Tax Schools in California with Degree Program Summaries

Jul 31, 2019

There are more than 20 schools within California that have tax programs. Read an overview of ten of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Several California colleges and universities offer degree programs related to taxes and taxation. Depending on the level of education, these programs can prepare individuals for careers in areas such as tax preparation, accounting, tax planning or consulting. California students can choose from associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs related to taxes and taxation, as well as both entry-level and advanced certificate programs. Some of these programs offer evening and weekend classes, and at least one master's degree is available via online learning.

Basic accounting skills, personal taxes and taxation for business professionals are typically covered by associate's and bachelor's degree programs, but more in-depth study of state and federal tax law is mainly covered in graduate programs. Graduate or advanced programs have varied prerequisites, but they typically require prior professional or educational experience in a field closely related to taxation.

California State University - East Bay

Located in Hayward, this university offers a Master of Science (MS) in Taxation program that is available online. This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as well as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It requires prerequisite courses in accounting, federal taxation, tax accounting and managerial accounting. Degree coursework covers topics such as income tax, corporate tax, tax research and tax planning as well as local, state and international tax.

California State University - Fullerton

The Fullerton campus of California State University also offers an MS in Taxation program. Students take seminars in taxation and research tax practices. There is also a professional MS in Taxation program with courses offered during the evening that is designed for working students.

California State University - Northridge

Located in Northridge, this university provides an 18-month MS in Taxation program. Students take evening and weekend classes, and no classes are held during tax season to benefit current tax professionals. Practical work experiences like a federal tax clinic, tax challenge project and tax development journal are also offered. Courses include federal tax procedures, tax planning and corporate taxation. A culminating tax seminar outlining tax plans and advanced strategies is required.

Chapman University

Based in Orange, Chapman University offers a 1-year Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation degree program. It assumes students have completed federal taxation courses at the Juris Doctor (JD) level. If students have not satisfied this requirement, they can take the courses as part of the LL.M. program, but that will likely lengthen the time needed to earn the degree. Coursework includes corporate tax, federal tax, income tax and partnership tax, as well as several tax electives. This school also offers a bachelor's degree in accounting that includes a few taxation courses.

De Anza College

This college is in Cupertino, and it offers an Associate in Arts (AA) in Accounting program with an emphasis on taxation. Students learn how to prepare financial reports, analyze accounting data and practice ethical accounting practices. A tax practitioner advanced certificate program is also available, which provides courses in financial accounting, Excel spreadsheets and federal income tax preparation.

Loyola Marymount University

Located in Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University offers both a bachelor's and a master's degree program in accounting that includes courses in taxation. Offered through the College of Business Administration, the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program has included courses in federal tax and income tax accounting. The Master of Science in Accounting degree program includes a required course in tax policy and research as well as taxation electives that cover topics such as state, local and international tax, taxation for corporations and estate tax.

Saddleback College

Found in Mission Viejo, this college offers certificate, AA and Associate in Science (AS) programs in tax preparation. All programs require students to complete 18.5 units of coursework in financial accounting, business law, partnership/corporate taxation and legal environment of business. AA and AS students take additional general education courses to meet graduation requirements.

San Jose State University

Located in San Jose, this university provides full-time and part-time MS in Taxation programs. Students take courses in topics like tax research, taxation of partnerships, tax accounting methods and taxation of corporations or shareholders. MS students can also opt to complete an advanced taxation certificate program. The certificate program has tracks in advanced taxation or high technology business taxation.

University of San Diego

This university, located in San Diego, offers a 30-unit master's degree program in taxation that is designed for individuals currently working as accountants who want to focus their careers on tax procedures. Completing a bachelor's degree program in accounting is recommended before applying to this program, though students without this background can complete additional coursework to fill in any knowledge gaps. This program can also be completed in conjunction with a master's or bachelor's degree in accounting. Coursework covers topics such as state and local tax, tax research, estate tax and partnership tax.

University of Southern California

Found in Los Angeles, this university offers a Master of Business Taxation program. Students take courses in tax research, tax theory, corporate taxation and professional accounting ethics. The Master of Business Taxation program is also available for employed individuals, and they can take courses during the evenings.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Tax Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
California State University - East Bay 4-year, public; midsize city MS in Taxation $8,417 in-state; $17,921 out-of-state (graduate)*
California State University - Fullerton 4-year, public; midsize city MS in Taxation $8,320 in-state; $17,824 out-of-state (graduate)*
California State University - Northridge 4-year, public; large city MS in Taxation $8,327 in-state; $17,831 out-of-state (graduate)*
Chapman University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Accounting,
LL.M. in Taxation
$52,724 (undergraduate)*
De Anza College 2-year, public; small city AA in Accounting,
Tax Practitioner Advanced Certificate of Achievement
$1,561 in-state; $7,501 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Loyola Marymount University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Accounting,
Master of Science in Accounting
$48,522 (undergraduate)*, $18,106 (graduate)*
Saddleback College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate in Tax Preparation,
AA in Tax Preparation,
AS in Tax Preparation
$1,328 in-state; $9,392 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
San Jose State University 4-year, public; large city MS in Taxation,
Advanced Certificate in Taxation
$9,230 in-state; $18,734 out-of-state (graduate)*
University of San Diego 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Science in Taxation $27,066 (graduate)*
University of Southern California 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Business Taxation $45,561 (graduate)*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.

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