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The best master’s degrees in accounting

Introduction to master’s in accounting

If you already hold a bachelor’s in accounting and want to take your know-how in the field to the next level, earning a master’s degree can easily help you achieve this goal. An excellent master’s in accounting (MA) program teaches the specialist body of knowledge and the necessary skills you need to gain access to exciting and well-paid employment opportunities.

In addition to helping you stand out in the eyes of employers, earning your master’s degree from a respectable university enables you to further your accounting education and become a certified public accountant (CPA). Another advantage of a noted master’s program is its versatility, as you get to choose between different formats and various accounting specializations.

Whether you choose the traditional format, opt for the more applied interdisciplinary approach of a master’s of science in accounting (MSA), or want to get the best of both worlds of business and accounting with a master’s of business administration (MBA), an MA is a valuable degree to earn. And the more highly-ranked the program you graduate from, the more valuable your degree is going to be. So, let’s have a closer look at the best master’s in accounting programs currently available.

Top 10 master’s in accounting programs

  • University of Illinois

    University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, illinois
    University of Illinois

    The iMSA from the University of Illinois is a fully online master’s program with interactive courses, a curriculum designed to prepare you for CPA exam, and great overall stats.

    Tuition cost

    Estimated tuition is $27,200, with a cost of $850 per credit hour.

    Applicants must:

    • Hold a bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline earned from an accredited institution in the U.S. or the international equivalent
    • Have a minimum academic background in business, such as a completed course in business management and a 1 or 2 course sequence in principles of accounting
    • Pass the online Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test if they are non-native English speakers.

    Graduation information
    To graduate from iMSA, students must complete 32 semester hours of graduate course work, comprised of least 20 hours are in accountancy courses and at least 4 hours are in a non-accountancy course. Completion time is generally between 18 months to 36 months.

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  • University of North Carolina

    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    University of North Carolina

    Open to students from all educational and professional backgrounds and accredited by AACSB, the online master of accounting from the University of North Carolina ranks high on our list.

    Tuition cost
    The program, which is usually completed within 36-48 credit hours (1-2 years), has the following costs: 

    • North Carolina residents – $21,061 for the fall semester, $20,731 for the spring semester, and $3,680 for the summer session.
    • Non-North Carolina residents – $29,847 for the fall semester, $29,517 for the spring semester, and $7,080 for the summer session.

    Tuition for the online format is $1446.36 per credit hour for the 2020/2021 academic year.

    Financial Support

    Admission information

    • Applications must include:

    • Unofficial transcripts
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Statement of purpose
    • A resume or a link to the candidate’s LinkedIn profile
    Read more
  • University of Notre Dame

    University of Notre Dame Dame, Indiana
    University of Notre Dame

    With specializations, such as assurance or tax services, and courses that prepare you for the CPA exam, Notre Dame’s master of science in accountancy is a 30 credit hour program that can be completed within one year.

    Tuition cost

    Tuition for the 2021-2022 MSA program is $ 44,900 (pending board approval)

    Financial aid information

    Applications must include:

    • Undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university prior to enrollment. Applicants from colleges and universities outside the U.S. and unaccredited colleges are required to submit a valid GMAT score.
    • Official academic transcripts from all previous forms of education
    • Two recommendations
    • Official TOEFL or IELTS score report in the case of international students
    • Resume
    • Slide presentation (up to 4 slides)
    • Essay on a provided topic

    Graduation information
    To receive a degree, students must complete one academic year (10 calendar months) divided into 2 semesters and totaling 30 credit hours.

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  • Ohio State University

    Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio
    Ohio State University

    Ohio State University’s 31 credit hour MAcc program assigns each student a personal career consultant who helps them find the best career opportunities available. 

    Tuition cost

    • Ohio Resident Tuition and Fees – $32,883
    • Non-Resident and International Student Tuition and Fees – $57,599

    Financial Aid at OSU

    Admission information
    Applications must include:

    • A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent;
    • Official transcripts from each previous education institution;
    • Resume;
    • Essay;
    • Recommendations.

    Accounting programs are accredited by AACSB.

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  • Western Carolina University

    Western Carolina University Cullowhee, North Carolina
    Western Carolina University

    Designed to lead to professional licensure and certification, Western Carolina’s Dixon Hughes Goodman’s 30 credit hour master of accountancy program is both versatile and recognized.

    Tuition Cost

    • In-state $5015.40
    • Out-of-state $10218.90

    Admission Information

    Applications should include:

    • Online application form and fee
    • Resume
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Copies of transcripts
    • Official test scores – GMAT / GRE
    • Personal interviews may be requested


    Western Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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  • Ohio University

    Ohio University Athens, Ohio
    Ohio University

    Fully online and fully accredited, the Ohio University master of accountancy provides each student with their own student support advisor throughout the entire program.

    To graduate, students must complete 10 courses totaling 30 semester hours, spread over 5 semesters

    Tuition cost

    Cost per semester credit:

    • $950 for Ohio residents
    • $969 for non-Ohio residents

    Total tuition

    • $28,500 for Ohio residents
    • $29,070 for non-Ohio residents

    Applications should include:

    • Complete Ohio University’s Online Graduate Admissions Application
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Resume
    • Personal statement
    • 2 letters of recommendation
    • Online application with $50 application fee

    In addition to the above, international applicants must also submit:

    • TOEFL iBT score of 150 or IELTS of 7.5
    • General academic credentials evaluation (ECE or WES report)

    Accreditation OHIO’s College of Business holds the additional AACSB Accounting Standards.

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  • University of Massachusetts

    University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachussets
    University of Massachusetts

    University of Massuchusetts Amherst is one of only 5 universities in New England granted a separate AACSB accreditation for accounting. Their Masters of Science in Accounting is granted after 30-45 credit hours, depending upon a entering student’s experience and credit.

    Tuition cost

    $800 per credit 

    UMass Financial Aid

    Admission information

    • Applications must include:
    • Online application
    • Application fee
    • 2 essays
    • 2 letters of recommendation
    • Professional resume
    • Copy of official transcript(s)
    • Official GMAT or GRE test scores
    • International applicants should also submit official TOEFL or IELTS test scores

    Graduation information

    The program has a high degree of flexibility and it is up to the students to decide how long they need to complete the semester hours and graduate.

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  • University of Texas

    University of Texas Austin, Texas
    University of Texas

    According to a survey done by the University of Austin, Texas, 97% of students in the Texas McCombs University master in professional accounting program consider it a good investment.

    The 30-credit-hour online or hybrid program costs $800 per credit, and may be completed in as little as one year, and provides students flexibility to determine length of studies.

    Admission information

    Applications must include:

    • Application form and $80 application fee
    • Personal statement
    • Resume
    • Official transcripts
    • Letters of recommendation
    • GMAT/GRE test score
    • Non-native English speakers also require English Language Proficiency Scores

    Read more
  • University of Pennsylvania

    University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia
    University of Pennsylvania

    93.5% of Wharton MBA accounting students find full-time employment after graduating the 19-credit-hour program, which may be completed in as little as 20 months.

    Tuition cost

    The estimated total program cost for tuition and fees is $160,864

    Financial Aid

    Admission information

    Applications must include:

    • Background information
    • Application fee
    • 2 essays
    • Transcripts
    • 2 letters of recommendation
    • GMAT or GRE test scores
    • English language test score
    • List of all academic degrees earned
    • Professional experience
    • Prior conviction information

    Graduation information

    Students can choose from 18 different majors – accounting included – and can graduate after completing 20 months.

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MBA in accounting vs. master’s in accounting

It is worth mentioning that both programs are valuable graduate degree choices. Establishing that, your choice should depend on your main area of interest and the type of career you want to have. If you are more inclined towards pursuing a career in management, then an MBA with a major in accounting can be a great option as – in addition to accounting – it will offer you a diverse body of knowledge in areas like business, economics, and management. If you want to grow a successful career in accounting, then a master’s program in this field is the natural choice.

Financial aid, scholarships and loan opportunities

Federal financial aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Federal loan opportunities

Office of Financial Aid


National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)

The American Woman’s Society of CPAs