Online Master’s in Accounting Programs 2021

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Masters in Accounting Online

Students earning an accounting degree prepare for rewarding and well-paying jobs in fields such as finance, banking, and insurance. As technological advancements continue to transform the accounting field, many professionals specialize in areas such as data analytics and forensics accounting.

Many students pursue an accounting master’s degree to meet state requirements to become a certified public accountant (CPA). Online master’s in accounting programs typically offer more flexibility than on-campus programs and often cost less.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for accountants and auditors to increase 4% from 2019-2029. Additionally, these professionals earn a median annual salary of $73,560.

This guide features information about accounting program coursework, salary potential for graduates, industry certifications, and scholarship opportunities.

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Top 10 Online Master’s in Accounting Programs

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 Liberty University $23800
2 Culver-Stockton College $26255
3 Saint Leo University $22400
4 New England College $36754
5 Mississippi College $17000
6 University of Alabama at Birmingham $8040
7 Keystone College $24920
8 Davenport University $21930
9 Shorter University $21940
10 University of Massachusetts-Amherst $15888

Accounting Masters Degree Questions


  • What kind of jobs can you get with an accounting degree?

    An accounting degree can lead to a variety of careers. In addition to becoming accountants, graduates can pursue roles such as financial manager, fraud examiner, budget analyst, and personal financial advisor.


  • What qualifications do I need to be an accountant?

    A bachelor’s degree meets the minimum education requirement for most entry-level accounting positions. However, some roles require a master’s degree and CPA certification.


  • How many years does it take to be an accountant?

    Accounting students typically earn their bachelor’s degree in four years. Master’s programs in the field generally require 12-24 months.


  • Does accounting pay well?

    According to BLS data, accountants and auditors earn a median salary of $73,560 per year. However, professionals can increase their salary potential by earning advanced degrees and certifications.


Why Get a Degree in Accounting?

An advanced accounting degree can help graduates stand out in the job market. A master’s degree can help holders qualify for advanced positions that may otherwise require years of experience. Master’s in accounting programs also prepare individuals for high-level roles such as financial analyst, controller, staff and senior accountant, and internal auditor.

Individuals who plan to practice public accounting must obtain CPA certification. Credentials such as CPA certification often lead to increased job prospects and earning potential. A bachelor’s in accounting program fulfills the 120 credits required to sit for the CPA exam in some states. However, many states require 150 credits, which candidates can fulfill by earning an accounting master’s degree.

Obtaining CPA certification can also lead to career flexibility. Mobility laws allow CPAs to provide services in all 50 states without needing to obtain a reciprocal credential.

How Much Does an Accounting Degree Cost?

Many of the nation’s best business schools offer online accounting programs. Accredited online degrees typically feature the same rigorous curricula as their on-campus counterparts. Learners can choose from synchronous, asynchronous, and self-paced online programs. Additionally, online learning is often more affordable than on-campus learning.

Although many schools charge a technology fee for online students, distance learners typically do not pay for on-campus services. Online learners may also save money on transportation and housing. However, students should research whether prospective online programs feature residency requirements or in-person components.

Graduate students can reduce out-of-pocket expenses by completing the FAFSA form to apply for federal financial aid. Learners can also apply for institutional and private scholarship opportunities.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

The following affordability calculator can help students determine the cost of earning an accounting degree. Users input details about tuition rates and their expected financial aid to calculate how much they can afford to contribute per month.

Open Cost Calculator

How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?

Factors including education, work experience, and position impact an accountant’s earning potential. According to BLS data, accountants and auditors earn a median salary over $73,000 per year. However, the lowest 10% earn less than $45,220 and the highest 10% earn more than $128,680 per year.

A professional’s specific position also influences earning potential. For example, financial analysts earn a median salary of $83,660 per year, while financial managers earn a median annual salary of $134,180. The BLS projects employment for these managers to increase 15% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Accounting master’s degree-holders can also pursue high-paying roles as budget analysts and personal financial advisors. Accountants with expertise in data analytics can secure specialized roles as management analysts, who earn a median salary of $87,660 per year.

Courses in Accounting

Master’s in accounting curricula vary by school and degree. Learners can pursue an MS in accounting or a master of accountancy. Enrollees typically complete 30-48 credits, depending on their educational background. Students with a bachelor’s in accounting often earn their master’s degree in 12-15 months.

Accounting curricula generally cover topics including managerial accounting, financial statement analysis, data analytics, and auditing and assurance services. When selecting a program, learners should consider their career goals. For example, aspiring financial managers and accountants may select a program featuring coursework on mining and interpreting data. Learners who plan to become CPAs may benefit from classes on artificial intelligence.

The list below highlights a few courses common to many master’s in accounting programs. Because course availability varies by school, learners should contact their prospective institution for details about program requirements.

Degree-seekers in this class explore the regulatory environment and learn how to effectively perform auditing procedures. Course topics include risk assessment, internal control systems, and fraud examination.

The course explores how accountants use financial statements to establish a company’s performance, profitability, and credit risk. Students learn how to analyze income statements and balance sheets. They also prepare to perform ratio, cash flow, and vertical analyses.

In this course, students learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret data to inform decision-making and develop business solutions. Students practice visualizing and modeling data using analytical tools such as Microsoft Excel, Google Analytics, and Tableau.

Certifications for Accounting Students

To obtain CPA certification, individuals must apply with their state board of accountancy. CPA candidates must meet educational, experience, ethics, and exam requirements. The following list features common credentials for accounting master’s degree-holders.

Certified Public Accountant


The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants administers the CPA credential in 55 jurisdictions. Candidates need a bachelor’s degree and 120-150 credits to sit for the four-section CPA exam.

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Certified Management Accountant


This credential from the Institute of Management Accountants demonstrates proficiency in 12 management accounting areas, including performance management and technology and analytics. Candidates need a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience. They must complete a program and pass a two-part exam.

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Certified Internal Auditor


The Institute of Internal Auditors administers this globally recognized certification. The credential demonstrates that the holder possesses the skills necessary to perform audits anywhere in the world. Candidates need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting and 1-2 years of internal audit experience.

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Scholarships for Accounting Programs

Students can apply for scholarships and financial aid to help fund their master’s in accounting. Many organizations award funding based on criteria such as financial need, academic performance, and membership in an underrepresented population. The following list features scholarship opportunities for accounting master’s degree-seekers.


  • AICPA Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants awards annual scholarships to learners at various educational levels. Eligibility requirements vary by scholarship but may include a minimum 3.0 GPA, an undergraduate accounting degree, and demonstrable financial need.

    Amount: $1,500-$10,000

    Explore Here

  • EFWA Graduate Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers scholarships for women pursuing graduate degrees in accounting. Candidates must demonstrate financial need and a desire to pursue a career in accounting or finance.

    Amount: $1,000-$2,000

    Explore Here


Online Master’s in Accounting Programs 2021

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  1. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Liberty University is one of the largest private, not-for-profit Christian institutions with over 110,000 online and on-campus students. The school's Master of Science in Accounting is available entirely online and will help you to advance into a specialized career in accounting. Students can choose the general track or can specialize in one of 6 concentrations: taxation, business, auditing and financial reporting, financial services, forensic accounting and leadership. Courses are asynchronous, 8 weeks in duration and delivered through the Blackboard system. Online students have access to various student support services, including IT support, writing resources, online course guides, webinars and instructional media tools. Military service members, veterans and military spouses may qualify for an application fee waiver. Military students receive a significant tuition discount, as well as the option to start courses at 8 different times per year with no set login times. Incoming students must have an undergraduate record of foundational business and accounting courses. Any of those prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrolling in any graduate accounting classes. Incoming and transfer students may receive credit for prior learning or work experience and military service. All appropriate documentation must be submitted to the registrar to be considered for credit. Transfer credits from other regionally accredited schools are also accepted and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Upon completion of this program, you will be prepared to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam, provided you have met the other requirements in your state for CPA exam candidates.

  2. Culver-Stockton College
    Location

    Canton, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting program at Culver-Stockton College is designed for working professionals and adults to advance their knowledge of the field and increase their earning potential. Distance learners who work full-time will be able to complete their degrees quickly with Culver-Stockton's flexible 8-week, accelerated courses. As an online student, you will be able to work one-on-one with experienced faculty members and academic and career counselors and access Culver-Stockton's library, with fully online bibliographic databases. Throughout this MBA program, you will complete courses in communication and qualitative and quantitative data analysis to further develop your analytical and decision-making skills. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to take on leadership roles in the evolving business world. Incoming students must have completed the requisite undergraduate business courses. Deficiencies in your academic record may be completed through the undergraduate online campus program. Applicants must submit an official GMAT score, with a minimum combination of 200 X GPA plus a GMAT score greater than or equal to 1025. You may be able to obtain a GMAT waiver if you have a high undergraduate GPA and significant work experience in the field. Incoming students can transfer up to 9 credit hours toward the accounting degree as long as those credits were earned within the last 5 years with a "B" or better. You must maintain 3.0 GPA and a "C" average or better in all MBA courses to remain in good standing. All MBA graduate students must complete their degree requirements within 5 years of their start-date. Culver-Stockton College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Saint Leo University
    Location

    St. Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Leo University is a private, not-for-profit institution affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. You can earn your Master of Accounting degree online and prepare for the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant exams. In this 30 credit hour program, you will learn about resolving financial reporting issues for U.S. and multinational businesses. Students also obtain the essential knowledge of tax laws and relevant legal concerns in the field. When you reach graduation, you will be prepared for careers as a CPA, auditor, chief financial officer, IRS investigator, forensic accountant and other accounting positions. Recent Saint Leo accounting graduates have moved on to careers at companies like Price Waterhouse Coopers, Entegra Power Group, the United States Special Operations Command and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Admissions at Saint Leo are rolling, and you may apply at any time to begin your studies during any of the 6 start-dates throughout the calendar year. The MAcc program requires a minimum GMAT score of 500, completed within the past 5 years. You will also need to submit a resume showing at least 2 years of work experience, an essay, and 2 professional recommendations with your online application. Admitted students with a non-business undergraduate degree may be required to take additional business courses to satisfy requirements for graduation and the CPA exam. Prior learning experience and military service may count toward your degree. You must submit official documentation for each experience for the registrar to evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

  4. New England College
    Location

    Henniker, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At New England College, you can pursue the Master of Science in Accounting to expand your knowledge in taxation, financial reporting, cost reporting, auditing, mergers and acquisitions. New England College is accredited by the New England Association on Schools and Colleges (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE). This 40 credit hour program will help you diversify your career options and pursue upper-level careers in auditing and risk management, management, banking and financial services, not-for-profit organizations and taxation. You will also be prepared to take the Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant or Certified Internal Auditor exams in most states. For those online learners interested in fraud prevention and criminal investigation, you may elect to obtain a concentration in forensic accounting. The forensic concentration prepares you for the Certified Fraud Examiner designation exam. Most full-time students complete their NEC master's degree in less than 2 years. Applications are accepted at any time, as NEC uses a rolling admissions schedule that allows students to enter every 7 weeks throughout the year. For admission to this 100% online program, you do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Online students have access to the same support services as traditional on-campus students, including academic advising, career and life planning, mentoring programs, veteran services and library access. NEC offers active duty service members a highly discounted tuition rate and 10% tuition savings for veterans, Reservists, Guardsmen and their spouses. Up to 8 credits earned from other regionally accredited institutions with a "B" or better may transfer toward a graduate degree at NEC.

  5. Mississippi College
    Location

    Clinton, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mississippi College is a private, Baptist-affiliated institution serving over 5,000 students and is the oldest college in the state. The MC school of business offers a comprehensive Master of Business Administration in Accounting in both fully online and hybrid formats. With a curriculum built on the combination of theory and practice, the program prepares students for a variety of accounting careers in the public or private sector. Graduates of MC's MBA program have gone on to become CEOs, CFOs and executives in fields such as intermediate accounting, federal tax accounting, auditing and cost accounting. The program also prepares students for the CPA exam and other professional certifications. With guidance and instruction from MC's established faculty, distance learners will complete a diverse set of online 8-week classes in financial accounting, taxation and auditing to learn about the field from a global perspective. Full-time online learners can complete the 30-credit degree program in 2 years. The business school also aids online students with their post-graduation job search and helps them find the best employment for their career goals. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a 2.25 GPA or higher. The GMAT is not required for applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Incoming students who have not completed foundational undergraduate courses in business may have to complete 9 credits of prerequisite courses before moving on to upper-level master's courses.

  6. University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online Master of Accounting degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham caters both to applicants with an undergraduate degree in accounting or business and those with a different academic background seeking to enter the accounting field. Whether you have been working in the field since your undergraduate graduation, or you are coming from a different career or degree program, UAB's fully online program is set up to help you to gain the knowledge and skills needed to enter a career in auditing, accounting or management and to take the CPA exam. The program's award-winning faculty has experience in the industry and offers networking opportunities for students. Those without an accounting or business undergraduate degree will need to enter a bridge program, which includes 24 credits of coursework covering the principles of accounting, financial accounting and foundations of income taxation. The master's degree program itself involves completion of a total of 30 credits, which can be completed in as few as 5 semesters. Coursework includes 21 credits of core courses in business law, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, advanced financial accounting, corporate governance and tax entities, and up to 9 elective credits. The online program offers 24/7 technical support. You may transfer credits toward this master's degree but all potential credits must be discussed with a UAB academic advisor. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in accounting do not need to submit GMAT scores for admission. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

  7. Keystone College
    Location

    La Plume, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Keystone College's Master In Accountancy (MAcc) degree program was established in 2015. It is a 30-credit program designed to prepare students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam while expanding their knowledge and skills in a variety of accounting-related subjects, including taxation, auditing, risk management and ethical practices. Classes are presented on a 7-week schedule. Students are expected to complete 2 courses per 7-week period, allowing them to finish their studies in 1 year. They must also complete a graduate thesis. Course subjects offered include advanced auditing, forensic accounting, corporate and partnership taxation, and government and fund accounting. The curriculum also includes 2 CPA exam prep courses. All coursework can be accessed asynchronously and completed fully online. Faculty and technical support services are available to all online students. Students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher to be admitted to the MAcc program. The bachelor's degree can be in any major. However, an applicant whose degree is not in accounting or finance must complete certain prerequisite undergraduate courses in order to be accepted into the program. Applicants must also pass the GMAT exam with a minimum score of 450 points (waived for students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher), and submit a current CV and official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended. International applicants must submit a Financial Statement (ISFS) with affidavit of ability to pay, and a test score for either the TOEFL (minimum score of 80) or IELTS (minimum score of 6.5).

  8. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Davenport University's fully online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree features a wide range of specialization options and tracks designed to allow students to concentrate their studies in the area of accounting best suited to their career interests and professional goals. Four specializations are available to Davenport MAcc students: Finance, Fraud Examiner and Auditing, Managerial Accountant and Professional Accountant. The program also offers multiple tracks culminating in the student taking Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) examination preparation courses. Earning the MAcc degree also prepares students to sit for the Certified Financial Manager (CFE) and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) exams. Candidates for admission into the MAcc program must possess a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance from a regionally accredited college or university (or approved international institution) with an overall GPA of 2.8 or higher. Applicants must also submit: a current CV or resume with information on education, work experience and community service; a comprehensive 500-word minimum Statement of Purpose explaining why the applicant wishes to pursue the degree; and a signed professional letter of recommendation. Additionally, candidates may be required to successfully complete foundational accounting-related coursework relating to their chosen MAcc track prior to acceptance into the degree program. To earn the Davenport MAcc degree, students must complete 30 semester credit hours of coursework, including 15 credits in core courses and 15 credits in the student's chosen area of specialization. Students currently holding a CPA license, or CFE, CIA or CMA certification, may be able to apply that credit to the corresponding specialization.

  9. Shorter University
    Location

    Rome, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Shorter University is a private, Christian-affiliated institution offering a wide range of distance learning programs to working professionals and others. The Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree offered by Shorter University can be earned 100% online in as little as 12 months. The degree provides graduates with the 150 semester hours required to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in most states, and further prepares them for professional careers in all sectors of the accounting field. To be accepted into the program, a student must possess a bachelor's degree in either accounting or another discipline, earned with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. A GMAT with a minimum score of 450 points is also required. Students holding a non-accounting bachelor's degree must complete prerequisite coursework (in financial accounting, managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, auditing and statistics) prior to entering the MAcc program. To earn their degree, students must complete a minimum 31 semester credit hours in core and elective courses in subjects such as advanced financial accounting, internal auditing and fraud, business analytics and research methods, and legal/ethical issues for accounting. Each course must be completed with a C grade or higher, and with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA for all coursework. An in-person internship is not required, although one is offered as an elective course. Program courses are presented in a shortened 8-week format. Shorter University is a military-friendly institution offering a 20% tuition discount for online classes to active-duty personnel and veterans of all branches of the armed services. This discounted rate is not applicable to students simultaneously receiving other military benefits, however. Shorter University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), but there is no specific accreditation for the MAcc program.

  10. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UMassAmherst's online Master of Science in Accounting degree program offers students an opportunity to fast-track their graduate education at a highly respected university. Graduates are prepared to take on positions in accounting, auditing and budgeting, as well as to continue their educations to earn an MBA or doctorate degree. The program provides students with the educational components needed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in most states. To earn this degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework consisting of 6 required core classes and 4 elective classes in subjects such as taxes and business decisions, financial statement analysis, forensic accounting and advanced audit. The degree is offered in 2 distance learning formats: hybrid (combination of online and on-campus classes) and fully online. Both formats allow students to complete their studies in as little as 2 semesters. However, students with work and/or family obligations may take longer to complete their degree. To be admitted into the MS in Accounting program, the applicant must possess an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. The program is designed primarily for students who have recently completed their undergraduate degree in accounting, but accepts candidates with non-accounting and non-business bachelor degrees as well. The school's Accounting Transitions Program offers a set of prerequisite classes that non-accounting degree holders must complete before acceptance into the degree program. Applicants must also submit a test score for either the GMAT or GRE exam (GMAT preferred). Acceptance is determined by an evaluation of several factors, including the candidate's academic history, GMAT/GRE exam results, professional experience, evidence of motivation, and aptitude for graduate-level work.

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