Accounting Schools in Minnesota

There are numerous accounting schools in Minnesota providing quality education in accounting and accounting specialties to students interested in furthering their careers. This overview of accounting schools in Minnesota includes a table to help you compare available master’s-level accounting programs at not-for-profit schools as well as profiles on select traditional and online programs. You will also find information on the licensure process for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), employment and salary data for accountants, and resources for accounting graduates in Minnesota.

Quick Facts

  • There are 52 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Minnesota.1
  • 6 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • 1 school was ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • No schools were ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2020.3
  • No schools were ranked in Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019.4
  • No schools were ranked in US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021.5
  • 3 schools had a 2018 CPA exam pass rate at or above the national average of 51.9%.6
  • 4 universities and business schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.7
  • No schools are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
  • 2 schools are accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a CPA in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a CPA in the state. There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Minnesota.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Apply for a license.
  6. Receive a licence.

1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework in accounting.

The Board follows the 150-hour rule, meaning that candidates for CPA licensure in the state must complete 150 semesters (225 quarter hours) of college education. The 150 hours must include a concentration in accounting and the award of a bachelor’s degree or higher. To qualify as a concentration in accounting, the hours must include 24 semester hours of upper-division courses in accounting topics including financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. Candidates must also complete 24 semester hours of upper-level business coursework unless they have a graduate degree in business from an accredited program, in which case 15 semester hours of graduate-level accounting coursework will satisfy the requirement.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Minnesota CPA candidates must earn at least one year or 2,000 hours of professional experience in accounting utilizing skills in accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting. Qualifying experience may take place through employment in industry, government, public practice, or academia. The experience may be full-time or part-time and must be accumulated over at least one year and not more than three years. The qualifying hours and skills used must be verified by a currently licensed CPA.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professional Ethics Comprehensive Course for Licensure self-study ethics course and exam must be passed with a score of 90% or higher for a candidate to be eligible for a Minnesota CPA license. The course materials can be ordered directly through the AICPA website.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Board uses the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to administer the AICPA Uniform CPA Exam, which is a licensure requirement in all 50 states. Candidates may sit for the exam once they have completed a bachelor’s degree with 24 semester hours of accounting coursework. Applicants may begin the process through the NASBA website. Applicants may take the exam up to 90 days before the expected completion of the educational requirement. Candidates who have not completed the education requirement must submit a Certificate of Enrollment (COE) with their exam application to verify the scheduled completion of the necessary degree and coursework. All four sections of the exam must be passed with a score of 75 or higher within a rolling 18-month period. Credit for the exam will only be granted if the education is finished within 120 days of beginning the exam and the Board receives documentation verifying completion within days of completing the exam.

5. Apply for a license.

Candidates who have completed the above requirements may submit an application to the Board, along with all necessary documentation and fees. The CPA Certificate Application for initial licensure is available online through the Board’s website. Candidates must receive notification of a successful passing score on all sections of the Uniform CPA Exam from the Board before submitting the application.

6. Receive a license.

Once the Board has reviewed and approved the application, a license will be issued. Applicants may track their progress on the Board’s website.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Minnesota CPA licenses must be renewed every three years. During that time, CPAs must complete 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE), including at least 60 hours of technical education and eight hours of ethics education. CPAs must accumulate at least 20 hours of CPE for every fiscal year starting July 1 through June 30 of the following year. CPAs are required to maintain CPE records for five years. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

Minnesota CPA Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 23,210 accountants are working within the state.10 Accountants in Minnesota make an average annual salary of $73,590, with the highest average salaries in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area at $75,660.10 Employment for accountants is expected to grow by 6.5% to a total of 27,070 by 2028, a rate on par with the national average.11

Minnesota CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Duluth, MN-WI770$70,140
Mankato-North Mankato350$68,510
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI18,700$75,660
St. Cloud560$68,120

Top-Ranked Schools with Master’s in Accounting Programs in Minnesota

Forbes’ Best Business Schools* 2019

  • University of Minnesota (#32)

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Minnesota Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Minnesota colleges and universities offering a master’s degree in accounting. The graduation rate is for first-time undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, but since it is widely considered to be an indicator of a school’s overall success, we have included it for comparison. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate12Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Bemidji State UniversityIACBEN.Av.Master of Public Accounting (MPA)N.Av.48%Yes$653
Minnesota State University MoorheadAACSBN.Av.MS-Accounting & Finance (MSAF)N.Av.53%$591
Minnesota State University-MankatoAACSB88.9%Master of Accounting (MAcc)N.Av.50%$696
Saint Mary’s University of MinnesotaIACBE33.3%MS-AccountingN.Av.64%Yes$550
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesAACSB75.0%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)47.9%83%$1,870
University of St. ThomasAACSB56.3%Master of Business Administration (MBA)85.2%76%Yes$1,163

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Minnesota with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Minnesota State University, Mankato

The College of Business at Minnesota State University at Mankato (Minnesota State Mankato) has a Master of Accounting (MAcc) that consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in 12 months. The program meets the educational requirement to become a CPA in Minnesota while teaching students leadership and advanced accounting skills. Minnesota State Mankato’s program consists of five required courses and 10 electives, seven from the MAcc program, and up to three from the MBA program. The required courses cover subjects such as accounting theory, external auditing, federal income tax, and workplace communication. The program culminates with a course called Controllership, in which students will apply the skills they have learned towards case studies. Students with a bachelor’s degree in accounting may apply directly to the program. Students with non-accounting degrees may apply for conditional acceptance, pending the completion of five prerequisite courses. Applicants must submit a GMAT score of 500 or higher unless the applicant’s undergraduate GPA was 3.0 or above. MAcc students interested in pursuing a career in tax may pursue a Graduate Certificate in Taxation.

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) offers a 31-credit hour Master of Science (MS) in Accounting and Finance (MSAF) that blends two disciplines and is designed to be a fifth-year extension of the MSUM undergraduate programs in business, accounting, or finance. The MSAF can be taken full-time or part-time and takes one or two years to complete, respectively. Graduates are prepared to assume roles in investment management or accounting and to pursue licenses as CPAs or Certified Financial Advisors (CFAs). The program consists of 15 credit hours of required courses, 15 credit hours of electives, and a final credit for a student portfolio. Required courses to earn the degree include Quantitative Methods, Corporate Finance, Project/Action Research, and Financial Statement Analysis. Since many graduate students in the program work full-time or part-time, classes are offered in the late afternoons or evenings. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Graduate assistantships and other resources are available to help with the cost of tuition.

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Carlson School of Management offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that can be completed in as little as one year. The program has two tracks, a 30-credit hour track for students with an undergraduate degree in accounting and a 44-credit hour track for students with another undergraduate degree. Completion of the program typically qualifies students to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Minnesota. The core curriculum includes required courses such as Internal Control; Financial Data Analytics; and Consolidation and Advanced Reporting. An internship elective for course credit is also offered during the winter and summer semesters. Admission into the MAcc program requires an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or above and the completion of three prerequisite courses. A GMAT score is required for any student who did not complete a bachelor’s degree at the Carlson School. Graduates of the MAcc program have gone on to work for firms such as Deloitte, PwC, and Baker Tilly. For students interested in pursuing a career in taxation, UMN also offers a Master of Business Taxation (MBT).

Online and Hybrid Programs

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University (BSU) offers a Master of Public Accountancy (MPA) program that prepares students for the CPA Exam and is delivered completely online. The 30-credit hour course sequence can be completed full-time or part-time; full-time students can complete the program in as little as one year. The program consists of 10 courses, including Corporate Social Responsibility; Managerial Finance; and Business Law, Ethics, and Tax Regulation. Entry in the MPA program requires an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA and the completion of either the GMAT or GRE within the last five years. The exam requirement may be waived if an applicant has a professional certification in accounting or finance, a terminal degree, or an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or above. Bemidji undergraduate accounting students may apply for the Accelerated MPA option. This “4+1” program will allow students to take up to 12 credits towards their MPA during the senior year of undergraduate studies. All MPA students qualify for in-state tuition, regardless of location.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a 30-credit hour Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) with all courses offered online. The online MSA program was developed in partnership with accounting and financial professionals to meet the day-to-day demands of the accounting profession. The program will help students complete the educational requirements for professional licensing exams such as the Uniform CPA and the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams. The 20-month curriculum consists of 10 courses, eight core courses, one elective, and one capstone course. Core courses include Leadership and Ethics; Forensic Accounting; Fraud Analysis, and Contemporary and Emerging Issues. The Master’s Capstone course requires students to present their final project to colleagues and professionals in person. Admission into the program requires an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants without an accounting degree may be required to complete prerequisite coursework before beginning the program. There is no exam requirement for admission.

University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas, through its Opus College of Business, offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) that can be tailored to meet Minnesota’s educational requirements for licensure and to sit for the CPA exam. The 45-credit hour program takes two to three years to complete, with the first year dedicated to the core MBA curriculum and the next one to two years devoted to electives. To meet the requirements for licensure, students will need to complete 15 credits of electives from the available accounting coursework. Accounting courses include Auditing, Managerial Accounting, Business Taxation, and Cost Accounting. Students applying to the MBA program must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject and a score from either the GMAT, GRE, or MBA Math. Opus students have access to career support resources such as industry panel presentations, career skills workshops, and the Happy Half Hour virtual networking event held before fall and spring registration. Opus also offers a path to CPA licensure through their undergraduate accounting program.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Minnesota

  • Cummings, Keegan & Co., PLLP: With a full range of accounting, tax, and business management services and offices in St. Louis Park and Apple Valley, this smaller firm serves clients across a variety of industries.
  • Walker, Giroux & Hahne, LLC: A locally-owned accounting firm in northeastern Minnesota that participates in AICPAs Peer Review Program, offering accounting, payroll, consulting, and tax services.
  • Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP: A local accounting firm with offices in the Twin Cities and White Bear Lake, Boyum and Barenscheer offer a full range of accounting and financial services.

Minnesota Accounting Associations

Frequently Asked Questions

How much CPE does a CPA need in Minnesota?

CPAs in Minnesota need to complete 120 hours of CPE for each three-year renewal period, and no less than 20 hours of CPE each year. The 120 hours must include 60 hours of technical education and eight hours of ethics education.

How much does a CPA make in Minnesota?

The average annual salary for the 23,210 accountants in Minnesota is $73,590.10 The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area has both the highest employment and highest average salary for accountants in the state, with 18,700 accounting professionals making an average of $75,660 annually.10

How do I become a CPA in Minnesota?

To become a CPA in Minnesota you must first complete 150 hours of college-level education in accounting, including at least a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting. You’ll also need to accumulate at least 2,000 hours of professional accounting experience, verified by a currently-licensed CPA. The experience must be accumulated over the course of at least one and not more than three years. You must pass the AICPA Professional Ethics course and exam with a score of at least 80%. Once you have a bachelor’s degree and 24 semester hours of accounting coursework, you can sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Once you have completed all of these requirements you may apply to the Board for a license.

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

College of St. Benedict
2850 Abbey Plz
Collegeville, MN 56321
(320) 363-2011

Student Review: “CSB has an extremely strong accounting program. I am on the CPA path, which is delightfully rigorous in that it requires me to complete 150 credit hours by graduation so I can pass the CPA test before beginning work. This tough curriculum has earned a strong reputation in the Minnesota Accounting market, demonstrated by the high number of CPA firms that recruit on our campus (including all of the Big 4). The professors are all extremely accomplished and are always willing to help students due to the small class size. We have a strong Accounting Club that offers professional networking events with working accounting professionals. The classes are all designed to prepare students for the CPA exam, which I like because I’ll know what to expect. The professors are extremely good at communicating with students and helping us prepare for professional opportunities. I would not change anything about my experience as an accounting major at the College of St. Benedict!” -Jennifer G., student at College of St. Benedict

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/2/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. Public Accounting Report 2019 Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs: https://wpcarey.asu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/par-grad-2019.pdf
5. US News & World Report Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
6. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Report on the CPA Exam: Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2018 Edition. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc., 2019.
7. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International: https://www.aacsb.edu/
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): https://acbsp.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): https://iacbe.org/
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Minnesota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm
11. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
12. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools