Accountancy Master's Degree Programs

Earning a master's degree in accountancy is your ticket to a job as a certified public accountant, along with other career options. This article shows an overview of a master's program, which includes admissions requirements and a curriculum preview. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Master's Degree Program in Accountancy?

A master's degree program in accountancy is a 2-year course of study that leads to work as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). For this reason, many programs help you prepare to sit for the national CPA exam. You can earn this degree entirely online. Distance learning programs may require you to complete one or more in-person residencies, in which you visit your school's campus to attend lectures, present work or meet faculty. This program often culminates in a comprehensive exam or thesis.

Degree LevelGraduate
PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, GMAT and TOEFL (if needed) scores
Common Courses Advanced auditing, risks and compliance, corporate taxation, fraud prevention, financial statement analysis
CertificationsCPA credential required to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credentials are voluntary but may be helpful
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 11% (for all auditors and accountants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Applicants to master's degree programs in accountancy need a bachelor's degree, and some programs prefer applicants with a degree in a related field, such as business administration, accounting, economics or finance. You can also expect to submit Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores and letters of recommendation. Non-native speakers may need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as well. A resume and statement of purpose may also be required.

What Classes Are Available?

In addition to teaching you advanced accounting techniques, coursework in master's degree programs in accountancy typically provide a broad business education. You may also be able to choose a specialty, such as financial reporting or tax services. The following are examples of classes you might find in the curriculum:

  • Financial statement analysis
  • Advanced auditing
  • Public accounting ethics
  • Risks and compliance
  • Partnership taxation
  • Fraud examination and prevention
  • Corporate taxation

Where Do I Get Certified?

To get a CPA credential, you must pass the national CPA exam, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). You must also meet the requirements of your state board of accountancy. You could also increase your chances of employment by earning other non-essential credentials, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential, which is conferred by the Institute of Management Accountants, or the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential, which is conferred by the Institute of Internal Auditors.

What Is the Job Outlook and Pay?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment rate for accountants and auditors is expected to rise 11% between 2014 and 2024, faster than average. Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $65,940 as of May 2014, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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