Best MSA Programs In US - masters degrees in accounting

Should I get my master’s in accounting? It’s a common question for students who are considering an accounting career. An undergraduate degree may offer opportunities to start a career in accounting, but it may not provide the level of education required to advance in your career. By understanding the benefits of masters in accounting degree programs, students can determine if it is a good choice for their goals. Exact wages may vary based on a student’s career path and role, as well as experience; however, the average accountant with a master’s degree can expect to make around $120,000 per year

The primary benefit of a master’s in accounting is stability. After starting a job as an accountant, the risk of losing your job is low. It is a stable career choice that offers reasonably high wages to help with your long-term goals. Students will also discover that obtaining a master’s in accounting offers greater flexibility for a career with greater opportunity to specialize. Specialties allow students to work in a variety of environments and settings. That means students are able to focus on a career that fits their situation and obligations. Accountants with a master’s degree can work from home, take on consulting roles, or even work full-time in an accounting firm or business. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accounting Master’s Programs 

The editors at Great Business Schools understand that the choice to earn a master’s in accounting is a practical one, so our ranking is built on practical issues of return on investment, job market reputation, and educational quality. We used data from IPEDS, College Scorecard, Niche, and U.S. News & World Report to determine the order. 

1. Brigham Young University

masters degrees in accounting

Brigham Young University’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program is one of the best accounting masters programs in the country. The program provides a general master’s-level understanding of accounting topics with a focus on business. There are two concentrations to choose from: professional accountancy and tax. The tax focus dives deeply into issues related to taxes and prepares the graduate student for a position in the tax department of an accounting firm. The professional accountancy concentration provides the student with a more general overview of all areas of accountancy.

The Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University is one of the best management schools in the US. The school’s faculty participates in research and holds positions in many professional organizations. Students at the Marriott School benefit from internship programs, special research projects, executive visitation opportunities, and more.

Highlight: The Marriott School offers a variety of scholarships that are available to students in the Masters of Accountancy program.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

2. Texas A&M University

graduate accounting program

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School offers an MS in Accounting that is one of the best master in accounting programs around. The curriculum is competency-based, which ensures that all students gain a useful level of knowledge and skill in the areas of public policy, information systems, analysis of financial statements, financial markets, and professional services marketing, as well as an understanding of how technology affects business and accounting. Graduates also demonstrate competence in teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, and communication. Students can choose to focus on taxation and financial planning or information management and assurance services.

The Mays Business School at Texas A&M University seeks to increase prosperity throughout the world. The school’s mission is to create transformation leaders who will make an impact. Mays is one of the leading business schools in the US, and its faculty is recognized for its research participation. The school is renowned for its innovation and has an alumni network of more than 60,000 former students.

Highlight: Almost everyone who starts a program at Mays finishes. Over 90% of students enrolled at Mays Business School graduate within five years.

Degree: MS in Accounting

3. University of Virginia

accounting school

Students searching for the best accounting masters should check out the MS in Accounting from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. This program trains students to use analytics, accounting, and communication skills to solve problems and present solutions clearly. The school’s learning model involves presentations, discussions, and team-based exercises that mimic the type of experiences graduates will encounter in the real world. Students can choose from two specialties: tax consulting or financial reporting and assurance.

The McIntire School of Commerce is a world-class business school that is committed to pursuing excellence in both research and academia. The school produces leaders who make a difference in the business world and throughout society.

Highlight: The MS in Accounting at the University of Virginia can be completed in just nine months.

Degree: MS in Accounting

4. College of William and Mary

financial accounting graduate schools

The Master of Accounting (MAcc) program offered by the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary University is one of the best accounting masters programs for students who want to complete their graduate degrees in a hurry. The Master of Accounting program at William & Mary can be completed in nine months for accounting majors or 12 months for non-accounting majors. The program is flexible, with five specializations to choose from. Graduates are qualified to take the CPA exam.

William & Mary is the second-oldest university in the US with a history of more than 325 years of academic excellence. The Raymond A. Mason School of Business transforms talented and intelligent students into leaders who will excel in their fields. The school offers some of the best professors in the country, and students have the opportunity participate in an executive partnership program.

Highlight: There is a winter internship that gives students the opportunity to earn $10,000 to $12,000 while earning real-world experience in accounting.

Degree: Master of Accounting

5. University of Florida

masters degrees in accounting

The Fisher School of Accounting at the University of Florida offers one of the best Master of Accounting programs in the world. The MAcc program is designed for students from other schools who want to pursue post-graduate studies in accounting after completing their BSAc. The Fisher School of Accounting also offers a 3/2 program for students who wish to complete all five years at UF. Students who enroll in the MAcc program can choose a concentration in auditing or taxation, or they can opt to complete a general program with no specialization.

The Fisher School of Accounting is part of the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. The school produces leaders in business who are skilled at seeing what the future will bring and responding to change. Fisher graduates make a difference everywhere they go.

Highlight: Some students my need to complete preparatory courses before beginning the program if the requirements set forth by the Fisher School have not been met.

Degree: Master of Accounting

6. University of Texas at Austin

graduate accounting program

The University of Texas Master of Professional Accounting offered by the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the best accounting masters programs you’ll find anywhere. The program exposes students to diverse ideas and classes that lead to an explosion of innovative thoughts and ideas. There is a one-year MPA for students who have completed their bachelor’s degrees and an integrated MPA for undergraduate students. There is also an ECON-MPA for undergrad students who are majoring in economics.

The McCombs School of Business is focused on the future and driven by the spirit of its people. The school produces ethical leaders who improve their communities, the economy, and the lives of millions of people through their ideas and innovation. The school has over 90,000 alumni working to make the world a better place.

Highlight: The Texas McCombs MPA is rated #1 by the Public Accounting Report.

Degree: Master of Professional Accounting

7. University of Wisconsin

certified public accountants

The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Madison offers one of the best accounting masters programs for students who want to get their careers off to a good start. The Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program gives students the skills they need to become skilled certified public accountants. There is a specialization in taxation available for those who wish to focus their careers in that area. The school has a 98% placement rate for graduates within three months and the MAcc program is rated #4 in the nation by TaxTalent.

The Wisconsin School of Business was one of the first schools in the US to have a business program. The school is committed to public service and to using research to help solve the world’s biggest problems.

Highlight: The Wisconsin School of Business is in the top 5 in the nation for CPA exam pass rates.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

8. Boston College

concentration in accountancy

The MS in Accounting from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management is one of the best master in accounting programs in the nation, with a pass rate for the CPA exam that is nearly 30% higher than average. The program gives students a deep understanding of accounting and how it affects businesses and other organizations. Faculty members have real-world experience in accounting and focus on teaching students practical skills.

The Carroll School takes an experiential approach to learning and incorporates cross-disciplinary knowledge into its programs. Students gain the leadership skills they’ll need to implement positive change in the organizations they work for. The school focuses on academic excellence and strives to ensure that its graduates are well-prepared for success in the workplace.

Highlight: All graduate students at the Carroll School must engage in some form of volunteer community service.

Degree: MS in Accounting

9. University of Michigan

masters degrees in accounting

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan offers a Master of Accounting that is one of the best accounting masters programs in the world. This program provides students with a well-rounded foundation in accounting. Students learn how accounting fits into the world of business through a customized degree that contains up to 33% elective courses from other disciplines for a multidimensional educational experience.

Michigan Ross believes that business is the key to bringing about positive change in the world. The school has world-class faculty and its graduates are highly sought after by employers. At Ross, students learn by doing. The school gives students the opportunity to start and run their own businesses and learn first-hand how the business world operates.

Highlight: 100% of the Michigan Ross MAcc graduates from 2017 had been offered jobs within six months after graduating.

Degree: MS in Accounting

10. University of Georgia

certified public accounting degree program

The Master of Accountancy program from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business is one of the best accounting masters programs in the nation. The program produces top-notch financial experts who excel in their chosen career fields. There are three ways to earn your MAcc at Terry: the traditional one-year program, a 5-year BBA/MAcc program, or a JD/MAcc program. Students can customize their degree programs to match their career goals.

The Terry College of Business has been creating effective leaders for more than 100 years. The school offers customizable learning experiences and hands-on educational opportunities. 98% of the school’s 2018 graduates were employed within three months. Terry’s curriculum is constantly updated based on the school’s research and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving.

Highlight: The CPA exam pass rate at the University of Georgia has been higher than that of any other large school for two of the past three years.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

11. North Carolina State University

masters of business concentration in accountancy

North Carolina State University’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program is preparing the accountants of the future to be leaders in their field. As one of the best master in accounting programs around, the Jenkins MAC helps students develop their accounting skills while preparing to take the CPA exam. North Carolina State offers many innovative educational experiences such as enabling students to lead courses in the community, practicum exercises, and study abroad opportunities.

The Jenkins Graduate School of Management is committed to developing the leaders of tomorrow and achieving academic excellence through innovation, research, and education. The school is part of the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University, which gives students the ability to think creatively and analyze possibilities in order to excel in the global business marketplace.

Highlight: The school has many partnerships with employers in the area and staff works closely with students to help expedite their job searches.

Degree: Master of Accounting

12. Ohio State University

master of business administration concentration in accountancy

The Master of Accounting available through the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University is one of the best accounting masters programs in the nation. The program provides a strong foundation in accountancy that is rounded out with a variety of business electives that help prepare students for careers in the business world. Fisher tries to recruit graduate students from many schools for more diversity of ideas among the students. The school offers small class sizes and students develop strong relationships with their peers over the course of the program.

At the Fisher College of Business, students don’t just study business—they experience it. Fisher goes deeper, giving students practical experiences that challenge their thinking. Fisher produces ethical leaders with an innovative spirit who challenge the traditional and create new ways of doing things.

Highlight: At Fisher, 78% of the curriculum is made up of electives. This allows students to customize their program to suit them.

Degree: Master of Accounting

13. Michigan State University

Best MSA Programs In US

The Broad College of Business at Michigan State University offers one of the best accounting masters programs that can be completed in one year. The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program from MSU is made up of 30 credits that can be customized to fit the student’s career goals. Graduates will be prepared for careers in business where they will be able to help owners and executives make better financial decisions. The program incorporates real-world learning experiences and prepares students to sit for the CPA exam.

The Broad College of Business creates leaders who transform business and make things happen. The school’s vision is to be the brand that people think of when they think about business. The Broad School was renamed to honor Eli Broad, an MSU graduate who donated $20 million after building two Fortune 500 companies.

Highlight: Broad MSA students can choose from three specialties: taxation, public and corporate accounting, and information systems.

Degree: MS in Accounting

14. University of Washington

Best MSA Programs In US masters degrees in accounting

When you’re looking for the best accounting masters programs to help with your long-term career goals, the Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Washington is a good option. The degree program focuses on teaching students the ethics surrounding accounting as a profession as well as the skills they need to succeed in a career. Students are expected to learn data analytics, effective communication skills, and auditing skills as it applies to businesses. 

The University of Washington stands apart from other programs by ensuring students are prepared for a variety of jobs in accounting. It requires students to go through a winter internship to gain hands-on experience as an accountant and prepares students for the rigors of a long-term career. Since students learn written and oral communication skills, it also prepares students to take on leadership roles within a company.

Highlight: Students in the accounting master’s program from the University of Washington have a 77.2 percent pass rate on the first time they take the CPA exam.

Degree: Master of Professional Accounting

15. Indiana University Bloomington

accounting school

The MS in Accounting from Indiana University in Bloomington is one of the best master in accounting programs available for students who are looking for long-term career solutions. The degree program allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of specific areas of accounting by selecting a specific focus. Students can study taxation, risk management, data analytics, or assurance in the program. It allows students to work on the skills that fit their career objectives.

Indiana University in Bloomington stands apart by encouraging students to focus on gaining hands-on experience through the field consulting curriculum. Students are able to develop useful skills that carry forward into a career by working on the right curriculum for their goals. It also allows students to develop useful leadership skills that offer opportunities in a variety of careers.

Highlight: Students who attend Indiana University in Bloomington have a high rate of obtaining jobs after graduation. Around 95 percent of students obtain a job within 90 days of graduating from the accounting master’s degree program.

Degree: MS in Accounting

16. Baruch College

masters degrees in accounting

Baruch College offers one of the best accounting masters degree programs for students who want to advance in a career. The MS in Accountancy offers a highly specialized education that prepares students for the challenges of working as an accountant. It is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in accounting or a similar major, and who want to build on their previous experience and education. 

Baruch College stands apart by offering course waivers to qualifying students. The waivers allow students to finish the master’s degree at an accelerated pace and reduce the number of classes a student must take for their degree. The degree program also helps students prepare for the CPA exam by ensuring they have the fundamental knowledge they need to pass the exam and obtain the professional designation.

Highlight: Baruch College is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and meets the high standards set by the association for accounting degrees.

Degree: MS in Accountancy

17. Arizona State University

certified public accounting degree program graduate schools

The Master of Accountancy program from Arizona State University is one of the best accounting masters programs for students who want to improve their opportunities within a business or accounting firm. The program focuses on teaching students accountancy and taxation skills that prepare them to complete the CPA exam and work on their professional skills. It also focuses on developing communication skills, strategic thinking processes, and creative thinking to ensure students are able to keep up in a fast-paced work environment.

A key way Arizona State University stands out is the opportunities available for international students. The accountancy program is considered a STEM program, and the school recognizes that the program may assist international students on a student visa with the process of obtaining a career that allows them to stay in the country on an appropriate work visa. The degree program allows students to apply for an OPT extension on their student visa for up to 36 months, which offers more time to file paperwork for other types of visas.

Highlight: Arizona State University’s Master of Accountancy program is an accelerated program that students can complete within nine months.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

18. University of Notre Dame

science in accountancy graduate accounting

The University of Notre Dame offers an MS in Accountancy program that helps students accomplish their career goals. The program allows students to select from two different tracks: Assurance and Advisory Services or Tax Services. Students are able to select a track that fits their career objectives and helps with their long-term plans. It focuses on helping students develop the skills they need to advance in a career over a lifetime.

A key way the University of Notre Dame stands apart is the opportunity for students to study abroad while working on their master’s degree programs. Students can study aboard for two weeks during the program, which allows them to learn about differences in various countries and prepare for a job that removes them from a traditional career path. It gives students greater flexibility when seeking a job to start a career because they will have experience with a different culture and accounting method.

Highlight: Roughly 80 percent of students who graduate from the University of Notre Dame with an accountancy master’s degree get a job in one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Degree: MS in Accountancy

19. Florida State University

top business school graduate accounting

When you are looking for the best master in accounting programs, you want to consider the Master of Accounting from Florida State University. The degree program focuses on providing a rigorous and well-rounded education that prepares students for the challenges of working in an accounting firm or a corporate environment. It provides a strong foundation in research, analytical tools, and quantitative strategies that give students the skills they need to keep up in a modern workplace.

Florida State University offers three different tracks for students who want to work in accounting. Students can study as a Generalist and gain the basic skills they need for a variety of career options. They can also work in Assurance and Advisory Services or Taxation Services for more specialized skills that focus on specific aspects of accounting.

Highlight: Florida State University offers a waiver for the GMAT or GRE test if students meet specific criteria in relation to their previous education or work experience. 

Degree: Master of Accounting

20. University of Alabama

master of business administration concentration in accountancy

The Master of Accountancy from the University of Alabama is one of the best programs for students who want to work in an accounting career. The degree program emphasizes cognitive thinking strategies, research skills, and communication skills to prepare students for the challenges they face when working in an accounting firm or a fast-paced corporate environment. It ensures that students have the accounting skills as well as the business skills they need to work in a variety of career opportunities.

The University of Alabama stands out by offering the training students need to pass the CPA exam. Students are prepared for the exam by the time they finish the degree program and can feel confident when going into the test that they have the skills and knowledge to pass. It gives students a strong foundation in the appropriate ethical, practical, and analytical skills to take the test and improve their career opportunities.

Highlight: The University of Alabama offers scholarships to students in the Master of Accountancy program.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

21. University of Texas at Dallas

graduate accounting school

The University of Texas at Dallas offers an MS in Accounting program that helps students work on their career goals. The degree program allows students to focus on accomplishing their goals by working on their own pace. It also prepares students for the CPA exam and ensures that students have the skills to handle the test.

A key way the University of Texas at Dallas stands out from other programs is the online classes it offers to students. While students can complete the entire degree program on-campus, it also offers a variety of online classes that help students keep up with current job responsibilities or personal obligations. It gives students a flexible solution when they are already working in accounting or other fields.

Highlight: The University of Texas at Dallas offers fast track courses in the accounting program that helps accelerate the program for early graduation.

Degree: MS in Accounting

22. New York University

certified public accountants graduate schools

New York University offers an MS in Accounting program that prepares students for a career in a fast-paced work environment. The degree program provides students with a foundational education that prepares them for the challenges they will face when working in a corporate or business setting. It also ensures that students have the right skills to work in accounting and taxation by providing the basic education they need to start in their careers.

New York University prepares students to take the CPA exam. It ensures that students have the right classes to learn the ethical standards that apply to accountants as well as the practical skills they need to work in an accounting position. It helps students prepare for the exam and ensures that students qualify to take the test after finishing their degrees.

Highlight: New York University offers evening courses that help students develop a strategy to fit their own schedules and obligations. Classes are from Monday to Thursday, so students will not need to attend weekend classes.

Degree: MS in Accounting

23. University of Tennessee Knoxville

Best MSA Programs In US accounting degree program

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville offers a Master of Accountancy program to students. The degree program focuses on providing students with the hands-on experience they need to work in an accounting firm or to take on the financial aspects of a business. It gives students a strong foundation that allows them to develop their skills for a career.

The way that the University of Tennessee at Knoxville stands apart from other programs is the focus on accelerated development of skills. Students are able to finish their degree in 10 months. It also provides students with the skills to handle taxation, assurance, financial transactions, and advisory situations.

Highlight: The University of Tennessee at Knoxville offers merit-based scholarships to students in the master of accountancy program.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

24. University of Mississippi

graduate accounting degree programs

The University of Mississippi offers a Master of Accountancy program that prepares students for a career in a corporate work environment or related fields. It ensures that students have the skills to handle large business transactions and auditing, while also giving students the opportunity to select elective courses that further enhance their skills.

The University of Mississippi stands apart from other programs by focusing on comprehensive skills in accounting. The school also offers a three-credit-hour course for CPA preparation that gives students the opportunity to prepare for the exam. It ensures that students are ready for the rigors of a career in accounting and the challenge of obtaining a CPA as part of a career plan.

Highlight: The University of Mississippi is an AACSB-accredited university.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

25. University of South Carolina

masters degrees in accounting

The Master of Accountancy from the University of South Carolina is one of the best programs for students who want an accounting career. The degree program focuses on developing accounting and leadership skills to prepare students for a leadership role in a business or corporate environment. It recognizes that accounting skills are not the only factors involved in career development and offers the opportunity for students to focus on leadership roles.

A key way the University of South Carolina differs from other programs is the focus on developing the technical and practical skills students need for their careers. The program teaches students to use the latest technological tools in accounting and ensures that students have the analytical skills to identify concerns or address programs.

Highlight: The University of South Carolina offers certifications to further enhance student skills and prepare students for specialized areas of accounting services.

Degree: Master of Accountancy

How Do I Choose a Master’s in Accounting Program?

When you are looking into different accounting programs for a master’s degree, you want to consider the master of accounting ranking from different sources. The top MS in accounting programs will have clear reasons based on the course material, the school’s faculty, the program, and the results of the education.

Students should also evaluate the classes available in the program. Since accounting degrees may offer specialized classes, students should consider the best options that fit their career objectives. 

The final consideration is accreditation. Avoid any school that is not accredited by a respected third-party organization. Ideally, accreditation through an organization that focuses on STEM classes will give students the opportunity to feel confident in the degree program. Avoid any programs that are not accredited or that do not have clear information about accreditation.

Do I Need a Master’s to Become a CPA?

Do you need a master’s to be a CPA? It depends on your situation. When it comes to looking at what degree do I need to become a CPA, you want to start with the basic standards. As a general rule, you need 150 credit hours of education at the college level. For most students, that will mean obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in accounting to qualify for the test. Students may also qualify to take the test with an undergraduate degree and some master’s level courses without a degree in certain circumstances.

Each state does set different standards for the CPA exam, so students should look into the standards set by the state. In some states, a certain number of credits are required at the master’s level, though a degree may not be required. The details vary slightly by state, so students should look into the requirements of their own state or the state where they plan to work as an accountant before determining that they are ready for the test. 

Do you need a master’s to be a CPA? You do not; however, it is difficult to meet the educational requirements without a master’s degree. The number of credits required for the degree exceeds the amount offered to most students at the undergraduate level, and states may require a certain number of accountancy courses to qualify for the exam.

Is a Master of Accountancy and an MS in Accounting the Same Thing?

When looking at an online master of accountancy, you may wonder how it differs from an MS in accounting online. The degree names seem similar and the course work may look exactly the same. As a rule, an MS in accounting is a generalized variation of accounting. It may include more broad topics of study. The master of accountancy is similar; however, it has a more focused area of study. 

The degree programs have many similarities and students can apply the degree to the same career opportunities. In many cases, the course material will look similar and teach the same skills. The key difference is the level of specialization.

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