Certificate in Accounting

A graduate-level academic certificate in accounting is offered to those wishing to reach the eligibility requirement of 150 credits of coursework to practice as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California.

This may also appeal to individuals working in accounting who wish to update their knowledge and skills. Students in this program will be able to test the waters before committing to a longer program of study such as the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) degree. This program is also appropriate for individuals with accounting degrees from other countries who wish to prepare for the CPA exam by taking courses specific to American accounting regulations.

Who can apply

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree, at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and a basic knowledge of financial accounting provided by the Foundation BUS 780 course (or equivalent, e.g., ACCT 100) are eligible to apply for the certificate in accounting.

Program features

The certificate offers students flexibility in choosing from a variety of courses in different areas of accounting. The program is held at the San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, close to the financial district with plenty of opportunities for part-time and full-time work.

Learning outcomes

Develop key skills to prepare you for the certified public accountancy examination and a professional career in accounting, including:

  • Financial Reporting
  • Auditing
  • Ethics
  • Business Law
  • Taxation
  • Cost Accounting


3 courses, total 9 units

Students seeking the certificate in accounting must complete any three (9 units) of the following graduate-level Accounting courses. Prerequisites for specific courses are provided in parentheses.

  • ACCT 800 Financial Accounting I
  • ACCT 801 Financial Accounting II (ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 802 Strategic Management Accounting
  • ACCT 803 Auditing Principles and Practice (ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 804 Legal and Professional Responsibilities in Accounting
  • ACCT 811 Introduction to Federal Tax
  • ACCT 812 Corporate Taxation (ACCT 811)
  • ACCT 818 Accounting Ethics and Fraud (ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 831 Financial Statement Analysis
  • ACCT 848 Seminar in Cost Accounting

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Graduate advisors

How to Apply

Please fill out an online application for San Francisco State University's Graduate programs. Select the "Certificate of Accounting'" as your program of choice from a pull-down menu. You may need to submit an official transcript of all colleges and universities you have attended as part of your application process. In addition send your updated resume by email to mba@sfsu.edu with subject "Certificate of Accounting". Your application will be processed within 3-4 weeks.