A new program at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, IL allows off-campus students to complete an accounting degree completely online. SIU is the only Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International-accredited public institution in Illinois to offer the online undergraduate accounting degree, according to College of Business officials. Earning the top-tier AACSB accreditation places SIU's in the top one percent of the nation's accounting programs.
Beginning in the fall of 2013, students can complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting exclusively with online classes. The online program is open to off-campus students who have completed the initial core coursework typically covered during the first two years of college.
Jill Gebke, assistant dean for the College of Business, explained the reasoning behind the new program. "We identified a large transfer population, All of the community colleges are at least an hour away. They told us there's a demand for the accounting program. This was the most convenient way to serve the community college students."
"The program innovation happening right now in the College of Business is very exciting. Our online accounting degree completion option is just another example of that innovation and our continuing growth. This degree allows students the flexibility to blend their studies with work and family commitments and it is equal in quality, value, and accreditation with our on-campus program", said Dennis Cradit, dean of the College of Business.
"What we have learned from our online MBA and our online undergraduate business administration degrees, we have used in designing this online accounting degree. Our number one priority is to provide an exceptional learning experience and this program is a clear reflection of our commitment to that goal", Cradit added.
Typically, the new online accounting degree completion program will take about 24 months to finish over a six-semester time span. However, it is possible to complete the program in a minimum of 18 months.
The online accounting program incorporates approximately 60 hours of coursework covering core areas of the business curriculum. The program is divided into 10 "course pairings", with each including two 3-credit-hour courses. Each course runs eight weeks, allowing students to focus on two classes at a time while still completing four courses each semester.
The same faculty members teach both the online and on-campus classes. However, the online option allows students the opportunity to complete their bachelor's degree through a nationally ranked, accredited institution from anywhere in the world and at their convenience, according to Jill Gebke, assistant dean for the College of Business. And while the face-to-face classroom setting is ideal for learning, Gebke told AccountingWEB that there are many students whose circumstances prevent them from attending on-campus.
The tuition for online students is the same as that of in-state, on-campus students. This is true whether the on-line student is an Illinois resident or out-of-state. While inquiries primarily have been coming from in-state, the program is being offered to any students who meet the admission criteria. With continuous enrollment the tuition rate is locked in for up to four years. Upon completion of the program, students are qualified to take the CPA exam in Illinois. Job placement assistance is also available for online students, Gebke said. The College of Business typically places about 95 percent of undergraduate students after they complete their accounting degree.