Top School for a Degree in Accounting and Finance - San Francisco, CA

Students interested in studying accounting and finance in San Francisco, CA, have several schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' programs, tuition, and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

About 12 schools within a 50-mile radius of downtown San Francisco offer programs in accounting or finance. Based on program offerings, rankings, and location, the following institutions are considered the top three for accounting and finance programs in San Francisco:

  • Winner: The University of San Francisco emerges as the winner because it is the only one of the three schools with a national ranking, and it has the highest graduation rate. Students can pursue a bachelor's or master's degree related to accounting or finance.
  • Runner Up #1: Though Golden Gate University has no ranking, the school is named as the second best option because it awarded the highest number of degrees in recent years. It also offers online courses in accounting and finance and has the most diverse programs: bachelor's and master's degrees as well as graduate certificates.
  • Runner Up #2: City College of San Francisco lands in the third spot because it isn't ranked, has the lowest levels of study available (certificate and associate's degree) and awards the lowest number of degrees in accounting and finance. However, it is the largest of the three schools in terms of student population.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of San Francisco Golden Gate University City College of San Francisco
Rankings 117th among national universities (2014)*,
141st among undergraduate business programs, nationwide (2013)*,
93rd among best graduate part-time MBA programs, nationwide (2013)*
Location San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees in 2012-2013 $38,884 (undergraduate), $20,390 (graduate)** $14,160 (undergraduate), $15,120 (graduate)** $1,238 (in-state, undergraduate), $6,270 (out-of-state, undergraduate)**
Accounting and Finance Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees** Bachelor's and master's degrees; certificates** Associate's degrees; certificates**
Accounting and Finance Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 124** 226** 24**
Most Popular Accounting and Finance Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree in finance (70 awarded)** Master's degree in accounting (104 awarded)** N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 67% (for 2006 entering class)** N/A 32% (for 2009 entering class)**
Noteworthy USF was founded in 1855 and was San Francisco's first university GGU's CyberCampus platform offers online learning classrooms to over 1,000 students yearly One of the largest multicultural, multi-campus community colleges nationwide, educating about 100,000 students annually

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

Winner: University of San Francisco

  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International accredits USF's McLaren School of Management
  • To maintain AACSB standards, McLaren revises and updates its curriculum periodically
  • Global Immersion Program offers students international study opportunities

McLaren offers undergraduate and graduate business administration programs with majors and concentrations in accounting and finance. The undergraduate accounting major offers its student learning in investment analysis, income measurement, and market monitoring. Students are provided with independent study programs to prepare to take the CPA exam. The finance major program focuses on subject areas including foreign exchange, corporate and managerial finance, and investments. Students are taught courses further covering regulation, revenue sourcing, and global debt and finance.

The 56-credit, full-time MBA program allows a concentration in finance that integrates practical and conceptual skills. The program also is available part-time, in accelerated form, and on weekends. The core curriculum includes analysis, organizational management, research, technology, and national and international business strategies. By selecting the finance concentration, students also explore actual finance casework that offers hands-on practice in addressing risk and increasing value. A Master of Science in Accounting is also available; this program lasts one year and helps students earn the 150 course units required to take the CPA exam.

Runner-Up #1: Golden Gate University

  • Students at GGU are supported with internships, job postings, and faculty networking opportunities
  • The overall student-faculty ratio is 14:1, according to NCES
  • Adjunct faculty at GGU include local entrepreneurs who offer graduates help in establishing businesses

Through traditional and online classes, GGU offers undergraduate degrees and certificates with accounting and finance concentrations. Graduate programs include multiple degree and certificate offerings in accounting, finance, and financial planning. The undergraduate and M.S. programs help students train for the CPA and certified management accountant (CMA) exams, as well as accounting careers. The undergraduate programs prepare students with a foundation in accounting or finance; the certificate programs have similar but condensed versions of the curriculum. Undergraduate business majors can pursue a concentration in finance as well.

Graduate degrees in accountancy and accounting provide further comprehensive education in addition to satisfying the CPA licensure's 150-hour requirement. The finance graduate program prepares students with skills in corporate finance and how to manage investments. The MBA program allows a choice of concentration in accounting or finance. Certificate programs are available for students who want to focus on an array of subjects, including forensic accounting and analysis in technical markets.

Runner-Up #2: City College of San Francisco

  • Graduates can advance to senior-level accountant and auditor positions
  • Offers degree, credit and non-credit certificate courses of study
  • Non-credit programs do not charge tuition

The business department at CCSF offers a 2-year accounting degree program, a credit certificate program in microcomputer accounting, and a non-credit certificate in computerized accounting specialist, clerical or specialized accounting. The 48- to 49-credit associate's degree program includes curriculum that teaches various levels of accounting, auditing, tax processing, and using accounting technology. Graduates qualify for junior-level accounting opportunities at private, public and government establishments.

The credit and non-credit accounting-related certificate programs require at least 18 credits or 600-700+ total hours with a focus on preparing students to use standard accounting technology. Courses teach students about the accounting functions available on computers, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and billing. Graduates from this program can pursue entry- and mid-level employment opportunities at banks or accounting firms.

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