accounting professional

Bachelor of Science inAccounting

Program summary

Prepare for the CPA exam with one of the few online accounting degree programs to have earned AACSB accreditation, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business programs in the world. Start on the path to graduate school or prepare for a career in public accounting, industry, or the nonprofit sector.

Application deadline

Apply by March 15 to start May 13

Credits and costs

120 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Nationally Recognized

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Our bachelor's degrees are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Online AACSB–Accredited Bachelor of Science in Accounting

This program is AACSB Accredited

Earn a credentialed degree that sets you apart from the competition. Penn State's online Bachelor of Science in Accounting, offered through World Campus in partnership with Penn State Harrisburg, is one of only a few AACSB–accredited programs available online, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide. Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to help you prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam or to pursue another certification, including:

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

This program can start you on the path to graduate school or help you pursue an accounting career in public accounting, industry, government, or the not-for-profit sector.

Your Online Accounting Courses

The B.S. in Accounting curriculum is both comprehensive and diverse, giving you an appreciation of how the discipline of accounting intersects with other areas of business. You will complete business-focused course work on topics like finance, business strategy, business law, marketing, and supply chain management. In later semesters, you will refine your studies by taking accounting courses specific to your career aspirations. 

Upon graduation, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate competence across a variety of accounting disciplines, including the preparation of financial accounting information, cost accounting, tax accounting, and auditing
  • effectively evaluate the impact and implications of relevant business functions and develop an integrative, interdisciplinary appreciation of business situations, problems, and solutions
  • think critically, communicate effectively, and conduct business in an ethically and socially responsible manner

Preparing for the CPA Exam

There are multiple paths to achieving the requirements to sit for the CPA exam and become certified. These requirements vary somewhat from state to state. Please consult your state's licensing requirements and consult [email protected] to select a path that is right for you. Learn more about CPA regulations by state.

The Penn State Difference

As an expert in adult learning online, Penn State World Campus provides you with exceptional flexibility and support to study when and where it suits you. From online tutoring to career advising, you will receive the tools and skills you need to secure a better job for yourself. You will also acquire the relevant work-related skills to become an accounting generalist while pursuing electives that support your specific career goals.

The B.S. in Accounting from Penn State World Campus, renowned for excellence and its vast alumni network, can help open doors for you in the highly competitive business world.

Courses

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree requires you to successfully complete a minimum of 120 credits. The number of credits you will have to take will vary if you transfer courses into the degree program. Once you are admitted into the degree program, an assigned academic adviser will help you with remaining requirements.

Prescribed courses cover a wide range of accounting topics, including:

  • financial accounting
  • managerial and cost accounting
  • federal income taxes
  • governmental and not-for-profit accounting
  • accounting information systems
  • auditing

Prescribed Courses (55 credits)

  • 4
    credits

    Introduction to the role of accounting numbers in the process of managing a business and in investor decision-making.

    • Prerequisite

      MATH 021 or 1.5 units of high school algebra

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Study of income determination concepts for individuals and corporations, impact of taxation on decisions, elementary research techniques, and ethical standards.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or FIN 301

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Accounting for manufacturing concerns, actual and standard cost systems, and managerial uses of cost data.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ACCTG 311

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Financial compliance, internal, and operational audits; standards and procedures; sampling; EDP auditing; professional issues; application of concepts through written responses.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 371 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Theory and practice issues in income concepts and value measurement; GAAP; revenues, costs, assets, liabilities, and equities.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ACCTG 311

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Off-balance sheet financing; special issues in cost capitalization, liabilities, and equities; matching; funds flow statements; statement analysis; inflation accounting.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 371 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Reporting for multi-corporate enterprises, business combinations, quasi-reorganizations, and selected contemporary reporting problems.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 472

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Business organizations and the sociocultural environment; current issues; corporate responsibility; international and multinational business environments.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 202D, MGMT 301

    • US;IL

      This course can be used to satisfy the International Cultures (IL) or the United States Cultures (US) requirement.

  • 3
    credits

    Interpretation of business concepts in the analysis of problems related to the successful management of a company, institution, or organization.

    • Prerequisite

      FIN 301, MGMT 301, MKTG 301W, BA 364Y, and 7th-semester standing or higher.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Methods of economic analysis and their use; price determination; theory of the firm; distribution.

    • GS

      This course can be used to satisfy the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) requirement.

  • 3
    credits

    National income measurement; aggregate economic models; money and income; policy problems.

  • 3
    credits

    Writing reports and other common forms of business communication.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and fourth-semester standing

    • GWS

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Writing/Speaking (GWS) requirement.

  • 3
    credits

    Nature of finance function; risk and return concepts; working capital; dividend policies; mergers; security markets; acquisition and management of corporate capital; analysis of operations; forecasting capital requirements; raising capital; and planning profits. Available to baccalaureate students only.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and ACCTG 211 and (ECON 102 or ECON 104) and (SCM 200 or STAT 200)

  • 3
    credits

    Study of fundamental principles and processes available to the understanding of management.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and (ECON 102 or ECON 104) and (MATH 021 or higher or satisfactory score on the mathematics placement examination)

  • 3
    credits

    Covers terminology and important concepts related to marketing in the business environment. Domestic and international environments that impact marketing are included, with particular emphasis on the marketing environment, segmentation, positioning, and targeting.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 015 or ENGL 030; ECON 102 or ECON 104; MATH 021 or higher or satisfactory score on the mathematics placement examination.

  • 3
    credits

    Provides an overview of the role of information systems in business process design; the current technologies used for obtaining, storing, securing, and communicating information in support of operations and decision-making within a business organization; as well as the concepts and principles for developing and using popular spreadsheet and database tools.

  • 3
    credits

    Specification, design and implementation of information systems directed at aiding decision-making in organizations.

    • Prerequisite

      MIS 204

  • 3
    credits

    Supply chain management concepts, principles, and methodologies.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ECON 102 or SCM 200 or STAT 200; limited to students in baccalaureate status.

Additional Courses (select 18 credits)

Additional Courses - Group 1 (12 credits)

  • 4
    credits

    Explores the ethical, political, social, legal and regulatory, technological, and demographic diversity environment of business.

    • Note

      A student may not receive credit toward graduation for both BLAW 243 and BA 243.

    • 4
      credits

      Introduces and develops the mathematical skills required for analyzing change, and the underlying mathematical behaviors that model real-life economics and financial applications. Develops student knowledge of calculus techniques, and how to use a calculus framework to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

      • Prerequisite

        MATH 022 or MATH 40 or MATH 41 or satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination

      • C or better

        A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

    • or:
      4
      credits

      Introduces and develops the mathematical skills required for analyzing change and creating mathematical models that replicate real-life phenomena. Develops student knowledge of calculus techniques and how to use the calculus environment to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

      • Prerequisite

        MATH 22 and MATH 26 or MATH 26 and satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination or MATH 40 or MATH 41 or satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination.

      • C or better

        A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 4
    credits

    Descriptive Statistics, frequency distributions, probability and normal distributions, statistical inference, linear regression, and correlation.

    • Prerequisite

      Placement into MATH 21 or higher.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Additional Courses - Group 2 (6 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    An examination of the rules and forms used to compute the federal tax liability of corporations and partners.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 310

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Provides an understanding of governmental and not-for-profit accounting theory, procedures, and financial statements.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 311 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (6 credits)

Select 6 credits of 200- to 400–level business courses from: ACCTG, BA, ECON, FIN, MGMT, MIS, MKTG, or SCM. A letter grade of C or higher is required for all ACCTG courses. You are encouraged to work with your adviser to identify the appropriate supporting courses.

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Foundations: 15 credits  
    All courses require a grade of C or better. Inter-Domain courses may not be used for foundations requirements. 
    • Writing/Speaking: 9 credits 
    • Quantification: 6 credits 
      3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic. 
  • Knowledge Domains: 15 credits  
    Inter-Domain courses may not be used for knowledge domain requirements.
    • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits 
    • Arts (GA): 3 credits 
    • Humanities (GH): 3 credits 
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits  
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    • Inter-Domain course work: 6 credits  
  • Exploration: 9 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN) (may be Inter-Domain): 3 credits
    • GA, GH, GN, GS, and Inter-Domain courses: 6 credits  
      May include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the requirements of the student’s degree program or at the 12th credit level, whichever is higher.

These General Education Requirements are for students who started in summer 2023 or later. Students who started earlier can review the prior version of the general education requirements

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 15 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30 to start August 26
  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 31 to start January 13

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Admissions Help

Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.

Admission Requirements

To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED.

Entrance-to-Major Requirements

Entry to the Accounting major requires the completion of eight entry-to-major courses: ACCTG 211(4)*; ECON 102 GS(3); ENGL 015 GWS(3)* or ENGL 030 GWS(3) *; FIN 301(3); MATH 110 GQ(4) * or MATH 140 GQ(4) *; MGMT 301(3); MKTG 301(3); SCM 200 GQ(4) * or STAT 200 GQ(4) *; and a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average.

*A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better.

For students transferring directly into the major:

  • Completion of 27.1 credits or higher
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or higher and completion of eight entry-to-major courses with a grade of C or better in each course: ACCTG 211, ECON 102, ENGL 015 or ENGL 030, FIN 301, MATH 110 or MATH 140, MGMT 301, MKTG 301, SCM 200 or STAT 200 or their equivalents.
  • Note: A current Penn State student needs a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher to enter the major.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:

High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where coursework was attempted.

Submit official documents by mail to:

Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Start Your Application

Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions. 

If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Review the application instructions before beginning.
  2. Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
  3. Pay the application fee.

Nondegree Students

If you have previously taken undergraduate accounting courses and have questions about which World Campus courses to enroll in to sit for the CPA exam, please send your questions and unofficial transcript to [email protected]. If you already know which courses to take and/or do NOT require advice, you may sign up for your courses directly. To do so, simply complete a nondegree enrollment form and course registration form. Scan and email your completed documents to [email protected]. Please note that because of course controls, you may not be able to schedule classes until close to the start of the semester. You may also need to complete additional courses in order to meet the prerequisite for each class.

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.

Technical Requirements

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Ready to Learn More?

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

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Start or Advance Your Career

Accountant reviewing documents and using a calculator

You can take the knowledge gained from this program and pursue careers in a variety of fields depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Budget Coordinator
  • Credit Analyst

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Accountants and Auditors

4.4%
employment growth (10 years)
1,402,420
total employment

Budget Analysts

3.3%
employment growth (10 years)
48,430
total employment

Credit Analysts

-4.3%
employment growth (10 years)
71,960
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Professional Licensure / Certification

Qualify for a CPA certificate and license to practice public accounting.

How to Earn the CPA Licensure

  • Meet the 150-credit hour education requirement for entry into the accounting profession. Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree will earn a minimum of 120 credit hours.
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Examination to qualify for a CPA certificate and license (i.e., permit to practice) to practice public accounting.

Keep in mind...

  • The exam is the same no matter where it is taken, but every state/jurisdiction has its own set of education and experience requirements that individuals must meet.
  • If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession, remember that completion of this program alone does not meet the requirements for licensure.
  • You can visit our Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map to learn more about the requirements in each state.

Pennsylvania CPA and Licensing Requirements

For more details on the CPA Exam and licensing requirements in the state of Pennsylvania, visit the Penn State Harrisburg website.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Accounting offered in partnership with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration, or to check the status of your application, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]

For questions about the program curriculum, contact:

Online Undergraduate Accounting Programs
Email: [email protected]

Faculty

  • Thomas T. Amlie

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Accounting, University of Maryland
    • Degree
      MBA, University of Maryland

    Dr. Thomas T. Amlie's teaching interests are in the area of financial accounting and reporting. His research interests center on the proper disclosure of accounting information, the assumptions underlying that accounting information, and the effects of those assumptions on business decisions and reporting.

  • Richard Brown

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Strategic Management, Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University
    • Degree
      MBA, Management, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      B.A., History, Saint Joseph's University

    Dr. Richard Brown joined the Penn State faculty in August of 2013. From 1997 to 2006, he was an entrepreneur, founding and managing several Philadelphia-based real estate development firms. Dr. Brown was the recipient of the 2013–14 Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year Award at Penn State Harrisburg's School of Business Administration.

  • Thomas Buttross

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Accounting, University of Mississippi
    • Degree
      M.S., Accounting, Louisiana State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Accounting, Mississippi State University

    Dr. Thomas Buttross joined the Penn State faculty in summer of 2000, in the area of managerial and cost accounting. He has public accounting and prior teaching experience. Dr. Buttross is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He has published articles in various journals, including Strategic FinanceManagement AccountingJournal of Costs Management, and Journal of Accountancy.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by March 15 to start May 13. How to Apply