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New Streamlines Pre-Business Accounting Requirement


Fall 2024, the College of Business Administration is introducing a new streamlined course sequence for the Pre-Business Accounting Requirement.

Students planning to apply for admission to all CoBA Options, except the Accounting Option, can now meet the accounting pre-business requirement by completing the 4-unit course ACCT 203, Introduction to Accounting for Managers beginning fall 2024.  This course replaces the two 6-unit sequence ACCT 201 (3 units) and ACCT 202 (3 units).

Accounting Option students are required to complete ACCT 204 Principles of Financial Accounting after successfully completing ACCT 203.

Why did the Department of Accounting introduce ACCT 203?

The Department of Accounting has developed this course to provide pre-business students with a more comprehensive view of the role of accounting in today’s business world.  This course also places less emphasis on the mechanics of accounting that students struggle to master and so often results in students failing the ACCT 201 and ACCT 202 courses.  We offered the course on a pilot basis in fall 2023 and spring 2024; students enrolled in the pilot program have been highly recommending the course to other students at CSUSM.

My catalog rights do not include ACCT 203, can I still enroll in ACCT 203?

Yes, you can enroll in ACCT 203 (4-units) instead of ACCT 201 (3-units) and ACCT 202 (3-units). By enrolling in ACCT 203 you can meet the pre-business accounting requirements in ONE semester, rather than the two-semester sequence of ACCT 201 and ACCT 202.

What topics are covered in ACCT 203 and how is the course different from ACCT 201 and ACCT 202?

The new ACCT 203 covers the areas of financial accounting (as covered in the 3-unit ACCT 201 course) and managerial accounting (as covered in the 3-unit ACCT 202 course) but in a one semester 4-unit course, that does NOT cover the mechanics of accounting (for example, debits/credits, and journal entries) that many students find so challenging and some students believe takes away from their learning about accounting’s role in the business world.

In addition to financial and managerial accounting, ACCT 203 covers topics that provide students with a window into the many areas of accounting. The class provides a concise introduction to topics such accounting in the 21st century, taxation in the global economy, government accounting, and nonprofit accounting – all areas of accounting relevant to business managers. 

Why does ACCT 203 just not cover financial accounting and managerial accounting?

Accounting in the 21st century will outline the role of accounting helping businesses address issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, conflict minerals, and slavery in global manufacturing.

Did you know that federal, state, and local government collectively make up over fifty percent of the U.S. economy? As a business manager you can gather much information from the information provided by government agencies.  In a similar manner, nonprofit organizations play a pivotal role in the U.S. society and economy. The course will introduce you to information such as how do I choose which charity to donate to?

Is ACCT 203 or an equivalent course available at community colleges and/or other universities?

No, we are not aware of an equivalent course to ACCT 203 being offered by other institutions.  There are no courses that can be transferred in as equivalent to ACCT 203 at CSUSM.

If you wish to complete CoBA’s pre-business accounting requirement at another college, you will need to complete the equivalent of ACCT 201 (3-units) and ACCT 202 (3-units) and request transfer credit before enrolling in the courses at the other college.

If I still wish to enroll in ACCT 201 at CSUSM, how do i do that?

The Department of Accounting will be offering nine sections of ACCT 203 in fall 2024. There will only be ONE section of ACCT 201 on Tuesday evening 7 – 9:50pm.

If you wish to enroll in ACCT 201 at CSUSM, you will need to request a permission number using the survey available at:

ACCT 201 Enrollment Permission Number Request Survey


If I have completed ACCT 201 (or been given transfer credit for ACCT 201), can I enroll is ACCT 202 at CSUSM?

You can enroll in one of the six sections of ACCT 202 offered in fall 204, BUT alternatively you can enroll in ACCT 203 instead of ACCT 202 to meet the pre-business accounting requirement.

If I am interested in the Accounting Option, will I be disadvantaged because ACCT 203 does not cover the mechanics of accounting?

ACCT 203 has been designed to help you learn how being an accountant today is so much more than the stereotypical “bean counter” or wearer of a “green eyeshade.”  Accounting is at the forefront of enabling businesses to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our world!

After successfully completing the ACCT 203 course you will appreciate the valuable role that accounting has in today’s economy and society.  With this holistic view of accounting, you will be motivated to develop the foundational concepts and mechanics of accounting covered in the second course, the 2-unit ACCT 204, Principles of Financial Accounting.

It truly is an exciting time to become an accountant!

How can I get further questions answered?

Either contact me, Dr. Alan Styles, Chair of the Department of Accounting (, or send your questions to a CoBA Academic Advisor at: