Forensic Accounting Certificate

Certificate Requirements: 12 Credit Hours


The Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting program is designed to provide the advanced knowledge and skills graduates need to investigate asset theft and financial statement fraud, to design internal control systems that detect and/or prevent fraud, and to serve effectively as expert witnesses in a court of law.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must be admitted to the College of Graduate Studies as one of the following types: Degree with Certificate or Certificate Only.

Degree with Certificate

The Forensic Accounting Certificate Program is open to any qualified, degree-seeking graduate student at Georgia Southern University. Both a degree-seeking application and an application to the Certificate program must be submitted.

Master of Accounting program students may apply for admission to the degree program and the certificate program simultaneously to earn the Certificate as an extension of their MAcc program of study. A degree seeking application and an application to the Certificate program must be submitted. As part of the MAcc application process, the MAcc Program Advisor reviews applications on an individual basis looking at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the applicant’s academic background and professional experience (if applicable). The Advisor seeks to assess each applicant’s potential for academic success and future professional growth based on the following:

  • Statement of Purpose Essay: This essay is an optional component which allows the faculty to consider the applicant’s motivation as well as written communication skills.
  • Past Academic Performance: While there is no minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) requirement, the MAcc Program Advisor views past grades as an important indicator of the applicant’s future academic performance. The Advisor may also consider the ranking and reputation of the applicant’s undergraduate institution.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Public, community, or military service; travel experiences; extracurricular activities, hobbies and special aptitudes; and any honors or recognitions received are all important indicators of the applicant’s motivation and character.
  • Letters of recommendation: Letters are optional but may boost a candidate's chances for admission. References should speak to the applicant’s personal qualities, career potential, and potential to succeed in the classroom.

As permitted by their degree program, students may apply coursework to both the certificate program and their degree. It is not required that the certificate and degree be completed simultaneously, however, students must be enrolled to take classes and the seven-year limitation on the application of prior coursework to either the degree or the certificate must be satisfied. Upon recommendation of the MAcc Program Advisor and approval from the College of Graduate Studies, credit earned in a certificate program may be applied to a graduate degree program.

Certificate Only

Students seeking only the Graduate Certificate or the Graduate Certificate independent of another degree program, may be admitted by the College of Graduate Studies (COGS) under a Non-Degree Certificate admission status. Admission as Non-Degree Certificate does not guarantee subsequent admission to a graduate degree program. Applying to a graduate program is a separate process and different criteria must be met. Certificate program admissions decisions are based on applicants’ prior academic work and other factors that indicate their potential for program success and enrichment of the learning environment. Upon recommendation of the graduate program director and approval of the College of Graduate Studies, a maximum of six (6) credits earned before the student entered the certificate program may be applied to that program.

The minimum grade requirements for the graduate certificate are the same as those for graduate degrees. For graduate credit, the grade in a course must be "C" or higher. To remain in good standing, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. To be awarded a graduate certificate, students:

1. must not be on probation;

2. must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on graduate coursework and on coursework applied to the certificate;

3. must meet all the requirements of COGS and the student's certificate program; and

4. must be enrolled during the semester in which the certificate requirements are completed.

COGS residence requirements and the requirements for a comprehensive final examination do not apply to the graduate certificate program.

Application Deadlines

The deadlines for completed applications are as follows:

                   Fall                  Spring                    Summer

Priority     March 15        October 15            March 15

Final          July 15            November 15        April 15

Admission to the program is competitive and decisions are made shortly after a complete application has been received.  Since seats are filled as decisions are made, applicants are encouraged to complete their application as soon as possible so that there is enough time to address any application deficiencies well ahead of the final deadline. 

Program of Study


Applicants admitted to the College of Graduate Studies as a prospective candidate for the Certificate in Forensic Accounting must present evidence of satisfactory completion (a minimum grade of “C”) of the following undergraduate course content:

     Intermediate Accounting
     Managerial Accounting
     Income Tax
     Accounting Information Systems

General Business:
     Financial Accounting Principles
     Managerial Accounting Principles
     Corporate Finance
     Legal and Ethical Issues in Business
     Management Principles
     Marketing Principles
     Business Statistics

Fraud Examination:
     Fraud Examination
     Fraud Schemes
     White Collar Crime
     Forensic Interviews and Interrogations

The Fraud Examination prerequisite courses are offered face to face on campus during the academic year and online in the summer. Successful completion of the ACFE exam or fraud examination boot camp (when offered) may be considered sufficient for completion of the fraud examination course prerequisites for admission into the Forensic Accounting program.

Credit Hours
Required Courses9
Fraudulent Financial Reporting
Expert Witnessing
Forensic Accounting Capstone
Select one of the following courses:
Selected Topics in Accounting
Business Valuation
Internship in Accounting
Cyber Forensics
Applied Digital Forensics I
Applied Digital Forensics II
Special Topics in Cybercrime
Hackers, Malware, and Online Economic Crime
CRJU   5361G
Total Credit Hours12
On an exception basis with written student petition and prior approval of the Director of the School of Accountancy or the Graduate Curriculum and Programs Committee, other graduate courses may be substituted for required certificate courses.

Parker Graduate Academic Intervention Policy

Graduate business students who are placed on academic probation by the university will be placed on Academic Intervention by the Parker College of Business until they are no longer on probation. Within 30 days of being notified by the Registrar’s office or Graduate School, the student must complete and submit the Parker Graduate Academic Improvement Plan (PGAIP) form to his/her program advisor. The form requires students to identify the top two factors contributing to their academic difficulty and then requires them to list two specific actions that they will take during the next semester to address those factors. Next, the form requires students to determine the actions that are required to return to good academic standing. The form is reviewed by the program advisor who will meet with the student if necessary.  The student’s progress on the PGAIP will guide the program when making decisions on academic exclusion or appeal for reinstatement. Failure to complete the PGAIP form will weigh negatively toward the program’s decision to support a reinstatement appeal.


Graduate students are advised by their program. Graduate students should reach out to their graduate program director for information regarding the structures in place to facilitate advisement. For more information visit the Graduate Academic Advisement catalog page.

Graduate students can also contact the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies for more information about their program director.
Phone: 912-478-COGS (2647)