Graduate Certificate in Accounting

A graduate-level academic certificate in accounting is offered to those who wish 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 are able to test the waters before committing to a longer program of study such as our 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, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and who have completed an Introduction to (or Basic) Financial Accounting course within the past 7 years, are eligible to apply for the certificate.

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, a total of 9 units

Students seeking the certificate in accounting must complete one graduate-level Accounting course from each of 3 categories (a total of 9 units). Prerequisites for specific courses are provided in parentheses.

Financial Accounting Focus (3 units)

  • ACCT 800 Financial Accounting I
  • ACCT 801 Financial Accounting II (ACCT 800; may be taken concurrently with ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 831 Financial Statement Analysis
  • ACCT 851 Advanced Financial Reporting (ACCT 801; may be taken concurrently with ACCT 801

Tax and Managerial Accounting Focus (3 units)

  • ACCT 802 Strategic Management Accounting
  • ACCT 811 Introduction to Federal Tax
  • ACCT 812 Advaned Federal Taxation (ACCT 811)
  • ACCT 848 Seminar in Cost Accounting

Audit, Business Law, Accounting Information Systems, Ethics, and Not-for-profit (3 units)

  • ACCT 803 Auditing Principles and Practice (ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 804 Legal and Professional Responsibilities in Accounting
  • ACCT 807 Seminar in Accounting Information Systems and Cybersecurity Reporting
  • ACCT 818 Accounting Ethics (ACCT 800)
  • ACCT 823 Advanced Topics in Not-for-Profit Accounting (ACCT 800)

We’re here to answer your questions.

Graduate advisers

How To Apply

We welcome applications from current matriculated San Francisco State University graduate students and non-matriculated post-baccalaureate domestic students interested in the study of accounting.

Current MBA, MSA or MSBA students are not required to apply for admissions into a graduate business certificate program. The requirements can be met while seeking the graduate business degree.

All other interested students must formally apply to the Graduate Certificate in Accounting through Cal State Apply (external link). Applicants are required to upload unofficial transcripts, a statement of interest, and current CV/résumé. Important: to apply for certificates, please go to your EXTENDED PROFILE and under DEGREE GOAL select CERTIFICATE, then choose "Graduate Certificate in Accounting" and SAVE.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with deadlines in May and October.