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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
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. 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.
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.
Total Credit Hours
- Online Courses
- Residency Required
Tuition and Financial Aid
Estimated Tuition and Fees
The Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination Graduate Certificate requires 12 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit hour is $820.
Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827.
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.
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).
Fraud Examiner, Investigator and Analyst
Forensic Science Technician
Growth: 14% or higher
Private Detective or Investigator
Police Identification and Records Officer