auditing, taxation, reporting, and enterprise systems. CPA review courses are also provided.

The 5-year Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting is a full-time program that consists of coursework, research papers, a 1-semester teaching requirement and a dissertation. Competency and comprehensive exams are required at the end of the first and third years, respectively.

Runner-Up #2: Saint Joseph's University

  • Ranked 18th for online graduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2013
  • Business and accounting programs are accredited by AACSB
  • SJU is a Jesuit, Catholic university

SJU's Erivan K. Haub School of Business offers an undergraduate accounting major and an MBA with a concentration in accounting. The 121-credit undergraduate accounting curriculum prepares students for the CPA exam. Students earn a Certificate of Competence in SAP R/3 software while completing the bachelor's degree program. Coursework subjects cover taxation, auditing, information systems, and financial accounting. The SJU College of Professional and Liberal Studies also offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting program geared toward adult learners.

Students who want to apply for a CPA license can complete a 36-credit post-baccalaureate certificate, which provides the necessary credits to apply for CPA licensure.

The MBA with an accounting concentration includes coursework in decision making, research, and statement analysis. Another course offers students an international accounting study tour.

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