The 25 Best Master's in Accounting Degree Programs

Compiled and Written By Accounting-Degree.org Staff


A graduate degree in accounting can open the door to a lucrative career in the accounting and auditing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while many employers hire accountants with a bachelor's degree, some companies require new accountants to possess a master's in the field. Data from the BLS indicates that accountants in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of $70,500, almost double the national median for all occupations.

This page, which is updated each year to reflect changes in accounting education, ranks the best accounting schools in the country. Below you can explore some of the top online accounting grad programs and find the ideal degree for you.

What Are the Best Accounting Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
2 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
4 Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, MO
5 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
6 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
7 Rice University Houston, TX
8 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
9 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
10 Emory University Atlanta, GA
See more schools


Best Graduate Schools For Accounting

University of Pennsylvania

Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting

Penn educated more than 22,000 students in Fall 2019. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Wharton School's master of business administration in accounting trains degree-seekers to gather and assess financial information to guide companies on economic decisions. Degree-seekers also examine how to present this information to external organizations interested in a company's financial status or management.

Core coursework for this master's degree in accounting addresses cost management, financial reporting, and corporate valuation, preparing students for the certified public accountant exam. Military personnel can obtain tuition assistance through the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Wharton School also provides fellowships.

Average Net Price of Program: $38,630
Program Website

Northwestern University

Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting

Northwestern dates back to 1851 and holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Of the school's 2018 alumni, 95% entered advanced programs, fellowships, or careers within six months of graduation.

The university's master of business administration with a concentration in accounting trains students to assess financial statuses for company reports and use enhancement strategies for budgeting, marketing, and item pricing.

Learners may complete a field experience or independent study to customize this accounting master's. They can also choose from one- or two-year programs. Ideal candidates for MBA admission hold at least two years of relevant professional experience.

Average Net Price of Program: $54,620
Program Website

University of Southern California

Master of Accounting

USC in Los Angeles is a private institution that educated nearly 50,000 learners in 2019-2020. USC prioritizes research and boasts accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The school's master of accounting program trains students in researching, assessing, and communicating financial concepts in various practices and industries, including international businesses. The program also introduces learners to the technical, ethical, and cultural aspects of accounting careers.

The 30-credit accounting master's program requires applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, and a personal statement. Candidates without experience or coursework in accounting may complete the Summer Intensive Program, which lasts nine weeks.

Average Net Price of Program: $45,561
Program Website

Washington University in St. Louis

Master of Accounting

Washington University was founded in 1853 and hosts nearly 16,000 students each year. The institution conducts medical, environmental, entrepreneurial, and plant-focused research and holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The Olin Business School's 33-credit master of accounting program requires courses in income tax concepts, auditing, financial statements, and policy. The curriculum also includes accounting and general electives, which students can use to complete a practicum.

To apply, learners need a resume, a professional statement, an essay, a recommendation, and acceptable standardized test results. Tuition rates do not depend on location.

Average Net Price of Program: $52,875
Program Website

Vanderbilt University

Master of Accountancy

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a private institution established in 1873. The university enrolled more than 13,000 students in 2019-2020 and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school's master's in accounting offers concentrations in assurance and valuation. The assurance program relates to careers in auditing, while the valuation track prepares candidates to pursue chartered financial analyst credentials. Both paths include internships and build knowledge for the certified public accountant exam.

Candidates can graduate in one year. About 100% of students secure employment within three months of graduation. Applicants need prior coursework in statistics, microeconomics, financial accounting, and managerial or cost accounting. Other requirements include a resume, essays, recommendation letters, and GRE or GMAT results.

Average Net Price of Program: $47,686
Program Website

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Master of Accounting

U-M holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 275 programs, including a master of accounting. With its interdisciplinary approach, the 30-credit degree ranks among the best master of accounting programs in the country.

Learners take courses in structured finance, taxation, and auditing. They can also use electives to pursue business administration courses. The program prepares learners for the certified public accountant exam. Students can graduate in eight months. They can participate in workshops, career clubs, and coaching to help with career placement. About 95% of students secure employment within three months of graduation.

Admission requires previous classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, microeconomics, and statistics. University students with household incomes less than $65,000 may qualify for free tuition.

Average Net Price of Program: $34,903
Program Website

Rice University

Master of Accounting

Established in 1891, Rice is a research institution in Houston that holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school's master of accounting requires 36 credits and addresses topics such as financial reporting, auditing, data analytics, law, and taxation. This curriculum prepares learners to pursue certified public accountant credentials and can be completed in under one year.

Applicants do not need an accounting degree but should hold previous accounting and business coursework. In-state and out-of-state students pay equal tuition. Rice learners can access counseling services and job listings through the Center for Career Development.

Average Net Price of Program: $38,438
Program Website

University of Notre Dame

Master of Science in Accountancy

Founded in 1842, ND is a Catholic institution in Indiana that holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. Degree-seekers can earn a master of science in accountancy through the Mendoza College of Business.

The program offers assurance and advisory services and tax services tracks. Both tracks require 30 credits and prepare learners for the certified public accountant exam. Candidates can study abroad in Asia, South Africa, or South America. Students can graduate in one year. More than four-fifths of graduates earn positions with the Big Four firms.

Admission mandates previous coursework in accountancy, measurement and disclosure, strategic cost management, audit and assurance services, and federal taxation.

Average Net Price of Program: $53,218
Program Website

University of Rochester

Master of Science in Accountancy

Rochester started in 1850 and includes 21 research centers. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits the school.

The institution offers a master of science in accountancy that examines business law, financial statement analysis, research, and communication for accounting practices. Candidates can optionally pursue an internship to gain field experience. The curriculum prepares students for the certified public accountant exam.

Approximately 100% of master's in accounting students earn jobs within four months of graduation. Alumni have worked for companies like Western Digital, Deloitte, PwC, and Nestle. Applicants should supply a resume, an essay, GMAT or GRE scores, two recommendations, and transcripts.

Average Net Price of Program: $40,328
Program Website

Emory University

Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting

Emory was established in 1836 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Enrollment for fall 2019 surpassed 15,000, and the institution awarded nearly 5,000 degrees in 2018-2019. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Emory.

Candidates can earn a master of business administration with a concentration in accounting from Emory in two years. The program builds leadership, marketing, communication, and management skills. Learners study accounting concepts like auditing and financial reporting.

Students may participate in internships, study abroad opportunities, and IMPACT 360 projects that include interaction with professional organizations. Former students have worked with the American Cancer Society, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot for these projects. Application materials include a resume, essays, transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, and two recommendations.

Average Net Price of Program: $42,628
Program Website

New York University

Master of Science in Accounting

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, NYU boasts a 94% freshman retention rate and educates students from over 100 countries.

NYU's master of science in accounting prepares students for accounting professions, doctoral programs, and certified public accountant exams. Accounting students learn about corporate finance, financial reporting, auditing, and data analytics. The curriculum also prioritizes communication skills and ethics for business practices.

Candidates can earn this 30-credit master's degree in accounting in one year. About 91% of 2018 alumni earned employment within three months of graduation. Nearly 70% of these graduates landed jobs with the Big 4 firms. Ideal applicants have taken classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and data analysis or statistics.

Average Net Price of Program: $45,426
Program Website

Lehigh University

Master of Science in Accounting and Information Analysis

Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, started in 1865 and boasts nearly 7,000 students. The institution accepts 32% of applicants and holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The College of Business's 30-credit master of science in accounting and information analysis trains students to enhance businesses through accounting practices. The program also prioritizes communication and technology for solving company issues.

Businesses like JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, and Nabisco Foods recruit Lehigh graduates for employment. Graduates can also apply to Lehigh's doctoral program in business and economics. Resident and nonresident students pay equal tuition for this master's degree in accounting. Applicants must submit GMAT scores, recommendation letters, a resume, and an essay.

Average Net Price of Program: $27,130
Program Website

Case Western Reserve University

Master of Accountancy

CWRU's history dates back to 1826. This research-focused school in Ohio educates around 5,200 undergraduate students and boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The university's master of accountancy introduces students to accounting theories and current issues, along with relevant technology. Candidates can choose the professional track or analytics track. Graduates qualify to take the certified public accountant exam in Ohio.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits this 30-credit program. Applicants without coursework in areas such as taxation and business law may need to complete additional classes to graduate. Applicants must submit essays, a resume, two recommendations, and GMAT or GRE scores.

Average Net Price of Program: $45,204
Program Website

Villanova University

Master of Accounting with Data Analytics

Villanova is a Catholic school that started in 1842. The institution holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The School of Business offers a 30-credit master of accounting in data analytics. This accounting degree addresses assessment and analysis as they relate to risks, fraud, and success rates. The curriculum also hones leadership skills. This degree prepares students for the certified public accountant exam. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the program.

Applicants need prerequisite coursework in intermediate accounting, auditing, and federal income tax for admission. Applicants should also provide two recommendations, a resume, and two essays. In-state and out-of-state learners pay the same tuition rate.

Average Net Price of Program: $19,005
Program Website

Tulane University of Louisiana

Master of Accounting

Founded in 1834, Tulane hosted 14,062 learners in 2018-2019. The school boasts accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The 30-credit master of accounting degree offers seven specializations: analytics, energy, entrepreneurship, risk management, taxation, structured finance, and strategic and innovation management. All specializations examine topics like ethics, business law, and auditing. Graduates can sit for the certified public accountant exam.

Candidates can complete this program in 10 months. To apply, individuals must submit a resume, an essay, a recommendation, and GMAT or GRE scores. Tuition does not vary by location.

Average Net Price of Program: $54,896
Program Website

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Accounting

The country's first public university, UNC-Chapel Hill has graduated more than 335,000 students from over 160 countries. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The institution's master of accounting offers concentrations in audit, tax, and financial analysis and reporting. Core courses cover topics like cost accounting, data analytics, and communication. The program also hones leadership and teamwork abilities.

Accounting students can participate in global immersions in areas like Mexico City, Shanghai, and London. Over 70% of alumni working at accounting firms earn positions with the Big 4. Applicants should provide unofficial transcripts, two recommendations, a resume, a statement of purpose, and GRE or GMAT scores.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,848
Program Website

Wake Forest University

Master of Science in Accountancy

A private institution, Wake Forest started in 1834. Student enrollment at this North Carolina school represents over 50 countries. The university's accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The master of science in accountancy features three tracks: assurance services, financial transaction services, and tax consulting. The program prepares students for the certified public accountant exam and requires at least 30 credits. Learners without accounting backgrounds may need to complete additional courses in tax concepts, statistics, and financial accounting.

Candidates can graduate in two semesters, but they may participate in an optional paid internship during a third term. Ninety-eight percent of students find work within three months of graduation. Admission calls for GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, references, transcripts, and answers to provided prompts.

Average Net Price of Program: $39,176
Program Website

Boston College

Master of Science in Accounting

BC is a Jesuit school that emphasizes research and boasts an alumni network of more than 180,000 graduates. BC holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The Carroll School of Management delivers a 30-credit master of science in accounting that trains learners in decision-making, consulting, and statement analysis. The program prepares students to sit for the certified public accounting exam.

Students without an accounting background may need to take additional accounting and business classes. To apply, candidates must supply GRE or GMAT scores, an essay, a recommendation, transcripts, and a resume.

Average Net Price of Program: $29,512
Program Website

George Washington University

Master of Accountancy

GW was chartered in 1821 and currently educates over 26,000 learners. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits GW.

GW's master of accountancy requires coursework in areas such as finance, auditing theory, and intermediate accounting. The program also mandates preparation classes in subjects like managerial accounting and statistics. Students can use 15 elective credits to tailor the degree to their interests.

Full-time students can graduate in nine months. Graduates can pursue certified public accountant credentials or apply to GW's doctorate in business administration program with a concentration in accountancy. GW also offers relevant certificates in capital markets, financial management, and government and nonprofit accounting.

Average Net Price of Program: $30,834
Program Website

College of William and Mary

Master of Accounting

W&M began with a charter from King William III and Queen Mary II. The institution's accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

W&M offers a master of accounting with concentrations in auditing and assurance, taxation, valuation and advisory services, and accounting analytics. Students can also pursue an integrated winter field experience option. Learners take courses as a cohort.

The program prepares students for the certified public accountant exam. Full-time students can graduate in nine months. Admission requirements include a personal statement, GMAT or GRE results, two recommendations, and an interview.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,575
Program Website

Creighton University

Master of Accounting

Creighton is a Jesuit school in Omaha, Nebraska, that educates more than 8,000 students each year. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The university's 33-credit master of accounting addresses research and modern problems for accounting professions, along with taxation and auditing. The curriculum incorporates three elective accounting credits, which may include an internship, seminar, or independent study, along with nine credits of nonaccounting electives.

Graduates can pursue certified public accountant credentials. The program possesses accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Average Net Price of Program: $17,376
Program Website

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Master of Science in Accounting

Located in Charlottesville, UVA holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Students can earn the school's master of science in accounting in tax consulting or financial reporting and assurance. Both paths emphasize analytical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills. Courses cover topics like cybersecurity, research, and negotiation. Students can also participate in global immersion experiences.

The 30-credit curriculum qualifies learners for the certified public accountant exam. Students can graduate in less than a year. Applicants need prerequisite classes in financial, intermediate, and managerial accounting, along with U.S. federal taxation and auditing.

Average Net Price of Program: $21,424
Program Website

Loyola Marymount University

Master of Science in Accounting

Loyola Marymount University started in 1911 and currently educates nearly 10,000 learners. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The university's 30-credit master of science in accounting builds problem-solving, communication, and decision-making skills. The program requires core coursework in business strategy, financial reporting, auditing, ethics, research, and analysis. Learners also complete 15 elective credits. This degree prepares candidates for certified public accountant credentials.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit GRE or GMAT results, a personal statement, and an essay on ethics. The department also requires prerequisite courses in areas such as taxation, business, and ethics.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,106
Program Website

University of Miami

Master of Accounting

The University of Miami began in 1926 and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school's master of accounting offers two concentrations: corporate accounting and assurance. The assurance concentration prepares students for public accountant careers, while the corporate accounting option positions graduates for financial analyst and controller positions. Both concentrations comprise 30 credits and cover topics such as research, financial reporting, auditing, and analytics for national and international businesses.

Admission considerations include prior coursework and experience, standardized test scores, and GPA. Learners without an accounting bachelor's degree may need to complete prerequisite classes through the Accounting Summer Intensive Program.

Average Net Price of Program: $37,624
Program Website

Bentley University

Master of Science in Accountancy

Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, Bentley began in 1917 and holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education. Bentley's master of science in accountancy includes core courses in systems assessment, research, taxation, and auditing.

Candidates also complete accountancy and unrestricted electives for a personalized learning experience. Through electives, students can obtain certificates in areas like fraud and forensic accounting, business ethics, and financial planning credentials.

This program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and prepares learners to pursue certified public accountant credentials.

Average Net Price of Program: $37,500
Program Website

Why Earn a Master's Degree in Accounting Online?

Recent graduates and mid-career accountants alike can benefit from earning a master's degree in accounting. These degrees may enable graduates to secure senior-level positions that they could not obtain with just a bachelor's degree. Master's degree-holders are more likely to land advanced accounting jobs such as senior accountant, senior financial analyst, or senior tax accountant. Therefore, a master's in accounting may provide greater job satisfaction and increased responsibilities at work.

These senior-level titles often offer higher pay. On average, accountants and auditors take home $78,820 per year, but those who hold advanced degrees may be compensated with higher pay. The top 25% of accountants in the U.S. earn at least $92,910 per year, while those in the top 10% of earners enjoy salaries above $122,840.

Accounting graduate programs build skills and knowledge in fields such as corporate accounting, auditing, and taxation regulation. Students who pursue an MBA with an accounting concentration explore business administration topics such as business strategy, financial policy, economics, and leadership. Graduate-level accounting programs typically take full-time students two years to complete.


How to Find the Right Graduate Accounting Program

Choosing between graduate schools for accounting can be a lengthy process, since prospective graduate students need to consider many factors when deciding where to earn their degree. All aspiring graduate students, no matter their area of study, should strongly consider tuition cost when choosing a program. Students should only apply to schools that are within their financial means and should prioritize universities where they can access scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

Since public universities in a student's home state tend to be more affordable than private institutions or out-of-state public schools, learners should also consider location when deciding between programs. Location is also important because some online accounting master's programs may include on-campus activities and intensives.

Prospective accounting students with commitments and responsibilities outside of school should consider whether their desired school allows students to study part time. Similarly, students looking to finish their degree as quickly as possible might prioritize accounting programs that offer accelerated options. Learners may also compare programs based on graduation requirements such as internships or thesis options.

Lastly, accreditation is an incredibly important factor to consider in an accounting or business program. Accreditation shows that a school meets high educational standards, and students should only apply to properly accredited institutions.

Professional Organizations in Accounting

Professional organizations can help accounting students find scholarships, connect with mentors, and access useful educational resources. Working accountants who join professional organizations enjoy benefits such as networking conferences, job boards, continuing education opportunities, industry news, and certifications. Below you can learn about some major professional organizations for accounting graduates.

American Institute of CPAs

Established in 1887, this organization supports certified professional accountants by setting standards and advocating for legislation. AICPA also offers credentials, continuing education, publications, and career guidance.

The Institute of Internal Auditors

This international organization joins over 200,000 professionals in fields such as risk management, IT auditing, and governance. Members benefit from local chapter events, a career center, members-only webinars, and training events.

Institute of Management Accountants

IMA has served accountants and financial professionals since 1919 and now includes over 125,000 members. The institute offers certification, career resources, journals, newsletters, and research on the latest trends in management accounting.

Professional Association of Small Business Accountants

This organization represents accounting professionals who provide services to small businesses. Membership benefits include professional development seminars, national and local meetings, and networking opportunities.

National Association of Tax Professionals

NATP joins 23,000 federal tax professionals and supports them through professional development resources. The organization advocates for tax professionals, offers guidance on the federal tax code, and offers both in-person and online education opportunities.