School of Accountancy

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The oldest and best-known professional accounting examination is the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam. This computer-based examination consists of four sections: auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and business environment and concepts. Candidates may take the four parts in any order, but must pass all four parts with a 75% within eighteen month after passing the first part. Exam sections may be taken during any of the four 2-month "testing windows" annually.

USF students may satisfy the accounting requirement by taking at least one course in each of the first 5 groups below and a minimum of 36 hours from the six groups:

Financial Accounting


Cost Accounting


Information Systems


**These are graduate-level courses, and may be taken ONLY by students admitted to the Master of Accountancy program.

Minimum Educational Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam as a Florida Candidate:

Applicants sitting for the exam must have completed 120 semester hours from an appropriately accredited college or university. Special rules apply for non-accredited institutions. The minimum accounting coursework required is 24 semester hours of upper level accounting which must include coverage of taxation, auditing, cost/managerial, financial, and accounting information systems. The nonaccounting business coursework must be at least 24 hours of upper division general business courses. One microeconomics, one macroeconomics, one statistics, one business law, and one introduction to computers course may be lower division. As part of the general business hours, applicants are required to have a total of three semester hours of business law courses, which must cover contracts, torts, and the Uniform Commercial Code. Excess upper division accounting courses may be used to meet the general business requirement. However, elementary accounting classes are never acceptable for credit for either the accounting or business course requirement, nor are courses for nonaccounting majors and any MBA courses that are equivalent to elementary accounting. In terms of the knowledge required to pass the CPA exam, the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy recommends completion of the following USF courses: three semesters of intermediate financial accounting, one semester of cost accounting, accounting information systems, advanced financial accounting, and governmental/nonprofit accounting, two tax courses, two auditing courses, and Law and the Accountant.

Requirements to Become a Licensed CPA in Florida:

For more specific information and an application to take the CPA exam and a Florida candidate, go to

Additional useful information about the CPA exam itself, including tips and strategies:

The Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy is proud to partner with Becker CPA Review, Roger CPA Review and Gleim during the school year. All partners have earned strong track records of student success through superior teaching, curriculum and learning tools that enable students to develop the knowledge and performance skills necessary to pass their exams. View our CPA review page.

Please contact the Undergraduate Advising Office at (813) 974-4290 for any information about our program.

If you have questions about the CPA exam, contact the National Association of State Board of Accountancy (NASBA):
800-CPA-EXAM (800-272-3926)
International: (615) 880-4250
M - Th: 8 a.m. - 2 a.m. Eastern
F: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern
Fax: (615) 880-4290, Attn: FL Coordinator

Also, for information about sitting as a candidate of another state, check out