Why This Matters

  • FINANCIAL MANAGERS EARN $129,890 ON AVERAGE ANNUALLY

    The average salary for financial managers is $90,080 more than the average for all occupations.

  • 108,100 MORE FINANCIAL MANAGERS ARE NEEDED OVER THE NEXT DECADE

    The industry is expected to grow faster than the national average due to the high demand for cash management and risk management. The rise of globalization and the desire for banking institutions to focus on stability contribute to the positive job outlook for financial managers.

  • EMPLOYMENT IS EXPECTED TO GROW BY 15%

    More skilled financial managers are needed to develop long-term financial plans and lead investment activities across multiple industries.

Our Research

This list evaluates graduate programs in accounting that prepare students for high-level financial positions such as chief financial officer, corporate controller, and managerial accountant. Degrees offered include Master of Accounting, Master of Science in Accounting, and Master of Accountancy. The programs on our list offer a combination of on-campus, online, and hybrid learning formats.

Schools on our list have received accreditation acknowledging their curricula and programs uphold high academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the highest level of accreditation for a business school and is recognized by employers and other educational institutions. Other programs on our list have received either regional or national accreditation to verify their programs prepare students for careers in the field of accounting.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best Master’s in Accounting program are affordable, respected, and flexible. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 186 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 352 education programs we compared

The Top 10 Best Master’s in Accounting Programs

Georgia Southern University

Intelligent Pick

Georgia Southern University’s Master of Accounting program is designed for people who want to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). The curriculum includes 18 credit hours of accounting and law coursework and 12 credit hours of electives, allowing you to personalize your program of study to fit your career objectives and prepare to take the CPA exam. While earning your Master of Accounting degree, you can differentiate yourself by pursuing a certificate in Tax or Forensic Accounting. You also benefit from a highly practice-oriented curriculum that merges theory and practice and equips you with the tools needed to excel as a CPA. The 30-credit degree can be completed within one academic year.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Statesboro, GA
  • Cost per credit: $277 (in-state); $1,105 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $10,136 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 50%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 912-478-5767

Learn more

University of Alabama

Best in the Southeast

University of Alabama’s Master of Accountancy program is highly customizable, allowing you to choose your own elective track to complement the core curriculum. This means you can delve into your specific interests in a particular area of accounting — for instance, assurance health care, wealth management, fraud investigation, or sports management, to name a few — and develop deep subject-area expertise that can make you an attractive candidate on the job market. All applicants accepted for admission are considered for competitive fellowships, graduate assistantships, and cash scholarships to make the cost of attendance more affordable. Additionally, the accounting department organizes career fairs each semester where you can network with employers not only in the Southeast U.S. but those from around the world.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Huntsville, AL
  • Cost per credit: $615 (in-state); $1,550 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $13,934 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 52%

More program information:

 

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 205-348-6517

Learn more

University of Missouri-St Louis

Best Tutoring Services

University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Master of Accounting program offers multiple pathways to start and complete your master’s degree. If you majored in accounting as an undergraduate, you can likely complete your Master of Accounting at University of Missouri-St. Louis with just 30 credit hours, and if you majored in a nonaccounting business field, you can probably complete the degree in 36 credits; however, if you majored in a nonbusiness, nonaccounting field, you can complete the degree in about 42 credits. University of Missouri-St. Louis has been recognized for its combination of quality and affordability. Many students in the program work full-time, so classes are usually scheduled in the evening. The curriculum offers an array of core courses and business breadth courses (which may be waived for students who studied accounting or business as undergrads), as well as required courses in accounting, research, a graduate seminar, and electives.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Virginia Beach, VA
  • Cost per credit: $522 (Missouri or Illinois resident); $1,281.50 (out of state or international)
  • Credits required to graduate: 42
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $10,606 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 54%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 314-516-5885

Learn more

New York University Stern School of Business

Best in the Northeast

New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business’s Master of Science in Accounting is housed in one of the world’s most renowned business schools and accounting departments. In fact, NYU is ranked #1 in GradReports.com 2020 Best Master’s in Accounting Programs. The Master of Science in Accounting program is meant to be completed on a full-time basis, so classes are usually held during the day on weekdays. The following courses comprise the 30-credit program: Auditing Business Acquisitions, Deferred Taxes, Translations, and Derivatives; Data Management and Analysis; Financial Reporting and Disclosure; Financial Statement Analysis; Forensic Accounting and Financial Statement Fraud; Foundations of Corporate Finance; Internal Controls & Accounting Information Systems – A Data Analytics Perspective; Modeling Financial Statements; Professional Responsibility; Taxation of Individuals and Business Income; and Topics in Advanced Communication in Accounting. NYU’s location in New York City brings with it many opportunities to make connections in the business and accounting world.

Things to consider:

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Cost per credit: $1,973.40
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $19,682 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 85%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 212-998-0600

Learn more

University of Washington

Best in the Northwest

University of Washington’s Master of Professional Accounting program offers coursework that focuses on data analytics and emerging technologies, enabling you to bring big data and robotic process automation techniques into your career. Many courses in the MPAcc program are taught by industry professionals from companies such as Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Tableau, Starbucks, and Moss Adams. This accelerated, nine-month program admits approximately 50 students each year and prepares you to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam in Washington State. In addition to eight core classes, you complete a winter internship with the help of the EY Center for Career Development. You also complete an experiential learning project to reflect on your internship experience.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Cost per credit: $485.31 (in-state); $568.75 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 48
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: ​​$14,871 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 76%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]

Learn more

University of Texas at Austin

Best One-Year Program

University of Texas at Austin’s traditional Master of Professional Accounting is a one-year degree program open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Depending on your undergraduate coursework, the program ranges from 31 to 43 required credits and can be completed anywhere from nine months to just over a year. In addition to core coursework, you also get to choose a track from the following options: financial reporting and assurance, managerial accounting and control, taxation, and generalist. This allows you to customize the curriculum to best suit your interests and career goals. You are expected to enroll in the program on a full-time basis, so it is not possible to work a full-time job during the day. As part of the program, you have the option to complete an internship to synthesize theory and practice in the real world.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Cost per credit: $1,412 (in-state); $2,030 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 31 to 43
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $12,768 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 80%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 512-471-6559

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University of Florida

Best Online Program

University of Florida’s Master of Accounting program is geared toward students with a strong undergraduate background in accounting who want to take their skills and employability to the next level. You have the option to choose one of three tracks: concentration in auditing, concentration in taxation, or no concentration. The no concentration track enables you to decide whether to pursue a more generalist curriculum or whether to assemble a set of electives that suits your particular accounting interests. Classes are held during the day on a full-time basis at the campus in Gainesville, Florida. Upon completing the master’s program, you will have met the requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam in Florida.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Gainesville, FL
  • Cost per credit: $530.69 (in-state)t; $1,255.41 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 34
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $10,220 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 87%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 352-273-0200

Learn more

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Best in the Midwest

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Master of Accounting Science is an accounting master’s degree program for accounting majors. It is a nine-month, STEM-designated program for students who already hold a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. U.S. News and World Report ranked this accounting program #2 in the entire country, and BYU Accounting Faculty Research Rankings ranked the accounting faculty #1 in the nation. The Class of 2019 had a job placement rate of 99% within six months of graduation. The MAS program is highly data- and analytics focused and prides itself on taking a decidedly STEM approach to the study of accounting. In addition to the core accounting curriculum, you can choose a specialization in corporate governance and international business, finance, data analytics, information technology and control, or supply chain management.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Champaign, IL
  • Cost per credit: $786.75 (in-state); $1,221.87 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 32
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $12,252 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 86%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 217-244-9201

Learn more

University of Virginia

Best Student Organizations

University of Virginia’s Master of Science in Accounting program is a nine-month, 30-credit, STEM-designated program that has been recognized for its excellence by numerous media outlets. In 2017, Public Accounting Report ranked University of Virginia’s program #2 in the Top 25 Master’s in Accounting Rankings for Schools with Fewer Than 17 Full-Time Accounting Faculty. In 2021, TFE Times ranked the program #7 Best Master’s in Accounting programs, and in 2019, NASBA Report ranked it #13 in the First-Time CPA Pass Rate category (out of 758 institutions). From the outset of the program, you can choose to specialize in financial reporting and assurance or tax consulting, making your degree as career-relevant as possible. You can also participate in their storied tradition of student-run organizations that span nearly every interest.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Charlottesville, VA
  • Cost per credit: $1,110 (in-state); $1,390 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $11,950 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 94%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 434-243-1179

Learn more 

North Carolina State University

Best for Real-World Experience

North Carolina State’s Master of Accounting program boasts a 96% to 100% job placement rate, with most if not all students securing a job by graduation. The program is accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and is STEM-designated. The curriculum centers on experiential learning, ensuring that you know how to link theory and practice. You choose between two career tracks — public accounting track and business & industry track — and you have the further option to choose a specialization as well: tax strategy, information technology, or enterprise risk management. Throughout the program, you can work closely with a career counselor and faculty mentors to help you chart your professional path. At the start of the school year, you can participate in a one-week intensive data analysis bootcamp.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • Cost per credit: $505.28 (in-state); $1,504.56 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 31
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $11,602 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 79%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 919-513-0526

Learn more

Other Master’s in Accounting Programs to Consider

Best Master's in Accounting Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing a career in accounting, you might also consider earning a master of finance or master of business administration (MBA) degree. Accounting focuses on tracking and reporting money, while finance is a broader study and deals with the movement of money. MBA programs teach students leadership and operational skills in addition to offering coursework in finance and marketing. Certain MBA programs also specialize in accounting. Think about career paths you’d like to pursue when deciding which degree program is right for you.

Certifications in the field of accounting are important to students who wish to hold senior financial positions. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Board of Examiners and includes a four-part exam. CPAs deal with financial reporting, including taxes and auditing. Many additional accounting certifications can improve your job outlook, including Chartered Global Management Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Certified Financial Services Auditor.

The field of accounting is tied to the health of the overall economy. Still, senior finance roles are expected to see continued growth until 2029, as the financial industry continues to focus on risk management and cash management.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching master’s in accounting programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Master’s in accounting programs are graduate level and require students to hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Prospective students are expected to have completed coursework in statistics, finance, and principles of accounting. Most programs also require a minimum GPA and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Online graduate accounting programs usually take one to two years to complete. The programs on our list require between 30 and 48 credits to graduate.

Check application deadlines and entry requirements for programs you’re interested in attending. Visit the school website to find more in-depth information about admission prerequisites.

Master’s programs require a financial investment, and you should consider how you’ll cover tuition fees and other academic-related costs. Research financial aid assistance, grants, and scholarships to identify potential funding opportunities. If you’re employed, your company might offer tuition assistance.