Bachelor of Science in Accounting

School of Business Administration

This major helps students prepare for careers in auditing and public accounting, industrial and managerial accounting, and in governmental and not-for-profit accounting. It also provides a sound background for students who plan to pursue graduate studies in accounting or related fields. Students who complete the prescribed courses and earn a Bachelor of Science degree will satisfy the academic requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination. Graduates may also elect to pursue other professional certifications, including Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). Because the Harrisburg area is the center of industry and economic development for south-central Pennsylvania, students are provided with many opportunities to experience the world of business.

For a B.S. in Accounting a minimum of 120 credits is required. At least 50 percent of the business credit hours required for the degree must be taken at the Capital College. No more than 60 credits should be from business and business-related courses. Students wishing to fulfill the 150 credit-hour education option to become a CPA in Pennsylvania (which reduces the experience requirement for certification) are encouraged to enter Capital College's Master of Business Administration program or the Master of Science in Information Systems program subsequent to receiving their undergraduate accounting degree.

Entry to Major Requirements:
Entry to the Accounting major requires the completion of 8 entry-to-major courses: ACCTG 211(4)[1]; ECON 102 GS(3); ENGL 015 GWS(3)[1] or ENGL 030 GWS(3)[1]; FIN 301(3); MATH 110 GQ(4)[1] or MATH 140 GQ(4)[1]; MGMT 301(3); MKTG 301(3); SCM 200 GQ(4)[1] or STAT 200 GQ(4)[1]; and a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average. Additional information about this major is available in the office of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Business Administration at Penn State Harrisburg.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating with a major in Accounting may pursue careers in a variety of professional settings. Accountants work in public accounting firms, business and industry, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and education. A major in Accounting also provides a background for students who plan to pursue graduate studies in accounting or related fields. In public accounting firms, accountants will perform audits, compile financial statements, establish and maintain accounting systems, prepare budgets and business plans, assist in tax planning, prepare income tax returns, represent clients before government agencies, and help individuals manage their personal finances. In business and industry, accountants analyze and report on company operations, prepare long-range plans and budgets, analyze investment decisions, maintain accounting systems, prepare annual stockholder reports, and examine and evaluate financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls. Accountants in government evaluate the efficiency of government departments and agencies. In the nonprofit sector, they help organize and solve tax problems, set up internal control systems, budget resources, and prepare financial fund-raising data. Accountants in education instruct students in areas such as auditing, accounting, and ethics and have the opportunity to conduct research to expand the body of accounting knowledge.

Job Outlook

According to the 2008 Occupational Handbook, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will have a very large number of new jobs arise, almost 226,000 over the projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws, and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization’s stakeholders will drive growth.


Each semester, Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Business Administration places student interns in a wide variety of businesses and agencies where they interact with professionals and participate in solving day-to-day problems. The internship opportunity provides students with increased understanding of principles learned in the classroom, the potential to develop a network of professional contacts, enhanced self-confidence and skills, and the ability to earn money for college and personal expenses. To participate in the internship program, students must be enrolled in the School of Business Administration, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0, and be second semester juniors. They also must have completed 6 credits in the major and have completed all Business core courses except BUS 364Y and BUS 462. Interested students should contact the Accounting Program Coordinator.

Clubs and Honor Societies

The School of Business Administration encourages student participation in the Accounting Club, Sigma Iota Epsilon-the Management Honor Society, and Beta Gamma Sigma, the Business Honor Society of AACSB-accredited business schools.

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.