Schools: Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

What is required for admission to School of Accounting programs?
  • Master of Accountancy:
    To be admitted unconditionally, you must have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA from an accredited institution, demonstrating likelihood for success in graduate study. We also consider factors such as work experience, academic performance in relevant upper-division coursework, and prior success in graduate study.

    Conditional admission may be granted in the discretion of the dean of the School of Accounting for those not satisfying the criteria for unconditional admission.

  • Bachelor of Science in Business with Accounting Concentration:
    To be admitted unconditionally, you must have at least a 2.5 overall GPA in undergraduate coursework taken to-date, demonstrating a likelihood for success as an accounting professional. We also consider factors such as work experience and academic performance in relevant coursework taken.

    Conditional admission may be granted in the discretion of the dean of the School of Accounting for those not satisfying the criteria for unconditional admission.

  • Certificate Programs in Accounting:
    The same standards are applied as indicated above depending on whether a graduate or undergraduate certificate is sought.
Is the GMAT required for admission to School of Accounting programs?

No. However, if the GMAT or LSAT have been taken, students are invited to submit their scores if they believe doing so will improve the likelihood of a favorable admission decision.

Can I take classes before I am formally admitted?

Yes. However, no more than 3 classes taken during pre-admission Open Enrollment may be transferred to a degree program.

Note that you must still satisfy the criteria for admission in the applicable degree program. Further, those wishing to take graduate courses must provide evidence of an accredited baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment.

Must I satisfy all course prerequisites to enroll?

Yes. All prerequisites must be satisfied to enroll in any course, regardless of whether via Open Enrollment or as part of a certificate or degree program to which the student has been admitted.

In unusual circumstances, the dean of the School of Accounting may waive a prerequisite. However, the student will still be required to earn the required total number of units to graduate by substituting a course agreed to by the dean.

Do I need to know much about accounting prior to enrolling in the Master of Accountancy?

No. Many of our MAc students have little or no accounting coursework or experience prior to beginning the program. However, there are foundation requirements for the MAc that may lead to additional preparatory undergraduate coursework at the beginning of the program.

What career opportunities are available for graduates?

Career opportunities in accounting are outstanding, a situation likely to continue for a considerable number of years. Many forces are combining to create an acute shortfall of accounting talent: the enormous growth in work associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and new FASB pronouncements, the looming retirement of the Baby Boomers, and the general economic expansion nationally and globally. Positions are open throughout the profession-in public accounting, corporate accounting and tax departments, not-for-profit organizations and government agencies.

Are internship opportunities available?

Because of the exceptional demand for new accountants, public accounting firms, corporations and government agencies are eager to hire interns to showcase their organizations. Internship opportunities available to School of Accounting students are good and are expected to grow significantly. The School has a placement function designed to prepare students to compete well for these staff accounting positions and will be using its contacts to broaden opportunities as rapidly as possible.

Many students receive full-time employment offers that can be used to earn internships units creditable to the degree. To learn more about internship guidelines click here.

How long do I have to complete a degree or certificate program in the School of Accounting?

GGU has a general policy with respect to the age of credits. Although the formal time limit is 6 years, upon request that period can be extended to give you adequate time to finish. Note, however, that if you fail to take at least 1 class per year you will have to reapply for admission; and, more importantly, you will be subject to the catalog requirements in effect as of the date of re-admission.

How long does it take to complete a degree program?

We all know that life can be complicated, so pacing is up to you. Some students find that they are only able to take 1 or 2 classes per year. Others are in a position to move quickly through the coursework. A full-time cohort Master of Accountancy student can be finished in as few as 11 months; a part-time evening student could finish in as few as 4 trimesters or could need 5 or more years to finish the degree. Employment circumstances could preclude taking courses at certain times of the year, such as during tax season. The school advisors will work with you to design a personalized degree completion plan. To help you gauge the rate of progress that is right for you, please see "How much time should I anticipate spending each week for 1 class?", below.

How much time should I anticipate spending each week for 1 class?

Our experience strongly indicates that most students who do well in the Master of Accountancy program commit 12-15 hours per week to each class, whether the venue is in-person (3 hours of class plus 9-12 hours of outside study) or online. While some can do well with a lesser time commitment and others require significantly more effort, we suggest that you take the 12-15 hour rule to heart and discipline yourself to reserve sufficient time to excel in your studies.

We will be happy to advise you as to a reasonable course load given your personal circumstances.

In what order should I take my classes?

Prerequisites must be satisfied to enroll in any course (unless waived by the dean of the School of Accounting). Further, it may be advisable to take some courses which are not technically prerequisites in a specific order that is unique to your personal circumstances. We are always happy to advise you about the best course sequence for you.

Can I take some courses in-person and some online?

Yes, however please keep in mind that international students are only able to take one online course per trimester. You have total discretion about the venue in which you take classes. Note, however, that some classes may be available only online (for example, highly specialized electives) and that scheduling differs between in-person and online classes because of the differing needs of their respective student bodies.

If I begin as a certificate candidate, can I apply the courses taken to a degree program?

Courses that meet the requirements of both the certificate and degree programs are fully transferable. Note, however, that to the extent a certificate class is not required for the degree program, it will not transfer unless it is an acceptable elective for that degree. Please schedule an advising appointment prior to beginning your studies to ensure that the greatest number of classes taken as a certificate student will satisfy the degree requirements.

What activities are available for students in the School of Accounting?

The School of Accounting's Accounting Club provides opportunities for social and professional contact. It offers free tutorial sessions and supports programs like San Francisco Tax Aid in which low-income families are provided free tax return filing and banking services.

The Schools of Accounting and Taxation sponsor Expert Lecture Series events in which leading accounting and tax practitioners and academics discuss important topics while participants enjoy lunch. Other special events occur at various times throughout the year.

When are courses offered during the year?

GGU operates on a 16-week trimester system. The typical starting and ending dates for the trimesters are:

The full-time day MAc has a special cohort schedule. Students begin with 2 intensive 9-week terms with the following approximate dates:

During the Spring trimester, students usually take a 6-unit internship and can, if they wish, take a purely academic course during that time.

What are the advantages of the full-time day MAc?

The advantages of enrolling in this program are many. First, you can complete the degree in as few as 11 months, as noted in "When are courses offered during the year?", above; but keep in mind that you can only start this program once a year in late July (in June if you haven't completed at least 6 units of intermediate financial accounting).

Second, the immersion in the material creates a unique, rich environment that provides peer support, excitement, focused attention on your studies, and the ability to take advantage of many opportunities for enriching exposure to the accounting profession.

Third, full-time day MAc students benefit from one of the best placement programs in the country. You will participate in more than 2 dozen sessions and special events available only to the full-time cohort. Through these you will develop your professional persona and your interviewing and career development skills. You will participate in "full-dress" social encounters, such as our Mock Business Wine & Cheese and Mock Interview Lunch. At the latter event, 5 students are paired with 2 different sets of 3 accounting firm partners and managers and corporate executives over the course of a 2-hour formal business lunch. Students receive written feedback from 6 accounting leaders as to their demeanor, conversation skills, professionalism, etc.

Internship and permanent job opportunities are outstanding for the full-time day MAc students.

What is required to become a CPA?

This question is not easily answered because certification is a matter of state law. Complications also arise because in some states the CPA can be issued either as a license or as a certificate. The latter confers no powers upon the recipient, but merely acknowledges certain accomplishments. The former grants the recipient the legal authority to act in certain capacities, which can include the provision of auditing and tax services to the public.

In licensure states, the status of CPA is granted typically only after satisfying 3 requirements: 1) the candidate must hold at least a baccalaureate degree (most states have adopted the 150-hour requirement, requiring an additional 30 units beyond the baccalaureate) with a specified number of hours in accounting and business, 2) the candidate must gain a specified amount of experience working in specified CPA-oriented activities, and 3) the candidate must pass all 4 parts of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. The content specifications for the CPA exam can be found by clicking here.

In California, only a baccalaureate degree with 24 units (semester hours) of accounting and 24 units of business is needed to satisfy the education requirement. Candidates with baccalaureate degrees need 2 years of experience under the supervision of a licensed California CPA. (Students who earn a MAc only need 1 year of experience.) Candidates must also, of course, pass the CPA exam.

Those considering licensure outside of California should consult the appropriate State Board of Accountancy, which can be found by clicking here.

A School of Accounting advisor will be happy to discuss certification with you.

We strongly recommend that all students participate in a quality CPA exam review course to prepare themselves for the exam-taking experience. Doing so significantly increases the likelihood of success on this formidable exam.