CPA Advising

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 Jamie O'Brien, the Asst. Department Chair for Accountancy, is our resident CPA advisor.  He can be reached for consultation at

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. 

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.  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.  Many states have specific course requirements within the 150 hours – for instance, Illinois requires 3.0 credits of business ethics.

4.  May I take required accounting courses at other colleges and universities?

If your state requires accounting courses beyond the 8 courses required by Notre Dame to complete the BBA degree with a major in Accountancy, those additional courses may be taken elsewhere.  The 8 courses required for your degree must be taken at Notre Dame (i.e. ACCT 20100, 20200, 30110, 30120, 30210, 30280, 40510 & 40610).

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?

In some states, yes.  For instance New York permits students to sit for the CPA exam after they graduate with an accountancy degree but before completing the 150 hours of course work.  Not every state treats this the same way, however.

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. 

Helpful Resources / Links

National Association of State Boards of Accountacy (NASBA): links students to the state board websites for all 50 states.

State specific Information: 

California CPA Educational Requirements

Colorado CPA Educational Requirements

Florida CPA Educational Requirements

Georgia CPA Requirements

Illinois Template

New York CPA Academic Requirements

Texas Ethics Courses

Texas Research and Business Communications


  • Last Updated May 7, 2018