Online MS in Accounting Program Overview, Curriculum and Courses


Flexible education. Unparalleled growth rate.

There’s no learning like doing. As a student in our Online Master of Accounting program, you’ll build in-demand business skills that you can immediately apply to your career in the real world.

Join a cohort of other working professionals in a flexible, online program that works with your schedule—all while benefiting from our renowned faculty and highly ranked accounting curriculum.


dual-degree offerings:
MBA, MIS, Entrepreneurship, and Healthcare Management 


start-date options per year
mean you can start when you're ready


months is all it takes to complete your degree,
or opt for a longer course of study

What You’ll Learn

  • Develop accounting mastery

  • Build a foundation of expertise for a professional career in accounting or consulting

  • Explore other business fields through elective MBA courses

  • Earn credit toward obtaining your CPA license

  • Gain practical experience through real-world projects


The Curriculum

In this fully online program, you’ll complete 18 units of graduate accounting work in addition to 12 elective units, which can either be accounting courses or non-accounting business courses. 

Prerequisite Courses

To be admitted to the program, students must complete prerequisite classes at an accredited U.S. institution. All of our prerequisite courses required for our Online MSA are offered in an online format, with the exception of introductory financial accounting.

NOT OFFERED ONLINE AT UA but can be taken at a community college

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

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
Offered: Summer I ONLY

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
Offered: Summer II ONLY

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
Offered: Summer II ONLY

The primary emphasis of this course is the preparation and use of accounting information to aid in planning and controlling operations and making non-routine decisions concerned with formulating major plans and policy.

Units: 2
Usually Offered: Summer II, Spring I

Required Courses

In addition to any necessary prerequisites, the Online MSA program requires 30 units of coursework, 18 units of which must be graduate accounting coursework.

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: Spring II
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.  Note: This course is not an accounting topic and state boards of accountancy may count it as other business credits as opposed to accounting credits.

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

The purpose of this course is to build skills related to understanding accounting disclosures and using the information contained in financial statements. Course topics include profitability measurement, credit analysis, footnote analysis, forecasting and valuation. Cases and examples are used extensively to enhance understanding of key issues and concepts.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Summer I
Prerequisites: Financial Accounting (preferably Intermediate I, or relevant accounting work experience)

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 II
Prerequisites: Introductory Financial Accounting

This course provides a theoretical analysis of the role of accounting and taxation in society. This class examines existing accounting and taxing institutions involved in policy making and standard setting; international issues are included. Upon the completion of this course students should be able to: 1) Critique the underlying concepts and theories that led to existing accounting rules and that guide policy setters in defining or refining those rules, 2) Foresee how changes in the regulatory and business environment will shape and reshape accounting standards and the accounting profession, and 3) Discuss and debate complex accounting issues.

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

This course covers financial and managerial accounting topics relevant to the healthcare industry. Concepts covered include the financial and operational implications of changes in healthcare reimbursement; understanding and analyzing external financial statements for taxable and tax-exempt healthcare entities; usefulness of capital and operating budgets; practical applications of managerial accounting; and decision making tools for managers within healthcare enterprises.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Summer II
Prerequisites: Introductory Financial Accounting and Introductory Managerial Accounting

Accounting Course Schedule

Spring I Spring II Summer I Summer II Fall I Fall II
Beginning of January - beginning of March Beginning of March- beginning of May Beginning of May - beginning of July   Beginning of July - end of August End of August - end of October  End of October - end of December 
ACCT 525 Accounting Theory and Institutions ACCT 501 Advanced Accounting ACCT 551 Financial Statement Analysis ACCT 575 Financial and Managerial Accounting in Healthcare ACCT 522 Advanced Federal Taxation *ACCT 521 Business Law for Accountants
ACCT 545 Intro. Managerial/Cost Accounting - PREREQUISITE ACCT 515 Ethics for Professional Accountants ACCT 500A Intermediate Financial Accounting I - PREREQUISITE  ACCT 500B Intermediate Financial Accounting II - PREREQUISITE ACCT 531 Principles of Auditing ACCT 572A Accounting for Not-for-Profit Entities
      ACCT 520 Principles of Federal Taxation - PREREQUISITE    
      ACCT 545 Intro. Managerial/Cost Accounting - PREREQUISITE    

*ACCT 521 Note: This course is not an accounting topic and state boards of accountancy may count it as other business credits as opposed to accounting credits.


Elective Focus Areas

The remaining 12 units are electives.  The Online MSA allows the flexibility to select up to 12 units of non-accounting elective coursework, with available elective focus areas in:

  • Business Analytics
  • MIS/Information Security
  • Healthcare Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship

Business Analytics

This course introduces the student to fundamentals of database analysis, design, and implementation. Emphasis is on practical aspects of business process analysis and the accompanying database design and development. Topics covered include: conceptual design of databases using the entity relationship model, relational design and normalization, SQL and PL/SQL, web based database design, and implementation using Oracle or some other modern Database Management Systems. Students are required to work with a local client organization in understanding their business requirements, developing a detailed set of requirements to support business processes, and designing and implementing a web based database application to support their day- to-day business operations and decision making. Students will acquire hands-on-experience with a state-of-the-art database management system such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, and web-based development tools.

Units: 3 - department consent required

NOTE: MIS 531 is a challenging and technical course, with a time intensive database project.  The MIS department may require proof of technical experience before allowing a student to be enrolled in this course.

Corporations today are said to be data rich but information poor. For example, retailers can easily process and capture millions of transactions every day. In addition, the widespread proliferation of economic activity on the Internet leaves behind a rich trail of micro-level data on consumers, their purchases, retailers and their offerings, auction bidding, music sharing, so on and so forth. Data mining techniques can help companies discover knowledge and acquire business intelligence from these massive datasets.   This course will cover data mining for business intelligence. Data mining refers to extracting or "mining" knowledge from large amounts of data. It consists of several techniques that aim at discovering rich and interesting patterns that can bring value or "business intelligence" to organizations. Examples of such patterns include fraud detection, consumer behavior, and credit approval. The course will cover the most important data mining techniques --- classification, clustering, association rule mining, visualization, prediction --- through a hands-on approach using XL Miner and other specialized software, such as the open-source WEKA software.

Units: 3 - department consent required

Visualizing data is an important step in understanding data, exploring relationships, and "making a case." The goal of this class is to introduce students to principles and tools of data visualizations, and create visualizations using appropriate tools for two different but related purposes: (1) exploration; and (2) presentation. The first part is about trying to understand the data and test hypotheses that drive the data visualization effort, and formulate a story; the second part is to convey that finding to others in a convincing manner.

Units: 3 - department consent required, minimal seats available for non-MIS students

MIS/Information Security

Broad survey of the individual, organizational, cultural, social and ethical issues provoked by current and projected uses of networked computers on the Internet. Graduate-level requirements include an additional term paper.

Units: 3 - department consent required

This course exposes the student to a broad range of computer systems and information security topics. It is designed to provide a general knowledge of measures to insure confidentiality, availability, and integrity of information systems. Topics range from hardware, software and network security to INFOSEC, OPSEC and NSTISS overviews. Components include national policy, threats, countermeasures and risk management among others. Graduate-level requirements include an oral case study report as their final.

Units: 3 - department consent required

The objective of this course is to provide students with a thorough understanding of risk management as it applies to information security and corporate assets. The course covers numerous concepts to include asset valuation, data collection, conducting a risk assessment, risk reporting and monitoring as well as presenting various risk assessment models and frameworks. Students will complete this course with an understanding of the elements and steps necessary for completing a risk assessment.

Units: 3 - department consent required

Healthcare Management

The goal of this course is to expose students to the leadership skills necessary for the healthcare industry and highlight what makes leading teams in a healthcare setting so unique and challenging.

Units: 3

Healthcare expenditures now account for more than 1/6 of Gross Domestic Product in the United States. This class will explore the sources of funding for those expenditures, and the rapidly changing trends therein.

Units: 3

This course introduces students to the concepts and practices of healthcare information systems. Topics include: (1 ) introduction to the health IT discipline; (2 ) major applications and commercial vendors; (3 ) decision support methods and technologies; (4 ) information systems design and engineering; and (5 ) new opportunities and emerging trends. A semester-long group project will provide students hands-on experience in planning and building healthcare information systems; associated ethical and legal concerns, software engineering and human-computer interaction issues, and user acceptance and outcomes evaluation methods will also be discussed. Graduate-level requirements include leading a class discussion on a course related topic.

Units: 3 - department consent required

This course covers financial and managerial accounting topics relevant to the healthcare industry. Concepts covered include the financial and operational implications of changes in healthcare reimbursement; understanding and analyzing external financial statements for taxable and tax-exempt healthcare entities; usefulness of capital and operating budgets; practical applications of managerial accounting; and decision making tools for managers within healthcare enterprises.

Units: 3
Usually Offered: Summer II
Prerequisites: Intro Financial Accounting & Intro Managerial Accounting


This course provides students with an overview of the basic concepts and analytical techniques employed in corporate finance. The goal of this class is to provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of finance enabling students to pursue further study in any area of finance.

Units: 2

The purpose of this course is to build upon the theoretical knowledge, concepts and analytical techniques of finance learned in FIN 510A. The focus will be on application of principles applied to case work using Excel spreadsheets. The goal of this class is to enable students to be fully prepared for summer internships.

Units: 2

This course is designed to provide students with a hands-on introduction to fundamental valuation, and financial decision making. The course objectives are to integrate and operationalize the various topics included in managerial finance, i.e., the financing and investment decisions. The course builds upon and reinforces the theoretical and institutional framework presented in the first semester core courses, primarily through the vehicle of case studies.

Units: 2
Prerequisites: Financial Management I & II

The purpose of this course is to build skills related to understanding accounting disclosures and using the information contained in financial statements. Course topics include profitability measurement, credit analysis, footnote analysis, forecasting and valuation. Cases and examples are used extensively to enhance understanding of key issues and concepts.

Units: 3
Prerequisites: Intro to Financial Accounting

The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of current practices in investment management. The focus of the course will be on the selection of appropriate assets to meet specific investment goals and objectives. Course topics will include an overview of securities and markets, analysis of investor needs, establishment of investment policy, modern portfolio theory, the asset allocation decision and the assessment of portfolio performance. Hands-on exercises and cases will be used to reinforce the understanding of course topic.

Units: 2
Prerequisites: Financial Management I & II


Application of communications theory and research findings in advertising, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling; planning, conduct and administration of programs of information and persuasion.

Units: 2
Prerequisites: MKTG 510

This course is designed to introduce students to the complexities of social media marketing through revealing foundational theories and associated concepts of collective behavior, social influence, and social media marketing. This is essentially a marketing strategy course. The primary focus of this course will be on understanding: consumers¿ social interactions, the impact technology has on marketplace relationships, the various social media channels available to marketers, how to build social media marketing strategies, and how to track their effectiveness. Our levels of analysis will shift from individuals to collectives. You will be responsible for conducting primary and secondary research, recognizing course theories in action, creating effective social media marketing campaigns, and managing social media marketing efforts.

Units: 2
Prerequisites: MKTG 510

The key objective of this graduate level course is to understand the development and implementation of a comprehensive long-term marketing strategy for a company or business organization by focusing on its customers, competitors, and market opportunities. The course will provide students with an opportunity to broaden their understanding of competitive marketing strategy and to develop skills in formulating, implementing and monitoring it. Through readings, lectures, and cases we will cover a variety of topics including understanding and delivering customer value, understanding customer loyalty and its implications, choosing appropriate position in the value-chain, implementing effective segmentation and competitive positioning strategies, and designing effective pricing, channels, branding, and digital marketing strategies in a wide variety of consumer, industrial, and service industries as well as for new and old-economy businesses. The course will be of value to students interested in brand management and digital marketing, technology marketing and management, sales and distribution, entrepreneurship, management consultants and corporate strategy.

Units: 3

Great products/services supported by attractive advertising and distribution create value for the customer while effective pricing captures value for the company.  Although pricing cannot fully compensate for poor product development, promotion and distribution, ineffective pricing can surely prevent those efforts from resulting in financial success.  Many companies create great value for their customers yet fail to capture that value in their earnings due to lack of integration between their value creation activities and their pricing decisions.  Experts say that for marketing strategists, pricing is the moment of truth.  The purpose of this course is to make sure that when you reach that moment of truth you know 'what' to do and 'how' to do it. To equip you with the required expertise, this course covers theories, conceptual frameworks and analytical tools used to make effective pricing decisions.

Units: 2
Prerequisites: MKTG 510

Whether a firm is consumer, business or service-oriented, acquiring and using information is critical for business planning and decisions. Thus, this course is appropriate for anyone who relies on data in their decision making, whether the context is entrepreneurial, not-for profit, public health, or marketing. This course is designed to provide an overview of applied research methods as used in marketing research and as tools to help make effective marketing decisions. The course is for managers who will be using marketing data rather than those doing "marketing research." The course emphasizes the analysis and interpretation of market research data for marketing/managerial decision making, and the design of research studies so that the results are both meaningful and valid.  Towards this end, we will examine exploratory research (including projective techniques and focus groups), descriptive research (including cross-sectional and longitudinal survey research), and causal research (including experimentation and test marketing). The course will cover common areas of application. The focus is on helping the manager become a better consumer of market research data through an improved understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of various research methods as well as a basic understanding of data analysis.

Units: 2


This class is designed to strengthen your customer management skills and further your understanding of a set of powerful ideas about how to manage customers for superior business performance. You will be exposed to a set of well-established and effective strategies to create, deliver and sustain superior customer value, as well as some of the most novel and cutting-edge ideas in customer management. At the conclusion of the course, you will have acquired both formal frameworks and fresh ideas about how to acquire and retain customers.

Units: 3

Recent surveys indicate that innovation is at the top of the agenda for more than three-quarters of executives; at the same time, nearly as many report failing to meet their own hopes and expectations for their innovation initiatives. This graduate level course will focus in on what is increasingly understood to be a primary reason for the gap between aspirations and outcomes for innovation and entrepreneurship: the leadership and organization of the innovative process. As companies shift their thinking about innovation from being a fundamentally technological or mechanistic endeavor to one that is more organic, creative, and human-centered, so have they shifted their management concerns. Among them: What role does innovation play in overall strategy and where does it fit into strategic plans? What kind of leadership (or leaders) is required to develop an innovative culture? What are the implications for organizational structure and process?  Is organizational innovations needed before companies can achieve their innovation objectives? Through readings, cases, exercises, and projects, we will explore these and related questions on the intangible contributors to innovative success for both existing and new firms in manufacturing, services and nonprofits.

Units: 3

This course examines socially centered entrepreneurship under a global umbrella. Our global interdependence teaches us to look for opportunities anywhere. We realize more than ever that no person, team, company, or country is an island. Our personal lives and the lives of the local organizations around us depend on issues at the international level, and the trend will likely continue.

Units: 3

Program Length

Because it’s so flexible, the overall length of the Online Master’s in Accounting program will vary, but full time students can complete the program in as little as 12 months. Working professionals should plan on about two years.  Each individual course lasts eight weeks.

Dual Degrees

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

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 degree. Contact us or begin your application now:

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Professional Licensure Disclosure

To become a CPA, you must be declared eligible for the examination by the Board of Accountancy in the jurisdiction you desire to become licensed in. According to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy, to sit for the CPA exam, you must present satisfactory evidence that you have successfully obtained a baccalaureate or a higher degree from an accredited institution or a college or university that maintains standards comparable to those of an accredited institution. The evidence must show (1) at least 24 semester hours of non duplicative accounting courses of which 12 semester hours are upper level courses, and (2) shall also include at least 18 semester hours in related courses. Completion of a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting at Eller will satisfy the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Arizona.

Completing the Master of Science in Accounting or the Master of Accounting, including the 15 credit hours of prerequisites can meet the accounting course academic requirements for licensing in the state of Arizona. Applicants would still be required to meet the 30 semester hours of related course work for licensing. We have not assessed whether our program achieves the licensing requirements in other states.

For further information and a list of state professional licensing boards visit the state boards web page.