Best 20 Accounting Schools in California in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 20 Accounting Schools in California in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

The study of accounting is involved with the recordation of financial transactions using pre-approved methodologies and standards that allow for the manipulation, storage, summarization, and dissemination of data extracted from the recorded transactions. For those students with a serious and committed interest in studying accounting, many quality accounting schools in California have available programs to educate the next generation of accounting professionals.

Accounting methods and reports manipulate raw data to create easy to understand statements/reports that speak to the financial health of one’s business or financial affairs. In other words, accounting standards and processes reveal the value of one’s assets or liabilities or the profit or loss of an operating business.

Accountants typically following guidelines that have been set forth and tested over many decades of professional accountancy work. These established guidelines require the methods and the reports generated by accountants to adhere to an industry-accepted set of guides known as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAPs).

There are a variety of subspecialties in the field of accounting. Depending on one’s level of training, those who graduate with an accounting degree will find rewarding work as follows –

  • Consulting regarding accounting system applications.
  • Advising or planning income tax reports.
  • Professionally auditing companies or bank statements.
  • Providing general advice to businesses.
  • Offering financial planning services to individuals.

In addition to ensuring the accurate recordation of financial records, many accounting professionals utilize the information delineated in the various accounting reports to a) diagnosis the financial health of the person or company or b) use historical data to offer projections or estimates based on sound economic and accounting assumptions.

Many accounting professionals seek to earn the ultimate accounting certification, the CPA  – the Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are among the most trusted financial professionals, having to pass four professional certifying exams to earn the esteemed designation.

California is a great place to go to school as the state is one of the epicenters of education in the nation, and its economy has a gross production that generally exceeds most countries around the world.Most of the state-funded schools offer quality programs; however, many private schools offer programs that rival even the best of the Golden State’s offerings.

College accounting programs train students with the prowess to continue learning in graduate programs or compete for coveted accounting jobs. There are a variety of accounting degrees from which to select.  The accounting schools in California noted below reveal a cross-section of public and private higher learning institutions offering degrees from the associate level through post-master’s degree programs.

Best 20 Accounting Schools in California

1. California State University  (Cal State Los Angeles)

The Accounting Department/College of Business & Economics at the California State University offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in accounting from its urban, hilltop campus in University Hills in LA. Cal State LA’s campus, founded in 1947, is situated on one of the city’s original adobes built in the 1770s.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 2,871 per semester (Undergraduate Resident); $ 3,588 per semester (Graduate Resident)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s, Master’s
  • Student Enrollment – 26,342
  • Accreditation –WSCUC & AACSB

2. The University of California (UC Santa Barbara)

The University of California’s College of Letters & Science/Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Science degree program in Economics and Accounting from one of the finest accounting schools in California and the world. Classes for this economics and accounting combination degree include macro and microeconomic theory, financial management, and econometrics, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,721 per semester (Resident -school charges by trimester)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 26,314
  • Accreditation –WSCUC & AACSB

3. Santa Clara University (Santa Clara)

Located in Santa Clara, California, Santa Clara University’s Leavey Business School/Accounting Department is ranked among the top of Poet & Quants‘ best undergraduate accounting programs, sharing the spotlight with Fordham University, Boston College, and Georgetown. Santa Clara’s, as one of the top accounting schools in California, is located in Silicon Valley, offering graduates access to more than 50 Fortune 500 companies in the Bay area.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 17,666 per semester (U – Undergraduate); $1,265 per credit
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment –  8,669
  • Accreditation –WSCUC  & AACSB

4. Vanguard University of Southern California (Vanguard)

Located in Costa Mesa, California, Vanguard University’s Business and Management Department offers a baccalaureate degree in business with an academic emphasis in accounting from what is recognized as one of the most innovative accounting schools in California. Classes for this degree include federal taxation, audition, and advanced accounting, among others.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 17,925 per semester (up to 18 semester credits)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 2,175
  • Accreditation –WSCUC

5. Biola University

The Crowell Business School at Biola University is among the most innovative accounting schools in California, offering both a baccalaureate and master’s level degree in accountancy. Biola University offers its undergraduate students the opportunity to transition to the graduate degree and finish the MPAcc with only one additional year of study.

Menlo College (Menlo)

Located in Atherton, California, Menlo College offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Business with an academic emphasis in Accounting that is among the top accounting schools in California. Students graduate from Menlo’s accounting degree program to find well-paying and rewarding careers as tax managers, controllers, financial reporting managers, or quantitative analysts, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 22,525 per semester – undergraduate
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 894
  • Accreditation –WSCUC  & AACSB

6. The California Lutheran University (CLU)

The California Lutheran University offers a variety of accounting programs at the undergraduate and graduate-level – including an accelerated combination degree with its Bachelor of Science program that can be completed with an MBA or MS in accounting degree. Previous graduates from one of the top accounting schools in California now work for the IRS, Ernst & Young, the Bank of America, Sony, and Patagonia, to name a few.

7. The University of La Verne (ULV)

The University of La Verne’s Business & Public Management College offers a variety of accounting programs at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. As one of the best accounting schools in California, ULV provides a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at the La Verne Campus and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting at its regional campuses.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 22,925 per semester (undergraduate); $ 6,825 per semester, for four semesters (Graduate)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment – 7,396
  • Accreditation –WSCUC

8. The University of San Francisco (USFCA)

The University of San Francisco‘s McLaren School of Management offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree with an academic in accounting that is available in a traditional format and as a completion program for students with a minimum of 60 transferrable credits. Students have the option of joining the honors program if eligible. 

9. The University of San Diego (USD)

The School of Business at the University of San Diego offers various accounting degrees at the graduate and baccalaureate levels. Among the most innovative accounting schools in California, the University of San Diego offers a bachelor’s accounting degree with four academic emphases in accountancy & finance/real estate, accountancy & systems technology, accountancy & supply chain management, or general accountancy. Students can opt for a dual degree that accelerates a BS and MS degree.

10. The University of Redlands (Redlands)

The University of Redlands’ Arts and Sciences College offers accounting programs from one of the best accounting schools in California. College Factual ranks Redlands’ accounting program among the top ten in the state. Classes for this accounting degree from the University of Redlands include auditing, financial reporting theory, advanced concepts in tax, and accounting information systems, plus an accounting internship, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 26,858 per semester
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 4,931
  • Accreditation –WSCUC & ACBSP

11. Claremont McKenna College (CMC)

Claremont McKenna College’s Day Economics and Finance School offers a bachelor’s level accounting degree program in accounting that requires the completion of four accounting core elements – statistics, mathematics, finance, and economics. Students enrolled in CMC, one of the top accounting schools in California, have the option of taking classes at the other member schools of the Claremont College Consortium.

12. Pepperdine University (Pepperdine)

Located in Malibu, California, Pepperdine University’s Seaver College of Business offers a Bachelor of Sciences (BS) degree in accounting on its campus only steps from the Pacific Ocean. Classes for this accounting degree from one of the top accounting schools in California include 68 semester credits in accounting classes in cost analysis, auditing, accounting theory research, and multivariable optimization, plus a service leadership project, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 28,875 per semester (U – Undergraduate)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 8,824
  • Accreditation –WSCUC  & AACSB

13. Azusa Pacific University (APU)

Azusa Pacific University’s LP & Leung School of Accounting offers graduate and undergraduate levels of accountancy degrees from one of the most innovative accounting schools in California. Azusa Pacific University is a Yellow Ribbon School, with a campus at the San Gabriel Mountain foothills. AZUSA is an acronym for A to Z in the USA.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 29,415 per semester (U); $5,040 per semester for four semesters (G)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment – 9,297
  • Accreditation –WSCUC & IACBE

14. The University of Southern California (Southern Cal)

The University of Southern California’s Leventhal Accounting School offers, as one of the top accounting schools in California, offers accounting programs at the undergraduate and graduate (online & on-campus) levels, plus a combo accelerated program as well. Founded in 1880, USC – the University of Southern California is the oldest private research institution of higher education in the state.

Our Ranking Methodology

The institutions of higher learning that are included in the list above are a cross-section of some of the available accounting programs from schools with, at a minimum, regional accreditation. Although, it is noted that most accounting schools in California offer specialized accreditation by an industry-sanctioned neutral accreditation organization.

These accounting schools in California are ranked with the most affordable programs listed first. The tuition information that was used to analyze these accounting schools in California was pulled from either the college or university’s website or data listed on the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website and represents the school year of 2020 – 2021 unless otherwise noted.

All of the information provided for the accounting schools in California listed above is included to help potential students and degree candidates make the best-educated choices for their education and career.

Tuition per semester for undergraduate work typically includes 12 credits, with some schools allow for up to 18 credits for the same price.

Student enrollment speaks to the size of the school and helps those students where school size matters.

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