Accounting Major FAQs

Can I study abroad as an accounting major?

  • Yes! Accounting majors are encouraged to have a well-rounded undergraduate education experience, including study abroad. Given the high course load associated with the accounting major, students planning to study abroad should make a plan for graduating with the necessary credits. Many FDR courses work well as part of the study abroad plan.

What courses can I take outside of W&L (study abroad, online, summer school) that will count toward my major?

  • If you want credit for a business or accounting course, it must be taken at an AACSB accredited business school.
  • Required accounting and business courses may not be taken in summer school.
  • Any courses that you take outside of W&L for which you want degree credit need approval from the appropriate department head. See more about transferring credits in general here and for study abroad here.
  • Note that there is a unique study opportunity in the Winter and Spring Term for Accounting or Business Juniors in Sydney, Australia (contact Prof. Irani) and summer internship/study opportunities in Cape Town or London (contact Prof. Oliver).

Can I double major as an accounting major?

  • Yes, but you need to determine whether you have enough slots to fulfill the double major without overloading. Having said that, recruiters are just as excited about an accounting major who has shown an interest in the humanities through his/her coursework and his/her decision to come to W&L without necessarily earning two majors. Be aware that being a double-major limits your flexibility in your their course of study, which can add frustration to the registration process and limit opportunities for other developmental experiences such as studying abroad or taking a course just because it sounds interesting. So, only sign up for a double major if you are passionate about both of them.  

How can I get the 150 credit hours needed to work in public accounting?

There are three ways to get the 150 credit hours to work in public accounting and be eligible to sit for the CPA exam:

  1. Graduate from W&L with 120 credit hours and enroll in a one-year graduate program in accounting for the remaining 30 credit hours. W&L students are highly sought after for these programs, and we have agreements with a number of schools. W&L students are also eligible for both merit and need-based scholarships at these programs. Students planning to get a masters of accountancy should interview for accounting externships and leadership conferences in the fall or winter of their junior year (the timing varies), interview for accounting internships in the fall of their senior year, and interview for full-time positions during their graduate school program (if they have not already accepted a full-time job offer following their internship).
  2. Be a public accounting major at W&L and graduate in four years with 150 hours. This option works well for students who don't want to go to graduate school and entered W&L with a lot of AP credits. Students should know that the PACC major is rigorous and they will probably need to take summer school classes. Students in the PACC major should interview for accounting externships and leadership conferences in the fall or winter of their sophomore year, interview for accounting internships in the fall of their junior year, and interview for full-time positions in the fall of their senior year.
  3. Be an accounting major at W&L and graduate in four years with at least 113 credits from W&L and the remaining 37 credits from other accredited U.S. institutions recognized by the CPA board of the state where you want to sit for the exam (read more about Virginia's educational requirements here). In the past, students have found many clever ways of earning these 37 credits to include: a) enrolling at a college that grants credits for AP exam scores of 3 or 4 for which W&L did not grant the student credit (most state schools will do this, see also Excelsior College); b) taking CLEP exams for college credit - see also this page with a list of schools that accept CLEP credits); c) taking accredited summer school courses; and/or d) taking accredited online courses.  Students planning to graduate in four years with 150 hours should interview for accounting externships and leadership conferences in the fall or winter of their sophomore year, interview for accounting internships in the fall of their junior year, and interview for full time positions in the fall of their senior year.

I'm an accounting major interested in working in banking/corporate finance instead of public accounting. Can I count the upper-level finance courses offered at W&L through the business department (e.g., Investments, Real Estate Finance, etc.) towards my major?

  • Yes. The accounting department has updated the catalog to add these courses to the options under Group 5 in the catalog and Group 8 in WebAdvisor.

Can I have the pre-requisite course requirement waived if I am simultaneously enrolled in the pre-requisite (i.e., can I make a pre-requisite a co-requisite)? If so, what is the process for getting approval?

  • Students wishing to make a pre-requisite a co-requisite need to get permission from the instructor to enroll in the course. Your instructor will then need to grant you "Instructor Consent" through WebAdvisor for the particular section in which you wish to enroll. For instance, in some cases, you are allowed to take ACCT 202 and 320 simultaneously.  

Can I get credit for my summer internship?  If so, what is the process?

  • Yes. Students who would like summer internship credit for an accounting-related internship need to start the process with the Accounting Department Chair during Winter Term. Credit for internships must be approved in advance. Not all internships may qualify for credit. Internship credits count towards graduation but not towards the Accounting major. During the internship, you will keep a journal. Before the summer's end, you will work with the faculty instructor on a research paper, upon successful completion of which you will receive credit for the summer term. Grades are assigned on the satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Additional information can be found here.

I'm interested in doing an honor's thesis. How much credit will this provide towards my major? What is the process?

  • Honors Thesis students receive 6 hours of credit towards graduation*, and, if successful in completing their thesis, they will have their project included in the graduation program. Students who write an honor's thesis receive credit in ACCT 493 - Honors Thesis and will enroll in this course for both the fall and winter semesters. The fall grades will not be assigned until the successful completion of the thesis at the end of the winter term. You must have at least a 3.45 GPA and work with a faculty mentor to develop a proposal for the thesis in the winter/spring of your junior year. If approved by your faculty mentor, you then meet with the department head. If approved, you may enroll in ACCT 493 in the fall and winter terms. You must present your research to the faculty at the end of the winter semester. A second faculty mentor, selected by the department chair, will serve as an outside reader of the thesis. *Note:  At this time the 6 hours of credit for the Honors Thesis counts towards graduation but not towards the Accounting major.

I've already taken one spring-term course in accounting and I want to take another. Can both count towards my major requirements?

  • No, only one spring term accounting course will count towards your accounting major degree requirements. If you choose to take two accounting spring term courses, the second course will be treated as an elective that counts towards graduation requirements but not degree requirements.

I'm not happy with my grade in a particular class. Can I take it again? 

  • Maybe, depending on whether there is room in the class, whether you have already taken a course using that course as a prerequisite, and whether you can still meet your degree requirements in four years. Registration for retakes in accounting is blocked until the registration process is completed. If there is room, the department head can allow you access to the course. Fill out the registration override form and bring it to the department head to sign.