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New Master's Program to Help
Working Accountants Meet
Stiffer CPA Standards
October 25, 1999

The University has received state approval for a new graduate program that will help working accountants in the Hartford campus area meet the state's new 150 credit-hour requirement to sit for the Certified Public Accountant examination.

The approval of the state's Board of Governors for Higher Education last week clears the way for the accounting department to offer its master of science in accounting program to working professionals in the business communities of Greater Hartford, to keep up with educational standards for CPAs that are rising nationally.

"This new program format will better enable people to begin their professional careers and fulfill the 150 credit-hours requirement to qualify for the CPA exam," says Dick Kochanek, professor and head of the accounting department.

UConn currently graduates an average of 120 students each year as four-year accounting majors, and the accounting department expects the Hartford campus program to have an annual enrollment of about 40 students.

The Legislature voted in 1992 to require candidates for the CPA examination in Connecticut to first complete 150 hours of postsecondary education. The effective date of the requirement is January 1, 2000. Officials with the American Institute of CPAs first came up with the 150-credit proposal in the mid-1980s and other states have adopted the same new CPA exam rules.

Accountants do not have to obtain a CPA degree to practice, but a qualified CPA is able to perform audits and assume other responsibilities that an accountant cannot. A CPA degree helps in finding a job and expands an individual's salary potential.

The first Connecticut CPA candidates who must comply with the new requirements will take the test in May 2000. The exam is divided into four parts: auditing, law, accounting and reporting, and financial accounting and reporting.

The master of science in accounting program at the Storrs campus was licensed by the Board of Governors in October 1977. The Hartford campus program will differ, in that it will be part-time, and is designed to accommodate students who are working full-time.

The full-time program in Storrs can be completed in nine months, or two full semesters. The part-time program for the Hartford campus is designed to be completed in 16 months.

All student admission and graduation requirements for the master's in accounting at the Hartford campus will be administered through the accounting department in Storrs. Admissions will be competitive. Criteria for admission to the program include an undergraduate degree with a major in accounting; a GMAT score of 550 or higher; an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher; and relevant professional work experience.

It is expected that the new program will help supply the state's job market for CPAs. "Currently the business economy in Connecticut is booming," Kochanek says. "I expect the demand among working accountants for this program will be high."

David Bauman