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A master's degree in accounting can mean a salary boost and more career opportunities. CPAs need 150 credit hours to earn their license, and graduate-level coursework can lead to management roles.
Today, many business schools offer accounting master's programs online. The flexible format appeals to busy learners and working professionals. However, for many prospective students, the GMAT is a barrier to grad school.
Taking the GMAT means hours of studying and $300 to take the test — and that's before factoring in exam prep materials. It's easy to see why some applicants would prefer not to take the GMAT.
Here's the good news: A growing number of business schools do not require the GMAT for online master's in accounting programs. And many offer GMAT waivers for qualifying applicants.
Ready to learn more about how to earn an online master's in accounting with no GMAT requirement? Keep reading.
What Is the GMAT?
The GMAT dates back to the 1950s, when business schools developed the test to evaluate applicants. Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the test requires a substantial investment of time and money.
What does the GMAT measure? It evaluates problem-solving, critical reasoning, and analytical writing skills. Test-takers also use logic and reasoning abilities to answer questions. According to GMAC, the test assesses skills required to succeed in business school and in management careers.
The GMAT contains four sections:
Analytical Writing Assessment
Test-takers have around 3.5 hours to complete the four sections in any order, including two optional eight-minute breaks.
Your GMAT score combines the quantitative and verbal scores, with a range of 200-800. Test takers also receive separate scores between 1 and 8 for integrated reasoning and between 0 and 6 for analytical writing.
The most competitive business schools report average GMAT scores of over 700.
Many test-takers spend weeks or months studying for the GMAT. Expensive exam prep courses can add to the cost of applying to business school. While you can retake the GMAT, business schools will see all of your scores. As a result, some applicants may prefer programs that do not require the GMAT.
Why Do Business Schools Waive or Not Require the GMAT?
Standardized test scores provide limited information about applicants. And tests like the GMAT can be a barrier for many students who lack the time or financial resources to prepare for the exam.
Rather than using the GMAT, many schools use a holistic review process that looks at academic qualifications, professional experience, and other factors. These alternatives to the GMAT can even exceed the test on predicting which students will succeed in an accounting master's program.
Offering alternatives to the GMAT helps business schools and applicants, since test scores can distort the records of strong applicants.
Admission Requirements in Place of GMAT Scores
What's the best way to find an online master's in accounting with no GMAT requirement? Check the admission requirements for each program on your list. While some are test optional, others only waive the GMAT requirement under specific circumstances, such as a high GPA or a graduate degree.
Instead of using GMAT scores, these programs consider other factors, such as:
Specialized coursework, a high GPA, and academic accomplishments demonstrate to programs that you'll succeed in grad school. Many business schools also waive the GMAT if you have a master's degree in another field. Highlight your academic qualifications to improve your odds of an acceptance letter.
Many business schools waive the GMAT for applicants with several years of work experience. That's because the GMAT measures skills required to succeed in the workforce. If you already have a strong professional record, that can stand in for GMAT scores.
Most master's programs require essays or personal statements. You can speak to your strengths and qualifications in the written materials. Accounting programs want to understand your preparation and goals. In particular, customize the personal statement to explain why the program matches your interests and goals.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters that speak to your academic and professional record can show that you're prepared for a master's-level coursework in accounting. Programs use letters of recommendation to evaluate whether you'll succeed. These letters can speak to specific skills, like analytical abilities or problem-solving, that the GMAT also measures.
Many business schools accept GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores. If you've taken the GRE within the past five years, you may be able to use those scores instead of taking the GMAT. Contact accounting programs to ask about their testing requirements.
3 MS Programs in Accounting Online With No GMAT
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Public University
- $1,446 per credit hour
- Acceptance Rate: 58%
UNC-Chapel Hill offers an online master's in accounting with no GMAT requirement through the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Credits: 36-48
- Program length: 12-36 months
Gain advanced accounting and leadership skills in the online master's in accounting program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The curriculum covers topics like financial reporting, managerial accounting, and auditing. You'll also study data analytics for accountants.
UNC-Chapel Hill offers three concentrations: taxation, auditing, or financial analysis and reporting. Each offers specialized courses to prepare graduates for focused career paths. Students can also create a customized concentration.
The program offers four start dates each year and admits students regardless of undergraduate major. Current students report an average undergraduate GPA of 3.38.
Applying to UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC-Chapel Hill evaluates applicants based on their transcripts, two letters of recommendation, essays, and resume. GMAT scores are optional, with no requirement to apply to the program. The program also conducts finalist interviews.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Camden Campus
- Public University
- $1,248 per credit
- Acceptance Rate: N/A
From the Camden School of Business at Rutgers University, you can earn an MS in accounting online with no GMAT.
Rutgers University – Camden School of Business
- Credits: 30
- Program length: as little as 12 months
The online accountancy master's program at Rutgers offers two tracks. Those with a bachelor's in accounting or substantial coursework take advanced classes, including flexible course options. Those without an accounting background take core accounting classes followed by electives. Both tracks prepare graduates for the CPA exam.
Rutgers offers fall, spring, and summer start dates for its fully online program. You can also enroll in the program part time. The program allows up to six transfer credits for prior graduate-level work.
Applying to Rutgers-Camden
Rutgers evaluates applicants based on their transcripts, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement describing why they're applying to the program. Rutgers does not require GMAT or GRE scores.
- Private University
- $1,872 per credit
- Acceptance Rate: 88%
Syracuse University offers an online master's in accounting with no GMAT requirement through the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.
Martin J. Whitman School of Management
- Credits: 30-48 credits
- Program length: 12-24 months
In as little as 12 months, you can earn a master's in accounting online at Syracuse. Those with no accounting experience can graduate in under two years.
The program emphasizes business strategy, financial statement analysis, auditing, and data analytics. Graduates leave the program with strong analytical and research skills, along with the ability to think strategically about the role of accounting in business.
Syracuse offers networking and career services. Accounting students receive personalized career services support and coaching. They also connect with a network of students, faculty, and alumni for mentoring opportunities.
Applying to Syracuse
Syracuse evaluates applicants based on their transcripts, resume, two personal essays, and two letters of recommendation. The program does not require work experience.
Applicants can receive a GMAT waiver with at least five years of relevant work experience or a minimum GPA of 3.0. The application process also includes an interview.
Questions About No-GMAT Online Accounting Programs
Do you need to take the GMAT for a master's in accounting?
No, you can apply to online master's in accounting programs without submitting GMAT scores. A growing number of schools do not require the GMAT or offer GMAT waivers for qualifying students. Contact programs to learn more about their admission requirements.
Are master's programs that do not require the GMAT good?
Yes, many top-ranked master's programs no longer require the GMAT for admissions. During the pandemic, many business schools waived the GMAT requirement, and some well-regarded programs continue to offer test-optional admissions.
What GPA should I have if I am not taking the GMAT?
At some business schools, you can qualify for a GMAT waiver based on your GPA. For example, some programs waive the GMAT for applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you're not submitting GMAT scores, it's a good idea to strengthen your application with a high GPA, strong letters of recommendation, or professional experience.
Are there accounting master's specializations that do not require the GMAT?
Yes, many accounting master's programs do not require the GMAT for admission. These schools fall into several categories. Some are test-optional, meaning the GMAT is voluntary. Others accept either the GMAT or GRE. Some waive the GMAT for candidates who meet GPA or work experience requirements. Others do not consider GMAT scores in admissions.
Page last reviewed Aug. 9, 2023
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