Masters Degree in Accounting Vs MBA

Jan 29, 2018

Students interested in business or finance have the option of earning either a master's degree in accounting or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). The following article will examine both degree offerings, looking at coursework, admission requirements, program outcomes and more.

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Both a master's degree in accounting and an MBA can provide knowledge of finance, accounting, and business topics, including marketing, auditing, and management. Many programs could have a long list of requirements for acceptance, which will be discussed in detail below.

Master's Degree in Accounting vs. Master of Business Administration

Master's Degree in Accounting

This program may be offered as a Master of Science in Accounting (M.S.) or an Master of Accounting (MAC). Both are often offered as a one-year program and can be commonly found in both on-campus and online program formats. Most programs will cover the fundamental skills required to become a certified accountant and prepare students to take the CPA exam, which is usually required to practice accounting. Coursework might include auditing, managerial accounting, income taxation, or financial reporting.

Master of Business Administration

This degree program focuses on concepts encountered in a business environment and skills needed to engage with them. While an average completion time for these programs is two years for both online and on-campus offerings, some may be completed in as little as one year. Common course topics in the curriculum might include leadership and human resource management, competitive marketing, and managerial finance. Specializations are common and might be offered in areas like accounting, marketing, corporate finance, or human resource management. Prospective students interested in pursuing an MBA with an accounting specialization will want to check whether the program prepares them to sit for the CPA exam or offers a CPA track.

Program Admission Requirements

Master's Degree in Accounting

Students looking to enroll in an M.S. or MAC degree program will almost always be required to have earned a bachelor's degree. Though it may not have to be a degree in accounting or a field related to accounting, it may be necessary to have taken a number of credits in relevant accounting or business courses during your undergraduate education. Most programs require that you take the GRE or the GMAT, but most will not require a specific minimum score. A 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale is also a common requirement, whether that takes the form of an undergraduate or graduate GPA. Other material required will likely include official transcripts, essays or a personal statement, one or more letters of reference, and a resume, corpus vitae, or other document highlighting relevant professional experience.

Master of Business Administration

To be admitted to a Master of Business Administration degree program, you will most likely be required to take either the GRE or GMAT, though most programs will not have a mandatory minimum score on standardized tests. Documents that students will have to submit might include a resume or other documentation of professional and career experience, official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate education, a personal statement, and reference letters. For most programs, a bachelor's degree in business or a related field is required, or a bachelor's degree with a specific number of credits taken in business or a similar field. A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 may also be necessary in order to be accepted into the program.

While sometimes covering overlapping material, accounting master's degree and MBA programs differ from each other in the specific certification and licensure preparations, specializations available, and curriculum presented. These programs will often have multiple admission requirements, including prior degrees, GPA minimums, GRE testing, references, transcripts, and prior knowledge of the field.

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