Deciding to pursue a career in accounting is a wise move — after all, there’s a lot of scope for career growth and development, a strong sense of job security, and the potential to earn some of the highest salaries on the planet.
So, if you’re wondering which undergraduate program is for you, then you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled the latest data from QS World University Rankings to find the best accounting schools in the world!
10. New York University
Location: New York City, NY, United States
Located in Greenwich Village with additional campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, New York University is a truly metropolitan college. Accounting undergrads study at the Stern School of Business, a renowned and highly selective institution with ties to some of the wealthiest business people in the world.
Students can graduate with a BSc in business, of which accounting is one of 13 study streams. As well as learning the necessary accounting principles to progress towards CPA status, the school also encourages undergraduate students to co-major in a related discipline, such as investment banking, corporate financial management or securities markets.
9. University of California, Berkeley
Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
The University of California, Berkeley is considered a top public university in the US and has one of the most forward-thinking economics departments in the world. At UCB’s Haas School of Business, students are equipped with in-depth accounting knowledge and technical skills, while there’s also excellent potential for career advancement.
With the demand for accountants and auditors expected to grow in the upcoming years, many international accounting firms recognise UCB alumni’s talents and skills. Students gain early access to recruiters, accounting professionals and exclusive networking events, along with visits to top national accounting firms.
8. University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Taught at the world-famous Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania offers its accounting undergraduates a genuinely world-class education.
This includes access to the school’s highly innovative study facilities, a flexible study schedule with opportunities to spend time abroad and integrated leadership modules that are designed to create ready-made leaders in the professional services industry.
The course also combines traditional accounting with modules that reflect the profession’s evolution, such as in predictive analytics and basic programming.
7. London School of Economics and Political Science
Location: London, United Kingdom
As one of the most renowned universities in the world (and as a school dedicated to subjects revolving around finance and economics), it isn’t surprising that the London School of Economics is on this list. Located a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, many important political, financial and cultural figures have studied accounting here, including AirAsia’s founder Tony Fernandes, BBC’s CFO Zarin Patel and GRI’s CEO Richard Nesbitt.
The school’s accounting and finance BSc approaches teaching through a diverse social science lens, with the faculty continually seeking to be pioneers and innovators in this field. Due to LSE’s prime location, you’ll also enjoy academic perks such as attending guest lectures from senior industry figures.
6. University of Cambridge
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
As one of the top universities in the world, the University of Cambridge is esteemed for its world-class education, academic rigor and research. Students are selected for their academic ability, work ethic, intelligence and motivation.
Accounting majors are introduced to the fundamentals of accounting and financial terminology, as well as financial analysis techniques. Of course, Cambridge graduates are highly employable and widely sought-after, thanks to the vital transferable skills they develop at the university. Indeed, Cambridge regularly features in the top institutions globally for employer reputation.
5. University of Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Located in Hyde Park, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is a culturally rich and diverse research institution renowned for its rigorous pursuit of knowledge and distinctive style of education.
Students who plan on pursuing a career in finance and accounting will be exposed to a legendary finance curriculum. Here, they’ll learn how to evaluate economic events and performance at a deeper level to make effective decisions that lead to outstanding outcomes.
Students are pushed beyond their comfort zones to analyze openly and rigorously, debate and solve problems. The university is also home to unparalleled resources, research centers and institutes.
Students who graduate with an MBA are thoroughly prepared for an accounting career in both the private and public sectors. To date, 10 members of the Booth faculty have earned Nobel prizes for their work.
4. University of Oxford
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
When you think of leading universities, the University of Oxford inevitably comes to mind. As one of the oldest universities in the world (with evidence of teaching as early as 1096), Oxford embodies tradition, excellence and superior standards of education. All around the world, they’re famous for their degree programs including medicine, politics and economics.
Their tutorial methodology is designed to draw out the best in aspiring accountants and finance specialists, with a personalized approach to learning alongside some of the world’s leading professors.
There are many great libraries and contemporary research facilities, while students are offered opportunities to engage with an array of businesses, from local firms to international corporations. Students are well-prepared for the world of work, and an Oxford degree undoubtedly gives graduates the tools they need for a promising career.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Cambridge, MA, United States
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks highly on nearly every university ranking list, and it is clear why. With its stellar academics, incredible research opportunities and the best faculty team in the world, you’ll gain first-hand experience at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
All students are fully encouraged to pursue their academic and personal interests, and the pace of full-time learning can be intense. Their MBA program is considered one of the most competitive and high-profile degree programs in the world, and Sloan MBA students can also cross-register at the Harvard Business School — the only partnership of its kind at this level.
There’s a brilliant, talented and diverse body of students, allowing you to work on cutting-edge research projects. That said, getting into MIT is not an easy task, as students are assessed based on their initiative, intellectual curiosity and ability to collaborate with others.
2. Stanford University
Location: Stanford, CA, United States
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University is regarded as one of the best colleges in the world. It features 18 research institutes and 7 schools, including the Graduate School of Business.
There are plenty of finance and accounting courses to choose from as an undergraduate, with many unique offerings, including its executive education programs covering finance, accounting and business-centric subjects.
At Stanford, there are also numerous student-led extracurriculars, including Standard Finance, which is a group that encourages financial education among the Stanford student body.
Alumni include 18 Turing Award recipients, which is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery. To date, companies founded by Stanford affiliates and alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenues, including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Charles Schwab.
1. Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, MA, United States
This Ivy League university is the oldest higher education institution in America. Founded in 1636, it has produced countless notable alumni, including eight US presidents (such as John F Kennedy and Franklin D Roosevelt), as well as important figures in finance, including Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, to name a few.
Made up of 13 schools and institutes, including its renowned Business School, Harvard University is home to extensive library systems, state-of-the-art resources and highly accomplished professors.
This is an intellectual hub that nurtures and inspires people to make an impact on the world, whether that’s in the liberal arts, the sciences or any field in between. There are countless different finance and accounting courses to choose from, while there are also plenty of opportunities to network with industry leaders.
Harvard is also well-known for its career opportunities, with many companies actively recruiting directly and hand-picking talent from the school. And that’s why the university’s accounting program sits at the top of the world’s most highly ranked degrees list.
Choosing a specialization like financial reporting or taxation, and earning a degree in accounting is only half the battle. To become a certified or chartered accountant, you still need to take additional exams and secure a set minimum number of working hours, regardless where you are hoping to qualify.
But in terms of student experience, access to resources and the potential for making meaningful connections, it doesn’t get any better than these 10 schools.
Are you hoping to study accounting? Which school have you chosen? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on May 17, 2019. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.