Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Mary Anderson

Second Advisor

Gwen Pate

Advisor Department



To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one must first qualify to take the exam and consequently, earn the licensure. While the information on the CPA exam tests the candidates on uniform information, the education eligibility requirements to both sit for and earn licensure vary among the U.S. states and jurisdictions. Currently, thirty-nine of the fifty-four U.S. jurisdictions – including Mississippi – have adopted what has become known as the 120/150 educational credit hour rule. This rule allows candidates to begin taking the exam upon earning 120 credit hours, which is equivalent to a bachelor's degree; however, candidates may not earn licensure until after earning 150 credit hours, or a master's degree, have been completed. The other fifteen jurisdictions do not allow candidates to sit for the exam until the 150 credit hours have been earned, qualifying them for licensure upon passing each of the exam's four sections. This study analyses the impact of the 120/150-hour education requirement on the intentions of candidates to pursue CPA certification. In addition, it focuses on how this education constraint impacts their career intentions. To understand such impacts, a survey is administered to undergraduate accounting students at the University of Southern Mississippi. A Chi-squared test evaluates the following: relationships between genders, education level intentions, and certification intentions. The study gives evidence that the respondents are split among agreeing, disagreeing, or being undecided regarding whether or not a fifth year of education is necessary to sit for the exam. On the other hand, 42.5% of respondents believe a fifth year of education is necessary to pass the exam (20% in disagreement and 37.5% undecided). The results from this study support the need for further research to most accurately conclude on the impact of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam's non-uniform education requirements.

Included in

Accounting Commons