Recently, some folks here at Common Form Tax Software began a virtual journey across the U.S. to find the top accounting schools in each region of the country. As a follow up to our previous rankings of the The Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast, the West, and the Midwest, we are proud to present Top 10 Accounting Schools in the South.
The criteria used to evaluate these schools include:
- Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
- Awards and recognition
- Faculty and staff
- Funds generated and allocated for research
Our fingers still stained with BBQ sauce, we present to you the very best that the South has to offer in accounting education, The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the South.
10. University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Haslam College of Business Administration
Starting us off at #10 on our list is The Haslam College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Tennessee, the birthplace of the blues and the home of Jack Daniels, is known for excellence and Haslam College of Business is no exception. The Haslam school ranked 24th in the Public Accounting Report. The Master of Accountancy program at University of Tennessee prides itself on their commitment to improving the world. Graduates of the Accountancy program find themselves receiving offers from the Big Four accounting firms and other notable companies. There is a 90% placement rate for its graduate accounting students, with expected mid-career average earnings of $77,000. Alumni become a Vol for Life, being inducted into the network that spans the globe.
9. University of Alabama, Culverhouse School of Accountancy
The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse School of Accountancy has rolled in at a very respectable 9th on our rankings. Culverhouse is no stranger to being in the top 10, as it has found its way onto TaxTalent’s top 10 rankings as well. The University of Alabama is one of the oldest and largest institutions of higher education in the state. Culverhouse offers a Master of Accountancy with a strong mentor program that provides valuable networking opportunities, coaching, and often leads to job offers. Upon graduation 91% of students find themselves gainfully employed with a mid-career salary of $ 74,000. Roll Tide!
8. University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce
Coming in at #8 is the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. We aren’t the only ones who think they're stellar. TaxTalent ranked them 6th in their top 10, and Public Accounting Report has them ranked 23rd nationally. One facet of the program that sets McIntire apart is The Galant Center for Entrepreneurship. Founded in 2008 by proud alumnus Mark E. Galant, their mission is "to encourage, educate, and empower students—past and present— to take on crucial roles in the new venture community, thereby impacting the world in which we live and creating value of all kinds.” 95% of the graduates of the School of Commerce find employment with average Mid-career earnings of $112,000. Wah-hoo-wah UVA!
7. Wake Forest University, School of Business
Our 7th place pick is a prestigious private school located in North Carolina, Wake Forest University’s School of Business. Wake Forest University distinguishes itself by providing a small class size and a high faculty to student ratio. Wake Forest professors found that More Female Executives Means Less Tax Evasion, research that was featured in Bloomberg. Wake Fores had the number one CPA pass rate in 2013 and the class of 2014 had a 100% employment rate upon graduation. The average mid-salary earnings of a WFU graduate are $105,000. Well done Demon Deacons!
6. University of Georgia, Terry College of Business
The Bulldogs using their brawn in research to bully their way into 6th place. The University of Georgia, Terry College of Business is also well known for its excellent faculty. They've been recognized by AAA Auditing Section Outstanding Educator Award and the American Tax Association Outstanding Manuscript Award. Even more impressive is that five of Terry faculty members are considered the most productive researchers being in the top 5% over the last 50 years. With extraordinary faculty like that, it is no wonder the school’s employment placement rate in 2013-2014 was 97%. Alumni of the Accounting program can expect to earn average mid-career salaries of $92,000. Congrats Uga and high-five, Hairy Dawg!
5. University of Mississippi, Patterson School of Accountancy
Flim Flam, Bim Bam, OLE MISS BY DAMN! And the #5 ranking goes to the University of Mississippi, Patterson School of Accountancy. University of Mississippi is the largest university in the state and the largest employer in Lafayette, MS. Patterson is unique in that the university made it a separate school in 1979. The school placed fifth in the national rankings of Public Accounting Report. Along with remarkable faculty and small class size, the accounting school is home to the National Tax History Research Center and the National EDP Audit Archival Center. 94% of grads are offered employment within 6 months with average mid-career wages of $84,000. Way to fight Rebel Black Bears!
4. Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
Texas A&M University, Mays Business School is next, grabbing a top 4 spot on our list. This is one of two premier Texas business schools in our line-up. A&M got its start as a military and agricultural school. Those roots are still visible today in campus architecture and culture, but that hasn't stopped it from developing a top tier accounting school. Mays Business School was ranked #4 in Washington Monthly's 2014 "National Universities Rankings” based on three broad categories: social mobility, research, and service. The Master of Science in Accounting program from Mays provides students with technical accounting skills in addition to soft skills like teamwork and communication. Texas A&M is viewed as one of the nation’s top four (again) most affordable public universities with the highest ROI (what graduates are projected to earn in their first 20 years of careers divided by cost of attendance). The Texas A&M grads become part of an elite alumni network and 96% find employment. They can expect an average mid-salary income of $ 98,000. Gig 'em, Aggies!
3. University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration
University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration wins the bronze medal as our third ranked school in the South. Their Master's program offers three tracks, including taxation. The University of Florida is one of the largest research universities in the nation and the accounting department is no exception. Their International Center for Research in Accounting and Auditing focuses on advancing the overall educational and academic goals at the same time as increasing global visibility. As a testament to the fine instruction the students receive, in 2013, Warrington students ranked 12th in CPA pass rate among 262 schools. 93% of graduates receive job offers within 90 days of graduating with average mid-career earnings of $87,000. Give a cheer for the Orange and Blue!
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School comes in a close second place. This beautiful university known for specializing in medicine and law also has an elite business school. Their accounting program has received top 10 national rankings in U.S. News and World Report, Public Accounting Report, and TaxTalent. Kenan-Flagler’s Master of Accounting program prepares students to “make an impact in the business world.” Their world-class faculty helps students achieve a 98% job placement rate and mid-career salaries $104K on average. A hearty congratulations to the Tar Heels!
1. University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business
Brimming with pride from coming in first place, the blue ribbon winner is the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. True, UT is our CEO’s alma mater, but we're not biased. U.S. News and World Report lists them as the top accounting school in the country in its most recent rankings. They offer a Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) degree program with a fast track from Bachelor's to Master's in as little as 12 months. Distinguishing McCombs is its focus on creating an individual plan for success in the workplace based on each student’s goals and strengths. The Texas Exes have a tight-knit network of business partners to help students find jobs and 94% do so within 90 days of graduation. The average mid-career salary is a healthy $107,000. Hook 'em Horns!