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About the 150-hour Requirement

Below are some frequently asked questions about the 150 credit hour requirement for the CPA licensure. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.

Do I need 150 credit hours to graduate?

No, you need 132 credit hours, the same as any Business major. You need 150 credit hours for CPA licensure.

How can I get the extra credits?

The most common options are a Master of Science degree in Accountancy or extra undergraduate courses.

Does it matter how I get the extra 18 credit hours?

Yes and no.

  • It doesn't matter how you get the credits for CPA licensure. The State Board doesn't specify the type of credits beyond your accounting major.
  • It does matter to your future career. A Master's degree is an investment in your future. It will give you more flexibility and a greater range of options throughout your career. In addition, a specialized Master's will better prepare you for writing the CPA exam and for a career in accounting.

Do I need 150 credit hours to get a job?

Yes and no.

  • The public accounting firms generally require that you are "CPA ready" when you start. Some smaller firms may not have these requirements.
  • There are many jobs in accounting that don't require a CPA license. In addition, there are accreditations such as the CMA and the IIA that don't require the extra coursework. While the value of these accreditations is steadily increasing, they are generally not equivalent to the CPA in the business world.

Are there other Master's degrees? Yes, UST also offers an MBA and other universities offer both MBAs and specialized Master's degrees.

Does the Master's degree require work experience?

  • The Master of Science Degree in Accountancy does not require work experience. It is specifically designed for students to come straight from their undergraduate accounting degree. 
  • MBA programs typically prefer applicants with at least three to five years work experience.

Why the UST Master of Science Degree in Accountancy?

The UST MS Degree in Accountancy is a good option for the following reasons:

  • The curriculum is specifically designed to develop broad-based business skills as well as advanced accounting knowledge. The broad-based business skills (presentation, teamwork, communication and leadership skills) are integrated into the program to maximize the learning potential. These skills are critical to your future success.
  • The advanced accounting content includes a focus on ethics. This added knowledge will help you on the CPA exam.
  • Paid internship. There is a paid busy season internship from January to March. This offers an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience, determine whether you would like to work at a particular firm, and make a significant contribution to your tuition. The experience will also count toward the experience requirement for the CPA.
  • We have structured the program to prepare you for your entire career, not just the CPA exam and your first job.

What is the cost of the MSA program and is there financial aid?

Tuition for UST's MSA program is currently $690 per credit. The program is 31 credits. Various types of loans are available for graduate study and most students are considered financially independent for graduate financial aid awards. Please contact the Graduate Financial Aid services office at (651) 962-6550 for information.

How much can I expect to earn during the internship portion of my program?

Interns are generally paid at 90% starting salaries and earn overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. This year's interns are earning in the range of $19 to $20 per hour.

Can I take the CPA exam before I have completed 150 credit hours?

Yes, Minnesota rules allow you to sit for the exam before you have completed all 150 credit hours. HOWEVER, others state regulations require that you complete 150 credit hours BEFORE you sit for the exam. Those states may not grant you licensure if you wrote the exam before you completed the 150 hours. We recommend that you wait so that you will comply with requirements in other states as well.

Can I apply to take the CPA exam right after I graduate?

You must have completed an undergraduate degree to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. This means that your undergraduate transcript must have “degree conferred” status when you apply. The University of St. Thomas takes approximately 2 weeks after graduation to complete all degree audits and confer degrees.

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