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Forensic Accounting Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Dec 05, 2019

Various forensic accounting programs are available at the bachelor's degree, post-bachelor's certificate and master's degree levels. Coursework combines fundamentals of accounting with criminology.

Forensic accounting programs can be found at 4-year colleges and universities, and may go by other names, such as financial crime investigation. Undergraduates may enroll in a bachelor's degree program, while graduate students may pursue a specialization in forensic accounting through Master of Business Administration or Master of Accounting programs or via certificate programs.

Forensic Accounting Schools

Below are a few examples of schools offering accounting programs:

College / University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY 4-year, public Bachelor's In-state: $7,270
Out-of-state: $14,940 (undergraduate)
University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate In-state: $15,260
Out-of-state: $21,416 (graduate)
Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield, MO 4-year, public Graduate Certificate In-state: $6,038
Out-of-state: $11,114 (graduate)
Utica College Utica, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate $21,382 (undergraduate)
University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's $11,350
Carlow University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate, Bachelor's $29,454
La Salle University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit Graduate Certificate $25,020 (graduate)
Christian Brothers University Memphis, TN 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $13,307(graduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when choosing a forensic accounting school:

  • Some programs build an internship experience into the curriculum or offer it as an elective option, affording enrollees the possibility of pursuing particular interests through fieldwork while earning academic credits.
  • Some programs qualify graduates to sit for the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) or Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA) exams; other programs might provide credits applicable toward Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam eligibility.
  • Students should research a school's reputation and position within published school rankings.
  • Students who do not already hold a bachelor's degree can opt to pursue accelerated programs that combine a bachelor's and master's program.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Most bachelor's degree programs in forensic accounting require fulfillment of approximately 128 credit hours. Some schools require courses in computer and accounting information systems as well as accounting research and analysis.

Certificate Programs

Generally designed for working professionals, some certificate programs require that enrollees already hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related area such as finance, economics or business. Some schools also offer courses in corporate fraud, government investigation and tax accounting.

Master's Degree Programs

Many master's programs in forensic accounting also require that candidates hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a relevant field. Some programs might also include courses covering topics such as witnessing principles.

Forensic accounting programs focus on fraud detection and other aspects of financial crime. Programs are most commonly offered as master's degrees or graduate certificates, but bachelor's degree programs are available.

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