For students who have discovered the high demand that exists in nearly every corner of commerce for graduates of accounting programs, additional graduate work in accounting beyond the bachelor’s degree could not only be beneficial but also necessary. Passing the CPA exam, the standard for the vast majority of accounting professionals, requires approximately thirty hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, so if you think an accounting career might be in your future, a Master of Accountancy or Master of Science in Accounting could be a requirement for you.
With very few exceptions, however, graduate programs in accounting require only 30 to 40 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, and some are even open to students who have no prior exposure to accounting studies. We calculated the cost of tuition of each program and combined this figure with a reputation score, which takes into consideration such factors as existing rankings, graduate placement rates, and student-faculty ratios. The combined score forms the basis for our rankings below, and this allows us to offer you the ideal balance between reputation and affordability in your search for the right program for your needs. For those already in the workforce or in need of more academic flexibility, you might consider accounting degrees from online colleges (these provide more flexibility for students already working looking to start a new career) we compiled a ranking of the best Online Master’s in Accounting Degrees.
Update: We have just released our 2016 ranking of the best Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs. Click here for the latest ranking.
David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah
The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah offers the Master of Accountancy degree. Both the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at Eccles are regularly recognized for excellence, and their reputation is improving. Students can choose from one of three emphases: audit, tax, or accounting information systems. Beyond the required courses, students enjoy a good measure of flexibility in their programs. Students who intend to prepare for the CPA exam have resources to do so, but students who are interested in other areas of business are not required to pursue CPA preparation specifically.
Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
The Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University offers the Master of Science in Accounting degree. Unlike some BS/MS programs, the Cox MS is designed to be a stand-alone program open to both Cox and non-Cox undergraduates alike. The program seeks to prepare students for both the CPA exam in particular but also successful careers in accounting. It is a 32-hour program that can be pursued full time over two semesters or part time over four semesters.
Bauer College of Business, University of Houston
The Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston offers the Master of Science in Accountancy. The 36-hour program is designed to be completed in one year but features some flexibility in scheduling for professionals who are already employed and wish to add to their skill sets. The program is designed to prepare any student for the CPA exam, and students can choose from the following specializations: assurance/financial reporting, advanced internal audit, taxation, or IT systems risk management.
Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University
The Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University offers the Master of Accounting degree in conjunction with its BBA degree. It is designed as an “integrated” program, meaning it is not open to students who have obtained their bachelor’s degree elsewhere. The relatively small size of the program allows students to obtain a highly personal education with a recognized faculty. Its graduates regularly place among the top five exam pass rates in the state, and the program enjoys a 93 percent placement rate.
Raymond A. Mason School of Business, College of William and Mary
The Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The degree is pursued full time over two academic semesters and is open to students of any academic background. The program is designed to prepare students for full licensure and enjoys small class sizes and a reputable faculty. Elective tracks within the program are available in Accounting Research, Auditing, Information Technology, Integrated Winter Field Experience, Taxation, or Valuation.
Graduate School of Business at Bentley University
The Graduate School of Business at Bentley University offers the Master of Accountancy. Bentley was originally founded as a school of accounting and finance, so accountancy education is in its DNA. Its MAcc is over thirty years old and aims to equip its graduates with critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills alike. It features a flexible course schedule as well as online learning options and its graduates are prepared to sit for the CPA exam. It has an excellent recruitment and placement record and enjoys close relationships with some of the best CPA firms in the country.
Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas
The Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas offers the Master of Accountancy degree. It is a 30-hour program that is open to students with specific previous preparation in accounting from their bachelor’s programs. Students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours for consecutive fall and spring semesters. The program prepares students for the CPA exam and requires coursework in financial accounting and accounting theory, management accounting and cost accounting, accounting information systems, financial and operational auditing, and taxation.
Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University
The Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University offers the Master of Accountancy. Its curriculum is well rounded and includes case-based courses and experience with professional audit systems. Its faculty is recognized both nationally and internationally, and DePaul boasts one of the largest alumni networks in Chicago. The program fulfills all requirements for students to take the CPA exam.
Chapman Graduate School of Business, Florida International University
The Chapman Graduate School of Business at Florida International University offers the Master of Accountancy degree and allows students to pursue either a “fast track” schedule, which takes ten months, or a flexible schedule, which begins either in the spring or fall and features classes on weeknights and weekends. Students pursue their degrees in either a tax cohort or an assurance cohort, and the school boasts extensive professional resources, technology, and professional opportunities in the Miami area.
Naveen Jindal School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas
The Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas offers the Master of Science in Accounting degree. It is a 36-credit degree that can be completed on campus, online, or a combination of both, one of only three on our list to offer this level of flexibility. Students can also choose to focus in a number of areas, such as corporate accounting, assurance services, taxation, internal audit, or ERP/SAP systems. As one of the largest graduate accounting programs in the state of Texas that aims to prepare students for a range of professions, the Naveen program is a competitive option for students looking for flexibility in their program.
College of Business at Northern Illinois University
The College of Business at Northern Illinois University offers a Master of Accounting Science with an emphasis on leadership. It is designed to combine accounting training with professional leadership skills, a unique offering in our rankings. In addition to leadership training, some of the other features of the program include tracks in either financial reporting and assurance or taxation, a dual MAS/MBA degree option, and full eligibility for the CPA exam.
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University
The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University offers the Master of Accounting degree. It is best pursued in conjunction with the Hunstman undergraduate program in accounting, and the majority of students seek to prepare for the CPA exam. The curriculum emphasizes research, analysis, and communication as well as professional preparation. Graduates are regularly recruited by the Big Four accounting firms and other major corporations, and post-graduation placement rates regularly exceed 90 percent.
Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College
The Zicklin School of Business at the City University of New York’s Baruch College offers a Master of Science in Accountancy. It is intended primarily for students with bachelors degrees in business-related fields. It meets all requirements for students to take the CPA exam as well as the AACSB International accreditation standards for accounting programs. Students with a previous business coursework in their bachelors program can waive the majority of the degree but are required to take at least thirty credit hours before graduating.
Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University
The Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University offers the Master of Science program in either Accounting, Business Administration, or Management Information Systems. Each degree is intended for students who are interested in pursuing specific areas of interest within business and offers training in teamwork, leadership, and communication. Rawls offers a combined BBA/MS degree, but the MS program is also open to students who have already obtained a BBA from another institution.
Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The 30-credit degree requires five accounting courses, one communications course, four accounting electives, and one free elective. In addition to specific course requirements, the program identifies five areas of competency it expects of all graduates: technical, conceptual, and problem solving; professional development; research and life-long learning; ethical principles and professional standards; and globalization. Its graduates enjoy placements rates in excess of 90 percent.
School of Business at Wake Forest University
The School of Business at Wake Forest University offers a Master of Science in Accounting. The curriculum at Wake Forest includes intensive courses, seminars, and case-based experience, and it is regularly recognized as one of the top programs in the country. Students choose from concentrations in assurance, tax consulting, or financial transaction services. Wake is consistently recruited by the top firms in the world, and graduates have a consistent record of achieving the highest exam pass rate in the country. Placement records consistently approach 100 percent, and students enjoy small class sizes.
Carroll School of Management, Boston College
The Carroll School of Management at Boston College offers the Master of Science in Accounting degree. The program is frequently ranked among the top in the country. It has excellent placement records and CPA exam pass rates. Small class sizes ensure students receive close attention. Students take between ten and thirteen courses total, and most complete the degree over one summer and two regular semesters. The degree also requires ten hours of volunteer service.
Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington
The Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington offers a Master in Professional Accounting degree. The program offers two tracks, auditing and assurance or taxation, and trains its graduates in accounting disciplines but also in ethics, innovation, and communication. It prepares all students to take the CPA exam and to become team players in whatever career they choose. It is a full-time degree designed to be completed in the year following a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Fisher School of Accounting, University of Florida
The Fisher School of Accounting, part of the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida, offers the Master of Accountancy degree. Unlike some “integrated” programs, the Fisher program is designed for students who have obtained their bachelor’s degree in accounting elsewhere and want to continue their education at Fisher. It also accommodates students at Florida who are working on their BSAc wish to continue at Fisher. The program features three tracks: auditing, taxation, and general.
Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina offers the Master of Accountancy. The most recent development in this program is that it is now available entirely online, which makes it one of only three on our list to do so. Graduates of UNC’s accounting program enjoy a nearly 100 percent rate of placement upon graduation, and it is consistently ranked among the top in the country. Its alumni network is expansive, and students can combine traditional classroom coursework with online delivery options to tailor their degree to their needs.
Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee Knoxville
The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee Knoxville offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The program features two concentrations: audit and controls, and tax. The audit and controls concentration is designed to prepare students for careers in assurance in public accounting, internal auditing, and government. The tax concentration prepares students to conduct research and engage in professional communication. Recent graduates have been placed with companies such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Home Depot, Department of Energy, State of Tennessee, and other organizations.
Eller College of Management, University of Arizona
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona offers the Master of Science in Accounting. It is designed to prepare students for obtaining their CPA license. The program offers specializations in either Auditing or Tax, and its faculty boasts a wealth of both scholarly and professional experience. Additional features of the program include summer internship opportunities and a dedicated career services team to assist graduates with employment.
College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
The College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign offers the Master of Accounting Science degree. It is designed to be an “integrated” program, which means it is intended primarily for Illinois undergraduates who have obtained or are obtaining their bachelor’s degree in accountancy. The program is consistently ranked among the best in the country, and at nearly one hundred years old, it has established itself as a leader in the accountancy field by nearly every measure.
Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business, University of Missouri
The Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The program is designed primarily as the final 30 hours of a dual BBA/MAcc program, but students from other institutions who have backgrounds in accounting are also eligible to apply. Students with particular interests in taxation can use their elective credits to work toward a specialization in taxation, but this is not required. Students who complete this option receive a graduate certificate from the Graduate School in Taxation in addition to their MAcc.
College of Business at Florida State University
The College of Business at Florida State University offers the Master of Accountancy. Its program is geared toward how the practice of accounting in the workplace, and it equips students with quantitative, analytical, and research skills alike as well as advanced theories. The program meets all requirements for students to enroll in the CPA exam. Its graduates consistently perform at the highest levels on the test.
Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University
The Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University offers the Master of Accountancy degree. Students enroll in either the Integrated MAcc program, available to Smeal accounting majors, or the one-year MAcc program for non-Smeal students. The Smeal MAcc meets all requirements for the CPA exam, and the comprehensive curriculum prepares students for work both in accounting and in other fields such as finance, financial analysis, and even law enforcement.
Liautaud Graduate School, University of Illinois Chicago
The Liautaud Graduate School at the University of Illinois Chicago offers the Master of Science in Accounting degree. The degree is available to students of any undergraduate background, and can last either one or two years depending on the level of preparation of the individual student. The primary objective of the program is to prepare students to pass the CPA exam and other professional examinations, and its graduates boast one of the highest pass rates among the state’s public institutions.
Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University
The Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University offers the Master of Accountancy degree. It aims to train students in critical and analytical thinking, teamwork, leadership, and communication in addition to accounting-specific training. Graduates are regularly placed in top professional accounting firms, and some have gone on to work in other related occupations, such as executive leadership in the corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations as well as entrepreneurship.
Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina
The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The program places emphasis on analysis, problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. Small class sizes ensure individual attention in preparation for the CPA exam. Two program tracks, in taxation and assurance, are available, but students enjoy a good measure of flexibility to pursue their individual interests as well. The school also boasts excellent placement rates for graduates as well as study abroad opportunities.
Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin School of Business offers a Master of Accountancy degree. Although open to students with bachelor’s degrees in accounting, unlike many programs in our rankings, the Wisconsin program is geared toward students who do not necessarily have a previous accounting backgrounds. It is therefore a longer program, taking an average of two years to complete. All students are prepared to take the CPA exam, but students can also elect to major in taxation, which emphasizes study of business, individual, and administrative tax laws in conjunction with the law school.
J. M. Tull School of Accounting, University of Georgia
The J. M. Tull School of Accounting, part of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, offers the Master of Accountancy degree. It regularly appears in lists of best accounting programs, and its graduates are highly sought after. Tull offers both the stand-alone MAcc for students from other institutions as well as an integrated BBA/MAcc for students who wish to complete both their degrees at Georgia. Its placement rate regularly exceeds 90 percent.
School of Business at the University of Connecticut
The School of Business at the University of Connecticut offers the Master of Science in Accounting, but it is unique to our rankings in that it is one of only three schools in our ranking to offer its degree entirely online. It is accredited both by the AACSB and the United States Distance Learning Association. It is designed to fulfill and complete the 150-hour requirement for the CPA exam for students who have already obtained accounting training through their bachelor’s degree.
W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers the Master of Accountancy degree. The program lasts nine months. The program is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge in accounting, and nearly 100 percent of graduates obtain employment offers within ninety days of graduation. The program meets all requirements for the CPA exam, and the school also offers a Masters in Taxation for students who are particularly interested in tax-related professions.
Culverhouse College of Commerce, University of Alabama
The Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama offers the Master of Accountancy degree. It has a particular interest in providing students with practical accounting experience in addition to traditional coursework, and it seeks to prepare students for careers in traditional accounting roles as well as nontraditional occupations in government, nonprofit work, and other public service roles. The program requires a minimum of 30 hours, 21 of which must be accounting-specific courses.
Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University
The Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University offers the Master of Accountancy degree. Students can combine the MAcc with a Bachelor in Accountancy for a five-year completion option. Students choose from one of two program tracks, referred to as “stems”: the Professional stem and the Tax stem. In addition to these two concentrations, students can pursue additional opportunities through an Accounting Information Systems (AIS) specialization, a PhD preparation track, and a joint JD/MAcc degree.
Graduate School of Business at Stanford University
The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University offers a non-traditional non-MBA degree known as the MSx. This highly individualized program allows students to pursue their specific interests as Fellows and gain interdisciplinary insight from students in other business fields. If accepted, accounting students can expect their interests and careers to expand beyond the borders of traditional accounting to include the broader worlds of business, government, and society.
Patterson School of Accountancy, University of Mississippi
The Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi offers both Master of Accountancy and Master of Taxation degrees. Accountancy has been part of the Ole Miss curriculum since 1848, and the University established a dedicated school of accountancy in 1979. The Patterson program is regularly recognized among the best in the country, and graduates have been successfully placed in accounting firms, executive positions in Fortune 500 companies, and leadership positions in government, nonprofit, and business.
Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa
The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa offers the Master of Accountancy degree. It is open to all students of any education background and tailors each program to ensure that its graduates meet the requirements necessary for the CPA exam. Beyond general accounting coursework, students specialize in one of four areas: financial/auditing, management information systems, managerial accounting, or tax. The program requires a total of 30 credit hours beyond the BBA.
Poole College of Management, North Carolina State University
The Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University offers a 31-credit-hour Master of Accounting degree. The program seeks to achieve a balance between technical accounting education and hands-on experience with real-world accounting skills. Its faculty has won numerous awards in the field, and the program includes unique study abroad opportunities. It enjoys an excellent job placement record through a dedicated career services staff and offers numerous resources to prepare students for the CPA exam.
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington offers a Master of Science in Accounting. It is a one-year degree designed for students who have already earned an undergraduate degree in business. The program seeks to equip students with expertise in technical assurance and taxation accounting, professional consulting, and real-world experience. The program meets the requirements for students to take the CPA exam, and nearly 100 percent of students are employed within ninety days of graduation.
Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University
The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University offers a Master of Science in Accounting that is consistently ranked among the top in the country. It is a well-rounded, thirty-credit program that offers room for specific interests and meets all requirements for the CPA exam. Students specialize in one of three areas: taxation, information systems, or public and corporate accounting.
Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University
The Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University offers the Master of Accountancy degree, which requires eighteen hours of accounting courses and fifteen hours of graduate business electives. It meets all requirements for the CPA examination. Students can design specialized programs in accounting information systems, auditing, financial accounting, managerial accounting, or taxation. The degree can also be combined with a Baylor BBA, which allows students to complete both degrees in five years.
Mays Business School, Texas A&M University
The Mays Business School at Texas A&M University offers the Master of Science in Accounting. The program requires between 37 and 39 hours to complete and offers students the opportunity to specialize in particular areas of interest as well as obtain both specific accounting knowledge and general business skills. It is designed mainly for students with undergraduate degrees in accounting but also considers students from other backgrounds also. It fulfills all requirements for students to take the CPA exam.
Farmer School of Business, Miami University Ohio
The Farmer School of Business at Miami University Ohio offers the Master of Accountancy degree. Unlike some MAcc programs, the Farmer school explicitly seeks to prepare students for careers both within the accounting professions and beyond it. Examples of other fields graduates have entered include business risk services, fraud investigation, business valuation, forensic accounting, systems and process assurance, and investment banking.
Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania offers a major in accounting through its well-known Master of Business Administration program. With the right combination of courses, such as taxation, auditing, legal studies, and advanced accounting, students can obtain both specific preparation for the CPA exam in multiple states as well as general business training through the remainder of the MBA program, which boasts an alumni network in excess of 93,000, over 225 faculty members, and relationships with the best companies and institutions in the world.
Stern School of Business, New York University
The Stern School of Business at New York University offers two opportunities for students interested in accounting: either the dual BS/MS in Accounting or a traditional MBA with a specialization in accounting studies. The MS is offered only in conjunction with the BS degree; it not currently open to non-Stern students. Non-Stern students can enroll in the MBA, which offers numerous accounting courses in the areas of financial statement analysis, financial accounting, managerial accounting, strategic business planning and taxation.
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan offers the Master of Accounting program. One of the unique features of the Ross MAcc is that courses are integrated with those of Michigan’s reputable MBA program. Thus students receive specific accountancy training but within the context of broader business training. Because of this, graduates are regularly recruited by accounting firms, investment banks, consulting firms, and nonprofits alike, and their exam pass rates are consistently among the best in the country.
Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame
The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame offers the Master of Science in Accountancy degree. Mendoza’s program is regularly recognized as a leader in the field, and it is known for its training in ethics as well as traditional accounting disciplines. Recent statistics indicate that 100 percent of Mendoza graduates obtain employment within ninety days of graduation, and over 80 percent of them go to work for one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. Other features of the program include internships in China and South America and interim intensive courses with major companies.
McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas Austin offers a Master in Professional Accounting, and it is consistently ranked among the best programs in the country. The program offers three different tracks: traditional, integrated, and a combined BA/MPA degree in economics. The traditional MPA is open to students of any academic background, the integrated track is for McCombs BBA students, and the BA/MPA track is for students pursuing a BA in economics. Students with backgrounds in accounting typically take 31 hours to complete their degree, while students from other backgrounds typically take 43 hours.
McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia
The Master of Science in Accounting from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia earns our top spot in this year’s rankings. It is designed as a one-year, 30-credit program that emphasizes both analytic skills and professional preparation for a life-long career in accounting fields. Students can specialize in financial reporting and assurance or tax consulting, but the comprehensive nature of the program and the leaders it produces makes it a favorite of recruiters worldwide. The program’s CPA exam pass rates and placement records are consistently near 100 percent.