What are the Prerequisites for a Master’s Degree in Accounting?

Earning a master’s degree in accounting opens the door to multiple opportunities for career advancement. With this degree, a person qualifies for employment in financially rewarding careers such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), accounting firm auditor and accounting manager. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in order to attain this goal.

Educational Prerequisites

Although the applicant does not have to possess an undergraduate degree in accounting, there are undergraduate courses that are required to be completed prior to being admitted into a graduate-level accounting program. These include coursework in statistics, basic accounting and pre-calculus.

Many graduate-level accounting programs require the applicant to have a satisfactory undergraduate grade point average and competitive GMAT scores. Since each university has different qualifying factors, the applicant should check with the prospective school of interest for specific requirements.


Students must take and receive a competitive score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT score ranges are 200-800. Scores above 650 are considered to be good by top schools. Scores that exceed 700 are considered to be excellent.

Please be mindful that GMAT scores are only one determining factor in the application process. Although the prospective student should strive for excellence on the GMAT, schools also take into consideration letters of reference, undergraduate records, professional certifications, personal statements and professional work experiences.

The GMAT test consists of three scored sections: analytical writing assessment, quantitative analysis and verbal. The analytical writing assessment section contains two writing tests that measure both issue and argument analysis.

The quantitative section involves basic math concepts such as algebra, geometry and arithmetic. There are 37 questions that pertain to simplifying algebraic expressions, linear equations, angles, perimeters and shapes.

The verbal section consists of questions in vocabulary, reading comprehension, completion of sentences and analytical thinking. This section involves extensive vocabulary and reading material in social sciences and business-related matters.

Although the GMAT does not test a student’s knowledge of business, it is still an important factor in the application process. Since the test lasts four hours, adequate time should be set aside to prepare for this test.

Graduate Accounting Curriculum

A typical graduate-level accounting program requires the completion of 30-36 credit hours in the following courses: leadership, graduate accounting, tax, graduate management and various electives.

The goal of the one to two-year program is to provide students with a strong knowledge of accounting business principles and practices. The curriculum also provides the additional credit hours needed to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.

Accounting Master’s Degree Process

It is important that the prospective student meet the prerequisite requirements and adhere to strict deadlines when applying to a graduate-level accounting program. The process of obtaining a master’s degree in accounting can be summed up in the following manner:

1. Successful completion of required undergraduate courses.

2. Earn a competitive score on the GMAT.

3. Successful completion of 30-36 hours in graduate-level accounting.

Once the necessary steps have been taken, the applicant will be able to obtain a career with limitless advancement possibilities.

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