Academic Programs

Academic Units: School of Accounting

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Mission Statement
The mission of the JMU accounting program is to cultivate an environment of educational excellence. The program does so by providing a learning environment in which students are encouraged to develop both technical and interpersonal skills necessary for successful professional accounting careers; encouraging and supporting meaningful intellectual contributions by our faculty and participating actively in the academic and professional communities.
The accounting faculty has identified strategic and tactical goals in three major areas: learning objectives for students, intellectual contributions for faculty and service to our profession and the community.
  Learning Environment Objectives
We engage in the scholarship of teaching to prepare students for professional accounting careers in public accounting, industry or the public sector. We provide a learning environment that encourages a commitment to lifelong learning and develops a diverse set of skills in students, including technical competence, information technology proficiency, critical thinking, teamwork and communication.
  Intellectual Contributions Objectives
We engage in the scholarships of discovery, application of knowledge and instructional development to advance knowledge in the field of accounting, to improve business practice, to encourage and support innovative teaching methods and curricula and to foster the intellectual and professional growth of our faculty.
  Service Objectives
We serve our school, college, university, accounting profession and business and academic communities through active participation and leadership in academic, professional and business organizations.
Back to top of page Career Opportunities
The programs of study offered by the Accounting Program provide an educational experience intended to prepare students for a variety of careers in the accounting, financial, auditing, consulting and information systems fields. Some of the job titles held by graduates of our program include the following:
  • Audit Partner
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Consultant
  • Comptroller
  • Computer Network Manager
  • Computer Systems Consultant
  • Consultant
  • Controller
  • Cost Accountant
  • Cost Analyst
  • Division Controller
  • EDP Auditor
  • Fraud Examiner
  • Information Systems Coordinator
  • Internal Auditor
  • System Security Manager
  • Tax Adviser
  • Tax Partner
  • White Collar Crime Investigator
Our graduates find employment with all of the “Big Four” international public accounting firms, dozens of local and regional public accounting firms and major international companies in the hotel, insurance, publishing, electronics, retailing, manufacturing, distribution, banking and computer industries. Many of our graduates work for business consulting firms. The field of accounting has one of the highest demands for new graduates of any area in today’s market, and accounting graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries in the College of Business.
Back to top of page Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
  • Beta Alpha Psi is the honor fraternity for accounting majors.
  • Institute of Management Accountants is open to all accounting students.
  • Association of Information Technology Professionals services students with a technology/consulting interest.
Back to top of page Programs of Study
Two programs are available to accounting majors. The first is the four-year major in accounting, leading to the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree. The second is the five-year Professional Program in Accounting, which leads to the award of the B.B.A and the Master of Science in Accounting (M.S.A.) degree at the end of five years. Students should meet with their adviser during their junior year to discuss these options. Students who choose to complete the four-year undergraduate program will have the requisite accounting, business and general education to pursue a variety of career opportunities in accounting and business. The four-year program provides a public administration concentration for students interested in careers in government or not-for-profit agencies. Students are advised that 150 hours, or five years, of post-secondary education are required to sit for the Certified Public Accountant’s examination in most states. The five-year Professional Program is therefore recommended for those electing a career in public accounting. The Professional Program allows the student to concentrate in the areas of assurance or systems; it also provides a well-rounded background in accounting and other related business disciplines. A student must be admitted to the M.S.A. program in order to enroll in graduate courses. Admission to the M.S.A. program is competitive. M.S.A. program admission requirements are included in the graduate catalog. Student may apply following their junior year and early application for admission is encouraged.
Back to top of page Special Admission Requirements
To register for ACTG 343, Corporate Financial Reporting I, a student must have a 2.5 grade point average; have completed 56 credit hours and have completed, with “B-” or better both, COB 241, Financial Accounting and COB 242, Managerial Accounting. Students are required to earn a “C-” or better in all upper level prerequisite accounting courses before continuing to the next course in the sequence. Students receiving a “D+” or lower in any upper level accounting course must repeat the course and earn a “C-” or better in order to be awarded a B.B.A. degree with a major in accounting.
Back to top of page Degree and Major Requirements
The Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting requires a minimum of 120 credit hours of undergraduate work. Fifty percent of this work, or 60 credit hours, must be taken outside of the College of Business.
  Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
Degree Requirements
Credit Hours
B.B.A. core courses1
Accounting major requirements
Free elective2
General Education courses3
Non-business electives


1 Up to seven hours of core requirements in economics and calculus may also be taken for General Education credit. Students who take the General Education packages and courses recommended by the College of Business will have only 38 credit hours of additional B.B.A. core requirements.
2 Any course offered by the university.
3 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

Major Requirements
Core Courses
Credit Hours
ACTG 301. Financial Accounting and Statement Analysis
ACTG 313. Accounting Information Systems
ACTG 343. Corporate Financial Reporting I
ACTG 344. Corporate Financial Reporting II
ACTG 377. Federal Income Tax Accounting
Choose one of the following:
ACTG 410. Auditing
ACTG 420. Operational Auditing
ACTG 475. Accounting Decision Making and Control
Choose one of the following:
BLAW 495. Business Law I
ACTG 450. Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting and Reporting  

Non-Business Electives
In counting the 60 credit hours of nonbusiness courses, B.B.A. students may include all hours taken in General Education (usually 41), up to a total of nine hours in economics (GECON courses must be counted as economics), and three hours of COB 191, Business Statistics. The remaining hours, to bring the total to 60, must be taken from departments outside the College of Business. Students should carefully select these nonbusiness electives to help them gain additional knowledge and expertise for their careers and personal lives. A list of approved electives is available from the College of Business Academic Services Center. Students are responsible for their own progress towards graduation. Students must work closely with their advisers and the College of Business Academic Services Center to ensure scheduling of courses consistent with their personal degree completion target, and then study diligently to successfully complete the scheduled course work on time.
Recommended Schedule for Majors
First Two Years
Students planning to major in accounting must complete the 29-30 hour lower-division B.B.A. curriculum prior to enrolling in upper-division core courses normally taken in the first semester of the junior year. It is expected that the lower-division core curriculum will be completed during the first two years of study along with all, or most, of the university General Education curriculum. Failing to complete all lower-division core requirements on time will delay enrollment in upper-division core and major courses until at least the second semester of the junior year.
Third Year: First Semester
Credit Hours
COB 300A. Integrated Functional Systems: Management
COB 300B. Integrated Functional Systems: Finance
COB 300C. Integrated Functional Systems: Operations
COB 300D. Integrated Functional Systems: Marketing
ACTG 301. Financial Reporting and Statement Analysis

Fourth Year: First Semester
Credit Hours
ACTG 344. Corporate Financial Reporting II
ACTG 410. Auditing
Any 300-level accounting course not already scheduled, General Education or non-business electives

Fourth Year: Second Semester
Credit Hours
ACTG 475. Accounting for Decision Making and Control
BLAW 495. Business Law I
COB 487. Strategic Management

Any remaining accounting course not already completed, General Education or non-business electives


Public Administration Concentration
JMU offers a specialty concentration in public administration. This concentration requires two alternative courses (ACTG 420 and ACTG 450) and a public administration (PUAD) non-business elective. These courses offer the student the opportunity to gain more knowledge about the government environment. Students will examine the standards under which the government financial manager performs accounting, financial reporting, and budget functions, as well as how to organize and conduct operational audits. Student completing the public administration concentration will pursue careers in government, internal audit and not-for-profit organizations.
Required Courses Credit Hours
ACTG 420. Operational Audit 3
ACTG 450. Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting and Reporting 3
PUAD elective 3
Back to top of page Certifications
Many graduates desire to gain certifications in their selected area of specialization. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the best known of these certifications. Effective 2006, students taking the CPA exam in Virginia must meet a 150 hour education requirement. Most states require students to meet the 150 hour educational requirement. The five year Professional Program is recommended for those electing a career in public accounting.

In addition to the CPA exam, graduates of our program sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam, the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam and others.

Back to top of page Student Computers
The computer is the primary tool of today’s accountant. The JMU accounting program gives students extensive hands-on experience using sophisticated technological tools in solving accounting problems. Most or all courses in the accounting program require computer usage, Internet reference, CD-ROM-based research and other uses of technology. Many courses have online content, and most professors publish course material on Web sites for convenient access.

The College of Business advises that it is unrealistic for students to expect to rely on university-provided computer labs for access to computers. Students should plan to purchase or otherwise arrange access to a personal computer no later than the beginning of their sophomore year.

The accounting program policy states that e-mail sent to a student’s JMU e-mail account is assumed to be received by the student within 24 hours of its dispatch. Students are responsible for checking their e-mail in a timely fashion, and maintaining sufficient available capacity in their e-mail quotas to allow for incoming messages at all times.

Back to top of page Transfer Credit
In general, all upper-division accounting course work (300-499) must be completed at JMU. Transfer credit for upper-division courses is awarded only in unusual circumstances. In no case will transfer credit be awarded for more than one upper-division courses, and in no case will transfer credit be awarded for either of the corporate financial reporting (ACTG 343 or ACTG 344) courses. Contact the College of Business Academic Services Center for more information on transfer credit.