Graduate Degrees in Accounting: Program Summaries

Master's or doctoral accounting degrees are widely available. Program participants could be expected to complete extensive research that culminates in a special project.

Essential Information

Accounting master's programs focus on advanced auditing, corporate taxation, and financial research, and graduates could be prepared for careers in corporate accounting and risk assessment. At the doctoral-degree level, students might expand their knowledge of government regulations, corporate finance, and business law as they prepare for leadership positions in academia, government, or business. Typical prerequisites can include a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, GMAT scores, a personal essay and an admissions interview.


Master's Degrees in Accounting

There are various preparatory master's degrees in accounting, such as the Master of Accountancy and the Master of Science in Accounting. Most programs awarding master's degrees in accounting require students to produce a lengthy research based dissertation. Master's degrees in accounting incorporate a range of topics in assurance, risk assessment, and ethics. Students in a graduate-level accounting degree program can expect to take advanced classes in business and taxation principles. Some common classes that students can expect include:

  • Advanced auditing
  • Corporate taxation
  • Financial research
  • Accounting information systems
  • Individual and business taxation

Doctoral Degrees in Accounting

An advanced graduate degree that usually takes more than four years to complete, a doctorate degree in accounting offers students a comprehensive education in government regulations, econometrics, and financial management. Many graduate accounting programs have doctoral candidates teach basic undergraduate business and accounting courses. Doctoral degrees in accounting allow students the freedom to explore topics of interest, like mergers and acquisitions, game theory, or forensic accounting. While most of students' time in a doctoral degree program in accounting is spent investigating an area of personal, academic, and professional interest, some core courses often are required. These may include:

  • Accounting ethics
  • Tax research
  • Corporate finance
  • Business law
  • Analyzing financial statements

Popular Career Options

Students who earn a doctoral degree in accounting are prepared for advanced careers in accounting, financial management, and related fields; however, many students who complete the degree program choose to work in academia as professors at the university level. Other career options include:

  • Accountant
  • Financial planner
  • Corporate executive
  • Risk assessor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that accountants and auditors would see faster-than-average employment growth of 11%. The average annual wages of accountants and auditors were $75,280 in May 2015.

Graduate degrees in accounting are available at the master's and doctoral level. Many of these programs focus on advanced accounting techniques and independent research - applicants usually need an undergraduate background in accounting, finance or a similar field. While graduates of these programs can work as accountants in different settings, they may also be qualified for college teaching positions or financial planning roles, among other options.


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