Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

MPAcc program cited for students’ prompt CPA Exam completion


The School of Accountancy’s unique way of preparing its students for the CPA Exam is a driving force behind the most recent national ranking the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business discipline has received.

Suzy Pearse

Accounting Today recently announced Clemson University’s Master of Public Accountancy program (MPAcc) ranks 13th nationally in its students’ proficiency at passing the four-part CPA Exam within 18 months.

Suzy Pearse, senior lecturer and MPAcc program coordinator, said Clemson’s approach to preparing its students for the exam is one reason they are successful in completing all four parts within 18 months of passing the first segment.

“A differentiator of our MPAcc program is that the CPA Exam review is integrated into our curriculum,” Pearse said. “We are one of the few schools in the country that build a review of all four parts of the CPA Exam into our program.”

The ranking comes on the heels of Clemson’s MPAcc program being named among the 50 best in the country in 2020. In that ranking, TFE Times, a leading online news media and academia company, listed the program as 46th best nationally.

The CPA Exam pass rate for MPAcc students on the 3-year average across all four parts is approximately 85 percent, well above the reported national average of 55 percent. 

“Our program’s high pass rate is a testament to the strength of the curriculum and the quality of candidates we draw,” Pearse added. “More than 90 percent of our students are placed in jobs at graduation, a good indicator of this program’s effectiveness in producing business-ready professionals.”

Additionally, the program has had five winners of the Elijah Watt Sells Award since 2015.   The annual award is bestowed upon the select few who obtain a cumulative average score above 95.5 percent across all four sections on their first sitting for the CPA Exam. Clemson ranks 7th nationally over that time period in producing students whose scores meet the award’s criteria.

The School of Accountancy has offered the MPAcc degree for more than 30 years. The program requires 30 semester hours. Currently, there are 90 full-time students enrolled in the Greenville-based program at Greenville ONE.

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