MS in Accounting in the US: Top Universities, Programs, Requirements, Cost & Salary

by rishika.saluja

Masters in Accounting (MAcc) or also recognized as Master’s of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy) is a highly specialized degree whose curriculum focuses on preparing the students for bigger accountancy roles, such as auditors at large organizations, accountants at big firms, or as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) for individuals and organizations.

Why study Masters in Accounting in the US?

Top employers in the US and in other countries, for this type of job profile, are companies like Ernst and Young, KPMG LPP, Deloitte and Touche LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) which not only pay you well but also give you an exposure which is unmatchable. These companies have offices in almost every other country giving you an opportunity to not only work at the headquarter in the USA, but also internationally.

Types of Masters in Accounting

A candidate generally enrolls in 2 types of MS in Accounting degree:

  1. On-campus
  2. Online

The universities not just offer a full time Masters in Accounting program, but some of them also impart the course in the part-time mode. Part-time is mainly beneficial for those who are working professionals and want to study the program along with their job. Full time program gets completed in 1 to 1.5 years whereas a part-time program takes 2 to 2.5 years for completion.


In the USA, these following are the types of specialization an international student can enroll for:

  1. Forensic
  2. Auditing
  3. International Accounting
  4. Financial Accounting
  5. Tax accounting

World Universities Rankings

QS Ranking for top universities 2018 in Accounting subject

RankUniversity Name
1Harvard University
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3Stanford University
6University of Pennsylvania
7University of Chicago
9University of California, Berkeley
12New York University
13Columbia University
15Yale University
19University of California, Los Angeles

Note: These above rankings are for accounting and finance subjects both and not just accounting alone.

Entry Requirements for applying in Masters in Accounting in the US

As the applicants who apply to the US universities for Masters in Accounting are from an array of institutions spread across the countries, it is important to understand if you fulfill the entry requirements or not. The applicant’s entry to the course depends upon three things:

  • Basic eligibility of a bachelor’s degree in the relevant stream
  • Additional academic and language proficiency requirements such as TOEFL, IELTS
  • Work experience

Basic Eligibility

For applying to the Masters in Accounting program, an international applicant is expected to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or in a related qualitative subject like, commerce, finance, engineering, computing, economics or business studies. The students are required to submit the scanned copies of their bachelor’s degree, known as transcripts, to the universities where they have to apply. These not just include degree papers from bachelor’, but also include transcripts from each university and college attended.

Additional Academic and Language Proficiency:

GMAT or GRE score is the academic entrance test, the applicants have to appear for before applying to a foreign university. Additionally, all the international students, irrespective of the course of enrollment, are required to appear for an English proficiency exam to prove their English speaking and understanding skills. They can choose to appear either for IELTS or TOEFL exam, as per their choice or the requirement of the university they are targeting. These internationally acclaimed tests should be taken 3 months prior to filing the application.

Work Experience

Work Experience plays a major role in fetching admission in a Masters’ program. Work Experience is not made mandatory by the universities, though, but they highly recommend taking those candidates with some work experiences. The universities also ask their applicants to submit additional documents such as Statement of Purpose or Character Narrative Statement, Letter of Recommendation, while making the application. It is also important to note that the American universities, some of them, ask their applicants to get their degrees evaluated, if those have been obtained outside of the United States’ education system, which surely you will be being an international student!

How much do you earn with a degree of Masters in Accounting?

An average annual salary, according to Payscale, for an accountant position with Masters in Accounting is $51,361 whereas a bachelor’s in accounting degree will fetch you $47,655 annually.

Online Masters in Accounting

An online master’s degree is a 12-24 months long standard program undertaken by those people who want to learn simultaneously with the job and not just want to stop with a bachelor’s degree in hand. How much does it cost to earn an Online Masters in Accounting degree? Thankfully as this is not an on-campus course, you are saved from spending too much amount. Though the investment you will make to earn this degree will depend upon several factors. One major factor is State Residency. Some universities offer the degree to its students at the same cost. Pursuing an online Master’s in accounting degree will cost you $500 per credit irrespective of their state -residency. With a low-end tuition fees, you will be charged around $500 to $800 per credit and for a high-end tuition fees you will be charged around $1000 to $1800 per credit.

Job Opportunities

According to Payscale, some of the post degree job titles in the US, one may get after the degree of Masters in Accounting (MAcc), on-campus and online, along with their average salary are given below:

Job TitleAverage Salary
Senior Accountant$65,585
Staff account$50,559
Accounting Manager$77,419
Financial Controller$82,131
Certified Public Accountant$ 60,713
Corporate Controller$98,022

Other job titles after this degree are also like:

  • Auditors
  • Budget analysts
  • Financial managers
  • Financial analysts
  • Personal financial advisors
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Senior Financial Analyst
  • Financial Analyst, etc.
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