Top 20 Bachelor’s Degrees in Forensic Accounting

Ever wonder how a math nerd might save the day? A degree in forensic accounting might be just the thing you need to find out, first hand. For the investigation of white collar crime, including investigating fraud and embezzlement, self-dealing, theft, document falsification, money laundering, and other illegal financial activity, forensic accountants are the go-to people in the industry. A degree in forensic accounting combines a knowledge of accounting with a practice of financial and tax laws. Other jobs that are perfect for someone with a law and accounting degree mash-up including assisting in divorce settlements as family law consultants, special consultants for real estate or construction disputes, and any other legal issues revolving around money. Finding and highlighting the inconsistencies in the financial record keeping of companies, corporations, and government agencies is another common aspect of forensic accounting. One of these top 20 bachelor’s degrees in forensic accounting will help you do these things best.

Bachelor’s in Forensic Accounting, Running the Numbers

We collected these programs based on three criteria:

  • Published reputation rating (College Consensus)
  • Affordability (IPEDS)
  • Institution Success Rate (Scorecard)

These three metrics were weighted evenly to determine in descending order.

More Numbers

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, accountants make an average salary of $68,000 per year. With such a vast number of entry-level options for accountants to choose from, any demonstrated focus area like forensics will considerably add to the value of the degree. This added value will make graduates more desirable to hire and allow them to be pickier about which job and what salary they ultimately choose. By 2022, the field of accounting is projected to grow 13% adding more jobs more money to the field. Sectors that employ forensic accountants specifically include law firms, corporate financial risk management firms, government departments, financial consulting firms, and accounting departments and firms.  

Forensic Certifications Will Take You Further

In terms of advanced certifications, there are a couple of options for accountants who focus on fraud and forensics. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) offers trained forensic accountants the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) certifications. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers a Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential.  Even if the position you want does not require these particular certifications, forensic specialists who are certified will earn considerably more money than those who do not have advanced certification. The ACFE reports that forensic accountants who hold a CFE certification make 20% more than forensic accountants who do not ($85k compared to $104k per year).

So, whether you have a passion for the law and an intrinsic skill with numbers, or you know that accounting is your thing but need a way to spice it up, a bachelor’s degree in forensic accounting may be the best choice you have ever made. Red Cape and Tights on Fridays at the office is optional.  

Recommended Online Accounting Degree Programs

all images sourced from institution’s website

Cost key/Annual NR Tuition∗
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$$ = 16,000 – 23,999
$$$ = 24,000 – 31,999
$$$$= 32,000 – 39,999
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The College of Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences designs programs to help students reach their full academic potential. The Regents BA program appeals to working professionals and the Interdisciplinary Studies program partners students with a faculty advisor to help them create their own bachelor’s degree program. Within the College, the Department of Accounting and Finance oversees the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program, Undergraduate Certificate Program in Fraud Examination, and the minor in Fraud Examination. To receive the certificate, students must complete at least 18 credit hours of related coursework. Likewise, the minor in fraud examination requires 18 credit hours spread over six accounting courses.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, certificate in Fraud Examination
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Based in Daytona Beach, FL, Embry-Riddle University prides itself on its general education coursework which provides a solid foundation for students in any major. For students pursuing a forensic accounting degree, core coursework is integrated into a curriculum that includes classes in corporate finance, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, and business law. The university’s forensic accounting degree requirements prepare learners for the Certified Fraud Examiner certification and exam. The school also works closely with the Association of Fraud Examiners, enabling graduates to work for high-level government agencies like the FBI. The 120-credit forensic accounting and fraud examination program is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Waynesburg University is a private postsecondary institution situated in beautiful Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Established in 1849, Waynesburg was founded by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and continues to be an active member in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Christian faith is also woven throughout the mission of this institution, though their door is welcome to all religions and denominations. Their campus sits in the hills of Pennsylvania, on the southeast section of the state, and includes three adult education centers, all of which exist in contemporary buildings. Their programming includes 70 distinct academic disciplines, with an enrollment of over 2,500 students, both graduate and undergraduate.

Waynesburg University offers a Bachelor of Science program in Accounting, with extensive coursework in Forensic Accounting. UMUC has their finger on the pulse of the growing industry, and offer classes that train students to become front runners in all fields related to accounting, including the critical skills related to fraud detection and prevention. This focus on Forensic Accounting makes graduates assets to businesses, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and even hospitals and medical institutions. The program was designed in collaboration with employers and industry leaders, to accommodate real world scenarios and applications. One of the aspects about this particular program is their incorporation of modern biology and chemistry, providing students with the skills to fully understand crime prevention and detection.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Franklin University was established in 1902, as a private nonprofit institution in central Ohio. They now have five campuses peppered throughout the state, and Indiana. Franklin is known for having many online course and degree offerings, that make this institution a popular destination for non-traditional learners. Originally it was founded in partnership with the YMCA, and known as the YMCA School of Commerce. It is no longer affiliated with the Y, but has carried many of the principles that the organizations share, such as a commitment to the education and wellness of adult learners. Their degree offerings include associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

Franklin University offers an in-demand, affordable Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting Degree program, that can be accomplished entirely online. Franklin University has answered the industry call, to equip students with the skills to understand the complexities of occupational fraud, and act as front runners in investigations related to corporate fraud. Participants will be also trained to build competency in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, tax evasion, and money laundering. The flexible online format makes the program accessible to adult learners who are already engaged in the workforce, and must cater to other life commitments that often make in-class coursework challenging. The curriculum is aligned with specific industry standards, giving learners an effective foundation to directly enter the field upon graduation.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Accounting majors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham can apply to the fast-track accounting program which allows them to enroll in graduate courses while pursuing a forensic accounting bachelor’s degree. The forensic accounting and information technology auditing concentration combines traditional accounting principles with aspects of technology. In the traditional 120-credit program, students graduate in four years. Likewise, the school offers an online accounting program approved by the Institute of Management Accountants which prepares students to earn the Certified Management Accountant credential. To help graduates find positions as accountants, the school created the HireABlazer program accessible to both on-campus and online students.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, emphasis on Forensic Accounting
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Pittsburg State University, is also called Pitt State or PSU, and is located in Pittsburg Kansas, on a 223-acre campus. Established as a Normal School, they first opened their doors in 1903. They became a four-year postsecondary institution in 1913, but didn’t take on their current name until 1977. The majority of the student body is primarily from the local region, with the student enrollment totaling close to 7,500; 6,000 of which are undergraduates. PSU is a member of the Kansas Board of Regents. Their student to faculty ratio is 19:1. PSU also hosts a satellite campus in the Kansas City Metro Area.

Pittsburg State University’s Gladys A. Kelce College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting Program, which includes a foundation for students to be able to achieve a Fraud Examiner Certificate. Their program provides students with all of the tools to work in the accounting industry from a variety of vantage points and settings, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the public accounting sector. The program is AACSB-accredited, which suggests the highest quality of programming and faculty that are leaders in the field. Students will gain fundamental fraud detection and prevention skills if they choose coursework that supports the Fraud Examiner Certification.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Business Administration, Major in Accounting, Minor in Fraud Examination
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

California College San Diego is often referred to as CCSD, and has undergone many transformations since its inception in 1971. Initially, it was known as the California College of Health Sciences, and prior to that it was called the California College of Respiratory Therapy. Since 2012, they have achieved non-profit status because of their affiliation with the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, which is a Salt Lake City based organization, that hosts three additional educational institutions. CCSD is known for their associate’s degree programming, as well as bachelor’s and master’s in business management and accounting, healthcare administration, and a variety of medical specialties, such as respiratory therapy.

California College San Diego offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting Program with an emphasis on Forensic Accounting. This program is not only affordable, but it answers the call from the growing field, by training students to be experts in fraud investigation, such as embezzlements contract disputes and security fraud. Students will study with law enforcement personnel and lawyers who specialize in white collar crime, among other disciplines. The flexible online coursework of the Forensic Degree Program allows students to complete their degree on their own terms, tailoring classes to work around their busy schedules. Graduates may enter a variety of fields upon exiting the program including auditing clerk, bookkeeper, and accounting specialist.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting Program, emphasis on Forensic Accounting
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Founded in 1865, Indiana State University’s mission is to integrate “teaching, research, and creative activity in an engaging, challenging, and supportive learning environment.” Students in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program go on to receive an MBA, apply for a master’s in accounting program, or work as a licensed certified public accountant. The forensic accounting minor expands on basic accounting theories and principles to include fraud examination and investigation. Criminology and business majors also benefit from the investigative skills learned it his major. Indiana State encourages students to pursue internships and join organizations like Beta Alpha Psi, a fraternity for financial information professionals.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, minor in Forensic Accounting
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Maryville University is a private postsecondary institution situated in a city called Town and Country, which is a suburb of Saint Louis. It was established in 1872, and was one of the first private institutions in the greater Saint Louis region, and was started by the Religious of the Sacred Heart. When they first opened their doors, their programming was designed to support underprivileged populations, primarily young women. Currently, they have over 90 degree offerings that serve both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as doctoral students. The student body represents 50 states and almost 50 countries from around the world.

Maryville University offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree program in Accounting Systems and Forensics, which is designed to fill the need for more forensics accounting professionals in the business world, as well as the public and private sectors. Graduates of the program will be able to enter a variety of professions in a myriad of settings including the more technically skilled realms of the industry that involve database design and development, and business process mapping. Students can take the program as a dual degree, including a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, which will make them eligible for the CPA examination.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science Accounting Systems and Forensics
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

DeSales University is a private postsecondary institution with a Catholic foundation. It is coeducational, and open to people of all faith backgrounds and denominations. Situated in beautiful Allentown, Pennsylvania in Lehigh County, they opened their doors to their first freshman class in 1965, but was first established in 1964, and initially called the Allentown College of Saint Francis De Sales. Currently, they are known for their high-quality education, which includes their low student to faculty ratio of 13:1. The US News and World Report ranked DeSales University as the 61st in the Regional Universities North, and the 35th Best School for Veterans.

Desales University offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree with a Forensic Accounting Track, that speaks to the demand for fraud eradication in the business sector. Students in the Forensic Accounting Track will learn how to recognize misappropriation of assets, develop systems to mitigate and minimize an organization or company’s vulnerability to fraud, and develop evidence to support fraud cases through litigation support and expert testimony techniques. This specialization allows students to work in law firms, police stations, insurance companies, banks, courts, businesses, and government agencies, among others. Students can consider taking the track of BS to MBA in Accounting program that takes 4.5 years to complete, and gives students all of the necessary credit hours to sit for the CPA Exam.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree, Forensic Accounting Track
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Utica College is also known as UC, is a private institution, located in Utica New York. Originally, Syracuse University formed Utica College as a four-year postsecondary institution in 1946. It wasn’t until 1995 that Utica became an autonomous entity. In 1999 Utica started to offer graduate programming, and independent undergraduate degrees in 2011. Utica’s campus is situated on 128 acres on the western side of the city. Currently, their enrollment of undergraduate students is just over 3,000, and graduate students number just above 1,300. The campus offers many state of the art features, including a high definition television studio, which offers students the use of editing suites, a control room and fully equipped “smart” classrooms.

Utica College offers a specialized fully online Bachelor of Science in Financial Fraud and Crime Investigation, a specialized aspect of Forensic Accounting. This degree program comes in high-demand, in response to the increase in economic crime that many Americans are aware of by breaches in credit card security, and awareness of embezzlement and corporate laundering scandals. As a result of the current economic business climate, professionals in the field of Forensic Accounting are very sought after. This program was designed in tandem with the Board of Advisors of the college’s Economic Crime and Cyber Security Institute. Students may add the concentrations of Financial Investigation, or Fraud Prevention and Detection to their Forensic Accounting degree. Utica College considers this program to be a Bachelor’s Completer Program, meaning that prospective students must first hold an Associate’s Degree, or a minimum of 57 credits from a four-year postsecondary institution.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Financial Fraud and Crime Investigation
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is considered a senior college of the City University in New York’s midtown neighborhood. It was established in 1964 as an independent degree granting entity in Police Science. It is a unique institution, as the only liberal arts college with a criminal justice and forensic niche in the country. As an entity of CUNY, they maintain the open admissions policy that was enacted in 1970. They are known for the student protests in 1975 that demanded more access for students of color on campus, in response to the primarily white student body; as a result of student-led actions, the campus celebrates their diverse student body.

The Collaboration between CUNY borough of Manhattan Community College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Science Program in Economics with a specialization in Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics. There is a myriad of core courses that will prepare students for a successful career in Fraud Examination, which include classes like The Individual and Society, as well as Foundations in Accounting, Business Law, Macroeconomics and Finance. The course of study can be complete with 60 credit hours. One of the exciting aspects of the program is that students are required to take internships that will prepare them for a competitive career in the forensics accounting profession.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Economics, specialization in Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Texas Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts school started by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1890. Originally, they opened their doors with the name Polytechnic College, named after the town where the institution remains. Their flagship campus is located in the Polytechnic Heights Neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas on a campus that sits on 75 acres, just above the Trinity River, making it one of the highest points in the region. Total enrollment of undergraduate students is close to 1,700 and graduates number near 1,600. The school’s mascot is the ram, and can be seen at sporting games and on campus sporting gear.

Texas Wesleyan University offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Science Program in Accounting with a focus on Forensic Investigation and Fraud Examination. The program is offered in a format that is entirely online. This program offers innovative coursework that is contemporary with the times, including coursework in White Collar Crime/ Corporate Crime, Auditing, Forensic/ Fraud Practicum, Forensic IT Audit, The legal Environment and Fraud. This course of study prepares students for careers in Fraud Examination, Forensic Accounting, IRS Criminal Investigation, and FBI White Collar Crime Investigation. The program supports students to join relevant groups like the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and study other integral disciplines like finance.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, focus on Forensic Investigation and Fraud Examination
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

The University of Northwestern Ohio’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting program allows students to enroll in a flexible learning evening program. Students meet on Tuesday evening and complete the rest of their coursework online. Students also have the option to take fully online courses. The five-year CPA program enables learners to graduate with a B.S. in Accounting and sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam. The CPA track requires 225 credit hours. The forensic accounting bachelor’s degree requires 180 credit hours and prepares learners to take the Certified Fraud Examiner test. In this program, students explore white collar crimes and fraud examination regulations.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Accounting with a focus on Forensic Accounting
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Ohio Valley University was first opened on September 12, 1960, with the inaugural freshman class of 39 students. This student body was comprised of both men and women, and two faculty members. OVU became a fully accredited four-year university, from the accreditation source North Central Association in 1978, and have continued to grow and thrive since that moment. The vision and mission of the institution has always included a Christian foundation, and includes a spiritual influence and emphasis in much of their programming, including student life activities, as well as curricular engagement. Scholarship, service and stewardship are additional focal points that the university brings to light in their mission statement.

Ohio Valley University offers a unique undergraduate Forensic Investigative Accounting Degree through their College of Business, as an answer to the industry call for more trained leaders in the fastest growing section of the accounting profession. The faculty of this program are internationally recognized professionals and agents in the field, many of whom have experience working with the FBI and CIA. Students are guaranteed to be granted internships, and other hands-on experience, including a capstone project that will include a large scale forensic investigation. Graduates of the program are ready to work immediately upon completion, and should be prepared to immediately sit for the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam, as well as the Certified Internal Auditor Exam.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Forensic and Investigative Accounting
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Point University was established in 1937, and remains a private Christian university, with a liberal arts focus, enabling students to connect their studies and cultural experiences back to Christ. They have a strong mission to support students in finding their life path, allowing it to holistically engage their faith. Point University’s programming caters to a diverse range of students and life experiences including: working adults, graduate students, high school students in pursuit of dual enrollment, and traditional college students. Point has three four full service campuses, as well as online programs that enable students to achieve their degrees from anywhere in the country and world.

Point University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree with a concentration in Forensics Accounting and Fraud. This unique program provides students with a background in the foundations of Forensic Accounting as it relates to diverse financial transactions. Students will be trained in comprehensive mergers and acquisitions, contract disputes, and bankruptcies. Graduates will have expert level ability to contribute to the growing field of Forensic Accounting, by being able to hone in on the complicated skills required for fraud investigation. There are project learning opportunities for students to gain competency around business scandals and prosecution related to white collar crime.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, concentration in Forensics Accounting and Fraud
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Southern New Hampshire State University cultivates an impressive student body comprised of on-campus and distance education learners. Its online programs cater to working professionals and out-of-state learners, earning the school countless awards and recognition. The online bachelor’s degree in accounting with an emphasis in forensic accounting and fraud examination features the hallmarks of an SNHU program: flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Students fill out an online application with no application fee and enroll in 100% online courses. Additionally, the school requests transcripts from previous schools and conducts an automatic credit evaluation. The 120-credit curriculum emphasizes writing and critical thinking through courses in federal taxation and auditing principles.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, emphasis on Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

Carlow University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929. They had arrived from Carlow Ireland in 1843 with a vision to serve the poor, uneducated and the sick, and as a result, upon their arrival, they opened several schools and an orphanage, as well as the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. They originally named what is now known as Carlow University, Mount Mercy College, but the name was changed in 1969. The mission has remained the same, the school continues to create learner-centered opportunities that set students up for a lifetime on productive learning and service. They have been recognized for excellence in faculty contribution, diverse learning opportunities, and stellar academic programming on both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Carlow University offers both a daytime and evening format Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting Degree Program at their main Oakland Campus. This course of study prepares students to be on the cutting-edge of contemporary fraud detection and eradication, in one of the fastest growing fields of our time. The course of study can be completed with 120 credit hours with coursework that includes fraud prevention and ethics, basic accounting foundations and principles, business management skills, and engagement with the technological aspects of the field, including excel and other software related competencies. Students will also engage with a practicum, internship, and/ or research project.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

Guilford College was established in 1837, by the Religious Society of Friends, Quakers, who were and continue to be committed to studies related to social responsibility, legacy and social action. Guilford is situated in Greensboro, North Carolina, and are known as the only postsecondary institution in the Southeastern United States. They have many program offerings that relate to their Quaker Roots, including majors like Peace and Conflict Studies, and Community and Justice Studies. One of their unique features is that they not only serve traditional students, but have many programs that cater to non-traditional adult learners through their Center for Continuing Education.

Guilford College offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Accounting that is offered in the traditional classroom format. Students of the program will be prepared to serve as expert witnesses, and learn to skills to interpret, prevent, and detect fraudulent activity. The degree program is made up of 32 credit hours, and four elective courses that may include Business Law and Environment, Interpersonal Communications, and other related fields of study. Students will have access to competitive internships, that will remain in the professional networks upon graduation. Many graduates have gone on to work at investment banks in Chicago and New York, Leading CPA Firms, Tax preparation agencies, among many others.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Accounting
Format: Traditional
Cost: $$$$$

College America is a nonprofit postsecondary institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and is one of four institutions associated with the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, which is based in Salt Lake City. College America currently has seven branch campus locations, which include the cities of Colorado Springs, CO; Denver, CO; Fort Collins, CO; Idaho Falls, ID; Flagstaff, AZ; and Phoenix, AZ. The multiple locations enable each site to offer students a more intimate learning environment in each campus. Their offerings engage a variety of disciplines with 41 specific degree programs, ranging from business to healthcare, and they grant associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

One of the exciting offerings College America provides is a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with an emphasis on Forensic Accounting. This course of study is not only affordable, but is also very adaptable, as it can be taken entirely online, catering to students with life demands that make it difficult to complete coursework in a traditional classroom environment. This 36-month program provides students with expert skills to work closely with law enforcement to understand and be proactive while solving complicated financial crimes. Graduates of the program will be skilled and prepared to work in a variety of settings, which include governmental agencies, public and private accounting firms, and nonprofit organizations, among many others.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, emphasis on Forensic Accounting
Format: Online, Traditional, Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$