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CPA Information


What is a CPA?


“A CPA is a certified public accountant and is licensed by the state. In California, to earn the prestige associated with the CPA license, individuals are required to demonstrate their knowledge and competence by passing the Uniform CPA Exam, meeting high educational standards and completing a specified amount of general accounting experience.” – California Society of CPAs

How to Meet the Requirements


In order to meet the requirements for CPA Licensure, you must complete a minimum of:


  • Bachelor's Degree

  • 225 Quarter Units of Coursework

  • 36 Quarter Units of Core Accounting Subjects

  • 36 Quarter Units of Core Business-Related Subjects

  • 30 Quarter Units of Accounting Study Subjects (In addition to the 36 Units of Core Accounting Subjects)

  • 15 Quarter Units of Ethics Study

Note: Eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam has less requirements. You must complete your Bachelor's Degree, 36 Quarter Units of Core Accounting Subjects, and 36 Quarter Units of Core Business-Related Subjects.


What classes can I take at Cal Poly to help me meet these requirements?


Click here for a listing of Cal Poly courses that can be used to meet CPA requirements.


The MS in Taxation program at Cal Poly also helps meet the additional unit requirement not met with Cal Poly undergraduate course load. Click here to learn more about the MS in Taxation program.

CPA Exam Application Steps
  1. Any time before graduation, create an account with the California Board of Accountancy (CBA). Two days later, your account is ready.

  2. Call the Cal Poly Evaluations Office (805-756-2396) or the quarter of your planned graduation. Ask to have your degree conferral rushed because you are taking the CPA Exam.

  3. Submit the CBA remittance form from your online account and pay the $100 first time applicant fee.

  4. After seeing that your PolyProfile says “conferred”, order official transcripts through your my.calpoly portal. Do not use the automatically send my transcript function, do it manually.

  5. Receive the approval from the CBA to test (Authorization to Test or ATT), then select the CPA Exam sections you want to take within the next 9 months.

  6. Once approved, a payment coupon (Notice to Schedule or NTS) is sent to you. Pay for the sections you applied for.

CPA Resources

The following accounting packet will help you plan out what courses to take to meet the various CPA required subjects.

CPA Info Session with CPA Advisor Emma James

 Schedule a meeting with Emma James to assess which class you have taken count towards the CPA and which classes you still need to take. 

Info Session Slide Deck Here

Additional Tips and Information


For more information about the CPA, visit the California Board of Accountancy website. If you have specific questions call them at one of the numbers found here.

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