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America's Best Undergraduate Accounting Schools

by Ivan Kenneally, studioD

For those in search of job security, an accounting major is a great choice. The U.S. market for new accountants remains vibrant, despite a generally sluggish economy. According to "Robert Half International," the unemployment rate for senior accountants and auditors has held steady at an impressively low 4.1 percent while the average salary has climbed 3.3%. To secure a competitive edge in a growing industry, it’s wise to choose an undergraduate accounting program widely recognized in the field for its excellence.

Marriott School of Management

Brigham Young University is highly rated by its own accounting students.

According to “Bloomberg Businessweek,” the Marriott School of Management, housed at Brigham Young University in Utah, is the highest student-rated program in the country. The school’s central attraction is its attentive preparation of students for life after graduation, whether for admission into grad school or entry into the workforce. Every junior is required to participate in Marriott’s “Junior Accounting Program,” a series of six courses specifically designed to guide students making decisions for their futures. Also, the school is known for its tax-assistance lab, which allows students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience preparing tax returns.

Mendoza School of Business

Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business excels at finding jobs for its graduates.

A part of the University of Notre Dame, the Mendoza School of Business has garnered a stellar reputation for finding employment for its graduates. According to “Bloomberg Businessweek,” a whopping 93 percent of all its students find a degree-related job within three months of graduation. And many of these new hires find themselves picked up by top employers like IBM, Deloitte and Ernst and Young. For those interested in continuing their studies, Mendoza also offers a well-regarded graduate program that allows a matriculating student to choose between several tracks, including a Masters of Accountancy.

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

The Dyson School at Cornell University prepares its accounting students for work in finance as well.

The Dyson School, operated at the prestigious Cornell University, is a growing program that has significantly expanded its course offerings since 2006. While Dyson provides the full spectrum of traditional accounting courses, it distinguishes itself from other programs by also permitting students to focus on careers in finance and business management. Approximately 50 percent of Dyson’s graduates end up in financial services after graduation and an astounding 73 percent of them pass the CPA exam. Compare that with the national average of 23 percent.

Haas School of Business

The Haas School takes a wide view of student preparation.

If you’re looking for a rich academic tradition, consider the 115-year-old Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. This program takes a broad view of student preparation, focusing on training future leaders and not merely employees. As profiled in the “Financial Times,” the Haas School offers all its graduates access to its Student Always program, which allows them to return to the school periodically to take courses that keep them abreast of changes and innovations in their field. It's essentially a continuing educational initiative designed to mentor graduates over the entirety of their long careers.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Ivan Kenneally has been writing about politics, education and American culture since 2006. His articles have appeared in national publications like the 'Washington Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Cosmopolitan"and "Esquire." He has an Master of Arts in political theory from the New School for Social Research.

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