Top 5 Graduate Accounting Programs in California

Many students who graduate with an accounting degree enter the working world for a few years then decide they want to further their credentials. The master of accounting degree gives students the potential for career growth, a boost in salary, job security, and job satisfaction. Most graduate accounting programs are one year but some are two years. Students can choose between a full-time or part-time program depending on their personal situation. 

Many of the programs are open to students with any bachelor's degree. Although it may take longer for those without an accounting or business background. The job growth for accountants and auditors is projected to be 11% from 2014-2024 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

To create our ranking of the best accounting programs in California, we gathered information from Public Accounting Report, Tax Talent and U.S. News and World Report. All the schools listed are accredited by the prestigious AACSB. We have included in state tuition rates, but this only an estimate. Please contact the school for more information about their rates and program details.

Located between San Jose and San Francisco, Stanford University is a private research institution. They have one of the largest campuses in the United States with 8,180 acres. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford. Leland Stanford was former U.S. Senator and Governor of California. The Princeton Review polls has named them the “dream college”. Stanford made headlines in 2015 when they announced students whose families make less than $125,000 per year will have free tuition.

The Stanford Business School offers a MSx program which is a highly individualized curriculum for students. Student will take core courses which focus on ethics, economics, strategy, and negotiations. The remaining electives will be chosen by the students. Those who wish to focus on Accounting can take courses that will build on their knowledge. This program will help students develop their leadership style through coursework and activities. Stanford is accredited by the AACSB, the benchmark for business schools everywhere.

Tuition: $125,336

Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is private research university. They opened their school with 10 teachers and 53 students, now they have over 44,000 students enrolled and 4,000 full-time faculty. Their main campus is located in Los Angeles and is the oldest private university in California. Their campus is a part of the downtown Los Angeles Arts and Education Corridor. They were ranked 15th by the Wall street Journal and Times Higher Education among 1061 public and private universities.

The Marshall School of Business offers a Master of Accounting, Master of Business Taxation and a Master of Business Taxation-Working Professionals program. The MAcc program provides students with the skills and knowledge to work in public accounting, industry, government and professional accounting. Students can also choose a MBA with a concentration in accounting. The MBT program is designed for students who want an in-depth study in taxation. This program will help students who wish to enter a professional career in tax. Students will gain the skills needed to help firms and individuals with the countless tax rules and regulations. The MBT for working professionals is designed for individuals who are already working in the tax profession and wish to gain a deeper and broader knowledge in tax. Courses can be taken on campus and online. The Marshall School of Business is accredited by the AACSB, the world leading accrediting agency for business schools.

Tuition: $125,146

They University of California, Berkeley is a public, land grant research university founded in 1868. They are the flagship school for the University of California system, which consists of ten research schools. Berkeley is the oldest campus in their system. They were ranked 1st for  public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Berkeley has 14 colleges and schools that have 170 academic departments and programs.

The Haas School of Business is the second oldest business school in the nation. They have six degree granting programs and over 40,000 alumni. Haas has four distinguishing characteristics their school lives by; Question the Status Quo, Confidence with Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Haas does not have a specific graduate accounting program but students can choose their MBA program with an area in general management fundamentals. They have seven areas students can choose from, one of them being accounting. This gives students the flexibility to customize their program by choosing electives in their specific area of study. Haas also has another option for students who do not want a graduate degree but would like to meet the CPA exam requirements. They have a summer program called the Berkeley Charter of Professional Accountancy. This program will satisfy the 30 credit hour requirement needed to sit for the CPA. This program is taken during two summers. Haas is accredited by the AACSB.

Tuition: $112,036

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University is a public research institution. They are considered the oldest and largest higher education institution in San Diego County. San Diego State University is the only university considered a “national university” in the California State University system. The other 22 schools are considered “regional universities”. They offer 190 bachelor's, 91 master's, and 25 doctoral degrees. U.S. News and World Report has ranked them 74th in top public universities.

The Fowler College of Business Administration offers a 30 credit hour Master of Science in Accountancy program. Students can choose from three specializations; Accounting Information Systems, Taxation, Financial Reporting or they can customize their courses to satisfy their career interests. Their flexible curriculum also allows students to meet academic goals so they can be ready for certifications such as the CMA, CIA, and others. Their MSA program students had the 3rd highest pass rate for the CPA exam in 2015. Fowler is accredited by the AACSB, the world's leading accrediting agency for business schools.

Tuition: $18,729

The University of California Los Angeles is a public, land grant research university. They are the second oldest university in the University of California system. They were founded in 1919. They have more than 125 majors and 80 minors with over 44,000 students enrolled. They are ranked #10 by U.S. News and World Report for Best Global University.

The Anderson School of Management has a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting. Their MBA program focuses on five things, Leadership & Communication, Flexibility and Specializations, Core Strength, and Applied Management Research Project. This allows the students to gain soft skills such as written and oral communication along with a core curriculum that will build a solid foundation in business. Students will also be able tot tailor their education by choosing a specialization so they can focus in an area that will meet their career goals. Students will also have opportunities to seek internships during the summer. This helps build their resume and gain experience in the working world. All students will participate in a capstone field project, which helps students apply classroom theories and knowledge to real world business problems. They are accredited by the AACSB, the leading business accrediting agency.

Tuition: $104,544