Best Master's in Taxation Degrees 2024

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Updated June 4, 2024

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A master's degree in taxation can set you up for success as a tax director, consultant, or chief financial officer. Use our guide to explore the top master's in taxation degrees.

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A master's in taxation can prepare you for an exciting career in strategic tax planning, corporate tax management, or international taxation consulting. This 30-plus-credit degree takes 1-2 years to complete. As a taxation student, you may take courses in tax accounting, tax procedure, and tax law.

Unlike a broad-based master's in accounting, a taxation degree can put you on a specialized career path managing government or corporate tax offices. According to Payscale data accessed in June of 2024, professionals with a master's in taxation earn an average annual base salary of $96,000.

More and more professionals are earning master's degrees, and according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), business is their top choice. If you want to join the almost 200,000 people who receive a master's degree each year, explore this guide to learn about taxation degrees and see a ranking of top programs in the field.

Best Master's in Taxation Programs

#1 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

Baruch College

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $470
Out-of-State | $855

Credits to Graduate: 31.5-34.5

Baruch's MS in taxation features a well-rounded core covering personal and corporate taxes, tax procedures, and estate planning. Electives offer degree personalization opportunities in real estate, corporate taxation, and international tax policy. You can also pursue a financial planning concentration.

You do not need a background in business, accounting, or taxation to qualify for entry. Baruch also offers scheduling flexibility, allowing you to move seamlessly between part-time and full-time enrollment. You can graduate in 1-2 years, even if you choose the part-time option.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,090
Out-of-state
$20,520
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
19,969
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

California State University, Fullerton

  • Fullerton, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $878
Out-of-State | $1,274

Credits to Graduate: 30-36

CSUF's MS in taxation features dual AACSB accreditation and welcomes students of all educational backgrounds. AACSB endorsements cover the program's accounting and business components, which deliver a thorough taxation education emphasizing ethics. The program builds toward an immersive capstone experience, which comprises an intensive original research project.

Though CSUF's admissions policies are competitive, you do not need to provide GMAT/GRE scores. The university recommends that you submit them if you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or lower.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
40,738
Institution Type
Public
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

#3 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

University of Washington

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Program Cost:
In-State | $26,472
Out-of-State | $29,187

Credits to Graduate: 51 quarter credits

UW's MS in taxation program is the oldest graduate program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The curriculum combines intensive practical training with leadership development and a technological sub-focus. Its accelerated structure leads to graduation in just nine months. Coursework is project-based and covers individual and corporate taxation topics.

Thanks to an emphasis on career-focused skills and knowledge development, the program reports a 100% job placement rate. Students can also apply credits toward the academic requirements for Washington state's CPA exam.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,927
Out-of-state
$38,757
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,605
Out-of-state
$29,763
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
52,434
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $2,244
Out-of-State | $2,244

Credits to Graduate: 30-45

USC's master of business in taxation features a dual emphasis on tax policy and applied analytical skills. The STEM-certified program embraces cutting-edge financial technology to build versatile skills for various career paths.

Students without bachelor's degrees in accounting complete an intensive sequence of summer courses before joining their cohorts in the fall. The program's 15-unit core covers taxation theory, corporate and international taxation, and tax data analytics. Electives round out your knowledge base by blending taxation coursework with general business classes.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$60,446
Out-of-state
$60,446
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$60,446
Out-of-state
$60,446
Retention Rate
96%
Acceptance Rate
13%
Students Enrolled
49,318
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

  • San Luis Obispo, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Program Cost:
In-State | $24,795
Out-of-State (U.S. residents) | $24,795

Credits to Graduate: 45-49 quarter credits

Cal Poly's MS in taxation offers an intensive, accelerated curriculum and small, expert-led classes. Your learning begins with a special session in August before the fall quarter. In the winter, a nine-credit internship allows you to build your hands-on skills and professional network.

By following the typical timeline, you can graduate in just 10 months. Cal Poly reports a 100% job placement rate, with The Big Four public accounting firms regularly recruiting from the program.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
95%
Acceptance Rate
33%
Students Enrolled
22,231
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
74% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#6 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

DePaul University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,124
Out-of-State | $1,124

Credits to Graduate: 46 quarter credits

DePaul's MS in taxation is one of the first graduate programs of its kind in the United States. The curriculum equips established professionals with advanced knowledge of the IRS tax code, tax regulations, and relevant court rulings.

Enrollees can complete the program in person at DePaul's Chicago campus or in a synchronous online format. DePaul's flexible self-pacing options support sabbaticals during winter tax season. Full-time students can graduate in one year, while part-time learners typically earn their degrees in 2-3 years. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$41,361
Out-of-state
$41,361
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,951
Out-of-state
$17,951
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
21,670
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

University of San Diego

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

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,595
Out-of-State | $1,595

Credits to Graduate: 30-36

USD's MS in taxation features a professionally focused curriculum you can apply toward the educational requirements for California's CPA exam. Coursework covers corporate taxation, tax policies and procedures, and advanced research skills. Core classes also explore federal, state, and local individual income tax standards. 

You can also participate in a European study-abroad program focused on international taxation. USD considers applicants from non-accounting backgrounds. However, you will need to complete foundational accounting coursework before immersion in the taxation track.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$52,120
Out-of-state
$52,120
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$27,936
Out-of-state
$27,936
Retention Rate
92%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
9,041
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#8 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $2,421
Out-of-State | $2,421

Credits to Graduate: 30

UM's MS in taxation builds for career success with an advanced curriculum for learners with undergraduate degrees in accounting or finance. Upon graduation, you will possess advanced knowledge of both individual and corporate taxation suitable for careers in both the private and public sectors.

Graduates enjoy excellent outcomes. The program reports a 100% employment rate and prepares students for success on the Uniform CPA Examination. Among alumni, first-time CPA examinees had a 78% pass rate, far outperforming the national average of 55%. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$53,112
Out-of-state
$53,112
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$39,834
Out-of-state
$39,834
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
28%
Students Enrolled
19,096
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2024

California State University, Northridge

  • Northridge, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $812
Out-of-State | $812

Credits to Graduate: 30

CSUN's MS in taxation features deep coverage of advanced topics in individual and corporate taxation. Electives offer specialization opportunities in estates and trusts, international transactions, and real estate. You will build toward a culminating experience, which involves a clinic-based field placement. 

CSUN supports student success with a unique pre-program course sequence branded as the "Tax Bootcamp." This non-credit, self-paced module carries no cost and covers the fundamentals of taxation ethics and theory. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
40,108
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
95% 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 Taxation Degrees 2024

San Jose State University

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

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,571
Out-of-State | $1,571

Credits to Graduate: 30

Students in SJSU's MS in taxation focus on technical taxation skills. This program, ideal for learners with undergraduate accounting degrees or professional accounting experience, features a rigorous and specialized 18-credit core. Twelve units of tax electives offer personalization pathways.

Learning builds toward a capstone experience, during which you will complete an intensive, research-focused written project. Upon graduation, you will have developed advanced knowledge of tax compliance, tax planning, research, legal policy, and professional tax practice management.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
89%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
37,133
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Our Ranking Methodology

Accounting.com ranks the best accounting degrees using reputable sources such as the U.S. Department of Education. We build our rankings with four main metrics in mind: academics, cost, reputation, and program availability. We also consider subfactors like retention rate, federal aid amounts, and return on investment to help you find the right program for you.

This ranking is from 2024. Learn more about our process by visiting our school rankings methodology page.

Why Get a Master of Science in Taxation?

  • Become a CPA: In many states, becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) means earning 150 postsecondary credits. If you hold a bachelor's degree in accounting, a master's in taxation may be the perfect way to complete your educational requirements. CPAs can work in public accounting, corporate accounting, government offices, or nonprofit organizations.
  • Add on to a JD or MBA: If you are a lawyer or a business executive who wants to specialize in tax work, you may need to bolster your academic credentials with a master's in taxation. People who hold a JD could look at adding on an LL.M. in taxation, and people with an MBA may want to consider an accounting-focused tax degree.
  • Achieve a leadership role: If you aspire to a senior-level role, a master's degree can be a valuable tool to help you achieve your goal. While most management positions do not explicitly require a graduate degree, corporate leaders may value the skills and knowledge you have gained in a master's program.

Top Online Master's in Accounting 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 Master of Taxation Programs

A master's in taxation focuses on the key concepts and practices of tax law, analytics, and research. This program emphasizes real-world taxation procedures and strategies for individuals, corporations, and partnerships.

Most tax-related master's degree programs consist of 30-33 credits. Taking 15 credits per semester, full-time students may be able to complete their curricula in one year, while at six credits per semester, part-time students could need two years.

Courses may include tax research methodology, partnership taxation, ethics in business, or tax law and policy. Some degrees conclude with a capstone experience where students do in-depth research and analysis.

Graduate schools typically allow students to transfer only a few courses into their program. If you have master's-level credits in the discipline from an accredited school, talk to your admissions counselor about transfer options.

Degree, Concentration, and Format Options

Schools offer many variations on a taxation degree, including the MS in taxation, MAcc in taxation, MS in accounting with a taxation concentration, MBA with a taxation concentration, and LL.M. in tax law.

  • MS in Taxation: A master of science in taxation emphasizes general accounting practices and procedures but with an emphasis on U.S. tax regulations and codes. Graduates may pursue certification as a CPA or work in tax advising, tax accounting, or tax management.
  • MAcc in Taxation: Assuming an undergraduate majors in business or accounting, this degree emphasizes the technical and critical thinking skills required for a career in federal tax management.
  • MS in Accounting With Taxation Concentration: Focused on preparing students for the CPA exam, this degree emphasizes financial theory and ethics as well as tax research and tax law. Graduates may work as accountants, analysts, or consultants.
  • MBA With Taxation Concentration: A management-centered degree, the MBA in taxation blends the best of broad business knowledge with the technical aspects of taxation. Graduates are prepared to make business decisions in light of potential tax consequences.
  • LL.M. in Tax Law: Open to people who already hold a JD, the LL.M. in tax law offers expertise in the complexities of tax issues, including tax risk, tax pricing, and international tax treaties.

Some colleges offer an online master's in taxation or in a hybrid format. Online students should look at whether their program offers synchronous coursework, where the class meets together online, or asynchronous courses, where students complete their work on their own time.

Should You Get a Taxation Master's or a General Accounting Master's?

Taxation is a subsector of accounting. Consequently, degrees in these two subjects tend to overlap. However, master of taxation programs offer their own distinctive focus and prepare students for specific kinds of accounting careers. When would you want to pursue a taxation degree instead of an accounting degree?

Both programs require a bachelor's degree for admission. Both demand 1-2 years of study. And both require strong accounting and business skills. The difference is in the emphasis and the outcomes.

Do you plan to serve in a broad-based accounting leadership role, such as a corporate finance director or chief financial officer? If so, you probably want an accounting degree.

Do you plan to work as an IRS agent, tax accountant, or financial analyst? You would probably benefit from a taxation degree.

Comparing Master's in Taxation and Accounting
Key Factor Master's in Taxation Master's in Accounting
Goal Specialized knowledge in the theory and practice of taxation Broad knowledge of accounting and auditing
Admissions Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Course Load Varies Varies
Program Length 1-2 years 1-2 years
Sample Classes International taxation, taxation of partnerships, research and writing in income taxation Advanced business law, professional ethics in accounting, business risk & decision analysis in auditing
Career Opportunities Tax director, IRS agent, tax manager Auditor, accountant, CPA, financial analyst
Sources: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Colorado Boulder

Admissions Process

Each university sets its own admissions requirements and procedures, but the following requirements and prerequisites are generally expected:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • LL.M. programs generally require a JD
  • GPA of 3.0-3.25
  • GMAT minimum scores (may be waived for applicants who meet minimum GPA standards, hold a CPA license, or have a master's degree in a related field)
  • Completion of certain undergraduate courses such as intermediate accounting I and II, taxation, auditing, finance, and economics

Some schools may also require letters of reference, professional experience, or a resume as part of the application package.

Popular Taxation Graduate Courses

Each school creates its own curriculum, offering its own distinct variety of courses. Often, these courses include a core of accounting or taxation classes, a series of concentration courses in taxation, and a few electives. Many programs incorporate an internship and a final project or master's thesis.

  • International Taxation: Students explore the fundamentals of international taxation. This course focuses on the taxation of U.S. source income for non-U.S. residents and the taxation of foreign source income for U.S. residents and citizens. Students must complete a fundamentals of accounting course as a prerequisite.
  • Tax Research and Professional Practice: In this course, students review court cases, federal regulations, and the Internal Revenue Code. They emphasize the ethical responsibilities, roles, and regulations of tax professionals before the IRS. Topics include CPA review, tax practice strategies, and IRS examination of returns.
  • Advanced Tax S-Corps and Partnerships: Class participants explore the fundamentals of federal income taxation as they apply to shareholders, partnerships, and pass-through corporations. The course focuses on the organization and capital structure of the S-Corps or partnership. Topics include stock redemptions, taxable and tax-free mergers, and dividends and other distributions.
  • Wealth, Transfers, Trusts, and Estates: In this course, learners engage in the study of the gift, estate, and income taxes as they affect the transfer and accumulation of wealth through lifetime transfers or estates. Topics include a review of trusts along with other estate-planning tools and techniques to help individuals achieve their financial goals.

How Much Do Taxation Master's Programs Cost?

According to NCES, the average master's degree cost an average of $20,513 per year as of 2021-2022. However, NCES data also shows that public institutions cost just $12,596 annually. Clearly, several variables affect total cost.

In-state tuition is just one such cost variable. Other factors that affect the price include the school's prestige, whether it is a nonprofit or for-profit institution, and whether the program is available online or in person. Besides tuition costs, books, fees, and living expenses can add up quickly.

To cover these costs, many students take advantage of financial aid options such as competitive scholarships, private grants, or corporate educational reimbursements. Check out the links below for more information about these and other financial resources.

Should You Get an Online Master's in Taxation?

According to NCES data, 53.3% of students at postsecondary institutions enrolled in at least one online course in the fall of 2022. Distance learning options are popular when they are convenient, accredited, and easy to access.

Some students, however, prefer the structure, support, and engagement of a face-to-face classroom experience. If you are one of these learners, you may want to explore evening classes, weekend courses, or synchronous online programs.

Taxation Jobs and Salaries

A master of taxation can prepare graduates for leading careers in tax accounting. According to Payscale, this degree can help secure a position as a tax accountant, tax director, senior tax manager, senior tax analyst, or chief financial officer. These jobs can pay more than $200,000 a year.

As a member of the business and financial sector, tax professionals are part of a growing collection of professions. The BLS projects that this sector will add 911,400 new jobs between 2022 and 2032, growing faster than average.

Tax Attorney

Tax attorneys help their clients maximize their economic benefits by staying up to date on the legal aspect of taxation. These professionals may work with private clients, at corporations, or in the public sector. Since tax law changes frequently, it's important for tax attorneys to maintain knowledge of current iterations in the tax code.

  • Required Education: JD and LL.M.
  • Job Outlook (2022-2032): 8%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2023): $145,760

Source: BLS

Tax Consultant

Tax consultants are business strategists. They help companies discover the most tax-advantaged way to approach decisions. Often, companies bring in a tax consultant when the leadership knows they need help reducing their tax burdens. Many tax consultants hold certification as a tax advisor or they have enrolled agent status with the IRS.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree and/or a master's in taxation
  • Average Annual Salary (June 2024): $69,550

Source: Payscale

Tax Accountant

Tax accountants help people or companies file returns with the IRS. Their goal is to provide an accurate return while maximizing their client's tax savings. Many tax accountants hold a CPA license, and some are enrolled agents with the IRS. These professionals may work for a large firm or set up their own business.

Source: BLS

Selecting the Right MS in Taxation Program

Many considerations go into selecting the right master's program. Consider the following key factors for choosing programs:

  • Accreditation: Only consider schools that hold institutional accreditation, but remember that many top business schools also hold programmatic accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International or another accrediting agency.
  • Admission: Some schools may decline your application or require you to take additional coursework, earn a higher score on an admission test, or gain more real-world experience.
  • Staff Credentials and Diversity: Consider how many professors hold a terminal degree and how much experience they have in business and academia. Also, look at the faculty's age, race, gender, sex, and other diversity factors.
  • Alumni Network: A robust alumni network can help you gain a foothold in local professional associations and may provide a boost in your job search.
  • Future education opportunities: Do you plan to pursue a Ph.D., JD, or other terminal degree? If so, make sure the master's program you select positions you as a top candidate for that degree.

See our data-derived list of the best master's in taxation programs below.

Common Questions About Taxation Master's Degrees

What is a master's in taxation called?

A master's in taxation could be called an MS in taxation, an MS in accounting with a focus in taxation, an MAcc with a concentration in taxation, or an LL.M. in taxation. Each of these degrees has a different emphasis and structure.

How many years is a master's in taxation?

Most master's in taxation programs take two years to complete. However, accelerated or bachelor's-to-master's programs might just require one year for graduate work.

Should I get a master's in accounting or taxation?

If you plan to work as an accountant, auditor, or financial consultant, a master's in accounting may be best. On the other hand, if you plan to be a tax director, tax accountant, or tax manager, you could find a master's in taxation is a better choice.

Is a master's in taxation worth it?

According to Payscale data accessed in June of 2024, people with a master's in taxation earn an average base salary of $96,000 a year. The average cost of graduate tuition is $20,513 per year, so this degree offers an excellent return on investment.

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