Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination (FAFE) Graduate Certificate

August 21, 2019
Next Start Date
Per Credit Hour


The College of Business and Economics offers a specialized graduate certificate in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination to meet the demand for forensic accountants who are needed to combat widespread growth in white collar crime, fraud, and the illegal international movement of money. There are multiple career opportunities in the public and private sectors for those who earn this certificate. Federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the F.B.I. are seeking specialized accountants who possess this unique forensic knowledge. Private firms who must comply with legislation such as the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley Acts also need auditors who are skilled at detecting, preventing and deterring fraud. The program includes two in-class/online case examinations and two examination engagements that students must complete in a team format. Both require students to present and defend their work in front of practicing professionals as follows:


  • Pitch to Prosecutor Exercise in Accounting 581
  • Moot Court Exercise (Capstone Experience) in Accounting 584


This online certificate provides accountants with additional knowledge and skills in these areas. WVU also offers a master’s degree in Forensic and Fraud Examination.


Residency Requirements to Complete the Program


While WVU is embracing the online instructional delivery, we are also committed to experiential learning, so two 2-day residencies are required (generally, Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday). These residencies will enhance your educational experience by exposing you to practicing experts currently working in the fraud examination and forensic accounting profession. Meeting your classmates and expanding your WVU network adds to the experience. The online format enables working professionals to take advantage of graduate education without taking a leave of absence from work or being confined to evening or weekend classroom commitments.


  • Residency 1: As part of the first residency, students participate in (1) Financial Crime Scene Investigation (CSI-F) at WVU's Crime Scene Complex, (2) Pitch-to-Prosecutor and (3) Advanced Data Mining.
  • Residency 2: As part of the second residency, following the successful completion of the Accounting 583 and 584 online requirements, students participate in (1) a full day of Interviewing and Interrogation training, (2) Moot Court and (3) a wrap-up session


West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business—the Department of Accounting holds an additional accreditation by AACSB, making it one of the top programs in the country.


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of 2.9 or higher and GMAT score of 500 unless the applicant is a certified public accountant, has a law degree, has been admitted to a law school, or has two years of anti-fraud or fraud-related (auditing) experience. Any applicant with two or more years of professional work experience may request a waiver of the GMAT or GRE. To request a waiver, send your resume and waiver request to Given that the undergraduate grade point average will be heavily relied upon to evaluate academic ability, applicants may want to consider taking the GMAT or GRE if the G.P.A. is under 3.0.

Application Requirements

  • Apply with the online Graduate Application
  • Pay graduate application fee
  • Request official transcripts from all institutions attended (other than WVU) and send to:
    WVU Office of Graduate Admissions
    One Waterfront Place
    PO Box 6510
    Morgantown, WV 26506-6510


    electronically sent to


Residents Non-Residents
Tuition and Fees

for academic year 2018-2019


Per Credit Hour


Per Credit Hour


The certificate is 12 credit hours. Students complete four courses that are taught using actual and simulated case materials, a hands-on approach to prepare students for their careers in litigation support, forensic accounting and fraud examination. To mimic real-world expectations, students are required to come to the WVU campus and perform two actual engagements and report their findings both in writing and orally – see pitch-to-prosecutor and moot court exercise description below.


View Curriculum



The curriculum consists of the following courses:

ACCT 581 Fraud Investigation:

Types of fraud, sources of evidence, and analysis of internal and external fraud schemes with an emphasis on the skills needed to identify, investigate and litigate fraud and forensic accounting allegations.

ACCT 582 Fraud Data Analysis:

Digital prevention and deterrence, digital evidence, digital detection and investigation including data mining, digital presentation and reporting tools, cybercrime and electronic case management tools.

ACCT 583 Fraud Criminology/Legal Issues:

Responsibility to detect fraud, investigative techniques, interviewing skills, legal concepts, evidence management, criminology, and ethics.

ACCT 584 Advanced Fraud Investigation:

Investigation of complex frauds and financial crimes and an emphasis on forensic and litigation support investigations, including international money laundering, organized criminal activities and terrorism financing. The course requires testimony of case investigative results in a moot court setting.


The program includes two in-class/online case investigations and two investigative engagements that students must complete in a team format. Both require students to present and defend their work in front of practicing professionals as follows:

“Pitch to Prosecutor” Exercise in Accounting 581:

Students will complete one major case investigation (MCI) over the course of study in Acct 581. The purpose is to provide students with experience in performing basic investigative tasks and analysis. These projects involve analyzing simulated case information based on actual frauds/financial crimes as well as related corporate and business records to determine if fraud has occurred, who did it and how. Students mimic investigative processes used in conducting analytical reviews, soliciting information from clients, and reporting suspicious activity for a fictitious client/target company.

“Moot Court” Exercise (Capstone Experience) in Accounting 584:

Supported by attorneys from the Internal Revenue Service and Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC, this course includes an integrative capstone experience using simulated actual case material as a basis for conducting an investigation throughout the course. In order to complete the assignments, students must integrate and draw upon the knowledge and skills developed in the other three courses, including the use of digital tools and techniques developed in fraud data analysis. Additionally, ACCT 581 and ACCT 582 must be completed before taking ACCT 584, Advanced Fraud Investigation.




The following courses, or their equivalent in terms of course work or professional experience, are required:

ACCT 201 Principles of Accounting
ACCT 311 Intermediate Accounting
ACCT 322 Accounting Systems
ACCT 451 Auditing Theory

Additionally, ACCT 581 and ACCT 582 must be completed before taking ACCT 584, Advanced Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination.

Career Information

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination (FAFE) Graduate Certificate degree may be prepared for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.


Fraud Examiner, Investigator and Analyst

Growth: 5-8%

Forensic Science Technician

Growth: 14% or higher

Private Detective or Investigator

Growth: 5-8%


Growth: 9-13%

Police Identification and Records Officer

Growth: 1%
Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).