Master of Science in Accounting Program

 

Start wherever you are. End as a full-fledged accountant.

Whatever your undergraduate background, this program is geared to offer everything you need to become a full-fledged accountant—and take the CPA exam too if that’s in your plans.

All accounting prerequisites you may need to take can be worked into your schedule, allowing you to finish in about nine to 18 months. Accountants will always be in demand—and now, your skills will be too.

3

dual-degree offerings:
MBA, MSF and MSBA

70%

pass rate for first CPA exam attempt among UA accounting students
(compared to a 49% overall national pass rate)

9-18

months to complete the program,
including prerequisites 

What You’ll Learn

Build the foundation of accounting prerequisites you’ll need to prepare for your graduate-level courses, then learn everything you’ll need to know to become a highly valued accountant or consultant in an industry business or accounting firm. You’ll even cover CPA exam topics.


Curriculum

In our AACSB-accredited program, you’ll first meet your prerequisites, then complete 18 units of our graduate accounting work. You’ll then have 12 elective units remaining, which can either be accounting or approved non-accounting business courses. It works out perfectly for those interested in pursuing an accounting career but who don’t have an undergraduate degree in it.

MSA Program Requirements

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisites may be satisfied by taking comparable courses at a comparably accredited U.S. institution that teaches U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting practices (GAAP) or may be taken during the MSA program. 

This course provides an introduction to financial accounting that concentrates on concepts, relationships and the procedures involved in preparing and analyzing financial statements of for-profit business organizations. Concepts in this class include accounting for assets, liabilities and owners' equity.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

This course provides an introduction to managerial accounting that concentrates on concepts, relationships and the procedures involved in understanding the strategic decision making process of managers in for-profit business organizations. Concepts in this class include the use of accounting data in the managerial process, cost allocation systems and budgeting.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

Cost and Managerial Accounting covers concepts and analytical procedures necessary in the generation of accounting data for management planning control. Topics covered in this class include cost volume profit analysis, job costing, process costing, standard costing, allocating support costs, budgets and the decision making process.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

This course begins with an overview of the theoretical basis of financial accounting and a review of the four principal financial statements. The course then examines valuation, measurement and reporting issues related to selected financial statement items, with an emphasis on assets and revenues. Students are expected to understand the accounting theory and concepts that underlie the accounting issues covered in class as well as to become technically proficient with respect to the accounting principles governing the reporting of financial statement items.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

This course is an intermediate accounting course that examines the valuation, measurement and reporting issues related to selected financial statement items, with an emphasis on liabilities and stockholders' equity. It is assumed that students have a strong accounting background since this is a 2nd Intermediate class. There are two main goals of the class. The first is to become technically proficient in financial reporting. The second is to understand how, why and where any given transaction affects the firm's financial statements.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

This course covers the principles of federal taxation, with an emphasis on how individuals are taxed. The course integrates tax compliance, tax planning, financial accounting, economics and finance. Mastering the material in this course will allow students to apply the framework learned to personal and business decisions, assess potential compliance and planning ramifications of current and prospective tax rules, understand tax computations for individuals and business entities and devise strategies that minimize taxes and maximize after-tax wealth.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring, summer

*For international candidates who appear to have met the prerequisite requirement of ACCT 200 and ACCT 210 based upon information on their transcripts from a foreign institution, a standard proficiency exam will be given to confirm that the candidate has mastered basic accounting concepts. This test will be administered after admission but prior to the beginning of classes. If the results of this standard exam indicate that the candidate needs additional coursework before starting the MSA program courses, the candidate will be required to take ACCT 200 and/or ACCT 210, in addition to the other prerequisite courses. 

Candidates who have successfully completed these prerequisite courses at a comparably accredited U.S. institution will not be required to take the prerequisite courses.

Required Courses

In addition to any necessary prerequisites, the MSA program requires 30 units of coursework, 18 units of which must be graduate accounting coursework. The remaining 12 units may be accounting units or approved non-accounting business elective courses.

Students will select a minimum of 9 units from the core accounting courses below.

This course examines the theory and methodology involved in the preparation of consolidated financial statements, accounting for mergers and acquisitions, translation of foreign currency financial statements, accounting for multiple currencies, accounting for derivatives and hedging, accounting for partnerships, governmental accounting, debt restructuring, corporate organizations and liquidations.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

This course provides a broad overview of the following areas of law, as related to business: ethics, the court system, alternative dispute resolution, the Constitution, torts, intellectual property, criminal law, contracts, negotiable instruments, creditors' rights, secured transactions, bankruptcy, agency, employment discrimination, labor law, corporations, securities, insider trading and professional liability.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: None

This course focuses on federal tax laws primarily related to regular C corporations. However, coverage will also include S corporations, Accounting for Income Taxes (ASC 740), Partnerships, Estates, Trusts and Gifts. We will follow the life cycle of a corporation and discuss the tax issues and business decisions at each stage (formation, operations, distributions to shareholders and liquidation). Throughout the corporate segment of this course, there will be an emphasis on understanding how taxes relate to business decisions and planning. In the Partnership, Gifts, Estates and trusts segment of this course, we will look at these topics from an overview perspective to give you a general idea about the tax issues involved.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: Principles of Federal Taxation and Intro Financial Accounting

The opinion formulation process of the professional auditor, the auditor's reports, professional standards, internal and operational auditing.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I

This course consists of three parts. In the first part, we seek to understand the company and its business, and to measure profitability and credit risk. In the second part, we explore issues related to income statements and balance sheets. In the third part, we develop tools for forecasting pro forma financial statements and consider basic issues related to company valuation and investment potential.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

Students will select 9 additional accounting units from the courses listed above or from the accounting courses listed below.

This course is designed to assist students in enhancing awareness of ethical dilemmas that arise in both personal situations and in the Accounting profession. It will expose students to the AICPA Professional Code of Conduct as it relates to ethical issues such as independence, integrity and objectivity, and to provide students with a structure for making ethical decisions.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Spring
Prerequisites: Intro Financial Accounting

This course provides an overview of forensic and investigative accounting topics. It concentrates on concepts involved in understanding and differentiating the various types of forensic and investigative accounting methods. Instruction and application of basic forensic and investigative accounting techniques will a focus of this course.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Spring
Prerequisites: Principles of Audit

In this course, audits are planned, performed and reported. This course will focus on performing tests of controls and substantive audit procedures. We will apply real world audit procedures in a simulated audit of a small town privately-held newspaper. The objective of the simulation is to provide you with hands-on experience performing analytical review procedures, internal control testing, substantive audit testing, working paper documentation and risk analysis. The simulated audit assignments will be completed in teams consisting of several students assigned on the first day of class.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Spring
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and Principles of Audit

Accounting information systems are designed to collect, process, store, transform and distribute information for planning, decision making and control. An effectively designed system can add value to a firm by improving process efficiency, increasing the reliability and timeliness of information, improving the quality of products and services and enhancing the quality of planning and control. Designing an effective accounting information system requires a comprehensive understanding of accounting rules and processes, internal control and the role of accounting information in decision making. This course will focus on the flow of accounting information through the organization, the role of information and information technology in decision making, the use of internal controls for ensuring the validity, accuracy and completeness of accounting information and the design and use of relational databases. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper on trends in accounting system implementations and participation in group projects.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

This course provides an introduction to Microsoft Excel with a focus on how to use this product in an accounting environment. Proficiency in Microsoft Excel will make you more efficient and valuable to employees. Topics covered in this class include, but are not limited to, basic excel functions, If function, Vlookup & Hlookup, tables, charts and pivot tables.

Units: 1
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intro Financial Accounting

The objective of this course is to introduce you to a general ledger accounting software package. The focuses will be on how clients use many of the features available in accounting software and how their accountants can dig into the software to investigate and trouble-shoot accounting issues.

Units: 1
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intro Financial Accounting

The objective of this course is to introduce you to IFRS, with a focus on learning about key areas of financial reporting under IFRS, its relationship to US GAAP, and recent developments pursued or implemented by standard setters. This will be accomplished through reading materials, in class problem solving and student presentations.

Units: 1
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

This course provides an introduction to accounting for governmental and not-for-profit entities, along with the unique accounting issues facing these entities. We will look at the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that provide a foundation for governmental accounting and financial reporting, the principles of fund accounting and the basic financial statements for not-for-profit entities. We will develop a hands-on understanding of applicable software via a computerized project. Graduate-level requirements include leading presentations, participation in online platform and contributing supplementary articles on current issues for class discussion.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

The objective of this course is to develop the communication skills necessary for Master of Accounting students to succeed in the accounting profession. The course focuses on written communication, oral communication and presentation skills, with specific application to financial information and the accounting profession. Interpersonal skills including delivering feedback, diversity management, teamwork, leadership and interviewing will also be covered.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall, spring
Prerequisites: Intermediate Financial Accounting I and II

This course introduces Master of Science in Accounting students to the skills needed to communicate effectively in a business organization. The course instruction focuses on writing, speaking and listening strategies that are essential for success in a global business environment. The goals of this class are for students to be able to demonstrate effective team strategies, develop cultural awareness and adaptation skills, deliver effective professional written documents and deliver effective professional oral presentations.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: None

*ACCT 580I is required for students who have not earned a bachelor's degree in business from a U.S. university.  

Students will select 12 units of approved business-related elective coursework such as MIS, Finance or Econ or take an additional 12 units of accounting coursework.


Program Length

The MSA program length will vary between students and will depend on the number of prerequisites completed prior to admission as well as number of courses taken each semester.

The minimum program length is two semesters and will most likely apply to full-time students with undergraduate accounting degrees from US institutions. All graduate coursework must be completed within 6 years of starting the program per UA Graduate College policy.

To discuss your specific situation and possible program length, please contact the master's program coordinator at gradacctprograms@email.arizona.edu.


Dual Degrees

Double down on the value of your Eller master’s degree by earning a second degree from Eller at the same time:

  • MSA/MBA
    MBA students can apply to our Master of Science in Accounting program prior to completing their first year of the MBA program, building a strong capability in accounting as well as business administration. With the right planning, it’s possible to complete the two degrees in two and a half years of full-time study.
  • MSA/Master of Science in Finance (MSF)
    Students interested in an advanced career in corporate finance can apply to both our Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Accounting programs and complete the two in as little as 16 months including the MS Finance summer project.
  • MSA/Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)
    Students can pursue a career at the intersection of accounting and business analytics, using two skill sets that are increasingly in demand together, by pursuing a dual Master of Science in Accounting and in Business Analytics. This can usually be completed in three semesters, or four if prerequisites are needed.

 

Your Future is Calling

You’ve heard the “why.” If you think you’re a good fit, it’s time for the “how.” Let’s get you on the road to your Eller MSA. Contact us or begin your application now:

Apply Now