CPA Requirements

General Information

If you would like to track your progress with the CPA requirements please bring a copy of your course history from GOLD to the Career Connection Office (2119 North Hall).  You can access your course history by selecting “academic history” on the left side bar and then clicking on the “course history” tab. 

Even though 225 quarter-units are equivalent to 5 years of coursework, students can and do achieve the unit requirement by in a variety of ways. For more information regarding the CPA requirements and the programs that the university has in place, please review our CPA at UCSB informational flier.

In addition, the Career Connection office has created helpful worksheets to assist students with tracking their progress towards meeting the CPA requirements:

2017 requirements, blank

2017 requirements, major classes listed 

For more information, please see our CPA FAQ.

CPA Exam 

To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, UCSB students must have an undergraduate degree and 36 units completed in Accounting Subjects and 36 units completed in Business-Related Subjects.  Those students who complete the Economics and Accounting major will most likely have those two credit requirements completed upon graduation.

Please note: taking Econ 189 or Econ 185 as an accounting elective does not count toward the 36 units needed for the Accounting Subjects section. Students will need to take an additional accounting course to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam.

The California Board of Accountancy has an extensive website,  with all of the necessary information for registering for the CPA Exam. In addition, they have a very helpful Uniform CPA Handbook.

To sign-up for the exams please visit:

Transcript requests for the CPA Exam
All students who plan to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation must send official transcripts, from every institution they attended, to the California Board of Accountancy (CBA). Complete instructions on how to order the transcripts and have them sent to the board can be found here.


CPA Licensing

The California Board of Accountancy has changed the requirements necessary for becoming licensed in the state. These requirements ONLY apply to California. If you are interested in becoming licensed in a different state, please refer to their board of accountancy page for their specific requirements.

The licensing requirements:

2017 – all students who plan to be licensed AFTER January 1, 2017

In addition to the tip sheets provided by the CBA, the department has prepared  worksheets for students to track their progress.

2017 – Education requirements worksheet

2017 – Educational requirement worksheet, with major class filled in

In order to become licensed in the state of California you must meet the following criteria:

  • Baccalaureate degree or higher

  • A total of 225 quarter units including:

  1. 36 quarter units of Accounting Subjects
  2. 36 quarter units of Business-Related Subjects
  3. 30 quarter units of Accounting Study
  4. 15 quarter units of Ethics Study
  • Pass all portions of the CPA exam

  • One year of work experience under a licensed CPA

Programs to Fulfill the 225 unit requirement

Students need at least 180 units to graduate.  Based upon that requirement, students need an additional 45 units in specific areas to fulfill the new requirements.  Students can take more than 180 units while at UCSB.  However, if you choose not to there are two departmental programs in place to help you fulfill the new requirement.

Strategic Business Program

The Strategic Business Program (SBP)  gives students the opportunity to receive at least 16 additional units.  Currently, 9 ethics courses are offered, which would leave students with having to get 6 additional ethics units.  The educational requirement worksheets (above) list all SBP and UCSB courses that can be used to fulfill the requirements.  More information about SBP can be found here

Professional Preparation Program in Accounting

This unique program is offered during the first 10 weeks of summer session.  The Professional Preparation Program for Accounting is designed to help you meet the California requirements for CPA Licensure. You can fulfill 24 quarter units toward CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Licensure in only 10 weeks. All 24 units of this program, can be applied to the 30 quarter units needed for accounting study.

Courses are offered in an intense, high-quality sequence, designed to provide the detailed knowledge and skills desirable in a professional accountant. Courses cover professionally based material that expands upon the academic accounting curriculum offered by the UCSB Economics Department. Courses provide information that broadens student understanding and knowledge of modern business methods and environments. Taken together, the four courses in the sequence also cover topics included in the CPA examination.

For more information regarding the Professional Preparation Program in Accounting please visit the extension website.

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