Why This Matters

  • 150 CREDIT HOURS REQUIRED FOR CPA LICENSE

    CPA (certified public accountant) license requirements vary by state, but nearly all require 150 credits, more than you will earn in a bachelor’s program. A graduate degree lets you acquire the remaining credits needed for licensure.

  • NEED FOR FINANCIAL MANAGERS INCREASING 19%

    The demand for financial managers, particularly those who specialize in cash management and risk management, is increasing at a faster than average pace. Individuals with master’s degrees in accounting will have the best job prospects.

  • EARN $57,490 MORE PER YEAR WITH A MASTER’S

    A master’s degree will qualify you for higher-paying positions, like financial manager, which pays a median annual salary of $127,990. Accountants, who typically only need a bachelor’s degree, earn a median annual salary of $70,500.

Our Research

Different types of master’s degrees in accounting exist, including a Master of Accounting (MAcc), Master of Science (MS), and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS). We included all three types of degrees on our list, as they will all prepare you for an accounting career, regardless of how they differ in approach and focus.

All programs on our list are regionally accredited. Many also have specialized accreditations for business programs, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Accreditation means programs achieve the highest quality standards for education.

Once we narrowed our list of accounting master’s programs, we evaluated each of them for reputation, course strength, flexibility, and cost. Based on this, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in accounting programs are respected, affordable, and customizable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 88 hours to write this article
  • 108 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 358 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Master’s in Accounting

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Getting a CPA license is a primary career goal for many accountants, as it opens up a wider range of job options. CPA license requirements vary by state; when considering master’s in accounting programs, you should also review your state’s requirements, and check with your program of interest to ensure that they fulfill those requirements. In order to maintain your CPA license, you must earn continuing education credits, which requires an additional commitment of time and money.

Other accounting-related jobs, like financial advisor, have their own set of licenses that need to be obtained for employment. The same principle applies; find out from your program of interest if their curriculum fulfills licensure requirements.

The coursework for all of the programs included on our list can be fully completed online. However, some programs have in-person requirements like residencies or internships. You may be able to fulfill some of these requirements at your current job, but you should verify with the program exactly what their in-person requirements, if any, are to verify that they will fit into your schedule and budget.

You should also consider whether a degree in accounting, or a related field like finance, is more suited to your ultimate career goals, as there are key differences between the fields.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Masters Accounting programs:

  • Am I eligible for this degree? Some master’s in accounting programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in accounting, or at least some accounting-related coursework. Others seek candidates with professional experience in the field. Carefully review each program’s eligibility requirements, as well as any opportunities they offer to complete prerequisite coursework you may need for enrollment.
  • Does this program have the specialization I want? There are several areas of focus within accounting, such as forensic accounting, business valuation, and taxation. You may seek out a specialization to better prepare you for a certain accounting jobs. If this is the case, find out if the program you’re interested in has the specialization you want.

Researching application processes and deadlines is an important next step. You can typically find this information on the program’s website, or you can contact the school directly.

You should also learn about financing options, including scholarships, assistantships and financial aid. If you are currently employed, check with your employer to see if tuition remission/reimbursement benefits are available.