Best Master’s in Accounting Programs 2022
| Doug Wintemute Updated on June 14, 2022
Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?
Good accounting programs at the master's level can boost job opportunities and salary potential. Master's in accounting programs teach practical accounting and financial skills. These programs build on bachelor's degree concepts.
According to 2019 data from the United States Census Bureau, the number of master's degree-holders 25 and older has doubled since 2000.
Additionally, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reports more than 11,400 master's in accounting graduates were hired into accounting firms in 2018. Of those new hires, graduates with an auditing specialization were the most employed.
Continue reading to explore the best master's in accounting programs to consider. Learn more about available concentrations, associated costs, and what to expect from this advanced degree.
What to Expect From an Accounting Master's Degree
The best accounting schools help graduate students develop into accounting specialists. Master's in accounting programs give learners expertise to respond to challenges within varied industries. These programs often take 1-2 years to complete and feature between 30-45 credits.
Accounting master's programs vary in their type, structure, and delivery. They may run online with asynchronous or synchronous classes or in on-campus or hybrid formats.
The training includes advanced accounting theory, extensive practical experiences, and specialized studies, such as taxation and management accounting.
Many good accounting programs help prepare students for postgraduate credentials as well, such as the certified public accountant (CPA). The degree may also lead graduates to a doctoral program in accounting or a related field. To qualify for a doctoral program or any transfer credits, students must attend an accredited school.
Top Online Master's
Most of the best master's in accounting schools seek applicants with a bachelor's degree. Although majoring in accounting is not always required, it could help you skip prerequisite coursework.
Candidates should submit their transcripts, test scores, essay, and application fee with the application. Schools may request at least two references and a resume.
While many programs do not require relevant work experience, students can make their applications stand out by including relevant experience on their resumes.
Popular Accounting Graduate Courses
Master’s in accounting programs provide a strong foundation in the field. A typical curriculum consists of core courses, like advanced financial accounting, accounting ethics, auditing theory, and taxation of business entities. Core courses can help prepare learners for the CPA exam.
Many programs also require students to complete elective classes focused on specific areas of accounting. Some examples of accounting master’s courses include:
Advanced Cost Accounting: This course explores cost-benefit analysis and other strategies used in economic decision-making. Students learn about budgeting, linear programming, management control systems, and cost-volume profit analysis. Learners also gain practical cost accounting skills. Advanced Financial Reporting: A course in advanced financial reporting teaches learners accounting analysis, ratio and cash flow analysis, and forecasting and valuation analysis. Students also learn to prepare projected financial statements in light of forecasted changes in exchange rates, interest rates, and commodity prices. Accounting Information Systems: Students build practical experience using database management techniques. They learn how IT relates to accounting and auditing, and how to model business systems and processes. The class looks at manipulating and communicating financial information. Forensic Accounting: This class provides an overview of forensic accounting and fraud detection. Students explore topics like internal control methodology, financial statement misrepresentation, rules of evidence relating to fraud, and interview techniques. They learn a variety of fraud examination techniques and explore illegal activities like money laundering, embezzlement, and wagering. Project Management: In project management, students learn to plan, control, and schedule projects. The class explores topics like project management leadership strategies, factors leading to cost and time overruns, and organization and risk management. Government Accounting: This class prepares students to perform accounting tasks for governmental and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum contrasts governmental accounting with accounting for for-profit businesses. Learners explore topics like budgetary accounts, fund accounting, and governmental financial reporting. Business Law: Enrollees in this course learn to navigate general principles of business law and regulations governing intellectual property, contracts, sales, and torts. Students also learn how the state and federal legal systems apply to corporations. Managerial Strategy and Analysis: This course teaches enrollees how to formulate realistic business objectives, develop and implement corporate strategies, and advise top executives through adverse financial circumstances. One of the key strategic tools in this course is the SWOT analysis, which provides a holistic overview of a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Capstone Seminar in Accounting: This seminar integrates knowledge acquired throughout the program in financial, cost and managerial accounting, general ledger, computer techniques, and business ethics. Degree-seekers complete a practical team-based project addressing an authentic or simulated issue in corporate or public accounting.
How Much Do Master's in Accounting Programs Cost?
The average master's in accounting programs require between 30-36 credits with per-credit tuition costing $500-$2,000.However, online, in-state, and out-of-state tuition rates vary, with out-of-state residents often paying the most. A school's prestige and public or private status may also influence costs.
Prospective students should also consider additional fees, like registration, application, and technology fees. Schools do not always add these extra costs into their tuition rates.
Exploring financial options for pursuing a master's degree can lessen the cost. Browsing affordable master's degree programs is a good way to begin your search.
The average master's in accounting programs require between 30-36 credits with per-credit tuition costing $500-$2,000.
Grants and scholarships are free awards that help reduce tuition costs. While you need to pay back loans after graduating, they can make it easier to afford school. Accounting fellowships and internships could also help you earn tuition money.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships to fund your master's degree from the best accounting schools.
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Selecting Good Accounting Programs
Choosing the right accounting program can set you on the path toward reaching your goals. Consider the following factors in your search for the best master's in accounting program:
School Prestige: Schools with an excellent reputation and accreditation can offer more credibility on your resume. Many employers look for candidates with a well-rounded education from a prestigious school. Accreditation can also assist with credit transfers, should you decide to pursue further education. Program Details: Master's programs vary in length, delivery method, student-to-teacher ratio, and other key factors that could influence your decision. Speak with an advisor to determine if the program offers the curriculum, culture, and learning opportunities you expect. Admissions: Some programs are more selective and have more admission requirements than others. Explore a program's admissions process and acceptance rate to gauge competitiveness. Cost: A master's degree creates additional costs that could take time to recover. Decide whether a program's tuition, fees, and other associated costs fit within your budget. You should also research the financial aid opportunities the college offers to students. Concentrations: While some master's programs focus on general accounting, others offer concentrations, like taxation or government accounting. Consider a program that specializes in a topic that aligns with your career goals.
The Best Master’s in Accounting Schools of 2022
Common Questions About Accounting Master's Degrees
Is an MAcc the same as an MS in accounting?
An MAcc and MS in accounting can have slight differences depending on the school. An MAcc program may approach the discipline more broadly and explore the major practical applications of accounting. An MS may take a more analytical approach.
How long does it take to get a master's in accounting?
Students can often complete their accounting master's programs in 1-2 years. Program length depends on the student's course load, study schedule, course availability, and study format. Students with transfer credits or access to accelerated programs can finish more quickly.
How much does an accounting master's program cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual tuition and required fees in graduate schools in 2019-20 were $12,410 in public schools and $26,597 in private schools.
Can you get an accounting master's degree online?
Yes. Many of the best accounting schools offer online accounting master's programs. The flexibility of online training makes these programs more accessible for working accountants looking to advance their careers and credentials.
What's the difference between an accounting master's and certification?
An accounting master's program provides advanced graduate-level training in the discipline. An accounting certification tests and acknowledges a professional's expertise in that specific certified field. For instance, professionals can use a master's education to qualify for the CPA certification exam.
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