Advice on accounting major (switching from engineering)

Hi everyone, I’m deciding to possibly switch out of engineering (civil engineering) and moving to a business major. My reason for this is although I do like STEM I cannot keep up with the demands of Engineering coursework. I also stopped enjoying engineering like I would taking classes in high school, I especially hate physics which there is a lot of. But, I was thinking about switching into a business major. I was thinking about accounting but I just want to see what other people thought of it. If you majored in accounting how did you like it? How many hours of studying did you do (like did you have time for friends and family, asking this because I was so busy studying for engineering I didn’t have time for anything else). Additionally for those who know comparing civil engineering to accounting how hard would it be? to compare I am a pretty good math student (passed calc 1 and 2 with an A). I don’t have a problem with studying but it really annoys me when I don’t have time for anything else other than studying. Also do you recommend any other majors besides accounting for me? Thank you everyone.

It’s going to depend. Don’t change your major until you take Accounting 1 and 2. Those are weed out classes. Many students, even ones who were good at math, struggle with accounting. My DD is graduating with an accounting major (although she won’t be practicing), and she found the lower division classes easy, but some of the upper division classes challenging (though she managed to still get As). The average grade in many of her classes was a C+/B-, there was rarely a curve, and a good number of students had to repeat courses. Accounting is considered the hardest major in the business school.

There are definitely kids in her major who study a ton, but everyone has a social life outside of classes. The workload is objectively less demanding than engineering. But you still need to enjoy what you’re studying so don’t jump into it. Test it out.


Not uncommon to double major in accounting & finance.

Have you considered majoring in math? There are lots of jobs with people who have a math major. My husband,who is an engineer, works with a number of math majors in his engineering firm.

For full disclosure I am a CPA as is my H and my S

It seems to me that you are basically trying to find out if accounting would be easier/less work as compared to civil engineering. The honest truth is nobody knows you, what your academic strengths/weaknesses are so it is impossible to answer.

I can say that as an accounting major I (as well as H and S) did find time to also have a good social life. However, so did my B who was an electrical engineer. I have no way of knowing if the issue for you is the material itself, your study habits, or something else.

In terms of making a switch I’d consider the following:
–Is it possible to move into the b-school at your college?
–Would you be able to still graduate in 4 years? There is a large business core curriculum you would have to take as an accounting major.
–Have you ever taken a business class? Is is something you enjoy?
–To be a CPA you need 150 credits (generally a bachelors degree is 120 credits) - some can do this through AP/summer classes/overloading but many go on for a one year MS in accounting.

A CPA can lead to many different things depending on your interests/aptitudes/opportunities. We all started at a Big 4 firm (S is still at one) – I eventually went into municipal bonds and H is CFO of a company. There are many paths you can go down with a CPA.


Also a CPA and second everything that happy1 wrote.

Have you met with advising? I know some universities offer various resources through advising to a student to try to determine which, and if, a particular major and related career paths would be a good fit.

I will say I have met more than one former engineer that ended up in accounting/finance areas.

Edited to add: have you researched accounting careers to see if you would enjoy working in field? Depending on particular path, being a CPA can be very different than many assume. My path was audit/general accounting/analysis/financial reporting and technical accounting/consulting. I spend much more time doing analysis, reasoning, judging, reading, interpreting, writing and project management than on “math”.

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With engineering aptitude, consider a minor in data science or similar. I agree with previous advice to take an accounting course first, maybe even try out a few CMA/CPA exam questions to see if it’s intuitive. If you are good at math, consider finance or something more quantitative then accounting.

I wouldn’t look at CPA exam questions without the proper background…it is not an “intuitive” exam. H, S, and I all had the proper educational background and took a review course before sitting for the CPA exam.


Retired audit partner for a Big 4 firm. I think accounting/auditing offer incredible opportunities but I would not take accounting because it might be easier (although presumably it must be?). I think you either get accounting and like it, or you do not. It involves numbers obviously, but the math in accounting is not really hard math.

As someone suggested, take Acct 1 and see what you think.


I agree with the comments above. I am also a CPA and likewise my son. I have taken engineering prerequisite courses and so has S. In the old days, unlike current times, one did not need an 3.6+ GPA for engineering school. S had about a 3.3+ gpa for engineering, but not quite high enough for UW-Seattle’s engineering school. After freshman year, he switch to business and was able to attain the 3.6 to 3.7+ gpa to get into Foster Business School. For him, the business curriculum was much easier than engineering to achieve high grades. At Foster, he decided on an accounting major and a minor in finance. Starting out in engineering and switching to accounting took him an extra year to graduate. He studied very hard in the weed out intermediate accounting courses and got A’s. These grades helped him secure summer internship offers from Big 4 firms and the internship led to a full time job after graduation. The extra year worked out perfectly for the 5 year requirement change for the CPA exam. He is now working at a Big 4 firm as a CPA with a bright future.


In addition, UW-Seattle is one of the 5 or so target schools for Big 4 firm recruiting in the West Coast. This means they recruit and offer more jobs to graduates of the target schools than the others schools.

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