Best Online Master’s Degree in Accounting 2021

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An MBA and a master’s in accounting separately fulfill the educational requirements for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. However, each program prepares graduates for unique professional opportunities. Students who earn an MBA often graduate with a breadth of knowledge applicable to broad business arenas such as operations, marketing, or management. Graduates with a master’s in accounting, on the other hand, develop in-depth knowledge of specific areas such as taxation, forensic accounting, and risk management.

Accounting graduates enter a well-paying field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 2019 median salary of $71,550 for accountants and auditors, much higher than the median salary for other occupations ($39,810).

How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?

The BLS reports a 2019 median salary of $71,550 for accountants and auditors. Accounting firms and agencies providing tax preparation, payroll, and bookkeeping services hire the highest number of accountants (33.41%) followed by oil and gas extraction companies (5.94%), and investment firms (5.38%).

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FAQs

  • What can you do with a master's in accounting?

    A master’s in accounting prepares graduates to sit for the CPA exam and qualifies them for positions like financial analysts, company controllers, and forensic accountants, among others.

  • Is a master's in accounting or MBA in accounting better?

    A master’s in accounting prepares graduates to work in fields directly related to accounting such as auditing or corporate taxation. Individuals who prefer to pursue a more general business career in marketing or operations should consider an MBA.

  • How long is a master's in accounting?

    Most accounting master’s programs require 30-36 credits for completion and typically take 12-18 months to complete. However, factors such as part-time versus full-time enrollment often impact the length of time to complete a master’s in accounting degree.

  • Is a master's in accounting hard?

    Yes, some of the best accounting master’s programs demand rigorous work. However, graduates often report that the professional and personal rewards of earning a master’s in accounting outweigh the challenges inherent in a well-designed program.

Best Online Master’s Degree in Accounting 2021

  • #1 - University of Massachusetts - Amherst

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 23
    Total Enrollment: 29,269
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,750

    A national leader in academics, University of Massachusetts Amherst was recently listed by Money magazine as a top return-on-investment. This college’s student body spans 71 countries and all 50 states, making it one of the most diverse higher education institutions. UMASS Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management includes online degree programs that can be completed entirely online, or in a hybrid online and on-campus structure. Isenberg’s online master’s in accounting is considered among the best in the industry; recent MSA graduate employers have included Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Liberty Mutual, among many more high-profile companies.

  • #2 - Southern Utah University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 22
    Total Enrollment: 8,881
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,050

    Originally a teacher training school, Southern Utah University has since grown to 100+ degree programs on campus and online. SUU’s distance learning division has a master of accountancy (MAcc), which is a flexible 30 credit-hour degree that is typically completed within two full-time semesters. SUU boasts a 100% job placement rate for its MAcc program, making it one of the more sought-after, affordable graduate school options. For students who wish to enrich their education further, the MAcc and MBA combined degree can be attained with 45 credit-hours.

  • #3 - University of Scranton

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 22
    Total Enrollment: 5,422
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,850

    A Jesuit-based college, the University of Scranton is another school on our list that is particularly selective with his applicants. This institution takes great pride in its academia, and expects the same of its student body. Scranton’s master’s programs have placed in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges”; among these graduate degrees is an online master of accountancy, which has produced strategic business leaders, savvy team players, and well-rounded accounting professionals. Graduates of Scranton’s online MAcc have been quickly employed by the Big4 and a long list of respected accounting firms.

  • #4 - Saint Joseph's College

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 21
    Total Enrollment: 27,403
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,964

    Saint Joseph’s College is a Catholic liberal arts college with programs for virtually any career aspiration. SJC’s distance-learning division meets the needs of students unable to attend the college’s Maine campus. Saint Joseph’s online master of accountancy is 36 credits, and as flexible in pace as needed; graduate students can apply at any time of year, as they are reviewed on a regular basis. SJC’s interdisciplinary online accountancy master’s that conveys strategic perspective, interpersonal skills, and critical thinking. Per recent alumni surveys, the online experience, curriculum, and faculty advisement was praised in particular.

  • #5 - University of Connecticut

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 21
    Total Enrollment: 27,403
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,750

    One of the nation’s most esteemed institutions, the University of Connecticut maintains high academic standards of its students and faculty. UCONN’s online graduate programs includes a master of science in accounting, a program that is among the most acclaimed in the industry; this MSA degree relays a crucial skill set to make graduates stand out in the job market, including but not limited to tax, auditing, forensic accounting, and applied research. This college’s online learning community is dynamic, collaborative, and easily accessed for needed resources.

  • #6 - St. John's University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 21
    Total Enrollment: 20,881
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $35,100

    A New York City-based higher education school, St. John’s University has kept the utmost standards for its academics and faculty. Since its founding in 1870, St. John’s has designed 100 degrees that span from associate’s to doctoral levels. Those seeking an online master of science in accounting apply to the Peter J. Tobin School of Business, where there is an online MS in either accounting or taxation. The associated curriculum with this business degree is best for those who either currently work or already hold a business undergraduate degree. Dependent on the student’s decided pace, the 30-33 credit-hour online accounting MS can be earned within one year.

  • #7 - University of Massachusetts - Lowell

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 20
    Total Enrollment: 18,047
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,724

    University of Massachusetts – Lowell is another of the state’s most reputable schools with low-tuition degree choices. UMASS Lowell’s online academics has consistently ranked with the best programs on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best” lists; the online master of science in accounting is one of these best-ranked programs, in particular for its outstanding faculty, curriculum, and degree-track flexibility. This college’s online MSA is earned through the Manning School of Business, and graduate students complete a wide spectrum of core and elective courses. Manning’s online MSA graduates report successful careers in public accounting, corporations, non-profit, or government-related agencies.

  • #8 - Rutgers University

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 20
    Total Enrollment: 5,422
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $37,740

    Rutgers University is one of the oldest and widely-recognized institution in the nation. This reputable college steadily expands its educational programs, now reaching over 300 academic areas. The Rutgers Business School has online master’s of accounting degrees that are available in multiple concentrations; the only 100% online degree is the master’s of governmental accounting, while others are a hybrid online and on-campus learning model. The governmental accounting master’s online does not require a GMAT score, and the in-state tuition-rate is offered to all students, regardless of residency. Students who benefit most from the master’s of governmental accountancy include current CPA’s seeking to further specialize or accounting students who plan to take the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) exam.

  • #9 - New England College

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 19
    Total Enrollment: 5,422
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,700

    New England College is a non-profit private school with a 93% job and graduate school placement rate. This school was originally established in 1946 in conjunction with the G.I. Bill directly after the war, and has maintained a community-centered philosophy in its education model. NEC’s school of professional studies is where students can complete their master’s degree in accounting online; this graduate degree track has 40 credit hours and provides all needed education to pass the CPA exam with ease. Based on alumni testimonials, NEC’s MS in accounting prepared students to apply their degree to real-world business environments.

  • #10 - SUNY Polytechnic Institute

    Online Master’s in Accounting

    Points: 19
    Total Enrollment: 2,779
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,440

    A renowned public research institution since 1966, SUNY Polytechnic Institute is among the more selective in the State University of New York system. This college’s online master of science in accountancy is accredited by AACSB, and has now added a forensic accounting concentration for fall 2017; the 33 credit-hour program combines business and accounting curriculum, all designed to be inexpendable in the job market. With few exceptions, all applicants are required to submit GMAT and GPA scores for enrollment assessment.

  • #11 - Nova Southeastern University

    Online Master of Accounting

    Points: 19
    Total Enrollment: 23,236
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $34,320

    A prestigious academic institution, Nova Southeastern University’s graduates are known to thrive in their post-graduation career pursuits. The Huizenga College of Business Schools is one of Nova’s graduate branches, offering a selection of challenging degree programs. Huizenga’s educational experience has an entrepreneurial spirit that celebrates each learner as an individual. This college’s online master of accounting degree has a 39 credit-hours, most often completed within 21 months; this degree’s curriculum spans taxes, business law, IRS practice and procedure, comparative international taxation, and multiple accounting theories. To make tuition more affordable, graduate accounting students can apply for generous scholarship opportunities.

  • #12 - University of Alabama

    Online Master of Accounting

    Points: 18
    Total Enrollment: 18,333
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,050

    The state’s flagship school, the University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and has since built a rich history in higher education. One of UAB’s additions over the years has been a competitive distance-learning program that has received positive attention from national education journals; one of the available distance-learning degrees is an online master of accounting (MAcc), which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). UAB’s MAcc courses are 100% online, and there five accounting master’s scholarships available to qualified applicants.

  • #13 - Colorado Technical University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 18
    Total Enrollment: 1,448
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,080

    For over 50 years, Colorado Technical University has been the first step in students’ higher education and promising careers. CTU is considered an innovator in online education, which they introduced in 1995 with the needs of active service members and other overseas students in mind. This college’s online master of science in accounting is a 48 credit-hour graduate degree; the associated curriculum with this MS in line with the educational standards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In addition to its generous military tuition credit, CTU has numerous grants and scholarships for other tuition assistance.

  • #14 - University of South Dakota

    Online Master of Professional Accountancy

    Points: 17
    Total Enrollment: 9,971
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,261

    The University of South Dakota continuously received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools, otherwise known as AACSB International. South Dakota’s online master of professional accountancy is a specialized degree track that produces top-skilled CPA candidates. Among others, Beacom’s MPA online students complete courses that encompass cost accounting, business policy and strategy, contemporary topics in auditing, and accounting in governmental and nonprofit organizations; this course load ensures optimum job opportunities beyond graduation.

  • #15 - Indiana Wesleyan University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 17
    Total Enrollment: 14,730
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,080

    Founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian-based college revered for its adult education offerings. Aspiring CPA’s can earn their master of science in accounting online, typically between 18 and 26 months; this MSA program integrates standard accounting practices that range auditing, tax preparation, forensic accounting, and advisory services. IWU courses meet once per week, online, and faculty is considered highly accessible for discussion outside of class time. Additionally, Graduates of IWU’s online master’s in accounting have the confidence needed to take on the various challenges in the business world.

  • #16 - University of Maryland - University College

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 17
    Total Enrollment: 8,725
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,724

    One of the largest schools on our list, University of Maryland – University College has a current global student enrollment of over 90,000. UMC’s online learning opportunities are respected on a worldwide scale, due to its advanced distance-learning infrastructure, scholar faculty, and military-friendly practices. This university’s online master of science in accounting and financial management is a well-designed degree that encourages leadership and confident decision-making. Online MSA students learn how to evaluate investments, analyze financial reporting, handle ethical issues in the field, and a wide array of curriculum to prepare one for a long-term career as a CPA.

  • #17 - Rider University

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 17
    Total Enrollment: 5,069
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,750

    A New Jersey-based affordable private college, Rider University has a 12 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. This College values a diverse population that is prevalent in both its faculty and student body. Rider’s online master of accountancy is a stand-out program designed for current accounting professionals. RU’s MAcc degree can be entered in either a cohort or flexible program; the cohort option begins in the fall and finishes within 16 months, the flexible program begins three times per year and can be completed at the student’s own pace. Rider’s array of online MAcc courses include international dimensions of accounting, data mining, auditing, fraud and forensic accounting, and government accounting.

  • #18 - Western New England University

    Online Master’s Degree in Accounting

    Points: 17
    Total Enrollment: 3,912
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,910

    Western New England University is a small, treasured institution that focuses on a personalized education for all students. The college of business is home to WNEU’s master of science in accounting, a 30-credit degree that ushers careers in respected financial institutions, government agencies, and public accounting firms. MSA graduate students can complete the degree in ten months if enrolled full time, fifteen months if enrolled part time. Western New England uses a state-of-the-art online learning environment, making it easy to communicate and collaborate with faculty and other distance-learners.

  • #19 - Colorado State University - Global Campus

    Online Master of Professional Accounting

    Points: 16
    Total Enrollment: 9,838
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $15,000

    The global campus for Colorado State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the first 100% online public university. CSU’s master of professional accounting (MPAcc) is a well-rounded 30-credit program that aptly prepares its students for financial leadership, public accounting, government agencies, corporations, among other promising careers. Colorado State’s online accounting master’s is led by professors with advanced degrees and connection with the current industry. For added incentive, CSU provides discounted access to the Wiley CPAexcel’s Video Gold Medal Course, a resource considered highly valuable in preparing for the CPA exam.

  • #20 - Liberty University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 16
    Total Enrollment: 80,494
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,950

    Celebrated for top-notch education at a low tuition-rate, Liberty University is a popular Christian-based university. Liberty is home to over 250 academic programs, among them a 30-credit online master of science in accounting (MSA); this online accounting MSA is usually completed in two years, and has accreditation from the Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Liberty’s online business programs have been ranked a “Best for Vets” by Military Times, and a “Top Online Accounting Degree” by Best Choice Schools

  • #21 - Walden University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 16
    Total Enrollment: 8,725
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,300

    Since 1970, Walden University has successfully provided opportunities for adults of all backgrounds to earn advanced degrees. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as well as the ACBSP, Walden has steadily grown its academic programs, including an online master of science in accounting; this MS degree can hold concentrations in subject areas including accounting for the professional, accounting with a CPA emphasis, or a self-designed track. Walden’s online learning environment includes a finance and accountancy resource center, which is a helpful hub of career opportunities, news, research, and much more.

  • #22 - California State University - Sacramento

    Online Master of Science in Accountancy

    Points: 15
    Total Enrollment: 30,284
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,335

    Based out of the state capital, California State University at Sacramento is comprised of seven specialized colleges. The College of Business Administration is among CSU’s best-respected programs, and is the right place for those eager to earn their master of science in accountancy online; this affordable 100% online MSA is rich with curriculum relevant to passing the CPA exam. Accepted MSA students take courses in auditing attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation. CSU Sacramento regularly bridges employers with its business graduates, bettering one’s chances of finding a career.

  • #23 - Gardner-Webb University

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 15
    Total Enrollment: 4,329
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,800

    A four-year private Christian school, Gardner-Webb University has received awards for its exceptional curriculum, community outreach, and online excellence. The Godbold School of business is home to a 30-credit online master of accountancy (MAcc) that has increased in popularity; online MAcc students learn curriculum in key accountancy areas such as economics, international business, finance, statistics, information systems, and many other job-securing skills. Gardner-Webb MAcc graduates frequently secure high-paying positions at the IRS, multinational corporations, and hospitals.

  • #24 - Georgia Southern University

    Online Master of Accounting

    Points: 15
    Total Enrollment: 20,459
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,847

    The largest university in the state, Georgia Southern University educates over 20,000 students on-campus and online. One of GSU’s 124 academic programs is its online master of accounting; this MAcc degree is highly flexible, and most working professionals are able to complete it within two years. Once enrolled, master’s in accounting students take courses in fraudulent financial reporting, current legal issues, tax research, and auditing. GSU’s online accounting master’s has been widely recognized as a best value degree with strong return-on-investment.

  • #25 - Florida Atlantic University

    Executive Master of Forensic Accounting

    Points: 15
    Total Enrollment: 30,380
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $18,714

    A massive academic complex, Florida Atlantic University brings its 180 programs to over 30,000 students. FAU’s online executive master’s in forensic accounting is comparatively more specialized than other accounting degrees, but its graduates have found they are still well-prepared for the CPA exam and subsequent career choices. The majority of FAU’s accounting students are working professionals or current CPA’s who want to develop more skills in litigation support or fraud investigation. Florida Atlantic has a fairly stringent admission process, but takes every individual circumstance into consideration.

  • #26 - Post University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 14
    Total Enrollment: 7,429
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,600

    An affordable, northeast-based private school, Post University was recently given an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and “Top School” ranking for military by Victory Media. Post’s distance-learning programs include a master of science in accounting (MSA), which includes access to an expansive online network of students, faculty, alumni, and accounting professionals. The 30-credit MSA has courses in international accounting, advanced audit issues, enterprise risk management, among others. Post University has an average class size of eighteen, making personal attention more possible.

  • #27 - Southern New Hampshire University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 14
    Total Enrollment: 61,285
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $18,810

    Southern New Hampshire University is a massive academic community, serving over 60,000 students online and 3,000 on-campus. Among SNHU graduate degrees is the online master of science in accounting, which can be tailored through multiple concentrations and specialties. Online MSA students frequently find high-powered positions in banking, insurance, taxation, and virtually any type of company with an established financial division. Further noteworthy, Southern New Hampshire University offers a 25% tuition discount for active-duty service members and their spouses.

  • #28 - Franklin University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 14
    Total Enrollment: 5,102
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,410

    Based in Ohio, Franklin University has competitive tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, and nationally respected distance learning programs. Franklin was among the first 29 schools to partner with GoArmyEd in the delivery of education to enlisted soldiers. One of this college’s graduate degrees is an online master’s in accounting; this comprehensive accounting program covers key skill areas necessary in finding lasting employment. Students in Franklin’s online accounting master’s take courses led by industry experts with advanced degrees in the field. The master’s in accounting has available concentrations in taxation and financial operations.

  • #29 - Stetson University

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 14
    Total Enrollment: 4,330
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,430

    Based out of Florida since 1883, Stetson University has received glowing merits for its academic quality, military-friendly practices, and other attributes. Stetson’s M.E. Rinker, Sr. Institute of Tax and Accountancy has both undergraduate and graduate programs for those who wish to have a long career in the field. The master of accountancy online degree covers everything needed to pass the CPA exam; this MAcc track includes challenging courses in financial accounting theory, data analytics, government and non-profit accounting, among others. This college considers every applicant for potential scholarship opportunities, a few of which are funded by the Stetson University Endowment and the Stetson Business School Foundation.

  • #30 - Western Governors University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 13
    Total Enrollment: 70,504
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,000

    Since 1997, Western Governors University has provided low-tuition degree-options to distance-learners around the world. This college has a convenient rolling semester model, making it possible for adults to begin school at the best time for them. WGU’s online master of science in accounting typically takes two year or less to complete, depending on students’ personal pace. In addition to the CPA, Western Governors’ online accounting master’s students also prepare its students for professional exams that include the Certified Management Accounting (CMA) exam, as well as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam.

  • #31 - Emporia State University

    Online Master of Accountancy

    Points: 13
    Total Enrollment: 6,094
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,710

    Founded in 1863, Emporia State University is the first public institution of higher education in Kansas. Over this long history of academic success, Emporia State has pioneered unique practices such as a flat-rate tuition, whereby students can take unlimited courses at the same cost. ESU’s online master of accounting (MAcc) strengthens the needed skills to pass the CPA exam and thrive in one’s career. Alternatively, Emporia students may also enroll in the online MBA with an accounting concentration; this degree offers a more in-depth education in accounting principles with a business foundation.

  • #32 - University of Arizona Global Campus

    Online Master of Science of Accountancy

    Points: 13
    Total Enrollment: 41,361
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): Please check the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) tuition and financial aid page for up-to-date figures

    Committed to the next generation of leaders, UAGC has excellent programs in higher education. Among its 80+ degree areas is an online Master’s of Accountancy; this degree has a model of teaching one course at a time, for six week course interims. Accountancy master’s graduates emerge with a professional skill set in complex accounting theories, technical proficiency, professional coding, and matters related to ethics and social responsibility. Forbes School of Business and Technology (TM) at UAGC funds a range of merit-based scholarships for further tuition affordability. UAGC is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001, www.wscuc.org. Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

  • #33 - American Public University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 13
    Total Enrollment: 8,725
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,724

    American Public University is a unique institution, founded by a retired Marine Corps officer who had a mission to help provide education to the nation’s military. APU has since expanded its enrollment to over 52,000 military and non-military students alike. APU has received multiple honors and distinctions for its affordable, quality academics. American Public’s online accounting master’s degree MSA has courses in topics including forensic accounting, financial analysis, tax return preparation, and general accounting skills that are required of all CPA’s.

  • #34 - Regis University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 13
    Total Enrollment: 8,725
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,300

    One of 28 only Jesuit Catholic colleges in the United States, Regis University stays true to its roots while welcoming students from around the world. The college of business and economics is one Regis’ best-known programs, and has graduate degrees that include an online master of science in accounting; this ten-course, 30 credit-hour degree is considered non-traditional, placing its foundational focus on ethics and other skills that are considered highly marketable in the accounting job market. Regis University has expansive tuition-assistance programs, including those for active service members.

  • #35 - Saint Leo University

    Online Master’s in Accounting

    Points: 12
    Total Enrollment: 20,850
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,080

    Ranked among the best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report, Saint Leo University prides itself on academic excellence. This college’s distance-learning program includes an online master’s in accounting (MAcc), which provides all of the benefits of on-campus learning. St. Leo’s online accounting master’s is based on CPA exam requirements and the best components of other well-established programs. Graduates of this school’s online MAcc are prepared for accounting capacities including audits, tax law, financial statement analysis, and more.

  • #36 - Baker College

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 12
    Total Enrollment: 8,725
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,300

    The largest independent college in Michigan, Baker College has one of highest graduate employment rates in the country. This institution’s online accounting master’s is found within Baker’s MBA program; graduates of the online master’s program bring advanced accounting skills to their future careers, in particular with regard to financial analysis, risk management, strategic leadership, and ethics in the business environment. Depending on your state of residence and specific life circumstances, Baker College has a range of available scholarships. Additionally, this college is proud to offer its alumni lifetime access to free career assistance.

  • #37 - Auburn University

    Online Master’s in Accounting

    Points: 12
    Total Enrollment: 27,287
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,500

    Since its inception in 1856 as an all-male college, Auburn University has flourished into a diverse academic community and among the largest southern colleges. AU’s online master of accountancy (MAcc) is especially in-step with the busy lifestyle of working professionals; this flexible online degree prepares students for various jobs in accounting, and places value on its graduates being strong collaborators with high technical skill. Auburn requires a GMAT score for most applicants, however there are certain circumstances that qualify students for a GMAT waiver.

  • #38 - Edgewood College

    Online Master of Science in Accountancy

    Points: 12
    Total Enrollment: 2,678
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,900

    One of the smaller schools on our list, Edgewood College is a mid-western school that places value on community and personalized study. The average Edgewood class size is eleven, and over 70% of faculty members hold terminal degrees in their field. This college’s master’s of accountancy online can be completed in just one year if enrolled full-time, and two-three years if a part-time degree pace is required. The accountancy MS is geared to make students ready to work as soon as they graduate; the accountancy curriculum is rich in finance theories, statistics, international management, and more. Online graduate students are given the same quality advisement and instructor availability as their on-campus classmates.

  • #39 - Wilmington University

    Online Master of Accounting

    Points: 11
    Total Enrollment: 15,002
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,710

    Wilmington University is a private college that has grown from 194 to 18,000 enrolled students since its founding in 1968. This college has flexible degree options, military-friendly programs, and a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Among Wilmington’s career-focused programs is its online master of science in accounting; this 30-credit graduate track prepares students to both earn their CPA license and gain a deeper knowledge of needed accounting and leadership skills. The MS in accounting degree is led by a seasoned faculty of current industry professionals.

  • #40 - Bellevue University

    Online Master of Science in Accounting

    Points: 11
    Total Enrollment: 9,760
    Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,350

    Bellevue University has a selection of over 80 degrees, all disbursed between four specialized colleges. This college is especially popular among adult learners between 25 and 34 years old. Bellevue’s online master of science in accounting is part of the distance-learning program, and students have the option to attend all courses either entirely online or in an online/classroom hybrid. BU’s online accounting students are taught to enhance their skills in taxes, auditing, financial strategy, and international business.

Why Get a Degree in Accounting?

Accountants who decide to pursue a master’s in the field give several different reasons for their decision. Many cite the five benefits of earning a master’s in accounting listed below.

Prepare for CPA Exam
A master’s in accounting includes coursework that prepares graduates for the exam’s four sections, namely, auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, regulation, and financial accounting and reporting.
Job Requirement
Large companies and organizations usually prefer graduates with a master’s in accounting for top accounting or finance positions. They rely on their knowledge and training to make timely, cost-effective, and future-oriented financial decisions.
Enhance Professional Credibility
A master’s in accounting presents the holder as a learned, ethical, and committed professional possessing the analytical skills to help companies make informed business decisions in keeping with current regulations governing their industry.
Keep Industry Knowledge Current
A well-designed master’s in accounting includes courses that cover the latest research findings, practical applications, and regulatory changes that impact the accounting arena.
Qualify for Higher Salary
Industries often pay accountants with master’s degrees higher salaries because they know these professionals hold high qualifications and possess the training to make sound financial decisions for their business.

Master’s in Accounting Program Requirements

Applying for a master’s in accounting typically requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in the field itself — or a related arena such as business or finance. Most programs require applicants with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field of study to complete prerequisite coursework prior to enrolling. Many accounting master’s programs also require a minimum GPA (often 3.0 or higher) and the submission of GRE or GMAT scores from tests taken no more than five years from the time of application.

Culminating requirements for accounting master’s programs differ among schools. Most institutions require candidates to write a thesis. Some colleges prefer candidates to complete a capstone project tackling a real-world accounting problem or situation.

Accreditation and Online Colleges

Master’s in Accounting Specializations

A broad field of study, accounting supports several specialization areas for accountants who prefer to focus their practice in a specific arena that holds their professional or personal interest, such as the four described below.

  • Financial Accounting

    The financial accounting specialization involves the preparation of financial statements that reflect a company’s overall fiscal performance. Companies often present these statements to external stakeholders, including investors, creditors, and customers.

  • Forensic Accounting

    Using a variety of accounting and investigative techniques, forensic accountants perform a thorough financial examination of an individual or business. These findings often appear in court or legal proceedings.

  • Tax Accounting

    Accountants specializing in tax accounting prepare tax returns for individuals and companies, determine deductible expenses, calculate gains and losses against income and profit, and generally track the movement of funds.

  • International Accounting

    Accountants specializing in international accounting use the guidelines provided in the International Financial Reporting Standards to evaluate and determine the financial standing of a foreign company or individual.

Courses in an Accounting Master’s Program

A master’s in accounting usually requires 30-36 credits for completion. Curricula often include foundation and concentration courses, with many programs requiring enrollees to complete an internship experience prior to graduation. To prepare graduates for high-level analytic work, most schools also require students to enroll in research, communication, and writing classes. Continue reading for a sample of classes offered by some of the best accounting master’s programs today.

Accountants use the skills developed in a data analytics class to accomplish a variety of tasks, including identifying areas that require attention to enhance efficiency. Knowing how to interpret big data allows accountants to manage risks better and to make sound long- and short-term business decisions.

A federal income tax course covers topics such as gross income, tax-deductible expenses, and applicable tax regulations for employees and self-employed filers. Students examine existing federal tax structures for individuals, and corporations learn how to complete key components of federal tax returns and identify and implement tax-related strategies to benefit clients.

In an advanced financial accounting class, enrollees study topics such as fixed assets and liabilities, acquisitions and investments, and shareholder equity. Students examine the different components of cash flow statements and learn how to critically evaluate and prepare them. The course also teaches students about various accounting methods and how to apply them.

Scholarships for Accounting

Many colleges and universities offering master’s degrees in accounting maintain scholarship and fellowship programs for students. Other sources of accounting scholarship opportunities include professional associations, nonprofit organizations, and public corporations with vested interests in the field. The three scholarships presented below make up only a small sample of funding opportunities available to students pursuing an accounting degree at an accredited college or university.

  • AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants welcomes applications for this scholarship from students pursuing a master’s in accounting and CPA licensure. Eligible applicants hold a liberal arts or a non-business degree.

    Amount: $5,000

    See Scholarship

  • EFWA Moss Adams Foundation Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting welcomes applications from minority women returning to school as college juniors or seniors or as a graduate student. Eligible applicants demonstrate financial need and commitment to pursuing a career in accounting or finance after graduation.

    Amount: $1,000

    See Scholarship

  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners welcomes applications for this scholarship from graduate students pursuing a degree in accounting, business administration, finance, or criminal justice. Eligible applicants take at least six credits per term and demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a career in the anti-fraud field after graduation.

    Amount: $1,000-$10,000

    See Scholarship

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