The Most Diverse Accounting Programs of 2022

Updated September 29, 2022 · 6 Min Read

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When applying to accounting schools, consider accounting programs with diversity for a well-rounded educational experience.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Credit: VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Joining a diverse accounting program could help the accounting field better represent the U.S.'s racial and gender composition. While accounting is approaching better gender diversity — DATA USA found that 60.3% of accountants were women — racial diversity lags behind. As of 2019, 67.3% of accountants were white (non-Hispanic).

Lack of diversity in the upper levels of accounting persists. But if the hiring pool contains more gender and racial identities, accounting firms might gradually achieve diversity.

Lack of diversity in the upper levels of accounting persists.

Accounting program graduates are starting to racially diversify the hiring pool. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reports a 7% increase in Hispanic or Latino accounting graduates for 2018.

Want to be part of the change? Check out these benefits of choosing a diverse accounting program, and our ranking of diverse accounting schools.

Why Seek Accounting Programs With the Most Diversity?

Enhanced Self-Awareness

Many students come to campus well-versed in their own thoughts and opinions. Enrolling in a diverse accounting program allows students to interact with people who have differing backgrounds and opinions. This exposure can promote self-reflection and critical thinking when making career decisions.

Expands the Knowledge Base

Having cohorts and professors from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, differing genders, sexual orientations, and abilities lets students to learn from leadership figures as well as peer. This may expand the knowledge base beyond the classroom, possibly providing a more well-rounded education.

Promotes Creative and Global Thinking

Exposure to people with varied lived experiences allows learners to examine ideas and solutions that would not have occurred in prior circles. That single-focus perspective expands. Now students can see circumstances from different angles and provide solutions.

Better Collaboration, Better Results

Studies have shown that diverse collaborations create more feasible and effective solutions. Collaborating with diverse individuals can raise perspectives not considered in a less-diverse environment. Critical thinking may become more nuanced.

Mentorship

Diverse faculty attracts and retains diverse students. Professors often double as student advisors, and senior members in the accounting field may be in the position to mentor junior accountants. Students of differing racial backgrounds can benefit from professors and mentors who share their experiences. Mentorship promotes diversity by increasing a sense of belonging.

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Factors in Diverse Accounting Programs

For the purpose of this ranking, we examine diversity of gender, race, ability, and sexual orientation among students. Some of these identities may open the door for first-generation students (students who are the first in their family to enter college).

Diversity is not a box to check, but a way to ensure that as many perspectives are represented as possible.

People may fall into more than one category, which is called intersectionality. Diversity is not a box to check, but a way to ensure that as many perspectives are represented as possible.

Gender

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the fall of 2019 women made up 57% of total undergraduate enrollment. This marks a steady improvement from when colleges were men-only.

Accounting was once an exclusively male club as well. In 1899, Christine Rose became the first woman to gain CPA certification. She'd passed the exam years prior, but her credentials were withheld because she was a woman. As of 2019, women represent about 60% of the accounting profession.

Diversity is not a box to check, but a way to ensure that as many perspectives are represented as possible.

Note: Most of the data with regards to gender diversity examines it from a binary perspective. As more improvements are made and data is accumulated, the data may more accurately represent a wider variety within the gender spectrum.

This ranking contains colleges with 51-60% of students who were women in the fall of 2020 per the IPEDS metrics. We excluded schools with a single dominant gender above 60%, even if that gender was historically excluded (i.e., women’s colleges).

Race

According to Education Data, 54.3% of college students identify as white. 12.6% of students identify as Black or African American, and 19.3% of students identify as Hispanic. Students identifying as Asian or Asian American make up 6.8% of college students in the study. Around 3.8% of students identified as multiracial.

For this ranking of diversity based on race, we featured schools where 35-65% of students have been historically excluded based on race. We used IPEDS metrics gathered through the autumn of 2020.

We did not include schools with a single dominant ethnicity beyond 65%, even if that race or ethnicity was historically excluded (i.e., historically Black colleges and universities — HBCUs).

Disability

According to the NCES, 19.4% of undergraduates in 2015-16 reported living with a disability. Some examples include living with various physical, intellectual, and neurological levels of ability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that colleges and universities accommodate these disabilities. The student's doctor often works with the university's ADA office to set up accommodations.

The following ranking for these institutions contains colleges with 10% or more of students with disabilities in the fall of 2020 per IPEDS metrics.

Sexual Orientation

For members of the LGBTQ+ community, some institutions create Safe Zones for students to feel supported. Look for an official LGBTQ+ program, network, or resource group. These groups, and their allyship clubs, can be essential in promoting feelings of acceptance, understanding, and success at a college or university.

This ranking does not measure percentages of LGBTQ+ students, but notes the presence of organizations known for providing Safe Zones for students within this community. Take note of any colleges and universities that promote inclusion training through their school or programs’ websites.

What to Expect From an Accounting Bachelor's Degree

The average accounting bachelor’s program takes four years to complete. You can achieve a bachelor of science (BS) in accounting, a bachelor of arts (BA) in accounting, and a bachelor of accounting science.

Most programs require 120 credits, an average of 15 credits per semester if you join a four-year program. Some accounting programs require or offer opportunities for internships, capstone courses, seminars, and/or a senior project. Most accounting degrees place emphasis on business skills, professionalism, communication, and attention to detail.

Accreditation is very important for accounting programs. Attending an accredited program will make it easier for you to transfer credits towards any future attempts at licensure or additional education, like an MBA or CPA licensure.

Admissions Process

The admissions process for a bachelor’s in accounting may vary between schools. After selecting your desired schools, follow all of the application steps and pay any required fees.

Check out our options for tuition and financial aid. Most programs will accept federal aid, which you can apply for with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Most accounting programs require a high school diploma or GED certificate with a 2.0-3.0 GPA. Some programs require entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT. Check out our SAT Guide.

These programs may require other materials such as personal statements, essays, or even work experience. More specific requirements depend on the desired program.

For more help with your application, and access over 900 colleges, check out the Common App.

Diversity Among Accounting Careers

Even as the conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) gains more traction, we can stand to make more progress, especially within the accounting profession. Women represent 60.3% of the profession, but only 27% of partners and 33% of management committees. According to DATAUSA, 67.3% of the profession identifies as white.

As students representing different backgrounds matriculate through accounting programs, there is a chance that these percentages will reflect more diversity in the accounting field. It will take time and significant effort, possibly a couple of years.

For more information about ways to improve diversity within the workforce and all the way to the executive level, check out the following links:

Top Diverse Accounting Schools

This ranked list explores five accounting degree programs with high levels of student diversity based on several factors. We first determine the best schools using our ranking methodology below. Then, we select the most diverse programs for 2022 from those schools.

1

Claremont McKenna College

California-based Claremont McKenna College has maintained a strong focus on business education since its 1946 founding. It is a leading member of the Claremont Colleges, a prestigious higher education network located in the Los Angeles area.

Economics-Accounting

Claremont McKenna College offers its economics-accounting program through the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance. Its cross-disciplinary approach introduces learners to various perspectives with a focus on accounting skills.

CMC economics-accounting students build valuable soft skills. Required courses develop the critical thinking, analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills finance professionals need.

Economics-accounting students complete 11 core courses in their major. The program places equal weight on accounting and economics, helping prepare students for professional licensure exams. Learners can double-major in their choice of other liberal arts subjects.

Applying to CMC

Candidates must submit a school report, counselor recommendation, academic transcripts, and at least one letter of recommendation. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT and SAT test scores are optional for 2022 applicants.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC)
  • Tuition: $28,938/semester (full time)
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

  • Gender: 51% female
  • Race: 62% do not identify as white
  • Disability: 14% with a disability
  • LGBTQ+ Support: Queer Resource Center
2

Trinity University

Established in 1869, Trinity University has four different campuses in three cities including its current home in San Antonio, Texas. The institution counts "intentional inclusion" among its core values, embracing what the school calls "radical empathy."

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Trinity University offers a bachelor of science in accounting degree endorsed by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Educators and employers widely consider AACSB the world's most prestigious accreditor of business programs.

The rigorous program focuses on three key areas: analytical accounting skills, law and compliance, and professional ethics. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in four years and a master's in five years.

Trinity's program also offers excellent field-learning opportunities. According to the school, 90% of qualified accounting majors land paid internships with major accounting firms.

Applying to Trinity University

Trinity University describes its application process as competitive but flexible. Officials assess academic records, personal essays, extracurriculars, and recommendations. SAT and ACT test scores are optional for 2022.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $47,392/academic year (full time)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4-5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

  • Gender: 52% female
  • Race: 44% do not identify as white
  • Disability: 13% with a disability
  • LGBTQ+ Support: Diversity and Inclusion
3

University of Richmond

Virginia's University of Richmond is a close-knit school nationally ranked for value and the quality of its liberal arts programs. It counts approximately 3,200 learners from 62 countries in its undergraduate student body.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accounting Concentration)

At Richmond, students enroll in the AACSB-accredited bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) program and select an accounting concentration. BSBA students can declare a primary concentration in marketing, business management, economics, international business, and finance.

Core accounting courses develop a complete knowledge base with a special emphasis on cost accounting, financial accounting, taxation, and auditing. Additional required courses include statistics, macro and microeconomics, calculus, business law, and organizational behavior.

Approximately 70% of Richmond's accounting graduates go on to secure employment in the public accounting field.

Applying to Richmond

Richmond describes its admissions procedure as "holistic." Officials consider each application on an individual basis and the process differs for every student. The school looks at factors including academic performance, personal essays, recommendations, and test scores.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $60,330/academic year
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

4

Coe College

Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Coe College prides itself on its small class sizes and strong student performance. The school has an average class size of 16 students and an average GPA of 3.6.

Accounting

Students in Coe's accounting program can pursue their choice of two concentrations. Degree-seekers planning careers in the nonprofit and public sectors can major in managerial accounting. Learners focused on private-sector opportunities and those hoping to earn their certified public accounting (CPA) licenses can choose public accounting.

Both branches deliver comprehensive, skills-focused education. As a supplement, Coe offers a rich lineup of internship and practical learning programs. The school also states that the majority of its accounting students receive job offers by their senior year. Public accounting students also pass their CPA exam at rates that exceed the national average.

Applying to Coe

Coe's Office of Admission considers applicants who submit an institutional application or Common Application, official SAT or ACT scores, and official high school transcripts.

Applicants with high school GPAs of 3.0 and up can choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores. Personal essays and letters of recommendation are also optional for these candidates.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $50,314/academic year (full time)
  • Required Credits: 150
  • Program Length: 4-4.5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

5

Albion College

Albion College is a nationally ranked liberal arts institution founded in 1835 and based in Michigan's Lower Peninsula region. The school is a focal centerpiece of life and culture in the close-knit city of Albion, which is home to about 9,000 people.

Accounting Major

Albion's accounting major combines economic theory with a skills-focused curriculum that develops critical thinking and analytical skills. Degree-seekers can choose from a CPA or corporate emphasis.

The CPA emphasis covers the core knowledge students need to pass the associated professional licensure exam. Learners in the corporate path engage more in economics, finance, business administration, and the impacts of government fiscal policy.

Internship opportunities with major companies are available to students in both tracks. These include placements at the high-profile Big Four firms like Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Applying to Albion

First-time undergraduate applicants must submit official high school transcripts. Optional documentation includes SAT/ACT scores, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and admissions interviews. Albion offers both early action and rolling admissions.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $26,285/term (full time)
  • Required Credits: N/A
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

  • Gender: 52% female
  • Race: 45% do not identify as white
  • Disability: 12% with a disability
  • LGBTQ+ Support: LGBriTs

Featured Image: VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

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