CPA Educational Requirements

The California Board of Accountancy (CBA) has extensive information for CPA Exam Applicants and for CPA Licensing Applicants here. The Self-Assessment Worksheet for the CPA Licensure Educational Requirements is here.

Exam educational requirements

The educational requirements to take the exam are listed in the Uniform CPA Exam Handbook (p. 3):

Licensure educational requirements

The additional educational requirements to be licensed as a CPA are listed in the Uniform CPA Exam Handbook (p. 3):


  • Units can count towards one category
  • Course units can be divided among categories

Courses that satisfy subjects

Core accounting subjects (24 units)

  • Accounting
  • External & Internal Reporting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Auditing
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Taxation
  • Assurance
  • Bookkeeping
  • Cost (Cost Analysis, Costing)
  • QuickBooks/Peachtree
  • Attestation
  • CPA Review courses taken from regionally/nationally accredited institutions for which academic credit awarded
  • Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Business Management
  • Finance
  • Computer Science/Information Systems
  • Mathematics
  • Business Law
  • Statistics
  • Marketing
  • Business Communications
  • Business-related law courses offered by an accredited law school

Accounting study subjects (20 units)

  • A minimum of 6 units in core accounting subjects
  • A maximum of 14 units in business-related subjects
  • A maximum of 9 units (maximum 3 units from any area):
    • Skills-based courses: English, Communications, Journalism, and the Physical, Life, Natural, and Social Sciences
    • Foreign languages/cultural & ethnic studies: foreign languages and courses with the term “culture,” “cultural,” or “ethnic” in the title
    • Industry-based courses: Engineering, Architecture, and Real Estate and courses with the word “industry” or “administration” in the title
  • Maximum of 4 units in internships/independent studies courses
  • Completion of a Master of Accounting, Taxation, or Laws in Taxation is equivalent to 20 semester units of accounting study

Ethics study subject (10 units)

  • A minimum of 3 units in courses devoted to accounting ethics or accountants’ professional responsibilities (BUS 335 or equivalent)

  • A maximum of 7 units in courses from the following subject areas:

    • Auditing
    • Morals
    • Professional Responsibilities
    • Business Law
    • Business Leadership
    • Legal Environment of Business
    • Fraud
    • Corporate Governance
    • Ethics
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Human Resources
    • Management of Organizations Management
    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • A maximum of 3 units in courses from the following disciplines (course title must have discipline as sole name or contain one or more of following words or terms (“Introduction”, “Foundation of”, “Fundamentals of”, “General”, “Principles”, “Introductory”, “Survey of”):

    • Philosophy
    • Religion
    • Theology
Elizabeth Stanny
Elizabeth Stanny
Professor of Business Administration

My research interests include climate change and political disclosures.