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. 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
  • 5 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: College of Saint Benedict, 82%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Metropolitan State University, 45%1
  • Lowest net price per year*: Saint Cloud State University, $13,6841
  • 1 school ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: University of Minnesota-Minneapolis (69)
  • 2 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: University of Minnesota-Morris (#79 in-state, #40 out-of-state), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (#23 in-state, #10 out-of-state)
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (76)

*For four-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 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. Minnesota State University-Mankato (73.7%)
  2. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (63.8%)
  3. Augsburg College (55.6%)
  4. Saint John’s University (50.0%)

There were seven schools in Minnesota that had first-time CPA exam candidates with an advanced degree in 2015. Of these schools, the pass rate ranged from 10.0% to 73.7%. For comparison, the 2015 national pass rate was 48.4% for all 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 2015 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 (MS) 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. Many graduate students in the program work full- or part-time, and classes are offered in the late afternoons or evenings. 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 (AACSB). Minnesota State University-Moorhead is ranked #101 (tie) 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 (MAcc) 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 #76 (tie) in National Universities for its top academic programs.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (Winona, MN)

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) that helps students build accounting skills and credits to qualify for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam as well as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Exam. The full-time MSA program can be completed in as little as 20 months online or in a blended format with online classes and in-person classes at the Minneapolis campus. Required courses for this degree include Financial Communications; Leadership and Ethics; Advanced Audit and Internal Controls; Taxation and Business Decisions; and Contemporary and Emerging Issues. The degree requirements are rounded out with a Master’s Capstone, where students will use theory, practice, and research to present their work to colleagues and accounting professionals.

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 the town of 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 and White Bear Lake.

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, and/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 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (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 the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (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 online 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.

Minnesota Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Minnesota from 2016-20262

Accountants in Minnesota outnumber accountants in many other Midwestern states, hinting at the strong demand for these professionals here; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 23,970 accountants are working within the state.3 Accountants in Minnesota make an average salary of $71,420, with salaries at an average of $73,710 in the busy Twin Cities area.3 The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area already has the 10th-highest concentration of accountant and auditor positions in the country, and demand for these positions is projected to grow by 9.4% across Minnesota through 2026.2,3

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. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm