Best Forensic Accounting Online Master's Programs 2023

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Updated January 19, 2023

The best forensic accounting online programs help students learn the skills necessary for careers in finance. Explore the top schools for a master's in forensic accounting.

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A master's in forensic accounting can prepare students for careers in accounting and general business. These occupations are fast-growing: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 136,400 annual job openings for accountants and auditors between 2021 and 2031.

The forensic accounting field uses accounting techniques and methods to investigate financial crimes and fraud. Forensic accounting online master's programs cover the fundamentals of advanced accounting, focusing on fraud examination, digital forensics, and investigative techniques.

Pursuing a specialized area of accounting can lead to higher wages and better employment opportunities. Earning a forensic accounting degree online instead of through an on-campus program may offer benefits like flexibility, convenience, and affordability.

Use our guide to learn more about the best forensic accounting online programs of 2023 and why you should consider pursuing this degree. We discuss common features of master's forensic accounting programs, differences between online and in-person degrees, and average costs.

School At a Glance By the Numbers

1. Utica College | Utica, New York

  • Online master of science in forensic accounting
  • 30 credits
  • 2 years
    • Tuition: $775/credit
    • Acceptance Rate: 86%
    • Graduation Rate: 51%

2. University of Scranton | Scranton, Pennsylvania

  • Master of accountancy in forensic accounting
  • 30 credits
  • 1-2 years
    • Tuition: $895/credit
    • Acceptance Rate: 79%
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

3. Carlow University | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Online master's in forensic accounting and fraud investigation
  • 30 credits
  • 14 months
    • Tuition: $800/credit
    • Acceptance Rate: 94%
    • Graduation Rate: 54%

4. Stevenson University | Stevenson, Maryland

  • Master of science in forensic accounting
  • 36 credits
  • 2 years
    • Tuition: $695/credit
    • Acceptance Rate: 89%
    • Graduation Rate: 58%

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

On-campus and online master's in forensic accounting degrees usually cover the same academic material, feature instruction from the same teachers, and prepare students for the same job opportunities. However, online programs typically offer greater flexibility and convenience, allowing enrollees to complete coursework around their work and family obligations.

Below, we detail how an online forensic accounting master's can differ from an on-campus program.

How Does an Online Forensic Accounting Master's Differ From An On-Campus Master?

Although the curriculum, program requirements, and instructors are usually the same for online and in-person master's in forensic accountingprograms, key differences separate the two formats.

Some schools offer accelerated online master's degrees, which let learners take more credits simultaneously to graduate on a faster timeline. Online and on-campus programs typically take 1-2 years of full-time study, requiring 30-36 credits.

Comparing Online and On-Campus Master's in Forensic Accounting Degrees
Factor Online Program On-Campus Program

Potential Cost

$627-$850 per credit

$609-$1,101 per credit

Course Load

30-36 credits

30-36 credits

Program Length

1-2 years full time

1-2 years full time

Potential Admission Requirements

Bachelor's degree, accounting prerequisite courses, minimum 2.7-3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, resume, statement of goals, transcripts

Bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, accounting prerequisite courses, minimum 3.0 GPA, GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, resume, statement of goals, transcripts

Accreditation

Varies by program

Varies by program

Sources: Norwich University, West Virginia University, Southern New Hampshire University, University of Albany, Webster University

Although admission criteria are similar for in-person and online forensic accounting master's degrees, applicants may encounter less stringent admission requirements for distance learning programs.

Choosing an online master of forensic accounting degree does not necessarily mean missing out on hands-on learning or opportunities to create community: Online programs often help students find in-person internships in their local communities. Some schools organize in-person networking and hiring events for online learners.

Delivery Formats for Online Forensic Accounting Degrees

Schools offer forensic accounting master's degrees in fully online and hybrid formats. A hybrid degree combines online and in-person requirements — these programs often suit students who live near the schools they attend. Hybrid programs are ideal for anyone who wants the convenience of learning online and the benefits of face-to-face interaction.

Many fully online programs use asynchronous learning, where students complete coursework without set class times. Typically, these courses also maintain more flexible deadlines. Other programs offer synchronous learning, requiring learners to meet in real-time virtual classrooms.

A fully online asynchronous program offers the greatest flexibility. However, a fully or partly synchronous online program can benefit students who prefer traditional classroom structures to help them stay on task and manage their time effectively.

Many online programs offer a combination of synchronous and asynchronous coursework. For example, students may watch prerecorded lectures on their own time while scheduling virtual meetings to complete group work with classmates.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Forensic Accounting

Students can find the best forensic accounting online programs at accredited universities. Institutional accreditation means that a school regularly goes through a third-party process of evaluation that investigates whether it meets standards of educational rigor.

Attending an accredited college is a good way to ensure you receive a quality education. Earning your degree from an accredited institution can also make it easier to qualify for financial aid or transfer credit to another school.

Many master's in forensic accounting programs also hold programmatic accreditation. This process examines specific departments and degrees to evaluate whether the curriculum prepares learners for careers in the field.

Numerous states require students to hold accredited degrees to qualify for the certified public accountant exam. Accounting programs receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, AACSB International, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

When choosing an online school, look for accreditation agencies that the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes. Make sure any online colleges you consider also have state authorization to teach students remotely in other states.

How Much Will an Online Forensic Accounting Master's Cost?

The cost of an online master of forensic accounting degree varies by school. Factors that can affect price include type of college (public or private), school prestige, and state residency. Public schools usually offer less expensive tuition than private institutions. In-state students pay less tuition to attend public institutions than out-of-state learners.

Some online programs at public schools allow all enrollees, regardless of their state residency, to pay in-state tuition rates. Other schools offer special tuition rates specifically for online learners. These options can help students find more affordable online forensic accounting master's degrees.

Online learners may incur some costs that in-person students do not. This may include technology fees, the cost of new computers and other equipment, or required digital subscriptions. However, online students avoid some of the costs of in-person programs. For example, they do not pay commuting expenses or campus room and board.

Financing options for an online master's in forensic accounting include financial aid, fellowships, scholarships, grants, and student loans.

Why Get Your Master of Forensic Accounting Online?

Getting your master of forensic accounting degree online offers many benefits, but some students may still prefer a traditional on-campus education. Explore some pros and cons regarding the best forensic accounting online programs.

Pros

  • Flexibility: Whether synchronous or asynchronous, online forensic accounting degrees tend to offer more flexibility than their on-campus counterparts.
  • Affordability: Online students can avoid some costs that on-campus students incur, including commuting, parking fees, and on-campus room and board. Students who want to earn a degree at an out-of-state school may benefit from flat online tuition rates that do not distinguish between residents and nonresidents.
  • No Geographic Constraints: Choosing an online forensic accounting master's program means that you do not need to limit your options to schoolsin proximity to you. Online learners can attend schools in other states without moving.

Cons

  • Less Face-to-Face Interaction: Online students may find it more difficult to develop relationships with classmates and instructors without in-person class sessions.
  • Requires More Discipline and Self-Motivation: Because online programs offer greater freedom, they also require students to motivate themselves and practice effective time management on their own.
  • Potentially Fewer Student Resources: Online learners may not have access to the full extent of resources and services available to students on campus.

Best Online Master of Forensic Accounting Programs

We researched online master's programs in forensic accounting from across the country and ranked the results based on our methodology below. Discover why the four online forensic accounting graduate programs below ranked highest in 2023.

#1 Best Forensic Accounting Online Master’s Programs 2023

Utica College

  • Utica, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1946, UC boasts an alumni network of 29,000 students. The school enrolls more than 5,000 students in over 40 undergraduate and nearly 30 graduate programs.

Online Master of Science in Forensic Accounting

The online MS in forensic accounting from UC teaches students to identify, analyze, and prevent illegal financial activity. The program features forensic training throughout, including classes in fraud management, auditing, and financial investigations. Coursework prepares graduates for CPA licensure and certified anti-money laundering specialist certification. 

UC also partners with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists and provides students with free memberships. Graduates receive discounted costs for their membership and examinations, as well. The online program features part-time study options and no on-campus requirements.

Applying to UC

Each applicant needs a bachelor's in accounting with a minimum 2.7 GPA, along with a letter of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume. Candidates with bachelor's degrees in other disciplines need the appropriate prerequisites in accounting, business, economics, statistics, and finance. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $775
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$21,560
Out-of-state
$21,560
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
4,613
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Forensic Accounting Online Master’s Programs 2023

University of Scranton

  • Scranton, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Scranton, a Catholic and Jesuit institution founded in 1888, now enrolls more than 4,500 students in over 100 programs. The Pennsylvania school has more than 56,000 alumni worldwide. 

Master of Accountancy in Forensic Accounting

At Scranton, the MAcc program features core courses in financial and managerial accounting, plus an applied accounting research capstone project. Students can then choose forensic accounting specializations with courses in occupational fraud, fraud reporting, and advanced auditing. Enrollees may also consider accounting analytics specializations or general electives. 

The forensic accounting specialization prepares graduates for CPA licensure and certified fraud examiner certification. Accounting students enjoy access to CPA prep courses and materials, mentorship and advice from Scranton's alumni, and school partnerships with the Big Four accounting firms. Scranton does not require any campus visits and offers six annual start dates. 

Applying to Scranton

Each candidate must submit transcripts demonstrating completion of a bachelor's in accounting with a minimum 3.0 GPA, plus a personal statement, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. Candidates with bachelor's degrees in other disciplines may take accounting bridge courses to qualify.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $895/credit
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Program Length: 1-2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$46,684
Out-of-state
$46,684
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
4,957
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Forensic Accounting Online Master’s Programs 2023

Carlow University

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

In 1929, the Sisters of Mercy founded Carlow. Those Catholic roots still shine through in how the school services its 2,000 students in over 25 programs. 

Online Master's in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation

Carlow has an online MS in forensic accounting and fraud investigation, which features core courses in white-collar crime, anti-money laundering, and cybercrime. An enrollee can take an optional cyberthreat research and analytics track with two additional courses. Online learners can complete the program entirely online with full-time or part-time schedules. 

Carlow's accelerated program qualifies and prepares graduates for the CPA exam and the certified fraud examiner exam. The school also maintains partnerships with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance (NCFTA). Students can also pursue a residency with the NCFTA. 

Applying to Carlow

For admission, each applicant needs a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit a personal essay and a resume. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Tuition: $800
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Program Length: 14 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$30,542
Out-of-state
$30,542
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
1,976
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Best Forensic Accounting Online Master’s Programs 2023

Stevenson University

  • Stevenson, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Stevenson was founded in 1947 and now enrolls nearly 3,500 students. The school offers more than 90 programs, including nearly 30 online options. 

Master of Science in Forensic Accounting

Stevenson University's MS in forensic accounting features courses in tax investigation and analysis, business intelligence, and litigation theory and practice. Each enrollee completes a forensic studies capstone project, as well. Stevenson also offers a forensic accounting graduate certificate. 

The flexible program runs entirely online with no campus requirements. As a member of the FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA) Academic Alliance, Stevenson offers discounted tuition rates for FBINAA members. Forensic accounting graduates also benefit from the school's career support resources, including networking events and professional development workshops. 

Applying to Stevenson

Each applicant must possess a bachelor's in accounting with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a personal statement. Candidates with relevant work experience or advanced accounting coursework may qualify. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $695
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$35,204
Out-of-state
$35,204
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
3,492
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Questions About Online Forensic Accounting Master's Degrees

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

The time it takes to earn a master's in forensic accounting online varies by school. Factors that can impact how long it takes to graduate include program requirements, whether you attend part time or full time, and if you transfer previous credits into the program.

How much is an online master of forensic accounting degree?

The cost of an online master of forensic accounting varies by program. The most affordable options are often found at public institutions that charge in-state tuition rates.

Is a master's in forensic accounting worth it?

Graduates from the best forensic accounting online programs can apply for finance and business jobs, many of which offer higher-than-average salaries. For example, Payscale reports forensic accountants earn an average annual salary of $71,320 as of January 2023.

Is forensic accounting hard?

Because forensic accounting is a specialized, advanced aspect of accounting, it can pose challenges for students. However, learners whose skills help them excel in accounting and other math-related fields may find this field rewarding.

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