Feb 01, 2023  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Accounting, B.B.A.

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Dr. Michael Riordan, Director
Phone: (540) 568-3027
Email: riordamp@jmu.edu
Location: Zane Showker Hall, Room 334
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/cob/accounting

C. Bailey, C. Baril, L. Betancourt, P. Copley, D. Fordham, A. Gabbin,  N. Nichols, M. Riordan, B. Roof

Associate Professors
J. Briggs, S. Cereola, D. Hayes, J. Irving, R. Richardson

Assistant Professors
M. Cipriano, A. Duxbury, I. Scott

M. Brown, E. Browning, S. Ferguson, K. Foreman, L. Manktelow, E. Shifflett


The School of Accounting is committed to preparing students to be active and engaged citizens who are able to apply accounting and business knowledge for the betterment of individuals and organizations. We value an environment of educational excellence in which:

  • Students develop both technical and interpersonal skills necessary for successful professional accounting careers;
  • Faculty create and disseminate meaningful intellectual contributions and actively participate in the academic and professional communities; and
  • Stakeholders, including alumni, recruiters and others, desire long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with the school.

Mission Statement

The mission of the undergraduate accounting program is to prepare students for entry into high-quality graduate programs and for positions in business that do not require postgraduate education. Since the B.B.A. degree is part of the College of Business, it reflects the distinctive competencies of the college. In addition, the program delivers foundation accounting courses to all students in the College of Business and to students in a variety of programs across the university.

The school also offers a Master of Science in accounting. Its mission is to prepare students for success in the accounting profession by strengthening the students’ technical expertise, enhancing their understanding of professional responsibility and improving their business skills necessary to compete in today’s complex and ever changing business environment.


The accounting faculty has identified strategic and tactical goals in three major areas: learning objectives for students, intellectual contributions for faculty and service to our profession and the community.

Learning Environment Objectives

We engage in the scholarship of teaching to prepare students for professional accounting careers in public accounting, industry or the public sector. We provide a learning environment that encourages a commitment to lifelong learning and develops a diverse set of skills in students, including technical competence, information technology proficiency, critical thinking, teamwork and communication.

Intellectual Contributions Objectives

We engage in the scholarships of discovery, application of knowledge and instructional development to advance knowledge in the field of accounting, to improve business practice, to encourage and support innovative teaching methods and curricula and to foster the intellectual and professional growth of our faculty.

Service Objectives

We serve our school, college, university, accounting profession and business, and academic communities through active participation and leadership in academic, professional and business organizations.

Career Opportunities

The programs of study offered by the accounting program provide an educational experience intended to prepare students for a variety of careers in the accounting, financial, auditing, consulting and information systems fields. Some of the job titles held by graduates of our program include the following:

  • Audit Partner
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Consultant
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Comptroller
  • Computer Systems Consultant
  • Controller
  • Cost Accountant
  • Cost Analyst
  • Division Controller
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Fraud Examiner
  • Information Systems Coordinator
  • Internal Auditor
  • Systems Consultant
  • Tax Adviser
  • Tax Partner

Our graduates find employment with all of the “Big Four” international public accounting firms, dozens of national, regional and local public accounting firms, government agencies and major international companies. Many of our graduates work for business consulting firms. The field of accounting has one of the highest demands for new graduates of any area in today’s market, and accounting graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries in the College of Business.

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

Beta Alpha Psi is the honors organization for accounting, finance, quantitative finance and computer information system majors.

Programs of Study

The School of Accounting offers both an undergraduate and graduate program. The undergraduate degree consists of the four-year major in accounting, leading to the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree. During their junior year, students may choose to meet with their adviser to discuss enrolling in the five-year Professional Program in Accounting, which leads to the award of the B.B.A. and the Master of Science in Accounting (M.S.A.) degree at the end of five years. For more information on the M.S.A. degree, please refer to the Graduate Catalog.

Students who choose to complete the four-year undergraduate program will have the requisite accounting, business and general education to pursue a variety of career opportunities in accounting and business.

Students are advised that 150 hours of college education are required to be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in most states. The five-year professional program is therefore recommended for those electing a career in public accounting. The professional program allows the student to concentrate in the areas of taxation or auditing; it also provides a well-rounded background in accounting and other related business disciplines. A student must be admitted to the M.S.A. program in order to enroll in graduate courses. Admission to the M.S.A. program is competitive. M.S.A. program admission requirements are included in the graduate catalog. Students may apply following their junior year and early application for admission is encouraged.

Special Admission Requirements

To register for ACTG 302, ACTG 303, ACTG 343 or ACTG 377, a student must have:

  • been accepted to COB 300.
  • completed COB 241 and COB 242 with a “B” or better in each.

In some years, the School of Accounting may require students to pass a COB 241 assessment exam. Students must pass the exam with a score of 80 percent or higher. Students will be contacted directly by the School of Accounting if they are required to take the exam. Students who do not meet the 80 percent threshold will meet with the director of the School of Accounting to outline steps for improving their proficiency in financial accounting. Students may take the exam twice.

Accounting Major Progression Standards

Students are required to earn a “C-” or better in all upper level prerequisite accounting courses before continuing to the next course in the sequence. Students receiving a “D+” or lower in any upper level accounting course must repeat the course and earn a “C-” or better in order to be awarded a B.B.A. degree with a major in accounting.

Any student having a total of three “W’s,” “WF’s,” “D+’s,” “D’s” or “F’s” in required 300 or 400-level accounting courses will be dropped from the major and not permitted to register for additional accounting courses.

Any student having a total of two “W’s,” “WF’s,” “D+’s,” “D’s” or “F’s” in any (single) required 300 or 400-level accounting major course will be dropped from the major and not permitted to register for additional accounting courses.

Degree and Major Requirements

The Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting requires a minimum of 120 credit hours of undergraduate course work. Fifty percent of this work, or 60 credit hours, must be taken outside of the College of Business.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Degree Requirements

  • B.B.A. core courses: 44-45 Credit Hours1
  • Accounting major requirements: 24 Credit Hours
  • Free elective: 3 Credit Hours2
  • General Education  courses: 41 Credit Hours3
  • Non-business electives (varies, consult adviser): 7-8 Credit Hours

1 Up to seven hours of core requirements in economics and calculus may also be taken for General Education credit. Students who take the General Education packages and courses recommended by the College of Business will have only 38 credit hours of additional B.B.A. core requirements.

2 Any course offered by the university.

3 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

Total: 120 Credit Hours

Major Requirements

Non-Business Electives

In counting the 60 credit hours of non-business courses, B.B.A. students may include all hours taken in General Education  (usually 41), up to a total of nine hours in economics (ECON courses must be counted as economics) and three hours of COB 191. Business Analytics I . The remaining hours, to bring the total to 60, must be taken from outside the College of Business. Students should carefully select these nonbusiness electives to help them gain additional knowledge and expertise for their careers and personal lives.

Students are responsible for their own progress toward graduation. Students must work closely with their advisers and the College of Business Academic Services Center to ensure scheduling of courses consistent with their personal degree completion target, and then study diligently to successfully complete the scheduled course work on time.

Recommended Schedule for Majors

First Two Years

Students planning to major in accounting must be accepted into the College of Business. Admission requirements to the College of Business require completion of 10 lower-level B.B.A. core courses. It is expected that the lower-level B.B.A core curriculum will be completed during the first two years of study along with General Education and non-business elective courses. Students will work with an adviser to develop their schedule of courses for the first two years.

Third and Fourth Years

Students accepted into the College of Business will begin major courses in their junior year. Students will develop an individualized schedule of course work for their junior and senior years during ACTG 302. Introduction to the Profession: Role of Accountants  taken in the fall of their junior year.

Third Year

Fourth Year

Up to seven hours of core requirements in economics and calculus may also be taken for General Education credit. Students who take the General Education packages and courses recommended by the College of Business will have only 38 credit hours of additional B.B.A. core requirements.


Many graduates desire to gain certifications in their selected area of specialization. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the best known of these certifications. To obtain a CPA license in Virginia, candidates must meet a 150-hour education requirement, including 30 credits in accounting and 24 in business. Forty-eight states require students to meet the 150-hour educational requirement. The masters in accounting program is highly recommended for those electing a career in public accounting.

In addition to the CPA exam, graduates of our program sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam, the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam and others.

Transfer Credit

In general, all upper-division accounting course work (300-499) must be completed at JMU. Transfer credit for upper-division courses is awarded only in unusual circumstances. In no case will transfer credit be awarded for more than one upper-division course, and in no case will transfer credit be awarded for either of the corporate financial reporting courses (ACTG 343  or ACTG 344 ). Contact the accounting adviser for more information on transfer credit.

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