Best Online Master’s in Accounting 2021
| TBS Staff
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Students interested in graduate accounting programs can earn a master's in accounting online, giving them the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
Online master of accounting programs prepare students to enter a growing field -- the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the accounting and auditing field will increase the total number of jobs by 6% from 2018 to 2028.
Choosing the right online accounting master's program entails weighing important factors like tuition costs, available courses, and degree requirements. Students should choose the program that best fits their needs, lifestyle, and goals.
This page ranks the best online master's in accounting programs to help students find the right program for their needs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
The Best Online Master's in Accounting Programs
UNC's master of accounting degree combines academic rigor and a high-caliber curriculum with real-world experiential learning to create an educational experience that is ideal for working professionals. The program may be completed in 12 to 36 months.
Required classes include accounting analytics, accounting system essentials, and financial reporting. Students may select tax, audit, or financial analysis and reporting concentrations. A total of 48 credits is required for completion but up to 12 of those can be gained through prior education history.
Applicants must submit transcripts from undergraduate studies/degree, and post-graduate studies, if applicable. Other application materials include two recommendations, a statement of purpose, and resume or LinkedIn profile.
The 30-credit master of professional accounting degree offered through Penn State World Campus trains candidates in auditing approaches, tax laws, and technical services important to the industry. The program also prepares participants to take the CPA exam.
Classes include financial reporting, auditing theory and practice, business tax planning, and strategic cost management; a forensic accounting capstone completes the degree.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution; accounting major preferred. Additional materials include official transcripts, two references, and a resume.
U of I's master of science in accountancy (iMSA) offers a hands-on, practice-oriented curriculum. The program teaches expertise in accounting fundamentals, including financial reporting, audit and control, and taxation.
Course requirements for the 32-credit program include accounting analysis, federal taxation, and managerial accounting. Participants may obtain additional credits to sit for the CPA exam.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (3.0 GPA minimum), and submit academic credentials, a resume, personal statement, and two reference letters.
The master of accounting program at Georgia Southern allows candidates to continue specialized studies in accounting. The 30-credit program prepares students for the CPA exam, while they learn practical and theoretical accounting concepts.
Coursework includes seminars in financial accounting, auditing, and accounting information systems, and legal issues.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; accounting emphasis preferred. Other admission requirements include recommendation letters, and essay. Prerequisites include auditing, income tax, and managerial accounting courses.
MC's master of accountancy degree targets candidates interested in expanding their undergraduate accounting understanding. It is the first 100% online M.Acc. program in Mississippi. This 30-credit degree teaches advanced analytical skills.
Requirements include federal tax accounting, auditing concepts and applications, accounting theory, and law and ethics. The program builds on undergraduate courses to equip participants for a CPA license.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA), and must submit official transcripts.
The UTRGV master of accountancy — accelerated online program prepares students for jobs in business, government, and public accounting firms. The degree satisfies Texas State Board of Public Accountancy's requirements for the CPA exam. Candidates may pursue concentrations in auditing or taxation.
Required courses for the 30-credit program include professional ethics, business law, and information technology.
Admission requirements include GMAT scores, two recommendation letters, a letter of intent, and resume. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (BBA accounting preferred), minimum 3.0 GPA.
Mizzou's 30-credit master of accountancy emphasizes professional development and career services. It trains candidates interested in taking the CPA exam, and those who wish to advance to leadership positions within their accounting careers.
Coursework includes auditing, forensic accounting, taxation, and fraud examination. Participants may also complete a professional internship.
Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree (3.0 minimum GPA), transcripts from previously attended colleges and universities, two recommendation letters, and an objectives statement.
The master of science in professional accounting offered through Syracuse helps candidates advance within their accounting careers, or transition into finance roles. Graduates from the program communicate effectively, and obtained an understanding of accounting principles.
Participants in the synchronous program study international accounting and reporting, taxes and business strategy, and auditing. The coursework prepares students to sit for the CPA exam. Live virtual class sizes are small, and available as a recording afterwards.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA), essay, and GMAT/GRE score.
The 30-credit master of accountancy program at ESU prepares candidates for public accounting careers, and leadership roles in internal auditing, forensic accounting, tax accounting, and controllership. The program meets the 150-hour requirement for the CPA exam.
Studies focus on accounting theory, information systems, advanced auditing, and management accounting.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with an accounting major or business (with accounting courses completed) from a regionally accredited institution (minimum 2.65 GPA), and official transcripts.
Shorter's master of accountancy degree is designed for individuals with an accounting undergraduate degree or equivalent. The program offers professional preparation for careers in accounting as well as providing educational credit toward the CPA exam.
Coursework for the 30-credit curriculum includes advanced financial accounting, financial statement analysis, legal and ethical issues, and business analytics.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA for the bachelor's degree, and a GMAT score of 450 (the GMAT may be waived in lieu of professional experience).
The master of accounting degree offered through UAB provides a practical, hands-on learning experience for candidates. Students benefit from career placement services and award-winning faculty.
Class requirements for the 30-credit program include advanced financial accounting, tax research, and advanced auditing. Elective classes include fraud, digital forensics, and business law; internships may be available.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an AACSB-accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA). Required admission materials include official transcripts, GMAT score, and three references.
Taught through the Eller College of Management, UofA's 30-credit master of science in accounting degree helps candidates take their accounting careers to higher levels, while allowing them to earn credit toward a CPA license.
Required courses include advanced accounting, business law, and advanced federal taxation; students may pursue electives in business analytics, marketing, or entrepreneurship. Courses can be taken asynchronously.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree (3.0 minimum GPA), transcripts, GMAT/GRE scores, and prerequisite courses.
The Mason master of science in accounting degree is a 30-credit program that includes a one-week, global residency and fulfils the requirement for CPA licensure.
Studies include financial accounting, global accounting, and fraud examination. Electives consist of nonprofit accounting, business valuation, and federal financial reporting.
Eligible candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited institution. Additional required materials include transcripts, GMAT/GRE scores, a goal statement, current resume, and two recommendation letters.
UMass Lowell's master of science in accounting prepares participants for higher-level accounting positions in public, corporate, government, and nonprofit environments. Qualified students also meet CPA licensing requirements.
Studies for the 30-credit degree include advanced cost management, financial accounting theory, and advanced accounting. Additional areas of focus include business analytics, corporate leadership accounting, and international business.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and accounting prerequisite courses are required. Admission materials include official transcripts, a resume, two recommendation letters, and an essay.
The master of science in accounting program offered through Liberty prepares candidates for many career opportunities in the accounting field. The program also helps participants reach credit requirement for the CPA exam.
Required courses for this 30-credit degree include accounting information systems, advanced auditing, and ethics. Students may also focus on one of seven different accounting tracks, such as forensic accounting, leadership, or taxation.
Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor's degree (3.0 minimum GPA), official transcripts, and prerequisite accounting classes.
The SNHU master of science in accounting program helps corporate accountants, fraud examiners, and financial analysts move into higher-level career positions. Candidates who have, or who are interested in earning, CPA licensure may also benefit from the program.
Studies focus on professional auditing, information technology, quantitative analysis, and cost analysis. Participants may also focus on concentrations in auditing, forensic accounting, management accounting, and taxation. A total of 36 credits is required for completion.
Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree (2.75 minimum GPA), and transcripts.
The master of accountancy degree offered through OC combines business and analytical learning with ethical standards inherent with a Christian worldview. The rigorous program prepares candidates for CPA licensure and a successful career.
The degree plan blends accounting foundation studies with business courses. Participants also benefit from an internship/practicum which rounds out the 30-credit program.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree (3.0 minimum GPA), plus accounting, finance, macroeconomic, and microeconomic coursework. Admission materials include transcripts, three recommendation letters, resume, and GMA/GRE test scores.
The master of science in accountancy program at Sac State provides candidates with advanced understanding in the field, and compatibility with the CPA exam. Courses are offered throughout the year.
Program requirements for the 32-credit, 18-month degree include auditing, advanced accounting information systems, financial reporting, and cost analysis.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (2.5 minimum GPA). GMAT/GRE test requirements may be waived.
Gardner-Webb's 30-credit master of accountancy program trains participants to qualify for upper-level accounting and financial positions; the degree also prepares candidates to sit for the CPA license exam.
Core courses include federal income tax, accounting theory and practice, managerial accounting, and an advanced auditing capstone course. Students may select from tax, forensic, and general emphasis electives.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA), and transcripts. Prerequisite accounting coursework is required.
The USA master of accounting program provides students with advanced experience and skills in the accounting field. Graduates are prepared to sit for the CPA exam.
Requirements for the 30-credit degree include financial accounting theory, advanced auditing analytics, fraud examination, and managerial accounting. Applicants must take undergraduate foundation courses before entrance into the program.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA).
The master of business administration in accounting degree offered by CUW provides candidates with skills and abilities to become experts in accounting and leadership. Graduates qualify for careers as auditors, budget analysts, and senior accountants.
The 30-credit degree program combines core courses in business administration with classes in accounting-specific topics such as advanced auditing, corporate finance, governmental accounting, and fraud management.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (3.0 minimum GPA). Admission requirements include official transcripts, resume, essay, and two recommendation letters.
USD's master of professional accountancy degree provides specialized training in accounting and related fields for candidates interested in public accounting careers and the CPA exam.
Coursework covers 30 credits in subjects including cost accounting, auditing, tax planning and practice, and governmental and non-profit accounting. Candidates may pursue an accounting analytics specialization.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (2.85 minimum GPA), GMAT scores, and three recommendation letters. Business and accounting prerequisite courses must also be completed before program admission.
The SUU master of accountancy degree trains candidates for a professional accounting career, while learning quantitative analysis and information technology to support decision making.
Requirements for the 30-credit program include auditing, taxes for passthrough entities, and practice and theory and accounting ethics seminars. Electives focus on cost accounting, forensic accounting, and corporate tax.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree; applicants must pass undergraduate accounting and business foundation courses. Submission materials consist of a resume, letter of intent, recommendation letters, and transcripts.
The 33-credit master of science in accountancy degree offered through SUNY Poly targets candidates with undergraduate accounting degrees. The program also satisfies the 150-hour CPA licensure requirement.
Accounting and business core courses, and elective courses, make up the curriculum. Accounting classes include advanced auditing theory, advanced financial accounting theory, and income tax research.
Applicants without an undergraduate accounting degree must complete prerequisite undergraduate coursework. Application materials include official transcripts, a resume, and references.
Taught by an award-winning faculty, DePaul's master of science in accountancy provides candidates with hands-on skills and knowledge, preparing them for career readiness from day one. In addition to training participants in accounting theory and real-world application, the program prepares students for the CPA exam.
The 12-course curriculum focuses on cost and managerial accounting, financial accounting theory and practice, auditing, and corporate and partnership tax treatment.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, and submit official transcripts from previous colleges/universities attended. Other admission materials include a resume and personal statement.
Online Master's in Accounting Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Featured Online Master's in Accounting Programs
What Is an Online Master's in Accounting Degree?
Online master's in accounting programs provide busy students with a flexible option for earning their degree. These programs vary in length and course requirements, but all of them prepare students to sit for the CPA exam and work as professional accountants. Professionals with an established career in accounting, including those who hold a bachelor's in accounting, may choose to pursue a master's to increase their salary potential and/or take on leadership roles.
Students earning a master's in accounting online study topics in areas like business ethics, finance, leadership, and information management systems.
Choosing an Online Program
When researching online accounting master's programs, students should consider a variety of factors, such as delivery format. For instance, online learners should research whether prospective programs feature any on-campus requirements. They should also consider whether online programs offer asynchronous or synchronous courses. Other key considerations include tuition costs, course requirements, and program length. Learn more about how to choose a program through the link below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Accounting Program?
Course offerings will vary across schools, meaning the exact curriculum of each online accounting master's program is different. That said, however, certain classes are likely to appear in most programs, as they make up an integral part of the knowledge and training needed in accounting.
Master's in Accounting Curriculum
- Auditing: This class addresses basic concepts related to internal and external auditing, such as internal control, evidence collection, and ethical standards. Learners may be required to evaluate case studies and apply standards and procedures to conduct audits in the public and private sectors.
- Fraud Examination: Covering common types of financial fraud, such as concealment and employee embezzlement, this course introduces methods of identifying and investigating corporate dishonesty. Prospective forensic accountants develop practical fraud detection and prevention skills, along with working knowledge of relevant legal procedures.
- Government Accounting: Coursework explores financial issues related to government and nonprofit organizations, including budget reporting, program analysis, and tax levies. Students learn to prepare financial statements according to Governmental Accounting Standards Board regulations and perform government audits in compliance with national standards
Accounting Certifications and Licenses
Accounting Professional Organizations
Careers in Accounting
An online master's in accounting degree provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to work in several capacities throughout the financial sector. While many students go on to become treasurers, auditors, or budget analysts, others work in law enforcement as forensic accountants. The positions listed below rank among the most popular with graduates.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$71,550|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||6%|
In addition to preparing and assessing clients' financial records, accountants maintain financial operations, oversee and inspect accounting systems, and complete tax returns. While most entry-level accounting positions require only a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a graduate degree.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$129,890|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||16%|
A financial manager's duties depend largely on their setting and industry; most focus on data analysis and cost reduction, while other professionals also prepare budgets, monitor cash flow, assess financial risks, and/or direct mergers and acquisitions. Employers typically prefer candidates with a graduate degree and industry certification.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$116,720|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||7%|
Human resource managers oversee the administrative functions of an organization, including hiring, benefits plan development, and other staffing issues. These workers serve as liaisons between an organization and its employees. Along with a master's degree, candidates for many high-level human resource management positions need extensive work experience in a related field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most online master's in accounting programs comprise 30-36 credits and take 1-2 years to complete.
Graduates can work in roles such as certified public accountant, auditor, or financial analyst. They can also pursue various careers in business.
Both degrees prepare students to pursue advanced roles in business and finance. However, a master's of accounting serves as a more specialized accounting degree, whereas an MBA emphasizes various business concepts and skills.
Accountants manage and analyze financial records for businesses and individuals. They often assist in preparing taxes and help businesses and individuals make informed financial decisions.
A CPA, or certified public accountant, is an accountant with certification from a state accounting board. CPAs have passed their state's required exam and completed the required number of practice hours and college credits.
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