School and Ranking Information
Aspiring accounting and finance majors considering universities in the Portland, OR, area have options that include a couple of smaller, private universities and a large, public university. Based upon regional and national rankings, variety of programs, and successful pass rates for the CPA exams, the following three universities stand out:
- Winner: Portland State University (PSU) has the state's largest business school, which has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. PSU offers bachelor's degree programs in both finance and accounting, as well as an MBA program, a master's program in finance, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting.
- Runner Up #1: University of Portland (UP) is tied with PSU in its business school ranking. UP offers Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees in both finance and accounting, a Master of Science and an MBA in Finance, a Post-MBA Certificate in Finance, and a combined BBA/MBA program.
- Runner Up #2: George Fox University offers bachelor's degree programs in accounting and finance. Its accounting graduates have a very high success rate in passing the CPA exam.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Portland State University||University of Portland||George Fox University|
|Rankings (2013)|| Named the nation's 10th most up-and-coming school**
Country's 166th-best undergraduate business program**
| Ranked 6th among best value schools and regional universities in the west**
Undergraduate business program also ranks 166th in the nation**
|Made the list of top regional universities (west) at #23**|
|Location||Portland, OR||Portland, OR||Newberg, OR (21 miles from Portland)|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)|| $7,653 (undergraduate, in-state)
$22,863 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$13,395 (graduate, in-state)
$20,235 (graduate, out-of-state)*
| $37,404 (undergraduate)
| $30,230 (undergraduate)
|Accounting and Finance Degree Levels Offered||Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate certificate||Bachelor's and master's degrees||Bachelor's degrees|
|Accounting and Finance Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||386*||51*||13*|
|Most Popular Accounting or Finance Program (2011-2012)||Bachelor's in Accounting (153 awarded)*||Bachelor's in Accounting (29 awarded)*||Bachelor's in Accounting (12 awarded)*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2005 Entering Class||38%*||76%*||62%*|
|Noteworthy||Contains the largest business school in the northwest, with approximately 5,000 students studying business at the undergraduate and graduate levels***||The current discipline leader in finance is recognized as one of the world's best finance research scholars by the Journal of Finance Literature***||95% of the school's accounting graduates passed all or some parts of the CPA exam in 2008, which was well above the state institutional average of 69%, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy in fall 2010***|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics; **U.S. News and World Report; ***Schools' websites.
Winner: Portland State University
- Within the School of Business Administration's (SBA) 12 degree options, accounting was chosen by the most students and finance fourth-most in 2013
- The SBA is part of Oregon's largest university and the state's only urban university
- Programs are offered full-time or part-time, with classes available day and night, on weekends and online
- One of 400 business schools globally that is internationally accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
As Oregon's largest business school, the SBA at PSU offers students multiple levels of both accounting and finance programs. These include bachelor's degrees in both disciplines, which prepare finance undergraduates for careers in the banking, investment-related and corporate finance fields, and put accounting majors on track to be a certified accountant or auditor. For students seeking a career in accounting or finance management, the school's master's degree in financial analysis is an accelerated program that blends together advanced coursework in both these business areas. Graduates with bachelor's degrees also have the option to earn a post-baccalaureate accounting certificate, the program of which is geared toward preparing students for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. All these programs require strong mathematical and analysis skills.
Runner-Up #1: University of Portland
- The Pamplin School of Business has developed a specific five-year program for students to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree, thus gaining students the necessary hours required to sit for the CPA exam
- Six of the school's 11 faculty Fulbrights awarded since 1996 have been members of the Pamplin School of Business
- The university has the highest graduation rate of the three schools profiled
With a distinguished faculty and programs at both the bachelor's and master's levels, UP has multiple options for students looking to enter the world of accounting and finance. Along with the undergraduate curricula in these programs, accounting majors have access to the school's Accounting Association, which is one of the most active business clubs run by students on campus. They also find themselves aggressively recruited by many of the major public accounting firms in the nation. Finance majors are groomed at the undergraduate level for careers as CFOs, investment analysts and treasurers, among others, while the master's program in finance rigorously focuses on specialized finance skills, and gives the option to write a thesis. The BBA/MBA program mentioned above comprises two separate programs, with the abbreviated MBA program commencing immediately after completion of the undergraduate accounting degree (BBA).
Runner-Up #2: George Fox University
- High percentage of graduates from the accounting program passed all or some parts of the CPA exam in 2008
- Ranked among the Top 10 Christian colleges in the nation in 2012 by Forbes magazine, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine rates the school in its Top 80 private schools
The accounting major at George Fox includes 69 semester hours of study, including several hours of both business core and accounting core curricula. The school's faculty also work one-on-one with students to help prepare them for the CPA exam. In addition, George Fox notes that employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are projected to grow by 16% between 2010 and 2020 (per the Bureau of Labor Statistics), so graduates of its accounting program will find a favorable career climate, which includes employment in areas such as auditing, taxation, corporate and public accounting, and consulting. Students participating in the school's finance program take 60 hours of business and finance core classes, which prepare them for careers in financial management and planning, investment services and financial analysis. It is important to note that George Fox University is a Christian college, and therefore integrates that faith into its classroom and student life environment.