University designs new accounting MS and BS degree programs around CPA requirements

The resurgence of students interested in accounting careers has been notable over the past few years. The University of the Pacific' Eberhardt School of Business is one of many colleges expanding accounting degree programs to meet this demand.

The school is offering new Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Accounting degrees, starting in August, 2013. The degree programs will be built with a focus on CPA credentials, including California's requirement required 150 academic hours in specific courses for those seeking the professional credential.

"These new programs were designed with an intentional focus on students," said Lewis R. Gale, dean and professor of Business, Eberhardt School of Business. "Both programs were developed to increase employment opportunities for our students, expand life-time earnings potential of our students, and maintain our high credibility of student talent in accounting."

"To meet these goals, the new programs were benchmarked against the best accounting programs in the country, and we are confident that our accounting programs will continue to prepare our students for both CPA and non-CPA career pathways."

Part of the reason for the increase in demand for credentialed accounting degrees is due to changes in California law. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, the state will require a total of 150 hours for the educational requirement for CPA Licensure. But other reasons for the demand include stricter rules and regulations on the finance and accounting industries that have been instituted since the start of the recession. In a 2012 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 16 percent growth in accounting positions in the United States through 2020.

Under the new programs, students will complete 30 hours of graduate courses in accounting and related business studies to earn a master's degree. The new bachelor's degree requires completion of 128 hours. Students can streamline the process by earning the bachelor's and master's simultaneously in the new 5-year, 150 hour program.

The Eberhardt School of Business was established in 1977 and since then has been recognized numerous times as one of the best business schools in the country, including in the 2013 edition of the Princeton Review's "Best Business Schools" list.