As a tax software company, we are very interested in the education of the next generation of accounting & finance professionals. To help prospective students chose the college that’s best for them, we crunched the numbers and compiled a list of the Top 10 Accounting Schools in the West. If you're looking for schools in other parts of the country, check out our Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast and The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest.
The criteria we used to evaluate these colleges include:
- Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
- Awards and recognition
- Faculty and staff
- Funds generated and allocated for research
Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Accounting Schools in the West:
Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the United States. Among American MBA programs, Stanford has the lowest acceptance rate, 6.5%. If you want to be an entrepreneur, there is no better program than Stanford for academic excellence, networking, and proximity to Silicon Valley. Their accounting curriculum is extensive, including a PhD program.
9. University of Arizona
The Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona offers both graduate and undergrad degrees in accounting. The college is also home to top-ranked entrepreneurship, MIS, MBA, and doctoral programs, and leads the nation’s business schools in generating grant funds for research. This well rounded program comes in at number 9 on our list.
8. University of California - San Diego
UCSD’s Rady School of Management is well known throughout the country for both its MBA and undergraduate programs. Their staff is anchored by Dr. Harry M. Markowitz, winner of the Noble Memorial Prize in Economic Science. Their undergraduate accounting program positions students well to earn their CPA as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality curriculum.
7. University of Oregon
The University of Oregon's Master of Accounting program at the Lundquist College of Business is very prestigious. Students are well prepared to earn their CPA license and their job placement rates and average starting salaries stack up with any school in the country. And who wouldn't want to spend time in beautiful Eugene?
6. University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA Anderson School of Management is an extremely renowned program. In 2009, the UCLA Finance PhD Program was ranked number 1 in the world. This research study ranked them as the top program at enhancing the publication record of its students in the top three finance journals. They also offer a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering.
5. University of Washington
The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business Accounting Department contributes more to financial accounting research than any other school. In addition to earning your CPA, students can continue their education with a Master of Professional Accounting or a PhD in Accounting. UDub comes is # 5 on our list.
4. University of California, Berkeley
The Haas School of Business is an outstanding school for both graduate and undergraduate students. Through the Haas@Work program, students are assigned to projects at both local and global companies, learning through direct experience. Although Cal does not offer a major in Accounting, they offer a full curriculum of Accounting courses to prepare students for careers in Accounting and becoming a CPA. The Wall Street Journal ranked as the eighth best accounting school in the country in 2010.
3. University of Nevada Las Vegas
UNLV’s Lee Business School is second to none when it comes to accounting and they proved it by winning first place at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Competition on Dec. 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C. They prove their financial acumen and learn real world investing by managing a $100K fund known as the Rebel Investment Group (RIG). It's hard to rank them third, and all of the schools at the top of this list have truly exceptional programs.
2. University of Southern California
USC’s Leventhal School of Accounting is one of the best in the west. Part of USC’s Marshall School of Business, their undergraduate accounting program is one of the most exclusive in the country. Accounting has been a critical part of the School of Business at USC since its inception in 1920 and it has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. They came in a very close second on our list.
1. Bringham Young University
BYU’s Marriott School of Business has earned numerous accolades over the years. Their professors have won national awards for research and recently the Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young awarded the school with a $500,000 grant to promote international learning and experience. The Wall Street Journal ranked BYU as the number 1 accounting school in the country in 2010 and we don't see anything to indicate they've fallen off.