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 4 groups below and a minimum of 30 hours from the six groups:

Financial Accounting

  • Intermediate Financial Accounting I
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting II
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting III
  • Advanced Financial Accounting


  • Auditing I
  • Auditing II
  • Internal & Operational Auditing

Cost Accounting

  • Cost Accounting & Control I
  • Cost Accounting & Control II


  • Concepts of Federal Income Taxes
  • Federal Taxation of Business Entities

Information Systems

  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Analytics in Accounting


  • Government/Not-For-Profit Accounting
  • Accounting Internship

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

  • TOTAL REQUIRED HOURS TO SIT FOR THE EXAM: 120 semester or 180 quarter
  • TOTAL UPPER DIVISION ACCOUNTING HOURS: 24 semester or 36 quarter to include the following:
    • Taxation
    • Auditing
    • Financial
    • Cost
  • TOTAL UPPER DIVISION GENERAL BUSINESS HOURS: 24 semester or 36 quarter to include three (3) semester hours or four (4) quarter hours business law

Applicants sitting for the exam must have completed 120 semester or 180 quarter hours from an accredited college or university, unless one is using the provisions of the unaccredited institutions rule, as explained below. The accounting education program must include 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of upper division accounting to include coverage of taxation, auditing, cost/managerial, and financial. The business education program must include 24 semester hours of upper division general business courses with some exceptions. 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 or four quarter hours of business law courses. Excess upper division accounting courses may be used to meet the general business requirement, but not the business law requirement. However, elementary accounting classes are never acceptable for credit. Neither are courses for non-accounting majors and any MBA courses that are equivalent to elementary accounting.

Requirements for Licensure:

  • PASS ALL FOUR PARTS OF CPA EXAMINATION: with at least a 75% within 18 month rolling period.
  • ONE YEAR WORK EXPERIENCE: Must be verified by a licensed CPA (This experience can be obtained prior to the application, while sitting for the exam or after all four parts of the exam has been passed. However, requirements to sit for the exam must be met before work experience commences.)
  • TOTAL REQUIRED HOURS: 150 semester or 200 quarter hours
  • TOTAL UPPER DIVISION ACCOUNTING HOURS: 30 semester or 45 quarter hours to include the following: Taxation, Auditing, Financial, and Cost/Managerial.
  • TOTAL UPPER DIVISION GENERAL BUSINESS HOURS: 36 semester or 54 quarter hours to include the following: three (3) semester hours or four (4) quarter hours of business law.
  • Apply for a license through the state of 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