The first course in accounting is a mandatory course in most business cores. Research relating to the first course in accounting has mainly been focused on potential accounting majors. In most introductory accounting classes, non-accounting majors occupy the most seats. However, only limited research has sought to ascertain the perceptions of all students about the first course in accounting relative to their respective majors. More importantly, such studies are shortchanged as they do not tell us what to do with the differences in perceptions that they find. Are the perceptual differences in the first course in accounting among accounting and non-accounting majors so different as to warrant separate course delivery? This study investigates any differences in perception among all students by major and by gender to ascertain whether these differences are significant enough to suggest the need for separate course delivery. This study also extended related studies by incorporating open-ended questions in the instrument used to ascertain students’ perceptions. All sophomore students who took the required course of their majors participated in the study. The study focused on nine research questions, including what students liked and disliked the most in the course. The aggregate study shows that one third of the students perceived the first course in accounting to be significantly important to their future career, irrespective of their major and gender as measured by ANOVA. However, while a third of students’ interest levels dropped after taking the course, the interest levels of the other third stayed the same. Accounting and non-accounting majors were compared prior to and after the course on the basis of their relative interest, perceived level of course importance, and confidence levels. The results show that accounting majors have higher positive perception of all three attributes than the non- accounting majors. There is, however, no significant difference between accounting and non-accounting majors relating to prior knowledge of the course, course load and the number of courses enrolled. This suggests that separate course delivery is perhaps warranted as an encouragement to increase interest in the course among non- accounting majors. Further, with the exception of significant changes in interest and confidence, where male students have higher levels, gender results are not significant.


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