Conditional Early Acceptance Program for Penn State Students

An overview of the Conditional Early Acceptance (CEA) program at the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

Are you interested in partnering with the Penn State Smeal College of Business to pursue a master's degree in Accounting or Taxation? 

Smeal's Conditional Early Acceptance (CEA) program is a two-year pathway to earning an accounting-related graduate degree immediately following your post-baccalaureate studies. The program does not require a deposit and is open to Penn State undergraduates who are currently in their junior year and are majoring in accounting at either the University Park campus or at a Commonwealth campus location. Students enrolled at the World Campus location are not currently eligible to participate in this program.

As a member of Smeal's CEA program, you will create a strong partnership with Smeal's accounting department and admissions team. Throughout your junior and senior years, you will be encouraged to meet regularly with your academic advisor, the assistant department chair for Smeal's Accounting department, and Smeal's graduate admissions team. These regular check-ins will serve as benchmarks to ensure that you are maintaining the requirements to enter one of our accounting master's programs. When it comes time to apply during your senior year, your admissions process will be expedited due to the relationships you have developed during your time in the CEA program.

Graduate Program Options

By opting into the CEA program, you are making the commitment to pursue one of two available graduate degrees.

Master of Accounting (STEM-designated)

  • Format: In person at Penn State University Park
  • Program length: 1 year
  • Program start: August
  • Credits: 33
  • Internship required
  • No GMAT required

Smeal's STEM-designated Master of Accounting is a one-year immersive program into the world of accounting. By partnering with Smeal, you will cultivate specialized knowledge in data analytics within the accounting profession, financial reporting, analytics, and statement analysis. Graduates will have the technical competence and the necessary credit hours to confidently sit for the CPA Exam, marking the beginning of your career as a modern accounting professional.

Master of Taxation

  • Format: Online
  • Program length: You can complete this degree on a part-time basis in as little as 12 months
  • Program start: January, May, or August
  • Credits: 30
  • No GMAT required

With millions of pages of tax law, regulations, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) pronouncements, taxation is anything but a simple subject. You can gain the expertise you need to become a highly valued tax adviser by earning the Penn State Master of Taxation, available online through Penn State World Campus in partnership with the Penn State Smeal College of Business. When you branch off into a career in taxation, you serve as a client advocate — someone who promotes tax compliance and limits tax liability in accordance with tax laws. Early-career students may also use credits earned by completing these specialized taxation courses to meet the 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA licensure exam.  

CEA Requirements

To participate in the CEA program, students must meet these qualifications:

  • Currently enrolled in your junior year of residential undergraduate study at Penn State University Park or a Penn State Commonwealth Campus other than Penn State World Campus
  • Majoring in Accounting or a Bachelor of Science in Business with an Accounting Option
    • Students who are not currently majoring in accounting, but are interested in pursuing an accounting-related graduate degree from Smeal, have the ability to do so by first enrolling in Smeal's Accounting Foundations online graduate certificate. 
  • Possess an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.2
  • Hold a 3.2 or higher GPA in the following pre-requisite courses: ACCTG 403W, ACCTG 404 or ACCTG 340, ACCTG 405 or ACCTG 310, ACCTG 471, ACCTG 472, and MIS 301.

Key Benefits

  • Receive an expedited review process upon submitting your application for admission*
  • Stand out from your peers by including the CEA program on your resume as a signal to potential employers that you will be pursuing graduate-level education
  • Leverage the Smeal accounting department's strong connections to employers such as the Big Four accounting firms (KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • Take advantage of career resources from the University and the Smeal College of Business, including individualized support from Smeal's Accounting department to assist with internship placement and post-graduate employment

* Submitting a formal application for admission does not guarantee an offer of admission. 

Become a CEA Student

If you meet the eligibility requirements and would like to enroll in Smeal's CEA program, please fill out the form below. CEA opt-ins for the Class of 2026 will be accepted through Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

Need more information? For questions about the one-year Master of Accounting, contact Scott Collins. For questions about the online Master of Taxation, contact Larry Friedken.