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Curricular change in response to the 150 -Hour Law for CPA exam candidates: A case study of business departments at three colleges

Courtney Baillie, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In the early 1990's, Iowa and Nebraska passed legislation that requires 150 hours of higher education to be eligible to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountants Examination. At large universities, accounting students can matriculate into Master's of Accounting programs to meet the requirement of the law. However, many small colleges and universities do not offer graduate accounting degrees and need to adapt undergraduate accounting programs to meet the requirements of the 150-Hour Law. This process requires redesigning of curriculum by accounting faculty and department chairs. Revised programs need to meet state specifications, as well as student expectations, for accounting graduates to be eligible to take for the CPA exam. ^ The purpose of this case study was to describe the process and the issues that emerged in the business departments of three small colleges as they adapted their accounting programs to comply with the educational requirements of the 150-Hour Law. The grand tour question for this case study was: How do stakeholders at three small colleges describe the process and issues that emerge from adapting their respective institutions' accounting programs to comply with 150-Hour Law? ^ Qualitative research methods were used to collect and analyze the data. The researcher interviewed three business department chairs, three accounting professors and three recent graduates of three small colleges from February through April of 2003. The interview transcripts were coded to analyze the data, and four themes emerged from this process. ^ The study's findings were grouped under four main themes: constructing the path, on the path to the goal, guiding the routes and paths, and the finish line. Subthemes and categories provided support for the main themes and expressed in the participants' words. ^ The summary and conclusions were presented. The business department of each college demonstrated a unique strength during the process of adapting their accounting programs to comply with the 150-Hour Law. One college revised their accounting major to provide more courses for students. Further, faculty at this institution advised students of the options available to pursue their education, including graduate school. The second college consulted students when designing a 150-Hour undergraduate accounting program. The third college developed an accounting program that allowed students to earn 150 credit hours in four years at no additional tuition. ^

Subject Area

Education, Business|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Baillie, Courtney, "Curricular change in response to the 150 -Hour Law for CPA exam candidates: A case study of business departments at three colleges" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3116560.