Best Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

In 2014, there were over one million accountants and auditors employed in the United States. That’s a lot of competition. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an expected 13% job growth for this industry between 2012 and 2022. Graduates entering this growing workforce must be equipped to stand out among the crowd. An online master’s degree provides the necessary credentialing for accounting professionals to apply to the most competitive jobs and prepares graduates to pass the CPA exam.

Most business-minded professionals seeking to continue their studies are already employed in the world of finance. For these busy employees, an online program is ideal. Flexible scheduling, enrollment and completion times work to the accounting professional’s advantage, allowing them to continue working while advancing their career.

Online programs also provide flexibility in specialized studies. With many course options and concentrations available, students can target a specific area of accounting that bests suits their interests and career goals. To help narrow the search for the best individualized program, we offer the following list of top online master’s in accounting programs.

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1

University of Connecticut

Storrs
  • in-state tuition: $12,022
  • out-of-state tuition: $30,970
352 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-2000

The online MSA program at UC prepares students for careers in public and private accounting. Core accounting classes cover topics including business law, research, financial reporting, and taxation. Completion of the program requires 30 credits and fulfills the requirements needed to become a CPA in most states.

All courses are offered online except one mandatory in-residence class: a four-day course at the Storrs campus, typically taken in May. All other classes are accessed through the online HuskyCT portal, hosted on the Blackboard platform. Classes are asynchronous, and students may enroll on a part-time or full-time basis to complete the ten required courses.

2

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton
  • in-state tuition: $4,790
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,234
777 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
(561) 297-3000

FAU offers a two-year Executive Master of Accounting with a concentration in Forensic Accounting. An entirely online program, graduates gain skills and knowledge in the areas of fraud investigation, litigation support, valuation, expert testimony, money-laundering, dispute resolution and other criminal investigations. Coursework emphasizes communication and critical thinking skills, investigative writing and forensic accounting content.

Courses are offered asynchronously, allowing students flexibility to complete coursework on their own schedule. Classes are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. Online learners also have access to academic support and technical assistance.

3

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale
  • annually: $25,430
3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

An online Master of Accounting degree from NSU prepares graduates for careers in accounting and the CPA credential. Students complete core accounting classes for a broad base of knowledge and skills, as well as several electives. Electives include tax policy, business law, real estate taxes, forensic accounting, and international accounting. All students are required to take a one-week non-credit course, Internet Technology, to prepare students to use the internet for classroom and research purposes.

All courses required to obtain a master's degree in accounting online are offered through a Blackboard learning management system. The 39-credit program can be completed in 21 months. Start times are offered in August, January and May. Admission to the program requires a minimum 2.5 GPA on previous undergraduate coursework.

4

Syracuse University

Syracuse
  • annually: $40,458
900 South Crouse Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-1870

Syracuse University offers a Master of Science in Professional Accounting in a two-year online format. Distance learners complete the same curriculum as on-campus students. Depending on their previous coursework, students will follow one of three tracks:

  • Accounting Sequence – 30 credits. This track is for students with an undergraduate degree in accounting. Classes cover accounting basics including auditing, reporting, management and fraud.
  • Business Sequence – 33-42 credits. Students with an undergraduate degree in business will follow this track. Courses include financial accounting, taxes and business strategy and international accounting.
  • Foundational Sequence – 45-48 credits. This track allows students with an undergraduate degree in any subject other than business or accounting to complete the master’s level degree. Courses cover topics such as accounting, taxation, auditing, and fraud.

All courses are completed online through a Blackboard learning management system in a 12-week, semester format.

5

Liberty University

Lynchburg
  • annually: $20,768
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Distance learners can obtain a online master's in accounting through Liberty. Coursework emphasizes written and oral communication skills, research, computer literacy and analytical reasoning. Course topics include taxation, accounting, auditing, and national and international accounting practices.

Completion of the program requires 30 credit hours; up to six hours can be transferred from previous studies. Coursework is completed online through a Blackboard learning management system. Upon graduation, students are prepared to take the CPA exam and launch careers in areas such as auditing, finance, tax or business ownership. The program typically takes two years to complete.

6

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham
  • in-state tuition: $7,206
  • out-of-state tuition: $16,398
Administration Bldg Suite 1070
Birmingham, AL 35294-0110
(205) 934-4011

Graduates of UAB’s online Master of Accounting program are prepared to take the Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner exams. Program curriculum covers concepts including forensic accounting, auditing, fraud, business law and governmental accounting. Courses emphasize the development of communication, technological, research and interpersonal skills.

A combination of core accounting courses and intriguing electives offers those with an accounting background, as well as those from non-accounting backgrounds, the chance to develop a strong foundation of knowledge in this field. Students can complete all courses online through the Blackboard collaborate platform.

7

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst
  • in-state tuition: $13,443
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,159
374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111

Completion of the Master of Science in Accounting at UM Amherst prepares students to quickly launch into accounting careers. Graduates of the online master's in accounting are prepared for the CPA exam, and can forgo the one-year experience requirement for CPA certification in Massachusetts. Coursework emphasizes taxes, technology, business accounting and business writing.

Students can complete the 30-credit degree entirely online, or choose a hybrid option. The hybrid program involves taking 18 credits online and completing a 12-week intensive in-residence summer session. All online courses are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. The degree typically between eight months and two years to complete.

8

Auburn University

Auburn University
  • annually: $24,150
Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-4000

Courses for the master's degree in accounting online at Auburn emphasize technical skills, research and communication, preparing students to pass the CPA exam. Electives include income tax, fraud, investments and global financial markets. Students currently employed full time can complete the program in two years, taking two classes per term for five semesters. Full-time students can complete their degree in just one year (three semesters.)

Online accounting students at Auburn receive the same instruction and assignments as on-campus students. For added flexibility and convenience, lectures may be viewed live or recorded. All coursework is accessed through the Canvas learning management system. A three-day on-campus residency is required for all students, completed during the final spring semester at the end of April. Students will participate in a leadership summit consisting of business seminars, leadership workshops and social events.

9

Stetson University

DeLand
  • annually: $38,330
421 N Woodland Blvd
DeLand, FL 32723
(386) 822-7000

Graduates of the Stetson University online Master of Accountancy program are prepared for the CPA exam and equipped with knowledge and skills to advance their career. Coursework emphasizes contemporary issues in accounting, tax issues, auditing and business law. Studies provide the groundwork for careers in accounting, information systems and business law.

The program is made up of ten classes, totaling 30 credit hours. Classes are offered in five-week format, with three start dates each year. All course material is accessed online through the Blackboard learning management system. Students can complete their studies in as little as one year.

10

Golden Gate University - San Francisco

San Francisco
  • annually: $14,400
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Students graduating GSU with an online master's in accounting are prepared to sit for the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant exam. This program is offered in a fully online accelerated format. Each online class includes asynchronous discussions and quizzes as well as synchronous video conferences with the professor and classmates. Admission requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and students complete their degree within 12 months.

Offered in a cohort format, classes begin in late July and seven courses are completed by mid-December. In the spring, eligible students may opt to complete a six-credit internship accompanied by two courses online. Otherwise, students complete 12 credits online for this semester. The final four core courses and a capstone project are completed during the summer. Classes are accessed through the school’s eLearning online portal.

11

University of Scranton

Scranton
  • annually: $38,754
800 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18510-4629
(570) 941-7400

The online Master of Accountancy program offered through the University of Scranton is made up of ten courses totaling 30 credit hours. This includes 12 credits of foundational courses and at least 18 credits from four to eight electives. Elective options include International accounting, fraud and abuse and advanced auditing. Foundational courses provide knowledge in economics, financial reporting, taxation and financial management. Emphasis is placed on communication skills, ethics, leadership roles and problem solving.

Students can complete the program in 20 months part-time or 10 months full-time. All classes are accessed online through the Brightspace learning management system. Graduates are prepared to take the CPA exam.

12

St John's University - New York

Queens
  • annually: $37,260
8000 Utopia Pky
Queens, NY 11439
(718) 990-6161

Fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, the M.S. in Accounting program at St. John’s prepares graduates for a career in accounting and for the CPA exam. Students can attain their degree in just one year, although enrollment options for both full-time and part-time are available. Admission to the program requires an undergraduate major in business.

Completion of the degree requires 30-33 credits. Courses are accessed online through the Blackboard learning management system. Online activities emphasize the application of accounting to the global marketplace and application of accounting theory to practical business problem solving.

13

Regis University

Denver
  • annually: $32,424
3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

A master's in accounting online from Regis University prepares graduates to meet the requirements for the CPA exam or the CMA designation. Completion of the program requires ten three-credit courses. A broad range of elective options include auditing, forensic accounting and international accounting. Emphasis is placed on ethics, technology and accounting basics to launch students into careers as accountants, auditors, financial analysts and more.

Students without previous accounting experience may be required to complete 10 to 15 credit hours of prerequisites. The basic program requires 30 credits, consisting of six credits in core requirements, 21 credits in degree electives and a three-credit capstone course. All classes are online, delivered through the Blackboard-supported student portal.

14

Edgewood College

Madison
  • annually: $24,666
1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711-1997
(608) 663-4861

Within one year, Students can attain an MS in Accountancy online through Edgewood College. The program incorporates the Edgewood core values of compassion, truth, partnership, justice and community. Students choose from three career paths to direct their coursework - CPA in public accounting, management accountant in private industry and accountant in governmental or non-profit sectors. Upon graduation, students are prepared to sit for the CPA exam.

Students enjoy small class sizes of 15 or less and a curriculum infused with interactive activities. Some classes follow an eight-week accelerated format, while others follow a semester schedule. All classes are accessed online through the Blackboard learning management system.

15

Brenau University

Gainesville
  • annually: $23,350
500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Brenau University offers an online MBA with a concentration in accounting. Courses are completed online via the Canvas learning management system. Students may choose from two accounting concentrations for their studies:

  • Public Accounting concentration – This option is designed for students who wish to take the CPA exam and enter a career in public accounting.
  • Management Accounting concentration – This track is for those who wish to practice accounting in the area of management accounting, such as accounting practice in a small business, or as a CFO or controller.

Completion of the program requires 45 credits, consisting of two foundation courses, eight courses in MBA core curriculum and five courses in the chosen concentration. For professionals with a graduate degree, Brenau offers the option of earning an accounting certificate by completing only the courses required for either concentration.

16

National University

La Jolla
  • annually: $12,096
11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

The master's in accounting online program at National University is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in any discipline except accounting. To earn this degree, students must complete a 63-quarter unit course of study. Up to 13.5 quarter units may be awarded for previous coursework at another institution.

Classes emphasize the development of eight core skill sets. These include ethical practices, effective communication and information analysis. Fourteen courses cover basic accounting principles and practices. Main topics of classes are financial accounting, auditing and taxation. Students access their coursework through the Blackboard learning management system.

17

Southern Utah University

Cedar City
  • in-state tuition: $5,924
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,902
351 West University Blvd
Cedar City, UT 84720
(435) 586-7700

Graduates of the Southern Utah University online accounting master's degree program are prepared to launch careers as auditors, tax accountants and controllers in firms or government agencies. For admission, students must first have completed the 49 credits of foundation courses; the master’s degree requires 30 additional credits.

Students can complete their graduate degree in just two semesters of full-time courses. Part-time enrollment is also an option, allowing up to six years to complete the program. Courses are completed online through the Canvas platform. For their studies, students choose electives to create a managerial emphasis, public accounting emphasis or tax emphasis.

18

Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion
  • annually: $23,628
4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Students enrolled in the online Master of Science in Accounting at IWU complete their degree in 18-26 months. The program emphasizes development of knowledge in forensic accounting, auditing, financial reporting and tax preparation. Coursework encourages skill growth in the creation of communication strategies, building ethical standards and meeting organizational goals. Students are encouraged to integrate a biblical framework to guide their professional interactions.

Coursework consists of 30 credits required for completion. Classes are typically taken sequentially, one at a time. All courses are accessed through the Learning Studio platform. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 2.5.

19

Western New England University

Springfield
  • annually: $33,020
1215 Wilbraham Rd
Springfield, MA 01119-2684
(413) 782-3111

Obtaining a master's in accounting online from Western New England University prepares graduates for careers in government agencies, accounting firms and financial institutions. Students will also be ready to take the CPA exam. Coursework enhances communication and critical thinking skills, as well as emphasizes the development of decision-making and leadership.

The degree requires the completion of 30 credits. Students may choose to focus their studies in a Forensic Accounting/Fraud Investigation concentration requiring nine credit hours of concentration courses. The entire program can be completed in as little as 15 months part-time or 10 months full-time. Courses are accessed through the Kodiak online learning environment.

20

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester
  • annually: $28,884
2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
(603) 668-2211

Students pursuing an online master’s degree in accounting at SNHU can choose one of three available concentrations: auditing, forensic accounting and taxation. Studies focus on the enhancement of analytical skills and the use of current technology. Coursework covers core accounting principles with classes on financial reporting, business law and auditing. Upon graduation, students will have completed the 150-credit-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam.

Completion of the degree requires 12 to 17 courses (36-51 credits), depending on the student’s undergraduate major. The program can be completed in as little as 15 months. Courses are offered in 10-week format, accessed online through the Blackboard learning management system.

21

Upper Iowa University

Fayette
  • annually: $24,400
605 Washington St
Fayette, IA 52142-1857
(563) 425-5200

Upper Iowa University offers a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in accounting. Completion of the program requires 36 credits. The core curriculum covers economics, market analysis and business theory. A research seminar provides a capstone experience, for which students prepare a report to demonstrate their capacity to integrate course knowledge into a professional environment. All coursework emphasizes both theory and application with the development of strong leadership, ethics and risk assessment skills.

Courses are offered in six eight-week terms per year, delivered online through a Pearson LearningStudio portal. Classes are asynchronous in format, allowing students maximum flexibility in their schedule; many require team projects to help students develop highly valued teamwork skills.

22

New England College

Henniker
  • annually: $33,000
98 Bridge St
Henniker, NH 03242
(603) 428-2211

The online accounting master's degree at New England College offers a general accounting track and a concentration in forensic accounting. The forensic concentration prepares students for the Certified Fraud Examiner designation. The 40-credit program covers coursework in financial reporting, taxation, accounting, auditing and mergers and acquisitions. Desired learning outcomes include risk analysis, reporting, research and strategic thinking skills.

The program can be completed in less than two years. Classes may be started every seven weeks throughout the year. Blackboard provides access to all coursework online. There are no residency requirements. Graduates are prepared to take the CPA exam.

23

University of Maryland - University College

Adelphi
  • in-state tuition: $6,552
  • out-of-state tuition: $12,336
3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

Students desiring to pursue a career in financial operations can complete an online accounting master's degree at the University of Maryland. Students who complete their undergraduate studies at UM may be able to reduce their master’s coursework by six credits. All classes are accessed through Learning Experience Online, the school’s distance learning portal.

Required coursework consists of five accounting classes, six financial management classes and a three-credit capstone course, totaling 36 credits. Accounting courses cover international accounting, ethics and fraud. Financial management courses include topics such as decision making, investments and strategy. The capstone course involves the presentation of case studies by student teams. Students will also complete a research paper that addresses a current issue in the field.

24

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Standish
  • annually: $30,990
278 Whites Bridge Rd
Standish, ME 04084-5236
(207) 892-6766

Saint Joseph’s Master of Accountancy program prepares students for a career in public accounting. The curriculum focuses on ethics, leadership and accounting; integrating interdisciplinary course work to develop strategic, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Classes are delivered through heavy dialogue, with assignments encouraging clear reporting and written skills. All classes are accessed through the Brightspace learning management system. Courses are 10-weeks long, offered in five terms per year.

Completion of the program requires 36 credits. Students may have up to six credits waived with the appropriate prerequisites completed. Students are not required to have an undergraduate degree in business; however, those without this degree may need up to five prerequisite courses to prepare for this program. Graduates are equipped to sit for the CPA exam.

25

Utica College

Utica
  • annually: $33,320
1600 Burrstone Rd
Utica, NY 13502-4892
(315) 792-3111

Utica College offers an MBA with a Finance/Accounting specialization entirely online. Finance and accounting coursework introduces students to managerial accounting, cost management, financial statements, financial analysis and real-world financial models and tools. Classes include Managerial Economics and Advanced Managerial Accounting. The capstone course involves completion of a project using a real-world company.

The program has no residency requirements. Completion of the degree consists of 30 credit hours: 15 hours in core business classes, 12 credits in the finance/accounting specialization and a three-credit capstone course. All coursework is delivered through the Angel learning management system. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA of 2.7.

Accountants with a master’s degree are equipped to fast-track their careers with more job opportunities and larger salaries. Opportunities exist in companies of all sizes and at local, regional and national levels. Professionals with an online master’s degree in accounting are prepared for careers in public accounting, corporate accounting, government settings, non-profits, educational institutions, and more.

The following is a sampling of potential careers and fields for employment with the median salary and expected job growth percentages from the BLS.

Career Salary Job Growth
Financial Manager $109,740 9%
Finance and Insurance accounting $66,530 13%
Manufacturing accounting $65,300 13%
Management of Companies $64,670 15%
Tax preparation, payroll services, bookkeeping $63,610 13%
Government accounting $61,490 11%

Keys To Online Success

Choose your specialty. Many online programs offer concentrations, specializations or emphasis options, allowing students to dig deeper into one area of accounting, such as auditing, taxation, international accounting or forensic accounting. Take advantage of the opportunity to become an expert in one niche. Find an area of particular interest and graduate with a thorough knowledge to make yourself stand out in that part of the field. This will provide advantages in job search and career advancement.

Capitalize on your capstone. Most programs require a capstone course for completion. This typically involves a project, research, paper or team project. Use this opportunity to your advantage. It may offer the chance to partner with a business to complete a project, allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of a hot topic in the industry, or provide insight into one facet of accounting. Use this course to establish connections with businesses for potential employment, learn practical information about the field and sharpen research, project and teamwork skills highly valued by employers.

Next Steps

Take the CPA exam. Typically, online coursework prepares graduates to sit for the CPA exam. Passing this to attain the title of Certified Public Accountant opens up many doors for the accounting professional. As a much-sought and respected credential, CPA certification provides greater job opportunities and salary outcomes.

Keep learning. New tax laws, new accounting practices and new technology are constantly appearing in the marketplace. Don’t stop the education process once your diploma is on the wall or you pass the CPA exam; expect to continue learning. Read about the latest news in the accounting industry. Get training on new accounting software as it is released. Find ways to ensure your knowledge and skills stay fresh and relevant.

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