Top Master’s in Accounting Degrees in New York

Job competition can be steep in the Big Apple, so New York accountants should consider taking educational steps to make their resumes competitive. Getting a master's in accounting in New York can help accountants secure lucrative, rewarding positions.

In addition to offering a competitive edge in the job market, a master's in accounting provides workers with an opportunity to enhance their skills, develop a better understanding of theory, and increase their earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors in New York make an average annual salary of $98,650, and they enjoy some of the highest employment levels in the country for their industry.

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

In its salary survey for winter 2020, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) projected that business graduates with master's degrees would earn about $18,000 more per year than those with just their bachelor's.

Prospective students who are ready to begin their college search should consider looking into accredited accounting schools in New York, which offer the highest quality education and the best chance of employability for their graduates. Our top five schools hold accreditation and offer excellent academic courses and student support.

The 5 Best Accounting Schools in NY

Rank School Location
1 New York University New York City, NY
2 Columbia University New York City, NY
3 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
4 Baruch College New York City, NY
5 University at Albany Albany, NY

See Detailed Rankings

Why Get a Master's in Accounting in New York?

Getting an MS in accounting in New York City offers several professional benefits for accountants. A master's program can help students to prepare for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, specialize in a specific field, and increase the likelihood of career advancement and promotion.

  • CPA Exam: Sitting for the CPA exam in New York requires considerable preparation. A master's degree can help prospective accountants to meet the educational credit requirement for the exam and to pass all four portions of the test with a 75% or higher.
  • Specialization: A master's in accounting allows students to focus their studies in a particular specialization like forensic accounting or taxation accounting. These specializations can give accountants a competitive edge and greater job satisfaction.
  • Career Advancement: Earning a master's degree offers accountants the potential for climbing to higher positions within a firm, corporation, or government agency. As mentioned above, accountants with a master's degree also considerably higher annual salaries than do those with just a bachelor's degree.

Business professionals in New York enjoy proximity to some of the largest multinational corporations in the world. Additionally, New York's financial sector is immense and highly profitable. Accountants in the Empire State can enter high-paying careers in banks, stocks, credit cards, insurance, and more.

Students who pursue their education and sit for the CPA exam in New York can tap into the near limitless potential for learning, networking, and advancing in the accounting industry. Ambitious accountants who want to take advantage of these opportunities should consider getting their master's in New York either on campus or through an online program.

Top Master's in Accounting Programs in New York

The schools ranked below offer high-caliber master's in accounting programs in New York. We list both private and public institutions, all of which hold accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and offer high success rates for program graduates.

Prospective accounting graduate students should also weigh several other factors when selecting a program. Credit and prerequisite requirements vary by school, but each accounting program offers courses to support students in their future careers. Some of these master's programs require an undergraduate degree in accounting, while others accept students from a variety of backgrounds.

Our Methodology

We curate all of our rankings according to deliberate methodologies. To create this ranking of the best graduate accounting programs in New York, we gathered information from Public Accounting Report, Tax Talent, and U.S. News & World Report. All schools listed hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Please contact the school for more information about rates and program details.

New York University

Private university in New York City, New York, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NYU is a globally minded research school with its main campus located in New York City and a total of 19 other schools and colleges throughout the world. The university takes pride in the diverse backgrounds of faculty, staff, and students.

Master of Science in Accounting

NYU programs in the Stern college of accounting rank highly in academics and student support. NYU offers a one-year, 30-credit program that readies graduates for the CPA exam. The accounting program offers courses in advanced managerial accounting, auditing, and forensic accounting and financial statement fraud.

NYU focuses on student life and the quality of educational experience. In addition to an orientation program before the start of classes, the Office of Student Engagement offers a cohort leadership program for accounting master's learners. These student leaders build community within the program by organizing events like dinners, social events, and NYC cultural activities.

Columbia University

Private Ivy League university in New York City, New York, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Columbia University is a prestigious school best known for extensive research centers and a distinguished learning environment. Columbia supports research and teaching on global issues and aims to develop international academic relationships.

Master of Science in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis (MSAFA)

The accounting division of the Columbia Business School offers the MSAFA, a three-semester, STEM-designated master's degree program that provides students the opportunity to obtain industry-focused, graduate-level training in accounting. Columbia students complete 10 full courses totaling 30 credits and a thesis worth three credits.

Columbia graduates enjoy several career management services. The MSAFA is an industry-oriented program focused on employability outside of academia. The Career Management Center at Columbia supports students to help them build lifelong career skills and includes access to the resources in Columbia Business School's online career management portal.

University of Rochester

Private university in Monroe County, New York, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Rochester is a research oriented school founded in 1850 that boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 10-to-1. The university aims to break academic boundaries and continually question the educational status quo.

Master's in Accountancy

University of Rochester programs in the Simon Business School offer high-quality instruction in accounting, economics, and finance. Its accountancy program prepares students to sit for the New York state CPA exam. The Simon Business School also reports a 100% employment rate four months post graduation.

Students enrolled in the full-time MS in accountancy program can opt to take either an internship or a non-internship track, though the internship track is highly encouraged. The STEM-certified program for the MS degree is a lock-step program that prepares students for careers in a variety of business and accountancy careers.

Baruch College

Public university in New York City, New York, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Baruch College offers financially accessible education through high-value undergraduate and graduate programs. The school aims to develop socially, culturally, and economically minded students who can make -positive community impacts.

Master of Science in Accountancy, Master of Business Administration in Accountancy

The Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College offers two master's degrees in accountancy to meet diverse student needs. The MS in accountancy is Baruch's more popular program, highly specialized for careers in accounting. The MBA in accountancy does not require an undergraduate degree in accounting or business and offers a foundation in accounting theory and concepts.

The Baruch master's degrees in accountancy comprise 30-70 credits, but the school offers waivers to eligible students for several program courses and requirements. Baruch graduates enjoy support through their alumni career service, which includes job postings, continuing and professional studies courses, and career counseling.

SUNY at Albany

Public university in Albany, New York, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

SUNY at Albany offers inclusive education at nine schools and colleges and boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 18-to-1. This school also offers competitive online programs with the added benefits of convenience and flexibility.

Master of Science in Accounting

The school of business at UAlbany offers accountancy courses for students with a variety of experience levels. Students who want to become CPAs but did not earn a bachelor's in accounting can take advantage of the 21-month MS in accounting program at UAlbany to prepare for the exam.

The MS in accounting program is also accredited by the AACSB. Accountancy courses at UAlbany span 1-2 years and offer foundational education on business and management. This program also satisfies New York's credit requirements for initial licensure in accounting.

What to Expect From NYC Accounting Master's Programs

Students hoping to complete a master's in accounting in New York can expect their degree to take 1-2 years depending on program requirements. Many New York schools require an average of 30 credits for the master's degree, often including an internship and a final thesis project.

Prospective accountants must meet credit requirements before sitting the CPA exam, and they can complete those credits with a master of accountancy (MAcc) or an MBA. For students who already possess some eligible credits, many programs accept course or credit waivers. Instruction in these programs is often in person, but many schools offer full or partial degree completion online as well.

Typical master's admission requirements generally include: an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field, sufficient Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, prior work or internship experience, an above-average undergraduate GPA, and academic letters of recommendation.

Different Degree Types and Specializations

Graduate students pursuing a master's in accounting in New York should determine their concentration based on their professional goals. Most accountancy students plan to sit the CPA exam. Two main master's degrees satisfy the credit requirements of the exam, but they do not provide the same educational foundation.

The MAcc offers education specialized in the field of accounting. This technical degree focuses on accounting skills that directly apply to the CPA exam. The MAcc best suits students with an undergraduate degree in accounting, but some schools admit learners from other business backgrounds.

The MBA degree is more general than the MAcc and focuses on business skills, finance, management, and marketing. This degree offers greater development of general business knowledge rather than specific accounting skills. An MBA best serves students with some industry experience.

Admission Requirements for Accounting Programs

Though admission requirements vary by school, most master's degrees in accounting require students to demonstrate their academic readiness through a series of steps and accomplishments.

  • Educational Background: A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university with some foundation in accounting.
  • GPA: High academic performance can certainly aid students in the admissions process. Most schools prefer a minimum 3.0 GPA, with some schools like UAlbany expecting a minimum 3.6.
  • Work Experience: MAcc and MBA programs often include internship requirements, which may be satisfied by prior work experience. The MBA with accounting specialization sometimes requires substantial industry experience for developing theory and networking.
  • Test Scores: Score requirements vary by school, most admissions offices mandate the successful completion of the GRE and/or GMAT tests.
  • Application Process: Students need to compile transcripts, professional information, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and other admission materials before paying a fee and applying to the schools of their choice.

Popular Accounting Program Courses

Accounting programs at the master's level prepare students for careers in accountancy through rigorous coursework. Core classes generally include subjects related to general business, economics, accounting, and legal knowledge, and students can select their own elective classes and thesis focus.

  • Financial Statement Fraud

    Examining fraudulent activity helps students understand forensic accounting with an emphasis on the methods used to detect financial statement fraud. In addition to teaching students to utilize analytical techniques for detecting fraud, these courses demonstrate the various aspects of fraud schemes and methods of concealment.

  • Auditing

    Analyzing financial statements for discrepancies prepares students for careers as accountants. Students learn to analyze material within the code and principles of professional conduct for the state of New York. These courses also offer students experience with examining the publications of the AICPA Auditing Standards Board.

  • Professional Responsibility

    Exercising ethical judgment in business situations allows students to build the civil awareness needed to succeed in accounting. Course topics generally include fiduciary responsibilities, product liability, and ethical issues in the workplace. Additionally, these courses ask students to examine the relationships between society laws, ethical norms, and business markets.

  • Foundations of Corporate Finance

    Analyzing major financial issues affecting corporate managers prepares students to meet the needs of capital clientele in their future careers. In addition to studying capital budgeting and capital structure, students learn about mergers and acquisitions in the form of specific business applications case discussions.

The Master's Capstone or Thesis

A master's capstone and thesis both serve the same purpose: to demonstrate the learning and proficiency of a graduate candidate. A capstone focuses on professional readiness, while a thesis denotes scholarly research and broader academic applicability.

A capstone is a final degree task, which may take the form of an exam, an essay, or a research project. This practice-based approach to degree completion demonstrates that a student satisfies their program's expectations and is ready to enter their chosen career path. This format provides more technical applications, and the thesis offers more academic potential.

A thesis is a substantial research project, completed under faculty member supervision. Students generate research project ideas from their core and elective courses. Learners also use research and technical skills from the program to complete their project. To earn their master's degree in accounting, students must successfully defend their thesis to a board of faculty.

What Jobs Can Master's Degrees in Accounting Get You?

A master's in accounting can offer students improved accounting skills and better understanding of financial management theory, and it may also provide a significant pay increase. NACE reports that especially in business careers, professionals can benefit financially from a master's degree.

NACE surveyed employers to collect projected salary data for the class of 2020, summed up in its winter 2020 salary survey. According to this report, 2020 bachelor's in business graduates can expect starting salaries of around $57,940 per year, while master's in business graduates can look forward to earning $75,200. A master's in accounting also offers job-seekers a competitive edge for positions that prefer highly qualified candidates.

Accountants and Auditors

Careers in accounting and auditing involve examining financial records. Accountants determine that tax records are accurate and timely and adhere to internal control systems.

  • Required Education: BS degree, MS and CPA preferred
  • Job Outlook: 4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $71,550
Financial Managers

Careers in financial management require data analysis and financial managing skills. Financial managers create financial reports, direct investments, and develop plans based on financial needs.

  • Required Education: BS degree with MS and CPA preference
  • Job Outlook: 15%
  • Median Annual Salary: $129,890
Budget Analysts

Careers in budget analyzing involve helping public and private institutions to organize their finances. Budget analysts may also work with other program and project managers to revise institutions' budgets.

  • Required Education: BS degree, MS preferred
  • Job Outlook: 3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $76,540
Personal Finance Advisors

Careers in personal financial advising entail providing advice to individuals, rather than organizations, on the management of their finances and their financial future.

  • Required Education: BS degree, MS preferred
  • Job Outlook: 4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,850
Top Executives

Careers in high-level executive directing require planning strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its financial and growth goals. Top executives also manage organizations' financial activities.

  • Required Education: BS degree, MS preferred
  • Job Outlook: 4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $104,690

Selecting Your New York Accounting Program

University rankings for the best accounting schools in New York can offer a good starting point for prospective students considering their options. However, these learners should also consider other factors impacting their educational experience.


Students of business and accounting must ensure that their program holds AACSB accreditation to ensure high academic quality.

School Size

The number of students on campus may affect student experience in that smaller schools offer smaller class sizes, but large schools offer more classes and specializations.

Student-to-Teacher Ratio

The working relationship and communication between teachers and students often improves with fewer students per instructor.

Staff Credentials and Diversity

Staff representation can affect school climate and educational environment.

Program Length

Credit requirements may vary between programs, and the length of time to complete a degree may affect students' total educational investment.

Prestige and Reputation

In addition to accreditation, a school's reputation can impact the value of its conferred degrees in the job market.

Earning Potential

Employees who hold a master's degree in business generally earn better salaries. Degrees from particularly prestigious, well-accredited schools may garner even higher earning potential.

Should You Consider Online Master's Programs in New York?

Earning a master's in accounting in New York is a smart career choice, since accountants in this state enjoy steady, high-demand employment.

The BLS reports a positive job outlook for the accounting industry in New York, along with an annual mean wage of $98,650, meaning students are likely to see a return on their investment.

The task of returning to school and pursuing a master's degree can seem daunting for employed professionals with other responsibilities. Luckily, many New York colleges and universities offer online master's degrees in accounting. These programs require little to no on-campus time, freeing students to complete coursework at their convenience. Accelerated accounting programs can help especially motivated students finish their degrees quickly.

With these flexible educational options, prospective students may want to select their school based on tuition cost rather than school location. However, this may create issues later on, since CPA requirements vary between states, and schools create their master's in accounting curricula accordingly. If a prospective accountant plans to take the CPA exam and work in New York, an online master's in accounting in New York would simplify the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a master's in accounting worth it?
Yes. According to NACE, business professionals with their master's make nearly $20,000 more to start than those with just a bachelor's degree.
Which is better: an MBA or a master's in accounting?
It depends on your career goals. An MBA may better suit those who want to eventually move up to managerial ranks. An MAcc is best for people who want a career track solely in accounting and financial management.
What is the best master's degree for accountants?
Although several degrees can help candidates qualify to sit for the CPA exam, career accountants should consider getting an MAcc.
How do I become an accountant in New York?
To become a CPA in New York, you must satisfy the 150-credit requirement, pass all portions of the CPA exam, meet experience requirements with supervision from a CPA, and apply for the CPA license.

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