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25 Best Colleges for Accounting 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 2/21/2020

We ranked the top 25 schools by median salary one year after college for students who graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. Georgetown University is ranked #1 with a salary of $83,100 and also has the lowest median debt on the list, at $15,500. The rest of the schools on this list have median starting salaries ranging from $60,900-$65,300. Washington and Lee University comes in with the second lowest median debt, at $15,763.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $62,052 $15,500 $83,100
#2 #2 Santa Clara (CA) Santa Clara (CA) $57,534 $20,000 $65,300
#3 #3 Bronx (NY) Bronx (NY) $58,467 $24,577 $65,300
#4 #4 Chestnut Hill (MA) Chestnut Hill (MA) $64,176 $17,000 $64,900
#5 #5 Los Angeles (CA) Los Angeles (CA) $55,926 $25,105 $64,900
#6 #6 Notre Dame (IN) Notre Dame (IN) $60,301 $19,000 $64,300
#7 #7 Lewisburg (PA) Lewisburg (PA) $61,746 $27,000 $64,100
#8 #8 Bethlehem (PA) Bethlehem (PA) $59,930 $21,705 $63,900
#9 #9 Villanova (PA) Villanova (PA) $61,618 $26,744 $63,700
#11 #11 San Francisco (CA) San Francisco (CA) $55,532 $23,250 $63,100
#12 #12 Lexington (VA) Lexington (VA) $61,750 $15,763 $62,100
#13 #13 Atherton (CA) Atherton (CA) $49,090 $23,000 $62,000
#14 #14 Ewing (NJ) Ewing (NJ) $30,772 $24,500 $61,900
#15 #15 Malibu (CA) Malibu (CA) $63,142 $26,806 $61,900
#16 #16 Richmond (VA) Richmond (VA) $60,330 $21,500 $61,800
#17 #17 South Orange (NJ) South Orange (NJ) $48,960 $27,000 $61,800
#18 #18 Rockville Centre (NY) Rockville Centre (NY) $36,030 $25,412 $61,700
#19 #19 Newark (DE) Newark (DE) $37,930 $26,000 $61,600
#20 #20 Champaign (IL) Champaign (IL) $33,686 $18,000 $61,400
#21 #21 Bloomington (IL) Bloomington (IL) $53,814 $27,000 $61,400
#22 #22 Redlands (CA) Redlands (CA) $55,678 $26,000 $61,200
#23 #23 Orange (CA) Orange (CA) $60,672 $19,850 $61,100
#24 #24 San Diego (CA) San Diego (CA) $54,554 $26,000 $61,100
#25 #25 Chicago (IL) Chicago (IL) $49,498 $25,000 $60,900

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Accounting degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Washington D.C.
Median Salary $83,100
Median Debt $15,500
Annual Tuition $62,052
Graduation Rate 96%

Georgetown University’s Bachelor's in Accounting degree program prepares students for career paths in public accounting, consulting investment banking, equity research, wealth management, corporate accounting, private equity, and even government and information technology.

Through core courses in Financial and Managerial Accounting, as well as electives in Taxation, Financial Statement Analysis, Advanced Accounting, Governmental and International Accounting, Auditing, and Decision Support Analysis, students also gain skills in teamwork, effective business communication, and strategic thinking. There are also University core requirements in Writing, Philosophy, Theology, Science, and others, as well as Liberal Arts core requirements, including seven electives and two History/Government courses. This all provides students with a strong basis to pursue graduate study in business law, tax law, and economics, should they choose.

The program is also designed for students to be able to take and pass the Certified Public Accountant exam, meeting the requirements for 150 hours of education and specific course requirements.

Visit Georgetown University's website.

Santa Clara (CA)
Median Salary $65,300
Median Debt $20,000
Annual Tuition $57,534
Graduation Rate 88%

The undergraduate program in accounting at Santa Clara University is the lone AACSB-accredited accounting program in Northern California and is a strong provider of accounting professionals and leaders in Silicon Valley. Santa Clara offers two accounting majors, Accounting and Accounting & Information Systems, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Accounting Proficiency program, which provides students with the accounting units for CPA licensure. Merit-based scholarships are available to students in either major during their sophomore and junior years.

Students are required to meet the Leavey School of Business core requirements, and take departmental courses in Intermediate Financial Accounting, Recording Financial Transactions, Accounting Information Systems, Auditing, and Tax Planning and Business Decisions. Those on the Accounting & Information Systems track also take courses such as Introduction to Programming, Database Management Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, and Financial Information Systems. There is also a student-run Accounting Association which provides students in either major with social and professional activities tied to the further development of skills and relationship related to their career.

The program also allows for students to have the opportunity to study abroad during the fall quarter of their junior year, should they so choose. To prepare students for post-graduate life, the department hosts panels and information nights to help students understand their career options, and multiple recruiting events take place each year, which allows students to connect with potential employers.

Visit Santa Clara University's website.

Bronx (NY)
Median Salary $65,300
Median Debt $24,577
Annual Tuition $58,467
Graduation Rate 83%

The Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University offers four different bachelor's degrees in accounting: a Public Accountancy major that sets up students pass the CPA exam, a regular Public Accounting major, an Accounting/Information Systems major, and an Applied Accounting and Finance major. There are also dual degree options that merge a bachelor's and master's degree, combining the Public Accounting degree with MBAs in Finance, Information Systems, Communication and Media Management, Management, Marketing, and Public Accounting, as well as MS degrees in Professional Accounting and Professional Taxation.

Core courses include Individual and Business Taxation, Assurance and Auditing, Ethics in Financial Reporting and Accounting, and a research seminar in Accounting Sustainability. While most of the degree paths require four years to complete, the program for taking the CPA exam is a five-year program in order to meet the exam requirements.

Several on-campus student chapters of professional and academic groups are available for students to participate in, allowing for related internships and job offers. Some of these chapters include the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, a nonprofit professional association for Pan-Asians called Ascend, and the Beta Alpha Psi honor society for finance and accounting students and professionals.

Fordham also has teams that participate in accounting and taxation competitions on a national level which are run by notable accounting firms. Students are able to attend sessions with guest speakers from accounting firms, Fortune 500 corporations, and regulatory and standard-setting agencies, also providing them with networking opportunities.

Visit Fordham University's website.

Chestnut Hill (MA)
Median Salary $64,900
Median Debt $17,000
Annual Tuition $64,176
Graduation Rate 91%

There are three accounting concentrations to choose from through Boston College’s Carroll School of Management: Accounting, Accounting for Finance and Consulting, and Accounting and Information Systems.

The regular accounting concentration is best for those who are looking to acquire a CPA designation, as it best satisfies the requirements, including a course in Audit & Other Assurance Services which is also a requirement for admission into the accounting master's program at BC. Those intending to sit for the CPA exam are required to have taken from eight to eleven courses, so students may choose from elective courses such as Financial Statement Analysis, Financial Accounting Standards and Theory III, Directed Readings and Research, Fair Value Accounting, Taxes & Management Decisions, and Forensic Accounting.

The Finance and Consulting concentration is best suited for those interested in pursuing careers in financial analysis, investment banking, consulting, and marketing and management training programs. Courses through this concentration include Intermediate Accounting for Finance & Consulting, Managerial Cost Analysis, and Financial Statement Analysis.

The Accounting and Information Systems concentration has six courses that make up its core curriculum: Financial Accounting Standards and Theory, Intro to Programming for Management, Database Systems and Applications, Systems Analysis and Design, Accounting Information Systems, and one Accounting elective. This track prepares students for work in consulting divisions of major accounting firms and IS departments of companies, or as IS auditors.

Graduates have gone on to employment with such companies as Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, FTI Consulting, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Liberty Mutual, and JP Morgan Chase.

Visit Boston College's website.

Los Angeles (CA)
Median Salary $64,900
Median Debt $25,105
Annual Tuition $55,926
Graduation Rate 81%

Loyola Marymount University’s accounting major prepares students for careers managing, controlling, and evaluating businesses in public, corporate, or governmental accounting while also providing them with the definitions, concepts, and techniques of accounting. Graduates are able to become Certified Public Accountants, Certified Management Accountants, and Certified Internal Auditors, provided they pass the national examination.

The program focuses on concepts such as standards in financial reporting and auditing, and key provisions and exceptions in the federal tax code. Students also examine structured and unstructured real-world business problems and learn through lectures, projects, team competitions, oral presentations, and special events. Courses include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Accounting Ethics, Professionalism, and the Public Interest, Federal Income Taxation, and Fraud Examination.

There are opportunities for students to study abroad and earn internships, as well as opportunities to learn about on-campus recruiting by major accounting firms through the campus’ Accounting Society. The Society’s “Meet the Firms Nights” provide students with opportunities to interact with representatives from accounting firms, and alumni and faculty. More than 90% of LMU’s graduates start their graduate studies or entry-level professional positions in the field, and LMU even offers a Masters of Science in Accounting for students to continue their education.

Visit Loyola Marymount University's website.