Accounting Schools in South Carolina

The following guide to accounting schools in South Carolina will provide you with the information you need to compare schools and make the right choice in selecting an accounting program that is a match for your personal skills, goals, and interests. South Carolina has private, public, and state schools offering on-campus degrees in accounting. Alternatively, you may find that online degree programs in accounting are a suitable and flexible alternative to traditional on-campus programs.

Quick Facts

  • There are 33 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in South Carolina.1
  • 5 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: Clemson University 82%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Coastal Carolina University, 45%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Furman University, $32,9511
  • Lowest net price per year*: Francis Marion University, $11,9351
  • No schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017.
  • 2 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: Clemson University (#31 in-state, #35 out-of-state), University of South Carolina (#46 in-state, #50 out-of-state)
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): Clemson University (66)

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

Keep reading below to learn more about accounting schools in South Carolina including information about graduate degree programs, profiles of well-known schools, and more.

Schools With the Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. University of South Carolina-Columbia (70.9%)
  2. Clemson University (66.7%)
  3. College of Charleston (56.8%)
  4. Coastal Carolina University (41.7%)
  5. Winthrop University (33.3%)

There were five schools in South Carolina that had first-time CPA exam candidates (with an advanced degree) in 2015. The school’s pass rates ranged from 33.3% to 70.9%, compared to the national pass rate of 48.4% for all candidates in 2015 (with a bachelor’s or advanced degree). The CPA pass rate serves as a good metric to evaluate the level of preparation at an accounting program; however, the numbers can be misleading for schools with a small number of candidates. To see the full statistics for CPA exam pass rates check out the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in South Carolina

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Clemson University (Clemson, SC)

Clemson University’s School of Accountancy and Finance has a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) program which typically meets the South Carolina state education requirements for CPAs. The program may be taken on a part-time or full-time basis; with full-time study, the program can be completed in one calendar year. The core curriculum includes courses in Tax Research, Advanced Accounting Problems, and Law for Professional Accountants. Specialization courses include Forensics & Analysis, International & Special Topics in Taxation, Taxation of Flowthrough Entities, and Financial Auditing. Competitively awarded assistantships and fellowships are available to academically qualified graduate students. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB)-accredited program is challenging and prepares students well for careers as CPAs and leaders in practice. Clemson University is ranked #66 (tie) in National Universities by US News, which notes its affordable tuition, active student life thanks to over 400 student clubs and organizations, and pristine setting on Hartwell Lake.

College of Charleston (Charleston, SC)

College of Charleston offers a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSAcc) for aspiring career accountants that prepares students not only for the CPA requirements in South Carolina but to act in leadership roles in business. The MSAcc degree can be pursued on a specialization track in Financial Reporting/Assurance or Taxation. Students may also elect to add a specialization in International Accounting, which includes European study abroad courses, to either of the two core tracks. The 30-credit hour program includes two required courses in Accounting Theory and Contemporary Accountancy Issues, allowing the remainder of courses to be chosen as electives to complement students’ career goals and interests. This full-time program holds accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB). College of Charleston has been ranked #11 in Regional Universities (South) by US News, a prestigious standing that reflects the school’s academic rigorousness and commitment to student success.

University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)

University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MACC) degree that includes a strong track record of graduate job placement and focused preparation for the Uniform CPA Exam. Admission to the program is open to students who hold an undergraduate degree in any field, though non-business majors may find it necessary to take prerequisite courses. Specialization tracks such as Advisory/Consulting Services, International Business, and Corporate/Managerial Accounting are offered with the MACC degree. Students undertake advanced study in accounting with courses such as Legal Issues for Accountants; Accounting Research and Communication; Cost/Managerial Accounting II; and Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships. Additionally, students are required to achieve a passing score on a simulated professional accounting examination to prepare for the Uniform CPA Exam. Students on all tracks enjoy small average class sizes and one-on-one interaction with faculty, as well as a strong record of job placement for program graduates. US News ranks University of South Carolina #106 (tie) in National Universities, noting its focus on student transitions, competitive NCAA Division I athletics, and entertainment options on and off campus.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in South Carolina

Elliot Davis, LLC employs almost 700 accounting professionals throughout the Southeast, and the firm recognizes how it can make an impact on recent graduates’ careers by providing the right support and growing talent. Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A. is one of the largest accounting firms in the Southeast. The company encourages its employees to grow and develop with it, supporting continued education and professional development. Dixon Hughes Goodman is one of the top 20 accounting firms in the country and seeks recent graduates for its five offices in South Carolina in addition to its other offices across the US.

How to Become a CPA in South Carolina

The South Carolina 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 South Carolina.

  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 South Carolina Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to have completed a 150-semester hour program of education that includes the award of at least a bachelor’s degree. The education program completed must include a major in accounting, to consist of at least 24 semester hours in accounting courses at the junior level or above. In total, candidates must have 36 semester hours in accounting courses covering financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing at a minimum, as well as 36 non-duplicative semester hours in business courses.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Prospective South Carolina CPAs must earn at least one year of experience to qualify for a license. 2,000 work hours is counted as one year of experience. The experience may be earned through either full-time or part-time work. A maximum of 40 hours may be counted per calendar week. Candidates must be supervised by a current and actively licensed CPA, and experience may only be accrued after the candidate has completed the 24-semester hour core accounting education requirement. Experience in teaching accounting beyond the principles level at an accredited college or university can qualify, but experience in academia must amount to five years.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

South Carolina CPA applicants must complete the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) professional ethics course and exam. All materials in the course are self-study and can be ordered through the AICPA website.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

CPAs in all 50 states must first pass the Uniform CPA Exam in order to become licensed. Candidates in South Carolina may apply to the exam through the NASBA website. All four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period to receive credit for passing the exam.

5. Apply for a license.

The final step to obtaining CPA licensure in South Carolina is to apply for a license. Candidates should complete and submit the online electronic CPA licensure application and submit it to the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.

Once licensed, South Carolina CPAs must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education per year. During each three-year period, CPAs must complete six hours of continuing education in ethics, two of which are specific to South Carolina Rules and Regulations. You can find additional information at the South Carolina Board of Accountancy website.

South Carolina Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in South Carolina from 2016-20262

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are over 14,630 accountants and auditors currently working in the state of South Carolina.3 The average salary for an accountant here is $64,220 per year, though this may be higher in metro areas; for instance, in the Charlotte metro area spanning the border between North and South Carolina, accountants make an average of $79,590 per year.3 The demand for business professionals is also strong in other areas, such as Greenville and Columbia.3 Accountant and auditor positions are projected to grow by 12.6% statewide through 2026.2

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.

University of South Carolina – Beaufort
801 Carteret St
Beaufort, SC 29902
(843) 208-8000

Student Review: “The accounting degree program at the University of South Carolina – Beaufort was extremely beneficial. The professors were engaging, knowledgeable, and sincerely cared about our success in life. They would hold study sessions outside of class and office hours and always made themselves available for additional questions. The professors were also able to help many students find beneficial internship opportunities beyond what the university could locate for us. While offering only the minimum number of courses to attain an accounting degree, the accounting program provided me with the knowledge as well as the skill set to truly succeed in the working world. In light of this, my only suggestion would be for the university to provide a greater selection of accounting classes. This would bring the accounting program from excellence to perfection.” -Jordan G., student at University of South Carolina

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