You want to stay competitive in your field. With a master’s degree in accounting, you can set yourself apart. And we'll be here to guide you from enrollment through graduation.
A master’s in accounting is a graduate professional degree that can prepare you for advanced financial roles — such as a financial advisor or examiner — or managerial positions like tax manager, financial manager, fundraising manager, and more.
What is a M.Acc. degree?
Master’s in accounting programs are also commonly referred to as:
Master of Science in Accountancy (M.S.Acy.)
Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.Acy.)
The uniform certified public accountant examination
Accounting programs can provide you with 150 requisite credit hours, qualifying you to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
What is the difference between an MBA and M.Acc.?
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Accounting (M.Acc.) often are grouped together by analytical, business-oriented students researching their graduate degree options. Though both degrees cover integral business foundations, an MBA provides a broader scope to the application of business, leadership, and theory.
The M.Acc. is typically designed to prepare students for relevant exams and certifications in the field, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This degree focuses more on in-depth, technical accounting skills along with business acumen.
Accounting knowledge is an appreciating asset
M.Acc. degrees focus on the core area of accounting and its principles, with typical degree specializations in concentrations such as assurance, reporting, and taxation.
Master of Accounting programs require students to complete core courses on the theory and practice of accounting, including:
Advanced accounting/financial statement analysis
Financial research and compliance
Accounting information systems
Advanced managerial and cost accounting
Business ethics for accounting
You may also have the opportunity to take other cross-functional courses such as economics, leadership, and business communications.
If you’re looking to build on your accounting interest with practical expertise, a graduate degree can broaden your abilities and skill sets in the following areas of study:
Accounting and auditing
Build and diversify your knowledge in specific areas such as:
Financial and management accounting
Financial statement analysis
Strategic cost management
Taxation has many applications. Earn niche expertise in:
Individual, corporate, and nonprofit taxation
International aspects of taxation
Global implications for U.S. businesses
Ethical principles and professional standards
Students can learn the gold-standard principles of the profession and how to implement those in team-oriented, complex business environments such as:
Finance and insurance
Self-run enterprises (as entrepreneurs)
Critical thinking and problem solving
To operate across a range of complex environments and in advanced roles, students can strengthen the following baseline skills:
Teamwork and collaboration
Changing government and security regulations
The world of accounting is tightly controlled and regulated. Students can earn applied knowledge on how to audit and enforce legal requirements and company compliance.
Typical concentrations and electives
Some M.Acc. programs give students the chance to specialize by taking electives. Your choice of concentration can also position you for certain careers.
M.Acc. concentrations include:
Public sector accounting
Estate and gift taxation/planning
An elective gives you the chance to study an accounting topic at a deeper level or to take a related topic in classes within complementary programs such as law or business.
Mergers and acquisitions
Partnership and corporation taxation
Inheritance tax and wealth preservation
Choose your coursework wisely — it should map to your career goal to help increase your starting salary and job opportunities.
Online vs. on-campus: The balance sheet of what you can learn
There is no one-size-fits-all model for a graduate education. Many programs come in various forms, each with its own benefits. Here are some of the most common questions you should ask when researching your master’s in accounting:
You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two years if you choose to study full time. Accelerated programs are also available to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
The fine print on accounting accreditation
There are two types of accreditation — regional and specialized.
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. Regional accreditation confirms that the provider has met and maintained adherence to a minimum set of academic standards.
Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
Schools often apply to gain specialized accreditation for specific areas of study, departments, or degree programs. The leading authority for business schools and accounting programs is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Enrolling in an accredited program makes you more marketable to employers and can affect your career growth over the long term.
Why accreditation matters
Accreditation is key if you want to:
Transfer your credits, as most schools will only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions
Apply for financial aid, as federal aid is only granted to students who are studying at recognized accredited institutions
Become a CPA
M.Acc. degrees are usually accredited through the following — and may hold more than one:
AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)
ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)
IACBE (International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education)
Check for both national and regional accreditation at your university of interest. You may also find that your degree program or academic department of interest has additional and specialized accreditations.
You have goals. We have a path.
Accounting is essential to our global economy. As the world’s learning company, we proudly partner with universities to offer a suite of online graduate degrees in accounting. Whatever your career goals, we have a path for you.