Best Master's in Accounting Online 2024

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Updated March 22, 2024

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Are you looking to sharpen your accounting skills or earn additional credits toward CPA licensure? An online master's in accounting can offer an ideal path.

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The number of accountants and auditors dropped 17% between 2020 and 2022, according to The Wall Street Journal, creating a need for 300,000 new accounting professionals. With such a high demand for certified public accountants (CPAs), professionals might want to advance their careers with a master's in accounting.

Students with a bachelor's in accounting can use the master's degree to complete the 150-credit requirement for the CPA exam. Professionals without an accounting background can also complete the program to move into the accounting field.

Getting a master's in accounting online offers particular benefits, especially the flexibility to study while still working. Learn more about online master's in accounting programs and explore the best program options.

Popular Online Accounting Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top Online Accounting Master's Programs

#1 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $1,446

Out-of-State | $1,446

Credits to Graduate: 36-48

UNC-Chapel Hill's master of accounting is open to students from all academic and professional backgrounds. This fully online degree program includes three concentration options: tax, audit, or financial analysis and reporting. Besides their concentration, students also complete core courses in accounting principles, financial reporting, and data analytics.

The program takes 12-36 months to complete, and new students can begin at one of four start times throughout the year. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in any subject from an accredited institution and must complete an interview. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,019
Out-of-state
$34,882
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,552
Out-of-state
$28,844
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
20%
Students Enrolled
31,641
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

Cost per Term:

In-State | $4,755

Out-of-State | $4,755

Credits to Graduate: 30

WGU's fully online master of accounting prepares students to sit for the CPA exam in most states. Graduates of WGU have a pass rate of 58%. 

The program requires 10 competency units — WGU's unique curriculum structure — in areas such as fraud and forensic accounting, advanced accounting, financial management, and accounting research and critical thinking.

About 73% of WGU accounting graduates finish within 24 months, and their average salary increase is $18,700. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or a CPA license.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,162
Out-of-state
$7,162
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
150,116
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $385

Out-of-State | $479

Credits to Graduate: 30

UWF's master of accountancy offers a tailored curriculum that prepares students for careers in business, finance, or accounting. Graduates may qualify to sit for the Florida CPA exam. 

Learners can select one of four concentrations: analytics, business analysis and reporting, information systems and controls, or taxation. Each course lasts 8-16 weeks, and the entire, fully online program takes 24 months.

Prospective students need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 credits. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,735
Out-of-state
$16,004
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,088
Out-of-state
$22,166
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
13,288
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $980-$1,200

Out-of-State | $980-$1,300

Credits to Graduate: 30

FIU’s master of accounting program is open to students who majored in accounting or business in college and features a flexible mix of learning and networking opportunities to prepare students for high-demand jobs.

The cohort-based program features specializations in taxation and assurance. FIU offers classes in both online and hybrid formats. Students can earn their degrees in just 10 months.

The program requires prospective students to have a GPA of at least 3.0 and score a 500 or above on the GMAT.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,912
Out-of-state
$21,393
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
56,664
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $332-$850

Out-of-State | $332-$850

Credits to Graduate: 32

Offered in collaboration with Coursera, a practice-oriented learning platform, Illinois' completely online MS in accountancy requires at least 20 credits in accountancy and a minimum of four credits in non-accountancy coursework. 

Courses include federal taxation, accounting analysis, advanced financial reporting, and machine learning for accounting. Some students may choose to concentrate in accounting analytics. 

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and have completed all prerequisite coursework. Prospective students may submit GMAT or GRE scores if they wish.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,446
Out-of-state
$34,444
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,635
Out-of-state
$27,674
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
56,607
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

  • Raleigh, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $526

Out-of-State | $1,635

Credits to Graduate: 31

NC State's online master of accounting helps early- or- mid-stage professionals gain the skills they need to advance in an accounting career. This program requires students to complete eight core courses and three electives. Students may take advanced income tax, advanced commercial law, and advanced auditing courses. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in accounting or another major with seven prerequisite courses, and the admissions committee looks carefully at both a student's GPA and GMAT scores. NC State's program accepts new students twice a year. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,535
Out-of-state
$27,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,095
Out-of-state
$27,082
Retention Rate
94%
Acceptance Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
36,831
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $472

Out-of-State | $472

Credits to Graduate: 30

UTRGV's master of accountancy satisfies the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy's academic requirements to sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) examination. Students take 12 credits of required courses and 12 credits in auditing, taxation, or both. The fully online program concludes with three credits of business electives and a capstone.

Each course lasts seven weeks, and the entire program takes 12 months to complete. Prospective students should submit GMAT scores unless they hold a CPA license, graduate degree, or 3.25 GPA both overall and in accounting.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,857
Out-of-state
$17,649
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,002
Out-of-state
$14,346
Retention Rate
72%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
31,940
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

Mississippi College

  • Clinton, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $713

Out-of-State | $713

Credits to Graduate: 30

MC's online MBA in accounting prepares students to understand accounting in a global environment. Enrollees take 15 credits in business and 15 in accounting, usually finishing in two years. Courses include quantitative analysis, accounting theory, and federal tax accounting. MC's courses meet CPA licensure requirements. 

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with either a GPA of 3.0 or above, 3-5 years of professional experience, or acceptable GMAT scores. Ideally, applicants hold 30 credits in general and accounting foundation courses. Prospective students who do not meet this criterion may need to take leveling courses. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$18,900
Out-of-state
$18,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,060
Out-of-state
$12,060
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
4,250
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

National University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $442

Out-of-State | $442

Credits to Graduate: 45

NU's master of accountancy prepares students to work in auditing or in public, corporate, or nonprofit accounting. Courses include cost accounting, accounting ethics, data analytics, and taxation of businesses and other entities. Each course lasts four weeks.

The exact curricular requirements vary slightly between students who have an undergraduate accounting degree and students with other academic backgrounds.

NU maintains a rolling, year-round admissions process. New students can begin their program the month after they are accepted.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
100%
Acceptance Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
17,135
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#10 Best Master’s in Accounting Online 2024

Truman State University

  • Kirksville, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $541

Out-of-State | $541

Credits to Graduate: 30

The Truman State University master of accountancy program has a high CPA Exam pass rate in part because of the in-depth preparation the program offers students for the test. The program offers tracks in both taxation and auditing, as well as core classes that cover data science, commercial law, and advanced accounting topics.

With a typical cohort size of about 30 students, program graduates have landed jobs at high-power employers like Boeing, Deloitte, and Federal Reserve Banks. 

Program requirements include a 3.0 GPA or higher in applicants' last 60 credit hours of bachelor’s degree coursework and GMAT scores at or above the 50th percentile if students didn’t attend Truman State for accounting or business administration.  

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,365
Out-of-state
$16,086
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$9,600
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
4,225
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

The link below explains the criteria we evaluated in generating the ranking:

What to Expect From an Online Master's in Accounting Program

Accredited on-campus and online master's in accounting programs develop well-rounded, advanced knowledge of business analysis, tax planning, and financial reporting, among other subjects. Despite the different delivery methods, these degrees often share the same curriculum and faculty.

Employers generally hold online and on-campus degrees in the same regard — most of the time, your diploma will not specify the course delivery method. However, there are still key differences between in-person and distance learning, and even among online programs.

How Does an Online Master's Differ From On Campus?

Though on-campus master's degrees are intensive, advanced education programs, online degrees can be more challenging. You need to stay on top of your own scheduling, assignments, lectures, and message board posts with little oversight, requiring strong organization and time management skills. However, some students thrive in this added flexibility.

Master's in accounting programs, including MBAs with accounting concentrations, offer many opportunities to network with prospective employers and other professionals. These face-to-face interactions are much more common during on-campus programs — after all, it's easier to catch someone's attention with eye contact and direct conversation than through email.

Still, online learners receive plenty of opportunities for networking and conferencing, just from a distance. They just may need to take additional steps to remain motivated and meet their business needs.

Comparing Online and On-Campus Master's in Accounting Degrees
Factor Online Program On-Campus Program
Total Tuition Cost $11,000-$140,000 $22,000-$160,000
Course Load 30-48 credits 30-48 credits
Program Length 1-2 years, depending on standard/accelerated pacing 1-2 years, depending on standard/accelerated pacing
Career Services Virtual mock interviews, employer/alumni network access, resume critiques Career counseling, networking opportunities, interview prep, internship placements
Sources: curriculums from multiple master's programs

Generally, there's parity among on-campus and online master's in accounting programs. Tuition costs vary significantly based on several factors, meaning both online and in-person learning can vary from affordable to significantly expensive.

The primary difference among distance programs and on-campus degrees lies in how the programs deliver their services. For example, while master's students can receive various forms of career support, they may receive guidance over video conferencing rather than face-to-face communication.

Many master's programs maintain employer networks. It is possible schools that partner with local businesses may be less likely to accommodate distance learners with internship placements, requiring them to independently secure local connections with businesses.

Delivery Formats for Online Master's

Master's in accounting programs typically occur completely in person or online. Some schools even offer both learning models so students can choose the most convenient one.

Some universities include a hybrid format, which combines on-campus and online learning. Often the campus requirement is an orientation or a practicum.

The 100% online programs also provide scheduling flexibility for working adults — especially those who do not live near the school. Students can attend asynchronous or synchronous classes from anywhere:

Enrollees study independently. While they must still meet assignment deadlines and discussion requirements, learners complete the work on their own schedules. Students must attend live lectures, virtual discussions, and/or meetings at a specific time. They still complete assignments independently.

Most online master's in accounting programs occur asynchronously. Some schools let learners stream live lectures or watch the recordings later. Note that some programs may include both asynchronous and synchronous classes.

Accreditation for Master's in Accounting Online

Online colleges need both state authorization and accreditation. State authorization means a school located in one state has the authority to remotely teach students in other states. Accreditation is a private, voluntary process through which schools demonstrate they meet minimum educational standards.

Accountants should choose accredited schools because these institutions offer the highest quality academic programs. They also provide unmatched access to financial aid packages and marketplace opportunities. For example, becoming a CPA requires at least 150 credits from an accredited school.

Accreditation can be institutional or programmatic. Institutional accreditors review and accredit an entire institution. Regional accrediting agencies, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education, are the gold standard for institutional accreditors. Other institutional accreditors, like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, are considered national accreditors.

Programmatic accreditation means a single major or department has a specialized agency's stamp of approval. Accounting departments may hold program accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Institutional accreditation is imperative when choosing an online school, but programmatic accreditation may be less critical. Check with your state's accounting board about their requirements.

How Much Will an Online Accounting Master's Cost?

The cost of online master's in accounting programs varies greatly. Students can generally expect to pay $400-$1,700/credit. Cost is often dependent on school prestige.

Beyond prestige, the total program price depends on the amount of required credits. For example, a 30-credit accounting program at $385/credit could cost around $11,500 to complete online, but that same cost per credit turns into a total of $18,480 if the program is 48 credits.

Online tuition rates are comparable to on-campus tuition rates — but for in-state students. Out-of-state learners at public schools should expect to pay more for in-person learning.

Getting a master's in accounting online can reduce tuition costs for out-of-state learners and in-state learners alike. For example, online degree-seekers typically do not need to pay for on-campus housing, meals, transportation, or parking. Schools may also remove certain activity fees for these students.

Regardless of the learning format you choose, you'll likely have to pay some additional fees, however, including for graduation, technology, and books.

Online students can take advantage of financial aid options to help them cover these costs. They can apply for federal grants and loans with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many organizations and schools also offer graduate scholarships and fellowship opportunities.

Why Get Your Master's in Accounting Online?

Getting your master's in accounting online can be worth it, especially for students looking for flexibility. However, applicants should consider potential drawbacks, like limited networking opportunities.

Explore the pros and cons of an online master's in accounting below.

Pros


  • Lower Costs

    Completing a master's in accounting online typically costs less than studying on campus — especially for out-of-state learners. Many schools charge a flat rate for all online students, regardless of state residency. Online learning can also eliminate travel costs and additional school fees.
  • Flexible Timeline

    Most online programs work around students' schedules and offer a flexible semester course load. For example, master's in accounting enrollees may be able to take just one class per session and finish in a few years or tackle many courses simultaneously to finish within a year.
  • Opportunity to Work While Studying

    Online master's degree programs generally cater to working professionals who want to advance their careers while maintaining their current jobs. Asynchronous classes let enrollees study independently to still gain critical hands-on accounting experience while pursuing a master's.

Cons


  • Potentially Longer Timeline

    Although an online master's in accounting program offers increased scheduling flexibility, it can also lengthen the degree completion time. Learners might spend a year or two more studying, which can delay getting their CPA certification and access to higher-paying jobs.
  • Fewer Networking Opportunities

    Online master's in accounting programs often integrate networking opportunities via virtual events or internship requirements. While helpful, these do not offer quite the same experience as in-person learning, which provides daily opportunities to connect face-to-face with other students, faculty, and even recruiters.
  • No Bridge Program

    Bridge programs — also called 4+1 or 3+1 programs — allow students to complete both a bachelor's and a master's degree in a shorter timeframe. These work particularly well for accounting students who want to quickly fulfill the 150-credit requirement for the CPA exam. However, schools typically only offer these programs on campus. Online master's programs generally cater to professionals with an undergraduate degree.

Questions About Online Graduate Programs in Accounting

How long does it take to get a master's degree in accounting online?

Online master's degrees in accounting typically have more flexible schedules than on-campus programs. Students can usually complete the program in 1-5 years, depending on semester course load, credit requirements, and prior experience.

Yes, an online master's in accounting can be worth it for students pursuing an accounting career. Just like an on-campus program, online accounting degrees offer rigorous courses and can help students prepare for the CPA exam.

Both. Many students use a master's in accounting to prepare for the CPA exam since the 30+ credits help them meet the 150-credit requirement. Having both credentials can also help graduates land jobs.

It depends on each student's professional interests and goals. An MBA -- even with an emphasis in accounting -- offers a broader look at business and managerial topics. A master's in accounting immerses students in accounting and can help them complete the credit requirements for the CPA exam.

The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accounting.com. Page last reviewed Feb. 22, 2024.

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