The Best Master’s in Taxation Degree Programs

Compiled and Written By Accounting-Degree.org Staff


As long as governments continue to operate, individuals and businesses require the assistance of taxation experts. Accountants and auditors can expect a steady job growth of 6% from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Tax professionals make good wages, though those with advanced education earn the highest rates. Aside from increasing their potential earnings, students who pursue a master's degree in taxation deepen their understanding of taxation and gain specialized skills.

Our List of the Top 10 Best Master's in Taxation Programs:

Rank School Location
1 California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA
2 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
3 California State University-Fullerton Fullerton, CA
4 SUNY at Albany Albany, NY
5 Rutgers University-Newark Newark, NJ
6 Mississippi State University Starkville, MS
7 University of Mississippi Oxford, MS
8 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
9 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
10 Weber State University Ogden, UT

What Is a Master's in Taxation?

A master's in taxation builds on concepts introduced in undergraduate-level accounting and taxation programs. Most master's degrees take 1-1.5 years of full-time study to complete and comprise 30-36 credits. These credits count toward the 150-credit requirement to sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam.

Graduates with master's degrees in taxation often find work with accounting firms or corporations, though some government agencies require skilled tax professionals as well. Other taxation graduates open their own firms or consult for various clients.

The Best Master's in Taxation Degree Programs for 2020

Every school and program offers its own master's in taxation curriculum, requirements, and outcomes. To help students find the right program, we ranked the best master's in taxation degree programs of 2020. Our rankings account for several factors, including quality, cost, and outcomes. Aspiring students can use these rankings to explore potential colleges and learn more about various taxation programs.

California Polytechnic State University is a public university in San Luis Obispo. Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Cal Poly is part of the California State University system. The location on California's Central Coast offers 287 sunny days each year. Education at Cal Poly combines technical and professional studies in a “Learn by Doing” environment. There are close to 22,000 students enrolled and there is a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Cal Poly offers 65 bachelor degrees and 39 master's programs. The Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly offers a Master of Science in Taxation. The program ranked #1 for value in graduate tax programs by ValueColleges.com.

The Cal Poly MS in Taxation is a 10-month program. You must complete 45 to 49 quarter credits to receive the Master's Degrees in Taxation. This intensive program is full-time, with courses on the Cal Poly campus. There is a mandatory intensive in mid-August before your coursework begins. There is also a tax internship required in the winter quarter. The paid internship, with a public accounting firm, a private company, or government agency, encourages Cal Poly's “Learn by Doing” philosophy. Select courses include Tax Research, State and Local Taxation, and Corporate Taxation. During the program, you will also take part in the tax speaker series. In this series, you will discuss real-world tax issues with professionals.

Affordability: $19,002

Arizona State University is in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. ASU ranked the most innovative school in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The public university, with more than 20,000 graduates each year, is home to 17 colleges. One of those, the W. P. Carey School of Business, offers the Master of Taxation degree. W. P. Carey has more than 15,000 students enrolled in 12 BS programs, 21 BA degree programs, four MBAs, ten specialized master's, and eight Ph.D. programs.

You can complete ASU's MTax degree in nine months. The intensive program of ten courses includes seven technical and tax-driven courses. The MTax program includes small class sizes and many students also sit for the CPA exam. Before beginning the program, you must complete prerequisites in Finance, Financial Accounting, Enterprise Process Analysis and Design, and Taxes and Business Decisions. Once accepted into the program you attend class during the day. Those classes including Tax Research and Multi-Jurisdictional Taxation. You may also complete a concurrent Master of Legal Studies. The dual MTax/MLS degree requires 48 hours. You take business classes plus two law courses during the second semester. After that, you will only take law courses. To complete the dual degree, you must apply to both the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

Affordability: $12,947

The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, at California State University, Fullerton, is the state's largest business school. Mihaylo College integrates classroom learning with technology and hands-on business experience. The college partners with some of the biggest businesses in Southern California. Mihaylo College is AACSB-accredited in both business and accounting. The college offers a Master of Science in Taxation on the Fullerton campus. Students can apply for either a fall or spring admission. The MS in Taxation is for those with an undergraduate degree in business administration or accounting. But students without that background can complete courses in accounting, economics, and finance.

As a student in the MS in Taxation program, you will complete 30 units. You will take courses in Taxation of Partnerships, Tax Planning, and Tax Research. Mihaylo College requires a final 3-unit terminal evaluation. This provides directed independent work in taxation. The MS in Taxation gives you a chance to understand ethical responsibilities in tax professions. Throughout the program, you will work as part of a team and learn taxation research skills. With the MS in Taxation, you can explore careers in corporations, government agencies, and law firm tax departments.

Affordability: $8,562

The University at Albany, part of the State University of New York, is in the state's capital city. The university named one of America's Top Colleges by Forbes has more than 17,000 students. There are 150 academic programs and an 18:1 student-faculty ratio. SUNY at Albany has nine schools and colleges, including the AACSB-accredited School of Business. The School of Business offers a one-year MS in Taxation.

The intensive MS-Tax program includes courses in Government and Corporate Taxation, Tax Research, and International Taxation. Admission requires an undergraduate accounting degree. The program is for full-time students. If you have at least three years of full-time work experience, you may apply for part-time study. The University at Albany's MS-Tax requires 30 credits. Full-time students usually complete the program in one year. The MS in Taxation, registered with the Division of Professional Education of New York's Education Department, is licensure qualifying. Students working toward the MS-Tax degree may complete a tax law course each semester at Albany Law School. This access to Albany Law School courses and faculty provides a unique opportunity. Graduates pursue careers with Big Four firms, as well as CPA and corporate tax firms. Others elect to work with government agencies.

Affordability: $16,100

The Rutgers Business School is part of two universities: Rutgers University-Newark and Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The AACSB-accredited business school ranked #1 Public Business School in the Northeast U.S. by Financial Times. Rutgers Business School, founded in 1929, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Master of Accountancy in Taxation is one of 11 graduate programs. It ranked #11 best Master's in Taxation program in the world by ValueColleges.com.

The 30-credit Master of Accountancy in Taxation focuses on the real world. It satisfies the 150-hour course requirement for the CPA exam. Industry leaders serve as instructors and advisors. You can begin the program, designed for part-time study, in fall, spring, or summer. Courses include Corporate Income Tax, Tax Practice, Ethics in Business, and Regulation. The Rutgers Business School recognizes that working adults want to complete the Master of Accountancy in Taxation. To meet those needs, it offers classes at night and on weekends. You can take most courses on the Newark campus, although some are available in New Brunswick. The program blends analytical and research skills with communications. This enables you to work with business, finance, and taxation in a career that garners a high salary.

Affordability: $12,020

Mississippi State University has been educating students since 1880. Today, more than 22,000 students study in one of the eight colleges and graduate school. MSU offers specialized master's degrees for students with an undergraduate degree. One of those is a Master of Taxation. The MTX is through the AACSB-accredited College of Business and the Adkerson School of Accountancy.

MSU's MTX program enables you to design your own program to meet your individual career goals. GMAT scores are required for applications. Those prerequisite courses include accounting, finance, economics, and business. Throughout the program, you will examine taxation, business, and communication. This foundation provides the knowledge necessary for a tax career. You must complete 15 hours of tax courses, including Tax Research and Corporate Taxation. You will need to complete six hours in Accounting Theory and Business Assurance. Finally, you customize your experience with nine hours of electives.

Affordability: $16,056

The University of Mississippi, which seated its first students in 1848, welcomes almost 25,200 students each year. Ole Miss offers many degree programs. One of those is the Master of Taxation through the Patterson School of Accountancy. The school ranks in the top ten on many college ranking lists and is AACSB-accredited. It ranks in the top 20 in the Public Accounting Report. Ole Miss is home to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' library. This becomes a valuable resource for Taxation students. The School of Accountancy enables students to sit for the CPA exam during their final semester.

The 30-credit M.TAX degree program at Ole Miss requires a GMAT. Students must also show undergraduate coursework in accounting, finance, economics, and business. For students with the required prerequisite courses, the M.TAX degree takes one year. Students attend classes for two regular semesters and in the summer, with nine to 12 credits each. To receive the M.TAX degree, you will need to complete a seminar in Accounting Theory, a Tax Research Seminar, and Auditing. You can select electives in Contemporary Taxation, Estate and Gift Taxation, and Corporate Taxation. The Accountancy Problems course, which is an approved elective, is a CPA exam review course.

Affordability: $14,259

San Jose State University, located south of San Francisco, is a modern university with historic California roots. More than 30,000 students attend the university in the heart of Silicon Valley. There are eight colleges with 145 areas of emphasis. The Lucas Graduate School of Business at SJSU offers an MS in Taxation. Faculty members usually work in taxation at the partner and director levels. The SJSU MST degree covers both technical aspects and policy aspects of tax law. While most applicants to the MST program at SJSU have accounting degrees, it is not required. There are five prerequisites for those without an accounting degree: Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I and II, and a U.S. tax course.

The 30-credit MST degree is flexible. You can enroll full-time and complete the program in one year. If you prefer to enroll part-time, you can complete the MST in two to three years. Each of the ten courses requires eight to ten weeks for completion. There are classes available in the evenings, on Saturdays, and online. Required courses include Tax Research, Tax Accounting Methods, and Taxation of Business Entities. To receive your MST, you must complete an individual Capstone project. Many SJSU MST graduates go on to work for the Big Four accounting firms, corporations, tax or law firms, or in government.

Affordability: $13,906

Grand Valley State University, with locations throughout Michigan, has 25,000 students. It ranked one of the “Greenest Universities in the Nation” by the Sierra Club. GVSU offers 131 degrees with an average class size of 26. There are 41 graduate degrees, including a Master of Science in Taxation or a Master of Science in Taxation and Law. The AACSB-accredited Seidman College of Business offers both MST degrees. The MST is a practical, specialized program. The coursework focuses on tax law and is client-focused. While an accounting degree is not a specific prerequisite for the MST, students must take foundation courses. Those foundations include accounting, statistics, legal environments, and economics. Students must also complete a GMAT before applying to GVSU. The university offers the MST courses in downtown Grand Rapids. Students attend courses in the evenings and most are part-time students. Students with the requisite foundation courses can complete the program in four semesters.

The MST degree requires 33 semester hours. You will complete core courses in Tax Research, Corporate Tax, and Taxation Problems. Electives can include Federal Tax Practice, Fiduciary Income Tax, and Tax Accounting. You will complete a final Capstone course on Taxation Problems, Planning, and Current Issues after all other coursework. If you choose the Master of Science in Taxation and Law, you receive a dual MST/JD degree. The dual degree requires 97 credits. You must apply to, both, the College of Law and the College of Business for the dual degree.

Affordability: $16,175

Weber State University offers 225 certificate and degree programs and 14 graduate degrees across Utah. WSU, founded in Ogden in 1889, has 26,000 students and a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio. WSU offers a Master of Taxation that also qualifies students to sit for the CPA exam. The AACSB-accredited program offers the analytical skills required for today's tax professionals. All face-to-face classes take place on the WSU Davis Campus in late afternoon or evening. This flexible schedule makes the program more accessible to working adults. WSU's MTax degree is a 30-hour program. Students with an undergraduate accounting degree can complete the program in two semesters of full-time study. Admission requires an undergraduate degree and a GMAT exam. Students can submit applications for the fall, spring, or summer semester.

As a WSU student in the MTax program, you will need to complete 18 core courses. Those courses include Tax Research, Advanced Taxation, and Tax Practice. You will also need 12 credits of electives. Those can include International Taxation, Real Estate Taxation, Advanced Cost Accounting, and Strategic Management Accounting. There are also courses in the MBA program approved for MTax candidates. Those include Negotiations, E-business, and Project Management. MTax graduates from WSU go on to careers with the Big Four, tax firms, and government agencies.

Affordability: $11,098

The University of Southern California is a private research institute in Los Angeles. USC has a global reputation and ranked #17 by The Wall Street Journal. Founded in 1880 with 53 students, USC is now home to 44,000 students. USC offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The USC Marshall School of Business offers three undergraduate, five MBAs, ten specialized master's, and a Ph.D. One of the specialized master's degrees is the Masters of Business Taxation for Working Professionals. The MBT.WP has classes available on campus and online, ideal for working adults. The average MBT.WP candidate at USC has six years' work experience and 95 percent hold a CPA license. To apply for the MBT.WP program, students must have one year of full-time work in a tax-related position. Other prerequisites include undergraduate courses in economics and accounting, GMAT scores, and a personal interview.

USC's MBT.WP program, designed for those who want a deeper knowledge of taxation, requires ten courses. You can complete those courses on your schedule. On-campus classes at the University Park Campus take place one night each week. Online classes take place one night per week, followed by work and assignments you complete that week. Courses include Tax Research, Tax Theory, and Taxation of Corporations. You will also complete a Summer Intensive Program in mid-June before you begin your fall semester. Students who complete the MBT.WP program at USC goes on to work with accounting firms, including the Big Four, corporations, and the government.

Affordability: $32,892

Boston-based Northeastern University believes in providing students with real-world experiences. Northeastern, established more than a century ago, offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. It is a U.S. News & World Report top-40 research university. Students attend classes at the Boston campus, at a network of other campuses across the world, and online. Northeastern's D'Amore-McKim School of Business trains students for careers in the global economy. There are more than 5,700 students enrolled in D'Amore-McKim, with more than 1,600 in the graduate program. Northeastern offers a Masters in Taxation. Students in the MS in Taxation program study the Internal Revenue Code and tax legislation. They learn to apply academics to the real world.

You can complete Northeastern's 30-credit MS in Taxation program in one full-time year. You may also elect to enroll in part-time studies. You can take classes online or on-campus. The part-time degree program takes about three years to finish. The online degree normally requires 16 months. All on-campus classes take place after 5 p.m. to accommodate working students. The MS in Taxation also offers a short Spring term so you can pause studies during the tax season. Admission into the online program requires at least two years of work experience. You must also hold an accounting undergraduate or a similar degree. Online students must have completed at least one taxation course before admission. On-campus students need GMAT exam scores, although some waivers are available. Online students may bypass the GMAT for tax experience and a JD, CPA, or CFP.

Affordability: $30,784

Eastern Michigan University, founded as a teacher's college in 1849, has more than 21,000 students. EMU offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs. The Ypsilanti campus offers daily tours. EMU offers a 30-credit Master of Science in Taxation. The program, which ranked in the top 50 Best Value Master's in Taxation Degrees by Value Colleges, prepares students for tax careers. Students explore tax technology, tax practice, and the ethical and legal issues of taxation. The MST program, which usually takes two years to complete, is ideal for tax accountants, lawyers, and executives.

For admission into EMU's MST program, you must hold an undergraduate degree. You will need to have completed five foundation courses in accounting. EMU requires either GMAT or GRE scores. Most classes in the MST program take place evenings and during the summer. As a student in the MST program, you will complete 18 hours of core courses. These courses include Corporate Financial Reporting, Tax Research Methods, and Tax Compliance. You also complete 12 hours of electives, which you choose with advisor approval. Those courses might include Government Accounting, International Accounting and Taxation, or Law for Financial Professionals.

Affordability: $14,090

Villanova University, the country's only Augustinian Catholic university, is outside Philadelphia. There are more than 6,500 undergraduates along with 3,500 graduate and law students. Villanova is a top 50 university according to U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1842 as a liberal arts school, the university now has six colleges. There are more than 60 bachelor's programs, 40 master's programs, many doctoral degrees, and a law school. The Charles Widger School of Law offers a Masters in Taxation. There is also a joint JD/LLM in Taxation for those wanting a tax law career. The Villanova program encourages professional responsibility through real-world education.

You can complete the 30-credit MT in two years of full-time study. There is no entrance exam required for licensed CPAs. There are six required courses for the MT, including Survey of Tax and Professional Practice and Tax Procedure. You will also need to complete six electives. The electives might include Global Tax Planning, State and Local Taxation, and Wealth Tax. Villanova offers internships with the Internal Revenue Service, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and Villanova Federal Tax Clinic. Those who wish to pursue the joint JD/LLM degree receive a JD degree after six full-time semesters. They receive the LLM in Taxation with the completion of 24 credit hours.

Affordability: $35,491

Florida Gulf Coast University, a small college in Fort Myers, offers a full range of degrees. FGCU began offering classes in 1997. Today, the graduate school has 25 masters degrees and six doctoral degrees. Through the Lutgert College of Business, FGCU offers a Master of Science in Accounting and Taxation. The AACSB-accredited program examines the technical side of taxation, focusing on using technology. The program helps students prepare for professional tax careers.

To gain admittance to the MSA&T program, you must hold an undergraduate degree and show courses in accounting and business. You must also provide results of your GMAT or GRE. The 30-hour MS program requires core courses in Accounting and Tax Research. The taxation track includes courses in International Taxation and Entity Taxation. The program combines research, written assignments, and tests. When you complete the MSA&T program, you will be able to examine the ethical implications of taxation, conduct tax research, and communicate. The FGCU course also examines global accounting standards and taxation. The Lutgert College of Business encourages internships and professional development programs. This helps you apply theoretical learning to the workplace.

Affordability: $13,456

The University of Baltimore offers students a quality education in a charming location. According to City Observatory, Baltimore is one of the top five cool cities for Millennials. UB offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Established about 100 years ago, UB is now home to more than 5,000 students. It is a member of the University System of Maryland. The Merrick School of Business is AACSB-accredited. As part of it's Graduate Tax Program, UB offers a Master of Science in Taxation. The MST is a collaborative program between the Schools of Law and Business, established in 1987. The program requires up to 27 credits in foundation classes and 30 credits in tax courses. UB waives the foundation courses for those with an accounting undergraduate degree. There is also an LLM in Taxation available as part of the Graduate Tax Program. The university suggests the MST for accountants and tax experts and the LLM for lawyers.

As a student in the Graduate Tax Program, you can take classes in evenings, attend online classes, or combine both options. If you enroll part-time, it usually takes two to three years to complete your MST. You can enroll in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters. The program offers you a broad foundation in federal tax law. You will also learn to analyze tax statutes and discover ways to research tax law. Core courses include Tax Research, Corporate Taxation, and Tax Policy.

Affordability: $20,862

Golden Gate University in San Francisco ranked #1 school for Adult Learners by Washington Monthly. Founded in 1901, the private, non-profit university has about 3,400 students. There are now locations in San Francisco, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. GGU offers education for adults, with courses taught by practicing professionals. To better serve the adult students, GGU classes are on-campus and online. On-campus classes take place evenings and weekends. GGU offers a Master of Science in Taxation, which focuses on practical knowledge for working tax professionals. It is one of the top-ranked graduate tax programs by TaxTalent.com.

The MS Tax program is available online, but there is also an accelerated on-campus choice. If you select the online version, it is self-paced, so you can choose full-time or part-time study. The non-cohort program takes two to four years and you may begin any term. If you choose the full-time intensive option, you attend classes in downtown San Francisco as part of a cohort. The program requires business casual dress and timeliness is essential. Your cohort progresses together and often welcomes guest speakers. The accelerated program takes one year to complete. If you select the cohort in-person program, you will begin studies in July. You complete courses in Tax Research, Corporate Tax, and International Tax. During the program, you examine current tax trends and practices. As part of the cohort, you will also be welcomed to attend workshops on career search, networking events, and technical panels. Many Golden Gate University graduates go on to work for the Big Four firms, as well as tax companies and government agencies.

Affordability: Not Reported to NCES

Rhode Island-based Bryant University offers a New England location with a global view. The private university offers integration of business, arts, and the sciences. Bryant, founded in 1863, is in Smithfield, outside Providence and only 50 miles from Boston. The university offers 100 courses of study with a 13.8:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The AACSB-accredited Graduate School of Business ranks among the country's top 50 business schools. The School of Business focuses on hands-on experience and problem-solving. The school offers a Master of Science in Taxation.

The MST at Bryant is a part-time program for tax professionals who already have a basic knowledge of taxation. While not required, Bryant prefers professional experience before applying to the program. Beginning students usually have a working knowledge of the IRS tax codes. Students learn from working professionals, experts, and scholars. The 30-credit program includes required courses in Individual Taxation, Property Sales, Corporations, and Partnership Tax. Through electives, students go on to gain expertise in Corporate Taxation. Classes include Business Tax Planning, International Taxation, and Corporate Reorganizations. Bryant also offers a full-time Master of Professional Accountancy with a tax concentration. You can complete the MPAc-Tax in as little as two terms. The program meets the 150 hours required for CPA licensure. You may start the Bryant programs in January, May, or September.

Affordability: $34,663

Bentley University is a renowned business university, founded in Boston in 1917. The university, located nine miles outside Boston, is home to 5,200 students. Both undergraduate and graduate business programs at Bentley are AACSB-accredited. The Bentley University Graduate School of Business offers a Masters in Taxation. The MST ranks one of the Best Online Business Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Bentley's MST program is the largest of its kind in New England. Most students are working professionals, with more than five years' accounting experience. You need GMAT or GRE scores and an undergraduate degree to apply. Once accepted, you complete classes in the evening or online via live stream. Both online and on-campus classes take place at the same time. This enables you to build interaction with other MST students. During the MST, you learn tax planning, compliance, and auditing. The 30-credit program requires ten courses. Five core courses include Professional Tax Practice, Federal Taxation, and Multi-Jurisdictional Taxation. Five electives include Mergers and Acquisitions, Intellectual Properties, and Practices in Taxation. An internship in tax practice is also available during the MST program. The program meets the 150-hour education requirement for CPA licensure.

Affordability: $36,613

Florida Atlantic University, founded in 1964, serves more than 30,000 students on seven Florida campuses. There are ten colleges, including the AACSB-accredited College of Business. FAU offers a Master of Taxation degree. The MTX blends real-world skills with the latest technological advances in taxation. Students can complete the MTS either full-time or part-time. Students applying to the MTX program must submit GMAT or GRE scores. FAU prefers incoming MTX candidates to hold an undergraduate degree in accounting or business. Before beginning the 30-hour program, students must pass an accounting competency exam and complete a federal taxation course. Faculty in the MTX program includes scholars and tax practitioners.

The MTX program requires you to complete ten courses after meeting foundation requirements. The six core courses include Federal Income Tax, Tax Research, and Corporate Taxation. You must also complete three taxation electives and one program elective. FAU also offers an Executive Master of Taxation. The Executive MTX degree requires about two years of online learning. Online students may also attend live Saturday morning classes. There are no classes during the spring semester to let you focus on the busy tax season.

Affordability: $10,100

Indiana University, founded in 1820, has campuses all across Indiana. Purdue University began in 1862 in Lafayette, Indiana. The two universities operated independent campuses in Indianapolis until they merged in 1969. Today, IUPUI is a major force in Indianapolis. Kelley School of Business at IUPUI offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a Master of Science in Taxation. It prepares students from various backgrounds for tax specialist or business strategist careers. Students applying for the 30-credit hour MST program do not need accounting degrees. Instead, they can complete an Introduction to Financial Accounting before beginning the program.

Once accepted into the MST program, you will complete 19.5-credit hours in required courses. Those include Introduction to Taxation, Tax Research, and Federal Taxation. You will also complete 10.5-credit hours of electives. Those electives can include International Taxation and State and Local Taxation. To customize your experience, electives may also include approved law school tax courses and MBA courses. Kelley School of Business encourages you to put your theoretical skills into practice. You may earn up to 3-credit hours for work experience in the Learning in a Professional Environment program. You can work with the Kelley Indianapolis Career Services to arrange an internship. KICS will also assist you with career development.

Affordability: $9,744

California State University, Northridge, established in 1958, is home to more than 38,000 students. Situated in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CSUN has nine colleges. It offers 60 undergraduate, 41 master's, and 28 professional credentials. The Tseng College offers graduate degrees and certificate programs for mid-career adults. One of those programs, through the AACSB-accredited David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, is the Master of Science in Taxation. It ranked #17 of Top 25 Master of Science in Taxation Degree Programs by Best Accounting Schools. The CSUN is a 30-credit masters program, completable within 1.5-years of beginning. The unique learning program lets students attend classes on-campus or take part online during class. Students can change that option weekly, making this ideal for working adults.

Before you can begin the MS in Taxation program, you must complete courses in Federal Income Taxation and Financial Accounting. The program values the CPA designation or Enrolled Agent credentials, but they aren't mandatory. Once enrolled, you complete the program with a cohort of fellow learners. Your first course is Tax Ethics, Research and Communication. You will take 15 credits in core knowledge, including Income Tax Concepts, Accounting Methods, and Federal Tax Procedure. Your specialization requires nine credits, with courses such as Real Estate Taxation or Corporate Taxation. All students complete a 2-credit Tax Planning Seminar. Your final Tax Challenge Project lets you put theory into practice, providing tax simulations or experiential learning.

Affordability: $5,958

Fordham University is a Jesuit, Catholic university in New York City. Founded in 1841, it has more than 15,500 students in nine schools. One of those, the Gabelli School of Business, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Gabelli blends high-quality academics, global awareness, innovative learning, and student outcomes. One of the graduate degrees is a Master of Science in Taxation. The degree, designed for those who want to master the tax code, offers training in general tax, international tax, accounting, and communications. Students can concentrate on a specific area through their electives. The Jesuit university stresses social responsibility and ethical decision-making for tax professionals.

You can enroll in the MST as either a full-time or part-time student. The full-time program requires one year while the part-time program can take about two years to complete. The MST degree requires 30 credits. If you do not have a taxation background, you will need to take Individual and Business Entity Taxation. There are seven required courses for the MST, including Corporate Taxation, Federal Research, and a Research Seminar. You will select a minor concentration for your electives, with an emphasis on taxation or accounting. As a graduate of Fordham's Gabelli School, you will have a strong alumni network. Many graduates have taxation careers in international firms.

Affordability: $38,503

Fairleigh Dickinson University has campuses in New Jersey, Canada, England, and online. FDU, founded in 1942, offers more than 100 different degree programs. There are more than 11,500 students enrolled in FDU programs around the world. FDU's AACSB-accredited Silberman College of Business offers a Master of Science in Taxation. FDU's MST is one of the oldest and largest taxation programs in New Jersey. It provides students with the practical knowledge necessary for a taxation career. The program covers the basics of taxation, along with tax law, tax research, and planning. Classes take place on the Madison campus, about 30 minutes outside New York City. FSU offers classes on weekday evenings, Saturdays, and in the summer. FDU does not schedule Saturday classes during the tax season. Most students take one to two courses at a time, completing the program in two to three years.

The MST at FSU is for those who want an advanced taxation career. It may also qualify for the 150 hours required to sit for the CPA exam. Admission requires GMAT scores, which FSU can waive if you work in tax, accounting, or financial planning fields. There are five prerequisite courses in accounting, taxation, business law, and finance. The 30-credit MST program combines practical tax knowledge with technical expertise. You will take 21 credits in core courses. Those include Advanced Federal Taxes, Tax Accounting, Tax Practice, and a Tax Research Project. Your remaining nine credits are tax electives. Those electives can include Estate & Gift Taxation and International Corporate Taxation.

Affordability: $16,781

Baruch College in New York City ranked #1 Best Public Colleges in the Northeast by Money magazine. The college is in Manhattan, in the heart of one of the world's hottest financial centers. There are more than 18,000 students enrolled in three schools at Baruch College. Baruch's Zicklin School of Business is the country's largest accredited business school. Zicklin ranked #1 Business School in New York City by U.S. News & World Report. It offers undergraduate and graduates degrees, including the Master's of Science in Taxation. The program is available both full-time and part-time. While it presents all students with a foundation in corporate and federal taxation, it lets students customize their degrees with concentrations. The MST degree counts toward course requirements for New York CPA licensure. Baruch's MST prepares students for taxation careers but does not require an accounting or business undergraduate degree. Students accepted into the program without that background will need to complete a preliminary course in Financial Accounting.

You can complete your MST at Baruch in 12 to 18 months as a full-time student or two years on a part-time basis. The program requires 31.5-credit hours after completing the preliminary course. You will complete 19.5-credit hours in core courses. Those include Principles of Federal Income Taxation, Corporate Taxation, and Tax Procedures. You will then go on to complete 12 credit hours to specialize in for your career. Those courses might include International Taxation, Estate Planning, or Real Estate Taxation.

Affordability: $4,544

Why Earn a Master's in Taxation?

Whether students want to advance their careers, earn more college credits, or satisfy their thirst for knowledge, they can benefit from earning a master's in taxation. A master's in taxation satisfies CPA exam requirements, so many students earn the degree to advance their careers and increase potential earnings. Others pursue it to change careers entirely.

Future Accounting Education

Because a master's in taxation requires at least 30 credits, many accountants use the degree to complete the 150 college credits necessary to take the CPA exam. Aside from becoming a licensed CPA, accountants can use the program as a launching pad to become certified financial analysts, certified internal auditors, and chartered global management accountants.

Graduates can also continue their education and earn an online Ph.D. in accounting. This doctoral degree satisfies educational requirements to become a professor of accounting or taxation at a college or university.

Master's in Taxation Careers

Taxation falls somewhere between accounting and finance, combining mathematical equations with an understanding of local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Because taxation covers a broad range of topics, graduates with a master's in taxation qualify for diverse roles, such as those listed below.

Certified Public Accountant

CPAs handle accounting, audits, and taxes for individuals, corporations, and government agencies. These professionals usually complete master's degrees before taking the CPA exam. As tax professionals, CPAs tend to work long hours during tax season (usually January-April).

Annual Median Salary: $71,550

Chief Financial Officer (Top Executive)

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) work at the top of an organization to direct and provide leadership for all facets related to finance and accounting. CFOs exhibit leadership qualities and draw heavily from experience.

Annual Median Salary: $104,690

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts study markets and trends to develop smart, safe, and creative investments. Doing so requires a thorough understanding of stocks, bonds, and other securities, plus knowledge of laws and regulations. Some financial analysts choose to become chartered financial analysts, though not all employers require this certification.

Annual Median Salary: $85,660

Financial Manager

Financial managers work in a variety of fields, helping organizations and corporations manage complex finances. These managers work with clients to set financial goals, find creative ways to increase profits, and mitigate risk for future investments. Financial managers need relevant education and experience.

Annual Median Salary: $129,890

Personal Financial Advisor

Similar to financial managers, personal financial advisors work with clients to set financial goals and implement investment strategies to reach those goals. However, they work with individuals rather than whole organizations. To succeed as personal financial advisors, professionals need finance, accounting, and taxation skills.

Annual Median Salary: $62,320


How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?

As skilled workers, those who complete master's degrees in taxation usually find lucrative positions. However, salaries depend on several factors, including position title, previous experience, and education. For example, CPA certification requires 150 college credits, but CPAs typically earn higher salaries than non-certified accountants.

Master's Degree in Taxation Careers: Median Salaries by Experience
Career Annual Median Salary Projected Growth Rate Degree Required CPA Certification Required? (Y/N)
Certified Public Accountant $71,550 6% Bachelor's Y
Chief Financial Officer $104,690 6% Bachelor's N
Financial Analyst $85,660 6% Bachelor's N
Financial Manager $129,890 16% Bachelor's N
Personal Financial Advisor $87,850 7% Bachelor's N
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Taxation Admission Requirements

All prospective master's in taxation learners must first complete bachelor's degrees at accredited colleges or universities. Most programs prefer applicants who earned bachelor's degrees in accounting or finance and/or demonstrate professional accounting experience. Students without related bachelor's degrees may need to complete prerequisite courses in accounting, finance, and taxation.

Programs may also require applicants to submit professional resumes. Students with work experience and professional certifications may gain admission more easily than those with only bachelor's degrees. Lastly, applicants may submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and personal essays.

Typical Master's in Taxation Courses

Most master's in taxation programs require 30-36 credits. Core courses make up most of the program's credits and cover taxation topics critical for careers in taxation or accounting. Programs usually leave room for several elective courses that allow students to explore specialized topics, such as international taxation; state/local taxation; and estate, gift, and trust taxation.

Course names and topics may vary, but many master's in taxation programs offer some version of the following courses.

  • Fundamentals of Corporate Taxation

    This course examines how the government taxes corporations based on structure, formation, assets, holdings, and earnings. The course also explores differences between types of corporations and businesses and how restructuring a corporation affects taxes.

  • Income Taxation

    Sometimes broken into multiple parts, income taxation covers the formulas used to tax individuals at various incomes. Topics include tax tables, compensation, dividends, gain/loss, and the valuation of assets when filing taxes. Some programs also introduce state income tax laws and their effect on federal income taxes.

  • Advanced Business Law

    In this course, students learn about the legal issues surrounding various aspects of accounting, finance, and taxation. The material teaches learners how to comply with local, state, and federal laws while providing tax services.

  • International Taxation

    This course covers tax laws for individuals and businesses operating across the globe. Topics include foreign tax credits, international tax treaties, and differentiating between domestic and foreign income.

  • Taxation of Real Estate Transactions

    This class builds on skills learned in federal income tax courses. Students learn to anticipate the potential taxes of buying, selling, or exchanging property. This course also teaches learners to organize transactions in the best way for tax purposes.


How to Choose a Master's in Taxation Program

When comparing various master's in taxation programs, learners should consider factors including renown, student outcomes, and tuition cost. Other potential considerations include:

Location

Taxes vary depending on where individuals live. Some programs structure their curricula to teach local and state taxes. Each program usually prepares its students for tax careers in its specific state.

Concentrations/Specializations

With many niche fields within taxation, prospective students should consider the specific tax career they want to pursue and find programs offering concentrations in that field.

Program Length

Program length varies by school. Those eager to advance their careers can pursue accelerated programs. Selecting an online program may also accelerate the master's degree.

University Resources/Career Services

Quality taxation programs offer many resources and student support services. For instance, they may help connect students with career and internship opportunities.

Earning Potential

Master's degrees in taxation increase professionals' earning potential, but more prestigious programs may offer higher earning potential than others.

Alumni Network

Extensive alumni networks provide graduates with opportunities to meet professionals in various fields, some of whom may want to hire fellow alumni.

Professional Organizations in Accounting

The following organizations can help prospective accountants navigate their education and careers in taxation.

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy

The NASBA works with accounting regulators and offers its members a variety of services, including training and continuing education.

The Society of Financial Service Professionals

FSP promotes professionalism and ethical conduct within the financial services community. FSP chapters exist across the United States.

National Association for Tax Professionals

NATP comprises more than 23,000 tax industry professionals, with chapters in each state.

National Association of Enrolled Agents

NAEA is the country's only federally licensed association, and all members must pass an IRS background check.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a master's in taxation online?
Yes, many regionally accredited universities offer a master's in taxation online or in a hybrid format.
Is a master's in taxation worth it?
Current accounting professionals looking to specialize and advance their careers benefit from master's degrees in taxation.
What can I do with a master's in taxation?
Many master's in taxation graduates find positions as CPAs, financial analysts, financial managers, and personal finance advisors.
How long does a master's in taxation take?
Full-time students can typically complete a master's in taxation in 1-1.5 years.
Is taxation hard to study?
Students without accounting or taxation experience might find a master's in taxation exceptionally difficult. Those with more experience may find it easier.
How do I become a tax lawyer in the U.S.?
Tax lawyers must earn graduate degrees from law schools and pass the bar exam. Some programs combine law and taxation.
How do I start a career in tax?
The first step to starting a taxation career is completing an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance.