How Much Time Per Week Does Earning an Online Masters in Accounting Take?

A master of accounting degree prepares graduates for work in a field that is increasingly in high demand. To get started and to advance in a successful, rewarding career in a corporate, government, or non-profit organization, many future accounting professionals look to earn a master’s degree in accounting. For many prospective students, an online master’s degree is an option for the flexibility in time and scheduling.

Online Course Design

Online learning is largely self-directed. Students take on the responsibility of viewing lectures, reading materials, and participating in discussion forums in an online classroom. One major benefit to the use of the internet for class participation and delivery of materials is the time that is saved in commuting to and from a campus, as well as the amount of time that is saved actually being physically present in a classroom.

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The options for flexibility also depend on the type of online course a student enrolls in. In an asynchronous online class, students have deadlines and due dates, but they are able to go in and complete the lessons, assignments, and other material when they choose. Synchronous online courses are typically similar for assignments and reading materials, with the addition of discussions and lectures taking place at certain dates and times, requiring students to be online at these specific times. For more information on online education, visit the United States Distance Learning Association.

Graduate Accounting Curriculum

Students have a number of options for what postsecondary institution and which program to choose from when pursuing a master’s degree in accounting. Although program curricula differs based on the institution, common courses include accounting theory, financial accounting, internet technology, forensic accounting, business law, taxation, real estate accounting, professional ethics in accounting, and fund accounting. Additional information on accounting professions and education can be reviewed at the American Accounting Association.

The number of credits required to complete a master’s degree in accounting also varies by program. However, the average number of credits required is 30. The number of credits a student takes per semester, term, or quarter is another factor in determining the amount of time that will spent each week completing coursework.

Online Time Commitments

On average, an online student is likely to spend around the same amount of time as an on-campus student in order to complete a course at the graduate level in an accounting program. For most courses, instructors and post-secondary institutions recommend a minimum of two hours of study time for every credit hour per week. For a three credit course, that would be nine total hours per week, three hours of class time and six hours of study outside of the classroom.

The benefit of an online program could be the possibility to shorten the amount of time by reducing the number of hours spent in the online classroom. The flexibility of when to take courses plus when and where to study are benefits that many students choose to take advantage of when looking to spend anywhere from between three and nine hours of a week in the online classroom.

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