2014-15 Catalogs

Certificate in Accounting

This certificate program is designed to prepare individuals, who already possess an undergraduate degree in another field of study, for a career or graduate study in accounting.

The certificate program consists of 16 credit hours in accounting. The certificate is open to individuals who possess: 1) an undergraduate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.33, or 2) a master's level (or above) degree.

Career changers who already have completed an undergraduate course of study will have earned, at the completion of the certificate program, 136 or more hours of the 150-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Individuals wishing to sit for the CPA exam should also take BUS 280 Legal Environment of Business. Those who need additional credits to meet the 150-hour requirement, and who do not wish to enter a graduate degree program, can take additional accounting electives and/or other business or undergraduate courses of interest to meet the credit-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Matriculated USM students are not eligible to obtain this certificate.

There is a $50 fee to apply for the certificate program. Candidates should apply by submitting: a completed application form; evidence that they meet the minimum education requirement; and the application fee (payable to: USM School of Business) to: Accounting Certificate Coordinator; School of Business; University of Southern Maine; P.O. Box 9300; Portland, ME 04104-9300.

The following foundation courses (six credits) are prerequisites to one or more of the courses included in the accounting certificate.
     ACC 110 Financial Accounting Information for Decision Making (C- or higher)
     ACC 211 Managerial Accounting Information for Decision Making (C- or higher)

The certificate program consists of the following six courses (16 credits). Courses must be taken in the order required by the prerequisite structure in effect.
     ACC 221 The Financial Accounting Cycle* (C- or higher)
     ACC 301 Financial Reporting I (C- or higher)
     ACC 302 Financial Reporting II (C- or higher)
     ACC 329 Accounting Information Systems (C- or higher)
     ACC 410 Auditing and Assurance
     ACC 413 Concepts and Strategies of Taxation


*ACC 221 may be waived by passing an equivalency exam.

Enrollment in specific courses is based on eligibility criteria and availability of space in the courses. Enrollment in some courses may be restricted or prohibited in any given semester due to high demand from degree students. Admission into the certificate program does not guarantee admission into any other USM program or enrollment in any specific course. Students must complete the required 16 credit hours within four years after the application date and must earn a minimum 2.33 cumulative GPA (with a minimum grade of C- in each course) to obtain the certificate. Students may be able to apply earned certificate course credit toward an undergraduate business degree at USM with an accounting major if the minimum GPA requirements are met.

Students who have completed required coursework elsewhere, prior to admission to the certificate program, may petition to substitute up to three credits (one course) of another 400-level ACC course for one of the required courses (a grade of C or better in the course taken elsewhere is required). Non-matriculated students enrolled in this certificate program will not be eligible for financial aid.

Admission to this certificate program requires the completion of a certificate application form. Admission will be limited to those with either: 1) an undergraduate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.33, or 2) a masters level (or above) degree.
Non-matriculated students enrolled in this certificate program will not be eligible for financial aid.


The recommended application deadlines for the program are August 15th for the fall semester and January 1st for the spring semester; however, applications will be accepted after those dates. 

Application for Admission

Application for Certificate Completion


Tuition is set by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.  The current undergraduate cost per credit hour is $253 (in-state).  In addition to the University fees, the School of Business has a $67 per credit hour specialized accreditation fee.  Visit the student accounts website for more tuition and fee information.