By Master’s in Accounting Degrees Staff
Accounting jobs in the U.S. continue to grow, and demand will likely remain high as the economy recovers. Not only that, but CPAs and other types of accountants have been ranked not only one of the best business jobs, but one of the best overall careers in the country. Many accounting jobs require a Masters in Accounting (also called a Master of Accountancy) or a similar type of graduate degree, and so a number of schools have developed prestigious programs to meet students’ academic needs. In light of this, we set out to determine the best accounting graduate schools in the country. To be sensitive to the budgetary constraints of much of the country, we also tempered this list by making sure that every school is affordable.
What does “affordable” mean? We calculated the net price of schools (tuition minus average financial aid package) and only included those whose average cost is less than $22,000. We understand that many graduate programs offer funding and stipends for graduate candidates, but in order to guarantee that all the schools on the list are within reach of most students, we decided not to assume that any applicant would receive such generous funding. Instead, “financial aid” includes the same type of scholarships and federal funding that might be offered to an undergrad. However, you can typically get more information about graduate school funding from the schools’ websites.
To determine the highest quality schools, we started with a list of more than 200 affordable, accredited Master of Accountancy programs in the country. We then ranked them according to six factors, including student-to-faculty ratio, average undergrad GPA, number of major-related student organizations, and percentage of students employed by graduation. We also assessed schools based on Princeton Review’s academic experience and career ratings, which take into consideration factors like average GMAT score, average starting salary, and survey responses related to the confidence students have in their school’s ability to help them realize their academic and professional goals. You can read more here.
The schools with the highest overall scores are listed below. We have organized them in order from most expensive to least expensive.
30. Temple University
Temple University offers a one-year Master of Accountancy program that serves as a bridge to a career in public accounting. The program’s goal is to make you career ready by preparing you for the CPA. In order to ensure that you have all the preparation you need, Temple offers personalized career counseling and partners with recruiters from well-known accounting firms all over the country. As a result, graduates are positioned to compete for offers from the “Big Four” as well as regional firms. The university boasts a 96% job placement rate and a well above average 70% passing rate on the CPA. And as a selective university, Temple often attracts students whose undergrad GPA was a 3.5 or above.
Net Price: $20,670
29. Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt’s one-year Master of Accountancy program goes beyond traditional CPA preparation. It is designed to give you the leadership and communication skills you need to be attractive to future employers. Speaking of future employers, Vanderbilt partners with prestigious firms all over the globe that are consistently listed as the best places to work. In addition to professional development in the classroom, students also benefit from an integrated Becker CPA review course that allows review and sit for the exam during the program over the summer. The university also encourages students to pursue a 10-week summer internship – placements that frequently pay over $10,000 and lead to appealing job offers.
Net Price: $20,551
28. Auburn University
The Master of Accountancy program at Auburn consists of technical training, an emphasis on research and communication skills, and focused preparation for the CPA exam. Exam review classes at Auburn are designed to help students pass on their first attempt. As a non-thesis program, students must only complete 30-semester hours and a four and a half day, on-campus residency toward the end of the program. In addition, students also have the chance to complete a study abroad experience for course credit. And if you don’t have time for residencies and overseas travel, you can also complete classes part-time or full-time through distance education. Either way, you’ll get plenty of individualized attention from professors, as Auburn claims a student-to-faculty ratio of an impressive 1:1.
Net Price: $17,014
27. University of Missouri – Columbia
A “Top 20 Powerhouse,” the Accountancy program at the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business has been nationally recognized for its excellence. As a student at Mizzou, you’ll acquire a wealth of practical experience while rounding out your studies with time spent in more than 10 accountancy-related student organizations. The program requires 30 credit hours of study, and students who select the optional specialization in taxation must complete 15 credit hours in relevant classes. If you aren’t quite ready for graduate level study, you can also opt for the 150 hour BSAcc to MAcc degree and gain useful skills in accountancy, business, public speaking, and information technology.
Net Price: $16,884
26. University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma’s accounting department has a reputation for excellence in both teaching and research, and is one of only two schools in the state to receive an accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students are consistently prepared for professional life well beyond what other schools provide, and first time CPA pass rates frequently place in the top 10 in the nation. The program combines a broad foundation of business knowledge with specialized technical training in accounting, and it also gives students the opportunity to specialize in Assurance Services, Financial Reporting, or Taxation. With 13 finance-related student organizations and a student-to-faculty ratio of only 9:1, you’ll be guaranteed an experience that consists of strong faculty and peer support.
Net Price: $16,780
25. University of Wisconsin – Madison
The Wisconsin School of Business offers a Master of Accountancy program that is meant to both prepare students to excel in the business world and to encourage research in the field. Interested students can choose from the 5-year program, which combines undergraduate and graduate study, or the 2-year graduate program, which is appropriate for students who have little previous financial experience. Highly qualified professors specialize in areas like corporate governance, international financial reporting standards, and equity valuation, while two different research centers give students plenty of opportunities to explore the industry. Princeton Review has given the school top career and academic experience scores above 95, which suggests that students have a high opinion of Wisconsin’s ability to realize their academic expectations and prepare them for work.
Net Price: $16,536
24. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois offers multiple options for graduate students interested in accounting; students can choose between a Master of Accounting Science, a Master of Science in Accountancy, or an MS Tax Program. The first option is a one-year program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, and it prepares them for both public and non-public practices. The second option is also a yearlong and is for students with varied experience in the profession. It is ideal for those who wish to sit for the CPA exam and work in the public sector. Lastly, the tax program integrates a rigorous tax curriculum with strategic business training and useful professional workshops.
Net Price: $16,490
23. University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee’s Master of Accountancy program is for serious students who are looking for a challenging graduate school experience. The average undergrad GPA is a 3.3, and upon graduation nearly 75% of students are already employed. During your time at UT, you can choose to specialize in Audit and Controls or Taxation, while outside of the classroom you can join student organizations like Beta Alpha Psi – an honorary and service organization for financial professionals. The one-year program includes not just rigorous study, but an exciting speaker series and even an international class trip to visit with targeted companies.
Net Price: $16,062
22. Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers University offers a plethora of graduate degrees in accountancy to meet the needs of a diverse group of aspiring professionals. You can choose between an MBA in Accounting, an MBA in Professional Accounting, a Master of Accountancy in Financial Accounting, a Master of Accountancy in Governmental Accounting, or a Master of Accountancy in Taxation. Because of all the options afforded to accounting students, you can choose the degree for you depending on whether or not you want part-time, full-time or online study and whether you want a stronger emphasis on business, public accounting and CPA preparation, taxation study. Rutgers has an attractive student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1 and an academic experience rating of 94.
Net Price: $16,040
21. University of Akron
The University of Akron’s accountancy program is ideal for students from a wide array of financial backgrounds. Students who have a B.S. in Accounting can start in the fall, while those who still need foundational courses can acquire the necessary credits in the summer, before the program starts. The flexible program allows students to combine their knowledge with technical training in both finance and information systems, especially for students who select the specialization in Accounting Information Systems. You will benefit from close professor interaction, thanks to a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1, as well as a stellar placement rate upon graduation of 96%.
Net Price: $15,972
20. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
By enrolling at the University of Michigan, you’ll benefit from the specialized training of the eight month long MAcc program and the broad instruction of the school’s top-tier MBA courses. Unlike some other programs, U of M’s MAcc attracts recruiters not just from accounting firms, but also from investment banks, consulting firms, and government agencies all around the world. Students can choose from a variety of elective courses in order to prepare for the CPA exam, and as a result the school boasts one of the highest CPA pass rates in the nation. U of M provides the ideal environment for a superior student experience, as exemplified by the nearly 30 relevant student organizations you can join, the student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, and the reported academic experience rating of 93.
Net Price: $15,939
19. University of Texas – Austin
We’re not the only ones who consider UT Austin’s accounting program as one of the best in the nation – U.S. News and the Public Accounting Report have also recognized their school as one of the country’s premier. Graduates overwhelmingly agree with such assessments, and 96% of graduates claim that attending the McCombs School of Business to be a good investment. The program is characterized by top-tier faculty instruction, dedicated career services, quality internship opportunities, and plenty of opportunities to network. Princeton Review has also recognized the prestige of UT Austin’s program and has awarded the school academic experience and career ratings of 97.
Net Price: $15,336
18. Binghamton University
Binghamton, New York
As an accounting student a Binghamton University, you’ll benefit from hands-on learning and a generalist approach to accounting that have served countless graduates well in the professional world. Most students at the university choose to focus on public accounting, but interested pupils can also tailor their degree to prepare themselves for a future in management accounting or with government agencies. The theoretical aspects of the program also provide a solid foundation for those who expect to pursue a PhD in the field. Binghamton frequently attracts top-notch students, and many who apply have an undergrad GPA of nearly 3.5.
Net Price: $14,914
17. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business integrates a variety of training that successfully prepares students for careers in public, corporate, or governmental accounting. Graduate students can choose to earn a Master of Science in Accountancy and concentrate in either Auditing/Financial Reporting or Taxation. The program is designed for highly successful students (with an average undergraduate GPA of 3.39) who have a background in accounting, finance, or business, and depending on a student’s previous experience the program may take between one and two years to complete. After establishing a foundation in conceptual and technical ability, oral and written communication skills, and research and analytical skills, 90% of students find employment by graduation.
Net Price: $14,119
16. University of Arizona
The Eller College at the University of Arizona offers two graduate degrees: a Master of Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting. The first option provides advanced training in finance, managerial accounting, and taxation for people who want to work in professional accounting or consulting. It offers two tracks, Audit and Tax, and includes CPA exam training, a summer internship, and postgrad career advising. The second option is similar, but is more flexible and caters to the needs of international students and those with diverse educational backgrounds. It too includes CPA exam preparation, although students with non-accounting B.S. degrees may need to complete certain prerequisites. The school’s student-to-faculty ratio is only 3:1 and 80% of students graduate with an employment offer.
Net Price: $14,070
15. Towson University
Towson University offers a unique master’s degree in Accounting and Business Advisory Services. The program is a joint venture between Towson and the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business, and students who enroll can become alumni of both institutions. The AASCB-accredited program includes intensive CPA exam preparation and networking opportunities consisting of outside speakers, service opportunities, social activities, and active student organizations. The program also allows you to specialize in either Applied Information Technology (through Towson) or Management Information Systems (through Baltimore). To get into this selective school, the average undergraduate student has a 3.6 GPA.
Net Price: $13,945
14. Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue’s MS in Accounting combines career preparation with an emphasis on problem solving, leadership abilities, self-reliance, and global cognizance. The ten-month program gives you the option of tailoring your experience to your career goals, whether you want a career in public or corporate accounting or consulting. The program also includes CPA exam preparation and enough skills training that nearly 90% of graduates have permanent career placement by graduation. Students also benefit from 12 accounting-related student organizations and a cozy student-to-faculty ratio of 2:1. All of this combined led Princeton Review to grant the institution academic experience and career ratings of 90 and 94, respectively.
Net Price: $13,541
13. University of Virginia
UVA has a prestigious, selective accounting program that regularly attracts undergraduate students with GPAs up to 3.8. Students experience a dynamic curriculum that features real-world scenarios, a diverse team-based environment, and innovative analytical and technical training. Students also experience superb teaching, and the comfortable 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio makes it easy to get to know professors. Whether you choose to specialize in Tax Consulting or Financial Reporting and Assurance, you’ll have the professional abilities and ethical decision-making skills to land a job with the nation’s top firms. In fact, roughly 85% of graduates have attained full-time employment by graduation.
Net Price: $13,463
12. University of North Florida
The AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy at UNF provides the advanced professional study necessary for students to sit for the CPA exam and then land careers as either certified public accountants or controllers or executives in industry and government. The program emphasizes how theory can be applied to current problems, as well as how effective communication can improve relationships with the users of accounting data. UNF recommends that applicants to the program have a B.S. in accounting from a AASCB-accredited school in order to complete the program in four semesters. Many students work full-time and take two classes at a time while pursuing their degree.
Net Price: $13,207
11. University of Georgia
The Master of Accountancy program at the University of Georgia is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for public schools. The university is particularly proud of its teaching faculty, some of which have been named among the top 5% most productive accounting researchers. Students also consistently give faculty members top marks for both quality of instruction and course rigor, both of which contribute to the more than 90% placement rate for MAcc grads. The school also ranks 2nd nationally for the percentage of students who pass the CPA on their first attempt, with a current rate of nearly 84%.
Net Price: $12,862
10. Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers two nine-month programs for interested grad students: a Master of Accountancy and a Master of Taxation. The MAcc provides in-depth knowledge of the advanced skills necessary to succeed in public and private accounting, while the MTax equips graduates to provide superior tax and business advice to clients, as well as to administer tax laws. Students of both programs benefit from supportive career services (which lead to a nearly 100% placement rate within 90 days of graduation), world-class faculty who freely impart their real-world experiences to pupils, and an impressively small student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1.
Net Price: $12,380
9. Brigham Young University – Provo
As the #1 school on this list for quality, BYU provides a superior education to students fortunate enough to be accepted to the program (the average undergrad GPA needed to get in is 3.5). Many others agree with our assessment of the program, and the Public Accounting Report also named the BYU Marriott School’s MAcc 1st in the nation. Graduates find it easy to find postgrad work, as more than 70 firms recruit from the university’s program each year. In fact, approximately 92% of students are employed by the time they reach graduation. Princeton Review has also given the business school accolades, granting BYU an academic experience rating of 93 and a career rating of 95.
Net Price: $12,330
8. North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
The Jenkins Graduate School of Management at NC State offers a Master of Accountancy program designed to satisfy the 150 credit hours needed to sit for the CPA exam. The program actively integrates research, teaching, and engagement in all the fundamental areas of accounting, while also giving students the chance to specialize in Information Technology, Enterprise Risk Management, or Tax Strategy. As a student of the Jenkins School, you’ll also be able to network with alumni and firm representatives, get useful advice from the career resources center, participate in internships, and even study abroad. In addition, you can join one of numerous student organizations for accounting and business professionals, such as the Institute of Management Accountants or the Master of Accountancy Organization.
Net Price: $12,129
7. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Another North Carolina school on this list is the UNC Chapel Hill, whose Kenan-Flagler Business School offers a prestigious Masters in Accountancy. Ranked #7 on our list, UNC also breaks the top 10 on lists issued by U.S. News and the Public Accounting Report. The school regularly produces elite graduates, 98% of whom have a job offer by graduation. Furthermore, within five to eight years many business school alumni are earning salaries comparable to that of doctors and lawyers. The program also offers plenty of opportunities to network over the yearlong course, and world-renowned faculty (one for every five students) contribute to an unparalleled learning experience.
Net Price: $11,994
6. Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
Applicants to Texas A&M’s Master of Accountancy program are seeking to augment their education with another year of full-time study in order to obtain high-level positions with accounting firms and prestigious business enterprises. Students take a variety of accounting classes as well as courses in mathematics and computer technology in order to best prepare them for the professional world. The selective program requires high GMAT or GRE scores as well as a strong track record of superior undergraduate performance (the average GPA is 3.5). Students almost unanimously report remarkable academic and professional experiences, as exemplified by Princeton Review’s academic experience and career ratings of 96.
Net Price: $11,772
5. University of Illinois – Chicago
The University of Illinois is for highly qualified candidates who want to pursue graduate study in order to prepare themselves for the CPA and CMA exams. When it comes to the CPA exam, UIC frequently reports the top first-time pass rates in the state, as well as one of the top pass rates of any public school in the nation. And if you are interested in business as well, you can take advantage of the school’s joint MBA/MS degree and complete courses in finance, economics, operations management, and organizational behavior as well. To get into this selective program, many undergraduates have a grade point average above a 3.5.
Net Price: $11,645
4. College of William and Mary
William and Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business offers a full-time, two-semester Master of Accounting degree that is ideal for students of a variety of undergraduate majors. Students get the benefit of small class sizes (the student-to-faculty ratio is just over 3:1), nationally recognized faculty, and a high-achieving student body. The program is also jam packed with special opportunities, like an annual “Veris CPA Trek” to Washington, D.C. to explore the public and private accounting sectors and a semester-long Winter Field Experience that serves as way more than a typical internship. If you are a little underprepared for the degree, you can enroll in the “Summer Boot Camp” to complete the required prerequisite classes. Once the fall semester starts, you can then choose to concentrate in either Auditing, Taxation, or Valuation.
Net Price: $11,534
3. Indiana University – Bloomington
If you enroll in IU’s graduate accounting program, which is part of the well-known Kelley School of Business, you’ll be practically guaranteed a full-time job offer within 90 days of graduation. This is thanks to an intensive group of courses that focus on developing valuable financial skills; acquiring in-depth knowledge about assurance, risk management, and taxation; and gaining practical experience through real-world simulations. Students also benefit from exclusive access to a Becker First Pass CPA review course and field consulting experience with local businesses and organizations. Because of the large size of the university, IU students can also take advantage of active peer support through more than 20 accounting- and business-focused student organizations.
Net Price: $11,361
2. University of Central Arkansas
The MAcc degree at the University of Central Arkansas is designed to respond to the fact that the global business environment is constantly changing. The comprehensive program emphasizes conceptual and technical accounting knowledge, communication skills, research abilities, and leadership potential. The supportive atmosphere, in-depth CPA exam preparation, and highly trained faculty are contributing reasons to why Princeton Review gave the school academic experience and career ratings of 94 and 90, respectively. You’ll also be interested to hear that, because of UCA’s superior training, nearly 90% of students are fully employed by graduation.
Net Price: $9,348
1. University of Texas – Dallas
Not only did the University of Texas’ Dallas campus break the top 30 for quality, but it also holds the coveted spot of the most affordable program. UT Dallas takes a broad approach to accounting, and the master’s program offers optional focus areas in Corporate Accounting, Assurance Services, Taxation, Internal Audit, or Enterprise Resource Planning. The flexible program offers both on-campus and online classes, although students who plan to take the CPA exam must take 15 hours face-to-face. Students are also encouraged to join a variety of campus organizations in order to tap into a community of like-minded, accounting-loving aspiring professionals.
Net Price: $8,064