Accounting Schools in Minnesota

There are numerous accounting schools in Minnesota providing a quality education in accounting and accounting specialties to students interested in furthering their careers. The information contained in this overview of accounting schools in Minnesota will help you find the right school for your educational and career goals. In addition, you may wish to consider online accounting programs, which some students find to be a better match to their needs than traditional on-campus programs.

Quick Facts

  • There are 49 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Minnesota.1
  • 6 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: College of Saint Benedict, 85%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Metropolitan State University, 40%1
  • Highest net price per year*: University of St Thomas, $29,4151
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Minnesota-Crookston, $12,5921
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Minnesota: $6,898-$33,6062
  • 2 schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2013: University of Minnesota (39), University of St. Thomas (80)
  • 2 schools in the Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2013: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (45), University of Minnesota-Morris (86)
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (68)

*For 4-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Read on to continue learning about accounting schools in Minnesota as well as career information for Minnesota accounting graduates.

Not-for-Profit Schools with Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 72.5%
  2. University of St. Thomas
  3. St. John’s University 25.9%

There are four schools in Minnesota that had first-time CPA exam candidates (with an advanced degree). Of these schools, the pass rate ranged from 25.9% to 72.5%. For comparison, the national pass rate was 54.6% for all first-time CPA exam candidates (with a bachelor’s or advanced degree). When comparing schools, the first-time CPA exam pass rate can serve as a good indicator of teaching quality, although the percentage may be skewed with smaller programs. For a comprehensive breakdown of statistics see the 2014 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Minnesota

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Minnesota State University (Moorhead, MN)

Minnesota State University–Moorhead offers a comprehensive Master of Science in Accounting and Finance that gives future CPAs an edge by blending business disciplines to provide a thorough education. Graduates are prepared to assume roles in investment management or accounting and to pursue advanced professional designations and certifications. Required courses to earn the degree include Quantitative Methods, Accounting for Managerial Decision Making, Project/Action Research, and Financial Statement Analysis. Admission to the program is competitive, though students may choose to begin taking courses as a Graduate Special student before formal admission. Graduate assistantships and other resources are available to help with the cost of tuition. Minnesota State University–Moorhead’s School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Minnesota State University–Moorhead is ranked #108 in Regional Universities (Midwest) by US News based in part on its selectivity and quality of academic life.

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management offers a Master of Accountancy program with a unique curriculum that includes a focus on classroom debate. The curriculum is designed to help students develop the competitive edge needed to succeed in the modern workforce and become leaders in the accounting profession. Completion of the program typically qualifies students to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Minnesota. The 30 credit hour program includes courses such as Data Analysis and Statistics for Managers, Financial Modeling, and The Ethical Environment of Business. A winter or summer internship elective for course credit is also offered. Students enrolled in the program may elect to pursue a tax track for a specialization in tax. The Carlson School of Management additionally offers a Master of Business Taxation program that may appeal to accounting professionals interested in tax careers. US News ranks the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus #69 in National Universities for its top academic programs.

University of St. Thomas (St Paul, MN)

The University of St. Thomas, through its Opus College of Business, offers a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) that helps students build accounting skills while qualifying for the Uniform CPA Exam. The full-time eleven month MSA program follows a cohort model with integrated courses such as Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services, Professional Communication, Business Valuation and Risk Management, and International Accounting. A paid internship during the year’s peak accounting activity is included in the curriculum to give students experiential learning opportunities. Students also participate in a Professional Development Seminar featuring a series of expert speakers for further skills honing and networking opportunities. University of St. Thomas is ranked #112 in National Universities by US News. A selective college, St. Thomas is academically rigorous and maintains a competitive student-faculty ratio. The University of St. Thomas was the first university in Minnesota to offer a master’s degree in accounting.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Minnesota

Cummings, Keegan & Co., PLLP has been named by Upsize Magazine as one of the best accounting firms in Minnesota for small businesses. With a full range of accounting, tax, and business management services and offices in St. Louis Park and Apple Valley, this smaller firm is a good place to start an accounting career. Located in Virginia, Walker, Giroux & Hahne, LLC is a locally owned accounting firm in northeastern Minnesota and positions itself as an alternative to larger firms. Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP is another prestigious local accounting firm with opportunities for graduates, with offices in the Twin Cities.

How to Become a CPA in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the state. There are five main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Minnesota.

  1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable 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.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy follows the 150 hour rule, meaning that candidates for CPA licensure in the state must complete 150 semester or 225 quarter hours of college education. The 150 hours must include:

24 semester hours of upper division or graduate level courses in accounting courses such as:

  • Financial accounting and reporting for business organizations
  • Financial accounting and reporting for government and not-for-profit entities
  • Managerial or cost accounting
  • Taxation
  • Fraud examination
  • Internal controls and risk assessment
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Accounting research and analysis
  • Tax research and analysis
  • Accounting information systems
  • Ethics

Candidates must also complete 24 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate level courses in business-related subjects such as:

  • Business law
  • Economics
  • Management
  • Finance
  • Business communications
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative methods
  • Technical writing
  • Information systems or technology
  • Ethics

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Minnesota CPA candidates must earn at least one year or 2,000 hours of experience in accounting that utilizes 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 or part-time but must take place over at least one year and not more than three years. The qualifying hours and skills used must be verified by a CPA licensee.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

The AICPA self-study ethics course and exam must be taken and passed before a candidate is eligible for a Minnesota CPA license. The course materials can be ordered directly through the AICPA website.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy uses NASBA to process applications to and administer the Uniform CPA Exam, which is a licensure requirement in all 50 states. Applicants may begin the process through the NASBA website. All four sections of the exam must be passed within a rolling 18 month period.

5. Apply for a license.

The CPA Certificate Application for initial licensure is available through the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. Candidates must receive notification of a successful passing score on all sections of the Uniform CPA Exam from the Minnesota Board of Accountancy before submitting the application.

Once licensed, Minnesota CPAs must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education between July 1 and June 30 each year, and 120 hours of continuing education for each rolling three-year renewal period. You can find additional information at the Minnesota Board of Accountancy website.
(Source: Minnesota Administrative Rules, Minnesota Board of Accountancy)

Minnesota Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Alabama from 2010-20203

Accountants in Minnesota outnumber accountants in many other Midwestern states, hinting at the strong demand for these professionals here; according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 22,350 accountants are working within the state. Accountants in Minnesota make an average salary between $61,320 and $64,260, with salaries of an average of $65,000 in the busy Twin Cities area. Demand for accountants and auditors is expected to outpace the growth in most other industries from 2010-2020, and the metropolitan areas of Minnesota should see continued stable growth in career opportunities for accountants and auditors.

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 Plaza
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. Niche College Search: https://www.mastersinaccounting.info/minnesota/
3. Positively Minnesota: https://mn.gov/deed/