Best Master's Degrees for Accountants

There are a number of master's degree level programs that accountants might want to consider pursuing. Individuals may compare options in three related fields to their career goals and prior education.

As an accountant with a bachelor's degree, you may be interested in returning to school to pursue a master's degree. There are a number of master's degrees that may be a good fit for accountants, depending on your career aspirations and personal interests. We will look at a few possible programs, below, discuss what each degree would entail and consider the kinds of careers for which they prepare students.

Master's Degree Possibilities for Accountants

Master of Science in Accounting

If you have been working as an accountant but didn't complete a bachelor's degree in accounting, you may be interested in obtaining a master's degree in the field in order to become eligible to take the CPA exam to become a certified accountant. These programs can generally be completed in a year or less and include coursework in topics including advanced accounting and financial analysis. To be admitted into one of these programs, prior undergraduate coursework in basic and managerial accounting is generally required, but any bachelor's degree is eligible. You can also pursue this degree if you already have a bachelor's degree in accounting but are hoping to gain a more advanced understanding of the field.

Master of Studies in Law in Taxation

Individuals who are currently working as accountants or those who have an accounting bachelor's degree may want to consider a master of studies in law of taxation, especially if you have a particular interest in taxes. This degree is designed for individuals who are interested in tax law but are not licensed attorneys, as it will provide a very high-level understanding of U.S. and international tax law, including topics like corporate income tax, property transactions, and U.S. international outbound taxes. These programs are often offered online and on a part-time basis, making them convenient for individuals who want to continue working while enrolled. To be eligible for one of these programs, you generally need to possess a bachelor's degree in accounting or a closely related field and have several years of work experience.

Master of Science in Financial Management

Another master's degree that may be a good option for accountants is a master of science degree in financial management. This advanced degree can provide students with an in-depth understanding of a variety of topics related to financial management, like investment analysis, global finance, government finance, and behavioral finance, to name only a few. For individuals who want to make a career change or shift out of accounting into another finance-related field, this degree could be a good option, as it prepares students for a number of professional certifications, like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Examiner (CFEx) designations. These degrees are also often found online and generally do not have any specific prerequisite requirements.

General Admission Requirements for Master's Degrees for Accountants

In addition to the program specific prerequisites discussed above, students will likely also need to submit a variety of supplemental materials to complete their application. This includes standardized test scores, which could either be the GRE or GMAT depending on the school, as well as a completed application form, undergraduate transcripts and diploma, and letters of recommendation.

In summary, accountants who are interested in pursuing a master's degree have a number of unique options from which to choose in both online and on-campus programs. Making this decision may depend on an individual's interest in taxes, financial management, or becoming a CPA.

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