A CPA license is the accounting profession's highest standard of competence, a symbol of achievement and assurance of quality. While Notre Dame and the Mendoza College of Business certainly encourage Accountancy majors to pursue this credential, the curriculum may not include all the coursework required as each of the 50 states have different licensing requirements. It is important for students pursuing this path to research carefully the requirements for the state where they plan to sit for the exam. Professor Tim Morrison is our resident CPA advisor. He can be reached for consultation at email@example.com.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Do all Notre Dame Accountancy majors sit for the CPA exam?
No, but the overwhelming majority of ND Accountancy majors do sit for and pass the CPA exam. The rigorous ND curriculum positions accounting graduates to succeed not only in employment situations but also with regard to the professional examination for accountants, the CPA exam. More information on the CPA exam may be found on the AICPA website.
2. How do Notre Dame students perform on the CPA exam?
ND accounting graduates are among the top performers in the country on the CPA exam with pass rates approximately double the national average. Most ND Accountancy graduates sit for the CPA examination shortly after graduation.
3. What is the 150 hour requirement?
All states require that students have the equivalent of 150 semester hours of college credit to become a CPA. Many states have specific course requirements within the 150 hours – for instance, required semester hours in accounting and general business (and possibly required hours of these courses in upper level classes) or required course topics (auditing, cost accounting, communications, ethics, taxation, accounting research, etc.).
4. May I take required accounting courses at other colleges and universities?
If your state requires accounting courses beyond the courses required by Notre Dame to complete the BBA degree with a major in Accountancy, those additional courses may be taken elsewhere.
5. How do AP hours impact the 150 hour requirement?
AP hours ‘count’ if they are accepted by the student’s school and thus are reported on a transcript and if they are not duplicative. That means if a student earns 4 credits from the AP examination(s) for Calc but then takes Calc at ND, the student cannot ‘count’ the AP hours.
6. May I sit for the CPA exam before I complete my coursework?
Some states permit students to sit for the exam prior to completing their course work and some states require the student complete all coursework prior to sitting for the CPA exam. For instance, New York permits students to sit for the CPA exam after they completed 120 semester hours (including courses in four required content areas), but before completing the 150 hours of course work. However, not every state treats this the same way. For instance, Texas requires a bachelors degree and completion of 150 semester hours of college credit before you can sit for the CPA exam.
7. Should I participate in a CPA review course?
Most students who are successful in passing the CPA examination on the first attempt have participated in an organized review. It is not a requirement but certainly can help students prepare.
8. What is the Masters of Accountancy (MSA) Program?
One path to meeting the academic requirements for the CPA exam is to earn a graduate accountancy degree. Notre Dame has one of the top programs – the Masters of Accountancy Program – in the country. Even students who have 150 hours of college credit have earned the MSA degree in order to enhance their academic knowledge and expedite their careers. Students are encouraged to visit the Notre Dame MSA office and discuss the program – even if they can meet the academic requirements without the degree. Students may begin this program in August or January depending on when they complete their undergraduate work.
9. How should I get started?
The first step is to understand the education requirements for a CPA license in the state(s) you are considering working. For many states the education requirements are included on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website (NASBA CPA Exam link). If the NASBA website does not include the education requirements for your desired state(s), it will include a link to the website for the applicable state board. Once you understand the requirements for the state(s) you are considering, assess if your scheduled courses will meet the requirements.
AICPA CPA exam toolkit – provides a CPA exam overview
NASBA provides links to the state requirements for the CPA exam for all 50 states
CPA Candidate Bulletin - describes the CPA process
State specific Information
CA - CPA Education Requirements
CO - CPA Educational Requirements
FL – CPA education requirements (to sit)
FL – CPA education requirements (license)
IL - CPA education requirements
IL – Ethics and Communications ND courses
IL – CPA exam FAQ
NY – CPA license and exam requirements
NY – 150 SCH course content table
TX - CPA license (and sit) requirements
TX – Research & communications courses
TX – approved Ethics courses