Top Accounting Bachelor's-to-Master's Accelerated Programs 2023

by

Updated February 6, 2023

Looking for a faster return on investment while studying accounting? Consider a dual-degree program. Review this year's top BS–to–MS accelerated accounting degrees.

Accounting.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Woman working at desk on laptop Credit: Eva-Katalin / E+ / Getty Images

Accelerated bachelor's-to-master's degree programs offer students an efficient path to earning dual degrees in accounting. These programs typically allow degree-seekers to apply graduate-level credit to both their bachelor's degree and master's in accounting. This allows students to earn their degrees on a compact timeline.

Top Bachelor's-to-Master's Accelerated Accounting Degrees
School At a Glance By the Numbers
1. Amberton University | Garland, Texas
  • BBA/MBA Accounting Dual Degree Program
  • 120 credits for bachelor's; 30 credits for master's
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $285/credit
  • Graduate Tuition: $285/credit
2. Florida State University | Tallahassee, Florida
  • Combined Bachelor of Science-Accounting/Master of Accounting
  • 120 credits for bachelor's; 30 credits for master's
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $215/credit (in state); $721/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $479/credit (in state); $1,111/credit (out of state)
3. Baruch College | New York, New York
  • BBA/MS Path to CPA
  • 124 credits (bachelor's); 30-70 credits (master's)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $3,465/12+ credits (in state); $620/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $5,545/12+ credits (in state); $855/credit (out of state)
4. San Diego State University | San Diego, California
  • BMACC Degree
  • 132 credits (bachelor's); 30 credits (master's)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $2,871/term (in state); $396/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $3,588/term (in state); $666/credit (out of state)
5. New York University | New York, New York
  • BS/MS in Accounting
  • 134 credits (bachelor's); 16 credits (master's)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $29,084/semester
  • Graduate Tuition: $24,503/semester

Go to full ranking

Schools use various names to describe these programs:

  • Accelerated bachelor's-to-master's accounting programs
  • Dual-degree or combined-degree accounting programs
  • Four-plus-one-year or five-year accounting programs

Students sometimes confuse bachelor's-to-master's programs with bridge programs. However, the two are entirely different. Bridge programs allow students with bachelor's degrees in non-accounting fields to earn a master's degree in accounting.

Accelerated accounting degrees leading to both bachelor's and master's credentials offer several benefits. For example, they provide a quicker path to completing the educational requirements for taking the certified public accountant (CPA) licensing exam. Use this guide to compare program details and explore a ranked list of the best dual accounting degrees.

Why Pursue a Combined Bachelor's-Master's Program?

  • Meet CPA Exam Requirements: While most bachelor's degrees only require 120 credits, every state requires CPAs to complete 150 credits of college coursework to earn licensure. The curriculum of a combined bachelor’s-master’s program helps students meet this 150-credit requirement.
  • Graduate Faster: Accelerated programs allow learners to graduate faster than average with a master's degree. Students in accelerated programs can typically enter the workforce more quickly.
  • Enhanced Opportunities: While graduate certificates are often beneficial for job prospects, they do not always qualify professionals for advanced positions. Some employers seek out master's degree-holders to fill advanced roles that may include higher pay.

Trade-Offs in Getting Your Accounting Master's Faster

  • Stay at One School: Accelerated dual-degree programs usually require students to earn both credentials at the same school. However, some students prefer to attend different institutions for their undergraduate and graduate studies. Combined-degree programs do not support this option.
  • Less Flexibility: Pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees separately creates flexibility not available to learners in accelerated dual-degree programs. For instance, some accounting students prefer to take time off from studying after completing their bachelor's to gain work experience. Instead, accelerated programs route bachelor's graduates straight into master's programs.
  • High Intensity: Accelerated bachelor's and master's programs feature intense, fast-paced learning schedules. Some students thrive in these environments, but others prefer to go through coursework more slowly. These programs' high intensity also demands major time commitments. This may also leave students unable to work part-time while they study.

Top Online Bachelor's Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

What to Expect From a Dual BS-MS Degree

Accelerated accounting degree programs typically demand the equivalent of five academic years of full-time study. Most curricula require students to dedicate four years to the bachelor's degree and one year to their master's for a total of five years.

In many cases, some or all of the coursework completed during the student's fourth year (senior year) earns dual credit. Eligible courses count towards both a bachelor's and a master's program foundational courses.

Students in dual programs may save 1-2 years compared to traditional degrees. For example, standalone bachelor's accounting programs usually run four years. Standard master's accounting programs often require two years. So, pursuing each degree separately may take six academic years or longer.

Colleges offering dual-degree accounting programs offer several advantages other than shorter time commitments. First, they strive to provide graduates with advanced accounting skills and the potential for higher earnings. Second, these dual programs also offer an efficient way to earn the 150 credit hours of postsecondary schooling required to take the CPA exam in most states.

Degree and Concentration Options

While most combined bachelor's-master's programs culminate in a master's in accounting, some schools allow students to pursue undergraduate majors in several fields. These can include economics, marketing, and mathematics. Some institutions require students to complete a bachelor's in accounting to enroll in the combined bachelor's-master's program.

Some standalone master's degrees offer students concentrations in forensic accounting or taxation. However, most master's programs have a more fixed curriculum, requiring specific accounting courses with few electives or concentration options.

Often, institutions award an MS in accounting, though some programs may offer a master of accounting (MAcc) or MBA.

Admissions Process

Standard application requirements for bachelor's programs include a high school diploma or GED certificate, standardized test scores, and personal statements. Additional requirements may include professional or academic recommendations. Many schools use the Common App, a site that allows students to submit applications to multiple institutions.

While some bachelor's-to-master's accounting programs only accept high-performing students already working toward a bachelor's degree, others accept those without previous college coursework. In some cases, schools may require GMAT scores and/or GRE scores.

Applicants and candidates with high GPAs may qualify for quick admission to the master's track. In other cases, schools do not require dual-degree students to take any standardized tests. Each institution sets its own policies and admission requirements.

Popular Accounting Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate accounting classes help students develop foundational skills in business, finance, and accounting. In dual degree programs, some courses count toward both the bachelor's and master's degree requirements. Though classes vary by school, we explore several common courses below:

  • Principles of Financial Accounting: This course introduces basic accounting and financial reporting concepts. Learners study financial statements, the business operating cycle, and how businesses record and communicate information.
  • Principles of Managerial Accounting: This class explores concepts of managerial accounting and their impact on business decision-making. Students learn how managers use this information to plan operations, manage activities, and make decisions.
  • Business Communication: Business communication courses develop written and oral skills for professionals. These classes typically cover professional writing and communication fundamentals tailored toward business situations.
  • Global Financial Management: This course explores finance in global environments, including multinational firms. Learners study topics like global operational decision-making, foreign exchange theory, and risk management.

Popular Accounting Graduate Courses

Master's accounting courses explore advanced topics to deepen students' understanding of the accounting field. Some classes may develop specific accounting skills like forensics or taxation. We explore common graduate-level accounting courses below:

  • Taxation of Entities: This course examines the federal income taxation of organizations, corporations, trusts, and estates. Students learn about ethics, administrative procedures, and tax law.
  • Sustainability Accounting: This class explores accounting and its connection to enterprises' environmental and social impacts. Learners study techniques for gathering and reporting sustainability data about companies' practices.
  • Forensic Accounting: This interdisciplinary course combines accounting and law. Enrollees learn about evidence-gathering, information technology, and legal compliance for financial crimes. This class also provides foundational knowledge about fraud prevention, detection, and investigation.
  • Business Valuation: This course builds on foundational knowledge of cash flow analysis, investments, and valuation. Students corporate restructuring and topics like reinvestment and distribution of cash flow, incentive alignment, and divestitures.

How Much Do Accounting 3+1 or 4+1 Programs Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average tuition for four-year undergraduate programs was $16,647 in the 2019-20 academic year. Factors impact tuition include whether a school is public or private and whether students are state residents. In-state public schools typically offer the most affordable tuition.

NCES data also shows the average tuition for graduate programs was $19,792 in the 2019-20 academic year — higher than undergraduate tuition. Because 3+1 and 4+1 programs combine courses across degree levels, students should investigate how institutions charge tuition.

Some programs, for example, charge students undergraduate tuition for the first four years of enrollment and then graduate tuition for the final year of study. Other schools may charge tuition per course based on degree designation.

Combined bachelor's-master's programs are sometimes more affordable than pursuing even accounting bachelor's and master's degrees separately, as they require full-time enrollment for a reduced number of years. This can translate to savings of 1-2 years of full-time tuition.

Should You Get Your Degrees Online?

Online accounting programs offer several benefits like flexibility. Many programs include at least some asynchronous classes, which don't hold scheduled meetings and allow learners to complete assignments on a less rigid schedule. This provides flexibility for students with other obligations. Some online degrees charge in-state or otherwise reduced tuition for distance learners.

However, prospective applicants should carefully consider their learning style before committing to an online degree. Distance education requires time management, discipline, and self-sufficiency. Some students learn best in a classroom setting with live instruction, so online degrees may not suit their needs.

Selecting the Right Accelerated Accounting Program

When researching accelerated accounting programs, make sure the school is accredited. Accreditation verifies the program comes from a school that conforms to standards of academic excellence.

Learners should also consider the program size and student-to-teacher ratio: Small classes may mean more individualized attention from instructors, which can help students succeed academically and lead to more networking opportunities. Career services are also a relevant factor to consider. Research whether prospective programs offer internships, resume workshops, or job boards.

Best Accelerated Accounting Bachelor's-to-Master's Programs

Pursuing a bachelor's-to-master's accounting program can shorten degree timelines. Explore this 2023 ranking of five accelerated programs as you consider your options. Learn more about our ranking methodology in the following guide.

#1 Top Accounting Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Programs 2023

Amberton University

  • Garland, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Garland, Texas, Amberton provides strong education pathways for working professionals. The private school features a unique pay-as-you-go tuition model to help learners pursue their education and avoid significant debt.

BBA/MBA Accounting Dual Degree Program

Amberton University's BBA/MBA accounting program allows learners to complete two degrees on a flexible schedule. Students can take a mix of online and in-person classes or attend solely online. Weekend and evening in-person classes and self-paced online courses help learners attend school around their personal and professional schedules.

This program meets the Texas state standards to become a certified public accountant (CPA). Enrollees take a blend of accounting, finance, marketing, and economics courses in preparation for the CPA exam and board licensure. To receive dual degrees, each enrollee must complete at least 45 hours of accounting courses throughout the program.

Amberton's Accelerated Experience

The dual-degree program has a standard number of undergraduate and graduate degree credits. Still, learners can schedule eligible online and in-person classes during the summer to finish more quickly. They can also enroll before any of the school's four academic sessions.

Amberton ensures financial accessibility with a flat-rate tuition of $285 per credit for every student and grade level.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $285/credit
  • Graduate Tuition: $285/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits (bachelor's); 30 credits (master's)
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid or 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions 
    • Process: An undergraduate applicant must have completed at least 30 credits from an accredited school, hold United States citizenship, maintain proficiency in English, and possess work experience. Students enrolled in the BBA/MBA program can transition to the MBA portion after successfully completing the BBA program. 
    • GPA: No requirement for undergraduates. However, students must finish their undergraduate program with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
    • Cost: None
Average Tuition
In-state
$8,550
Out-of-state
$8,550
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,103
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Top Accounting Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Programs 2023

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

As one of the oldest universities in Florida, Tallahassee's FSU has a rich history in academic research and excellence. Its Seminole athletics department has secured multiple national championships and supports more than 40 sports clubs.

Combined Bachelor of Science-Accounting/Master of Accounting 

The dual-degree accounting program at Florida State University gives learners an accelerated bridge to complete bachelor's and master's degrees. The selective program requires learners to complete some college coursework before declaring accounting their major.

The bachelor's portion includes courses in calculus, business statistics, risk management, and financial markets. For the master's curriculum, students learn forensic accounting, analysis, and taxation concepts. This portion also offers an internship for degree-seekers to gain real-world experience and strengthen learned concepts. 

Once enrolled in the master's degree program, students can choose one from generalist, taxation, or assurance and advisory services accounting majors.

FSU's Accelerated Experience

FSU allows students to complete their bachelor's and master's degrees in about five years. Enrollees can take up to three graduate-level courses during their undergraduate studies to shorten the completion time of their master's program.

The courses will apply to the student's graduate program when they earn a minimum average GPA of 3.0 in those classes.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $215/credit (in state); $721/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $479/credit (in state); $1,111/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits (bachelor's); 30 credits (master's)
  • Undergraduate Program Length: 4 years
  • Graduate Program Length: 1 year
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Undergraduate Admissions 
    • Process: Each applicant must have completed at least 52 credits before applying. Otherwise, the school requires that a candidate must meet general admission guidelines, including submitting transcripts and a resume and writing an essay. 
    • GPA: 2.90
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
    • Cost: $30
  • Graduate Admissions 
    • Process: Each student must indicate their interest in the dual program and apply for graduate admission during the first semester of their undergraduate senior year. A candidate submits a statement of intent, resume, declaration of residency, and three letters of recommendation with their application and transcripts.
    • GPA: 3.0 
    • Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE
    • Cost: $30
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,640
Out-of-state
$19,084
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
43,569
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Top Accounting Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Programs 2023

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Baruch is a public college of the City University of New York. Known primarily for its impact on New York City's art scene, Baruch hosts art galleries, a performing arts center, and a residency program for writers to hone their craft.

BBA/MS Path to CPA

Baruch College offers its dual-degree accounting program through the Zicklin College of Business. Learners prepare for CPA licensure in New York when they choose an MS in accountancy or taxation for their graduate portion. However, an MS in information systems is also available. MS in taxation degree enrollees can choose a concentration in financial planning.

During the undergraduate program, each degree-seeker completes a 30-credit business core with finance, marketing, and introductory accounting courses. The 24-credit major component adds more intricate accounting and taxation concepts. Graduate-level students explore auditing, business taxation, and data analytics.

Baruch's Accelerated Experience

Baruch allows MS students to waive some coursework and complete their master's degrees in one year or less. The program currently features waivers for eight business courses and five accounting courses. Students must have taken waived courses within five years of beginning the MS portion of the dual-degree program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $3,465/12+ credits (in state); $620/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $5,545/12+ credits (in state); $855/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 124 credits (bachelor's); 30-70 credits (master's)
  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Undergraduate Admissions 
    • Process: Baruch students interested in the BBA program may gain automatic admission if they have achieved specific honors from the school. Otherwise, applicants must complete prerequisite coursework and submit transcripts. 
    • Standardized Tests: Optional
    • Cost: $65
  • Graduate Admissions 
    • Process: The Zicklin School of Business requires each MS candidate to submit transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and two essays with their online application. Seniors enrolled in the BBA accounting program may qualify for a reduced admissions process.
    • Standardized Tests: Optional
    • Cost: $75
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
19,740
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Top Accounting Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Programs 2023

San Diego State University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

SDSU supports its diverse student body through numerous cultural centers. The on-campus recreation center offers learners a blend of fun, fitness, and camaraderie through sports, wellness and fitness classes, and excursions. 

BMACC Degree

San Diego State University offers a competitive BMACC to accounting students aiming to become licensed accountants. Undergraduate enrollees can apply for the BMACC program to earn graduate credits while taking bachelor's-level courses.

Students can pursue a financial reporting, taxation, or accounting information systems track to align with their professional goals. These tracks are part of the graduate portion of the program and include in-depth studies of ethics, financial planning, and fraud.

Offered by the prestigious Fowler College of Business, the BMACC program provides exclusive job fairs, workshops, and on-campus interviews for enrollees to jumpstart their careers.

SDSU's Accelerated Experience

SDSU's dual-degree accounting program aims for a degree timeline of five years. The program requires only 30 credits to finish the graduate degree, after which learners will have enough credits to prepare for CPA licensure.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC); American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $2,871/term (in state); $396/credit (out of state)
  • Graduate Tuition: $3,588/term (in state); $666/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 132 credits (bachelor's); 30 credits (master's)
  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus or hybrid
  • Undergraduate Admissions 
    • Process: SDSU requires applicants to complete prerequisite courses before applying. Degree-seekers must submit official transcripts and choose their intended majors.
    • GPA: 2.5 (California residents); 3.0 (non-residents)
    • Cost: $70
  • BMACC Admissions 
    • Process: Students can apply for the BMACC program during their undergraduate studies after completing two upper-division accounting courses or ACCTG 331.
    • GPA: 3.0
    • Standardized Tests: GMAT
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
36,334
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Top Accounting Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Programs 2023

New York University

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Since 1831, NYU has grown into one of the most prestigious universities in the country. In addition to its globally recognized research facilities and campuses, NYU offers students high-tech computer labs, professional development events, and diverse cultural experiences.

BS/MS in Accounting

Offered by the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, the BS/MS in accounting program at New York University prepares enrollees to pursue CPA licensure. Students in the undergraduate program can apply for admission into the dual-degree program during their first year.

The undergraduate curriculum covers the fundamentals of statistics, financial accounting, finance, and business law. Upper-level courses include financial statement modeling, auditing, and data analysis and management. 

Undergraduate students can pursue research opportunities that may count toward degree credits. These projects allow learners to work with faculty members to enhance their skills and understanding of course concepts.

NYU's Accelerated Experience

NYU's BS/MS in accounting requires just 22 credits for its graduate portion, with six credits completed during the undergraduate program. Each learner can finish the remainder during an intensive summer semester. The program also provides enough credits for seniors to sit for the CPA exam.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Undergraduate Tuition: $29,084/semester
  • Graduate Tuition: $24,503/semester
  • Required Credits: 134 credits (bachelor's); 16 credits (master's)
  • Program Length: 4 years plus 1 summer term
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Admissions 
    • Process: Each candidate begins by applying to the NYU Stern undergraduate business program with a letter of recommendation, intent to pursue the CPA pathway, and a self-reported academic record. Students can then apply for the master's degree portion after acceptance into the business major.
    • GPA: 3.0
    • Standardized Tests: SAT, ACT, or three AP tests
    • Cost: $80
Average Tuition
In-state
$52,204
Out-of-state
$52,204
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
21%
Students Enrolled
52,775
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Common Questions About Dual Accounting Degrees

Can you do undergrad and grad in accounting at the same time?

Yes. Some institutions offer combined programs that allow you to enroll full time and complete both a bachelor's degree and a master's in accounting.

How long does an accelerated BS-MS in accounting program take?

Many accelerated dual degrees take 4-5 years of full-time study. Students begin graduate-level coursework in their third or fourth year of study as they complete their undergraduate requirements.

Is a combined bachelor's and master's accounting program worth it?

Combined programs are useful for students looking to complete the credits needed to qualify for CPA licensure more quickly. Before enrolling, learners should consider the rigor of these accelerated programs, which do not typically allow part-time enrollment.

Is a master's necessary for a CPA?

No, CPA licensure does not require a master's degree. However, every state requires prospective CPAs to complete 150 credits of college coursework, while a typical bachelor's degree only requires 120 credits. Completing a master's degree can help students achieve the 150-credit minimum while also earning an advanced credential that can boost career prospects and salary potential.

Recommended Reading

Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.

Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.