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. In addition to credit transfer for FDR courses, up to 6 credits of preapproved coursework taken abroad can count towards the major. 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.

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 and preapproved by the Department Head. See more about transferring credits in general and for study abroad.

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 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 majors.

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

The normal course load for W&L students is 12-15 credits during the fall and winter terms. Taking 15 credits each semester combined with a spring term course every year gets you to 130+ credits by the time you graduate. You can earn the remaining credits to get to 150 in one of two ways:

1. Enroll in a one-year graduate program in accounting for the remaining 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 MS in Accounting 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. Earn the remaining credits through the recently introduced ELE Program or 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). In the past, students have found many clever ways of earning credits that 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 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. See acceptable courses under Group 7 in the catalog.

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 request eligibility override on Workday from the instructor to enroll in the course.

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

Yes. Every summer we offer ACCT 454 - Internships. Admission into this course is competitive and students are selected based on a variety of criteria including internship placement, job responsibilities, need for experiential learning credits, etc. Application period opens in early spring term. 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 for summer internship

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 listed 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 3.6 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'm not happy with my grade in a particular class. Can I take it again?

Because of high demand, all accounting and finance courses have a no-repeat policy. Very few exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and only through a petition filed with the Department Head.