With a growing accountant shortage, it’s more important than ever before to direct young adults to a career in accounting. This career might offer a great deal of stability in an increasingly unstable job market.

What does it take to become an accountant? Accounting is a highly specialized field and therefore requires some specific kinds of education. In this post, we’ll highlight some of today’s top accounting programs in the U.S.

Top Accounting Programs in 2021

There are many accounting schools to choose from. We’ve selected the 10 top accounting programs from schools across the U.S. to highlight.

1. University of Texas, Austin

Few programs can match the McCombs School at the University of Texas in Austin. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and has been ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report for 10 consecutive years.

The McCombs School also offers internships and career development resources to connect graduates to a job as quickly as possible after graduation.

2. Brigham Young University

Brigham Young offers a BS in Accounting, as well as a Master of Accountancy program, both of which have a high CPA passing rate. The school also boasts of a near-100% placement rate after graduation, ensuring a smooth transition to a career path following the academic coursework.

The Marriott School provides a Ph.D. Prep track so that students can be prepared for advanced studies in accounting, as well.

3. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois offers multiple academic programs, including:

  • Bachelor of Science in Accountancy
  • Master of Accounting Science
  • Master of Science in Accountancy
  • Master of Science in Tax
  • Ph.D. program

The university boasts state-of-the-art facilities, high placement rates, and the world’s largest student-run consulting service.

4. University of Notre Dame

Few schools can match the widespread reputation of the University of Notre Dame. The Mendoza College of Business provides first-rate education and training and has consistently received top rankings.

In addition to offering a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, the school also offers Master’s degrees in Accountancy and Business Administration.

5. University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, as well as preparatory courses for the CPA exam. The school provides diverse coursework in accounting, preparing students for auditing, tax law, and other specialized forms of accounting work.

6. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the prestigious Leventhal School of Accounting, part of the larger Marshall College of Business at USC. The school places a unique emphasis on international business, which could prove invaluable in today’s increasingly globalized economy.

7. University of Michigan

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is widely recognized for its bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. The true selling point is the way the school integrates the Master of Accounting and MBA programs, which provide adaptable education for students entering the business world after graduation.

8. University of Mississippi

The Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi offers several degree programs, including:

  • Bachelor of Accountancy
  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Taxation
  • Ph.D. in Accountancy

The school’s elective courses offer students the greatest opportunity for specialization, and the courses are taught by CPAs who understand the world of finance.

9. Indiana University

The Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana has a strong reputation. It offers degree programs ranging from bachelor’s degrees to Ph.Ds. In addition to the school’s rigorous academic training, students can gain real-world experience through internships, field study projects, and other programs designed to help students transition seamlessly into a future career.

10. University of Chicago

The diverse training and experience at the University of Chicago help students to integrate classroom instruction and practical skills. The school is particularly known for its extra-curricular activities, which include:

  • The Corporate Finance Group
  • The Distressed Investing and Restructuring Group
  • The American Bankruptcy Institute Corporate Restructuring Competition

Students especially appreciate flexible scheduling that allows them to pursue their studies in accordance with their schedules.

Here are Ten States Where Accounting Professionals’ Salaries Go Farther.

Consider an Integrated Degree

Schools like UT Austin and BYU’s Marriott School of Business offer integrated degree programs, which means that students transition from bachelor’s to master’s programs at the same academic institution. This can often be a money-saving option, though the greater appeal is the fact that completing both degrees at the same school can ensure that you’re prepared for your graduate-level coursework.

Choosing the “Best”

We’ve shown you today’s top accounting programs, but choosing the “best” one for you will depend on your specific needs and aspirations. Many schools offer extensive online resources to help you choose the school and program that will be right for you. Take your time. Learn all you can. When you’re ready to make a choice, you may find that one of these top accounting programs is right for you. 

Looking to learn more about academic programs? Controllers Council is a national community and platform of Controllers, Accounting and Finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information and resources, recognition and networking. Membership has many features and benefits to propel your career and expertise, and to be an active participant in our exciting community. Discuss topics like academic programs and more in our forum. Become a member today.

Additional Resources

The CPE Challenge: Affording Your Continued Education and Focusing on What Matters

Different Approaches to the Future of Accountancy

Upskilling Your Accounting Staff for the Recovery

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