MU accounting program ranks 14th in CPA exam pass rate

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | 6:58 p.m. CST; updated 8:52 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — The MU School of Accountancy is ranked 14th in the national Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam pass rate, setting itself apart among the approximately 400 schools where students were tested.

The CPA exam requires a score of 75 or more on each of four sections to pass. Accountants must pass the exam for certification and licensure. The MU pass rate ranking is a result of test scores from first-time test takers with a master's degree or higher.

These students are participants in the 150-hour program, which allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously in five years.

This program began in 1999 and requires passing grades in 150 hours within the accounting curriculum. The minimum GPA for admittance to the program is 3.5, but according to School of Accountancy Director Vairam Arunachalam, the average GPA among applicants this year was close to 3.7.

"Students are admitted in their third year, stay for three years, and graduate with their bachelor's and master's at the end of five years," Arunachalam said.

What Arunachalam says sets the School of Accountancy apart is a four-part recipe. The ingredients include an excellent faculty, student quality, a well-thought-out curriculum, and a loyal and supportive alumni base.

The MU accounting program has also been distinguished by other nationwide surveys. These include the Public Accounting Report, which surveys professors across the nation and has routinely ranked MU in the top 20 of both undergraduate and graduate accounting programs.

Arunachalam also said "we were ranked ninth in the nation on research productivity" by Academic Analytics for articles published from 2006 through 2008.

The school generally has a job placement rate of around 95 percent and last year maintained placement near 85 percent.

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