These are very exciting times in the world of online education. More and more highly reputable universities across the country are offering fully online programs to students. This has increased accessibility and competition in the online degree program market meaning better services and lower costs for students.
One of the top priorities for many of these schools has been to respond to the increased academic demand caused by the requirement of 150 academic hours in order for a candidate to sit the CPA exam. This means that many undergraduate accounting students will need to pursue their Masters in Accounting Degree if they wish to become a CPA. Top of the line universities have responded to this by offering online programs that meet the requirements and providing a plethora of strong options for those seeking a graduate accounting degree.
Ranking the Top 10 Best Online Masters in Accounting Degree Programs
All of the schools and programs listed here are regionally accredited options and many are AACSB accredited in addition to their regional accreditation, meaning now more than ever before top flight degrees are available at a distance. An important note is that CPA regulations differ from state to state so some research will be required to ensure that any selected school will meet your state’s requirements.
#1. University of Connecticut: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: The Master of Science in Accounting program at the University of Connecticut is the first online masters program offered by the school. The program is focused on providing the student with the critical skills necessary for a successful professional career in public and private accounting.
Tuition: Tuition for the University of Connecticut’s online Masters in Accounting program is $680 per credit.
Unique Features: The MSA program at the University of Connecticut is the first dual accredited AACSB asynchronous online MS in Accounting program. The faculty is highly lauded and regularly published in professional journals.
#2. The University of Alabama, Birmingham: Master of Accounting
Executive Summary: The University of Alabama at Birmingham has the distinction of having one of the 17 accounting programs originally accredited by the AACSB in 1982 and has held its accreditation for nearly 30 years. UAB now brings this long history of excellence to the online graduate program market.
Tuition: Tuition is lower for residents at $530.00 per credit. Non-residents pay $983.00 per credit toward their online Masters in Accounting degree.
Unique Features: The online classes are taught by the same professors as the face to face classes. There are extensive professional networking opportunities focused on putting students in contact with some of the biggest names in the field. UAB was ranked #143 in U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Best National Universities ranking list.
#3. Texas A&M University: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: The program at Texas A&M is a strong choice for both those that wish to extend their accounting education, and for those with no direct education in the field. 43 hours are required for students with no accounting education; however, many pre-requisite courses may be waived for students with an educational background in accounting.
Tuition: Tuition for an online Masters in Accounting at Texas A&M University is $402.18 per credit for residents and $753.18 per credit for non residents.
Unique Features: Texas A&M University’s online graduate business programs were ranked #5 by U.S. News and World Report for student engagement and accreditation. Texas A&M University’s business programs, both brick and mortar and online, are accredited by AACSB, a distinction shared by only 25% of universities.
#4. Stetson University: Master of Accountancy (MAcc)
Executive Summary: Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private institution of higher learning in the state of Florida. For 15 years both the School of Business and the M.E. Rinker Sr. Institute of Tax and Accountancy have been AACSB accredited. This small university boasts a low student:faculty ratio and its high quality programs have lead to the success of many students that have worked in the highest level of their fields.
Tuition: Tuition for the MAcc program at Stetson is $835.00 per credit, amounting to $25,050.00 for the entire online Masters in Accounting program.
Unique Features: Stetson University is consistently ranked in the top three universities in the southern region by U.S. News and World Report. All faculty have real world experience, doctoral degrees and have been published in professional journals.
#5. The University of South Dakota: Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA)
Executive Summary: USD was established in the first meeting of the South Dakota legislature in 1862. However there was not enough funding to actually start the school until twenty years later. It is the oldest post secondary school in the Dakotas and is proud of its long standing, historical, academic tradition.
Tuition: The online Masters in Accounting program at USD offers a low tuition rate of $368.00 per credit to residents and non-residents.
Unique Features: The Beacom School of Business at USD, established in 1929, enjoys the distinction of having been accredited by the AACSB since 1949, a distinction shared by less than 5% of universities.
#6. University of Texas Dallas: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: The accounting program at the University of Texas Dallas is focused on providing students with the core skills necessary to be successful in the field while still allowing the student to specialize in one of seven areas of study. Texas residents looking to become CPAs in the state of Texas should be aware that the CPA licensing laws in Texas require 15 of the 30 required hours to take place on campus.
Tuition: UTD has a graduated rate for tuition so the more credits you take the less you pay per credit. For example, a non resident student taking 9 credits would pay $1200.33 per credit. A non resident student taking 18 credits would pay $835.00 per credit. Residents taking 9 credits would pay $663.34 per credit. Residents taking 18 credits would pay $423.39 per credit.
Unique Features: The University of Texas Dallas MSA program offers students seven specializations. These specializations are: financial planning and analysis, assurance services, taxation services, international services, management consulting, software management and information management.
#7. University of Massachusetts: MBA Concentration in Accounting
Executive Summary: The Accounting MBA at the University of Massachusetts is a strong program blending business management principles with the technical proficiency needed in accounting. This program would be a particularly strong choice for accountants looking to ascend to management positions.
Tuition: Tuition for the University of Massachusetts online MBA program is $585.00 per credit.
Unique Features: The UMass Lowell Online MBA program is accredited by the AACSB and the business school itself has received consistently high rankings for both online and traditional format programs.
#8. Walden University: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: The program at this well established online only school offers the student flexibility. The CPA emphasis may be particularly attractive considering the new standards requiring 150 hours of academic education before a candidate can sit for the CPA exam.
Tuition: Walden University Tuition for this online Masters in Accounting program is $840.00 per semester credit hour.
Unique Features: Walden University is an online only school that specializes in flexibility and convenience for working professionals. Walden was founded in 1970 by two professors seeking to find a better way for adults to continue their education without leaving the workforce.
#9. Southern New Hampshire University: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: The accounting program at SHNU meets the 150 credit hour requirement for candidates to sit for the CPA exam. The program offers a versatile approach to education allowing for flexibility and optimized work/life/education balance.
Tuition: Graduate tuition at SNHU is $627.00 per credit toward an online Masters in Accounting degree.
Unique Features: SNHU offers three concentrations; auditing, forensic accounting and information systems. These allow students to concentrate on a specific area of study if they so choose. The program is accredited by ACBSP.
#10. Strayer University: Master of Science Accounting (MSA)
Executive Summary: This program is designed to give students the skills they need to achieve success in the accounting field. The student will not, however, through this program alone, meet the academic requirements to take the CPA test, so if becoming a CPA is your goal, this may not be the program for you.
Tuition: Tuition at Strayer is $2,250 per course for this program.
Unique Features: Strayer has a long history in the field of adult continuing education. The average student is age 34 meaning that adults older than the typical college age have a place they can study amongst peers. Strayer is currently a candidate for accreditation with ACBSP.