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Accounting Schools in Mississippi

This guide to accounting schools in Mississippi contains an overview of key information about accounting schools and programs in order to help you make an informed decision on where to pursue an accounting degree. There are many universities and colleges in Mississippi offering programs at the associate’s level and beyond that can help you further your career in accounting. You may also be interested in learning about online degree options, which some individuals find are an appropriate and flexible alternative to on-campus programs.

Quick Facts

  • There are 22 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Mississippi.1
  • 8 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: Millsaps College, 66%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: N/A1
  • Highest net price per year*: Millsaps College, $22,5121
  • Lowest net price per year*: Mississippi Valley State University, $4,6951
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Mississippi*: $5,247-$26,2402
  • 2 schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 200): University of Mississippi (151), Mississippi State University (160)
  • 6 schools ranked in US News Regional Universities (South) in 2013 (top 100): Mississippi College (30), Mississippi College for Women (44), Willem Carey University (63), Belhaven University (74), Delta State University (80), Alcorn State University (88)
  • 4 schools ranked in Forbes Top Colleges List (top 500): Millsaps College (122), University of Mississippi-Main Campus (270), Mississippi College (383), Mississippi State University (397)

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

Continue reading this page to find more information about accounting schools in Mississippi, including profiles of the state’s top schools and most popular accounting programs.

Schools with the Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. Mississippi College 75%
  2. Millsaps College
  3. University of Mississippi
  4. Mississippi State University
  5. University of Southern Mississippi 0%

There were five schools with first-time CPA exam candidates in Mississippi (with an advanced degree). The range for the pass rate at these schools was 0% to 75%. For comparison, the pass rate for all first-time candidates in the US (bachelor’s and advanced degree) was 54.6%. First-time pass rate provides a good proxy for the level of preparation provided by a school although the percentage may be skewed if a program has a small number of candidates. 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 Mississippi

Mississippi College (Clinton, MS)

Mississippi College offers a Master of Business Administration–Accounting Concentration degree that emphasizes business skills learning in preparation for accounting careers and leadership roles in public, private, and government institutions. The Accounting Concentration is specifically structured to prepare students for Certified Public Accountant certification, with courses such as Financial Management, Federal Tax Accounting, Fraud Accounting, and Organizational Behavior. The faculty of the Mississippi College School of Business are experienced professionals, many of whom hold terminal degrees in their field. The School of Business is the largest school within Mississippi College and is the only school offering accounting and finance concentrations in an MBA program in the state. Mississippi College is ranked #27 in Regional Universities (South) by US News. Its small size allows it to maintain a competitive student-faculty ratio, as does its selective admissions process.

Mississippi State University (Mississippi State University, MS)

Mississippi State University’s College of Business offers a Master of Professional Accountancy degree that can qualify and prepare students for the Uniform CPA Exam. To complete the 30 credit hour degree, students take 15 credit hours from the core curriculum, 6 hours of accounting electives, and 9 hours of non-accounting business courses. Available courses include Municipal and Governmental Accounting, Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders, Advanced Individual Tax & Wealth Management, and Business Assurance. Students may elect to pursue a concentration in Systems with 9 focused elective hours. In addition to scholarships available through the university and the College of Business, the Adkerson School of Accountancy offers various scholarships to assist with the cost of tuition for accounting majors. Aspiring accounting professionals may also wish to consider the school’s Master of Taxation program. Mississippi State has been ranked #142 in National Universities by US News.

University of Mississippi (University, MS)

The University of Mississippi offers a Master of Accountancy degree and a Master of Taxation degree for aspiring CPAs through its Patterson School of Accountancy, a dedicated college within the university system. Both programs are thirty credit hours in length and are based on a core set of courses including Income Tax II, Seminar in Accounting Theory, Cost/Managerial Accounting, and Auditing Seminar. Students additionally take four accounting electives and two electives in non-accounting subjects for a well-rounded business education. Opportunities for specialization in select topics in accounting, including tax, are available to enrolled graduates. Admission to the master’s programs at University of Mississippi is competitive, and students must demonstrate a background of accounting knowledge equivalent to an undergraduate core in accounting for admission consideration. The University of Mississippi is ranked #150 in National Universities by US News for its traditional college setting, outstanding academics, and research standing. The school has also been highly ranked by publications such as the Public Accounting Report.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Mississippi

May & Company was named as one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today. It prides itself on offering competitive benefits to its staff, and is proud to be one of the most respected accounting firms in Mississippi. Grantham, Poole, Randall, Reitano, Arrington, & Cunningman PLLC is one of the largest accounting firms in Mississippi and the southeast region, and offers a range of services that few accounting firms outside of the multinationals attempt.

How to Become a CPA in Mississippi

The Mississippi State Board of Public 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 Mississippi CPA license.

  1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Establish Mississippi residency.
  3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  4. Apply for a license.
  5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

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

Prospective Mississippi CPA licensees must complete 150 semester hours of college education to qualify for a license. The academic program must include a concentration in accounting, which is typically considered to be 48 semester hours of upper division or graduate level accounting and business related courses, with a minimum of 24 of these hours focused on accounting. As a component of these hours, candidates must complete at least 3 semester hours in each of the following:

  • Financial accounting
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Management/cost accounting
  • Government/not-for-profit accounting

2. Establish Mississippi residency.

Mississippi statute includes a residency requirement for prospective CPAs in the state. Factors considered in determining residency include voter registration, vehicle registration, state income tax filings, real estate taxes, and/or graduation from a college or university in Mississippi. Applicants who do not meet the residency requirements may be eligible for a license by reciprocity after earning a CPA license in another state with equivalent licensure requirements.

3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

CPA candidates must earn a minimum of one year of experience in accounting through full-time employment that is supervised and directed by a licensed CPA. The tasks the applicant completes must include meaningful practical experience in preparation for the practice of public accounting. Experience must be verified to the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Exam is required in all 50 states to become a licensed CPA. Mississippi candidates should apply to the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy for permission to test using the Initial Exam Application form. Once a candidate is determined eligible to test, he or she will receive a Notice to Schedule and take the exam at one of two Mississippi testing centers. All four exam sections must be passed within a rolling 18 month period.

5. Apply for a license.

The final step to becoming a Mississippi CPA is to apply for a license. Mississippi is a one-tier state, meaning that candidates only need to have a CPA only license to practice public accounting. The required form is available on the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy website.

To maintain a license in good standing, CPAs must complete at least 40 continuing education hours in each one year period ending in June. You can find additional information at the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy website.
(Source: Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy)

Mississippi Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

21.7%

Accountants and Auditors in Alabama from 2010-20203

Accountants in Mississippi earn an average salary of $56,730 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most accountants in Mississippi find employment in Jackson or in the greater Baton Rouge metro area. Demand for financial services professionals has remained steady over the past three years statewide, and is expected to grow by 16% or more from 2010-2020.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-accounting/?type=private&type=public
3. Occupational Employment Projections Mississippi: http://mdes.ms.gov/media/8490/_28_State_of_Mississippi.pdf