Inexpensive online Masters in Accounting\Accountancy\Accounting Science?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Stoic, Jun 6, 2022.

  1. Stoic

    Stoic Member


    I'm curious if anyone has a list of inexpensive online programs in this field that qualify for you to sit for the CPA examination?

    I looked into the Gies program, but it's around $20k which is outside of my budget. Anything around $12k or less out there?
  2. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

  3. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    I’m doing Emporia State’s program. $10,900. I’m 12 credits in, and while there isn’t a lot of handholding, I’m totally fine.
    Dustin likes this.
  4. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    Previous 2 posts probably the cheapest, assuming completion in a year or less (WGU) and the cheapest AACSB accredited (Emporia State). Eastern Washington, Marshall University, and Texas-Permian Basin are all in the $12-13 range and are all AACSB accredited.

    All of the programs discussed are built for people who have an accounting degree or equivalent. Is that what you are looking for? There are also programs that are geared toward people with less accounting experience/coursework. Also, requirements vary a little state-to-state. I am not in Texas, but if memory serves, a certainly amount of the coursework has to be completed in an in-person classroom (as opposed to online) to become a CPA there. Some states require accounting ethics, accounting research, etc to sit for the CPA exam. All of that to say, earning a master’s degree from one of the schools discussed may/may not be sufficient to sit for the CPA exam.

    I am starting Marshall University’s Master of Science in Accountancy program in the fall, FWIW. I like that it is a smaller program, all (I believe) of the classes are taught by regular faculty not adjuncts, and it’s pretty close to where I live so has better name recognition than the other schools I have listed.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Doesn't Taft's LLM in Tax qualify one to sit for CPA in California?
  6. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    Yes. But it requires a JD (or foreign equivalent) for entry. Tuition is a tick under $12k.

    Taft’s Master of Science in Taxation allows direct entry by Enrolled Agents without a bachelor’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is required to become a CPA in CA and every jurisdiction I know of. It’s also a tick under $15k.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  7. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    I looked at Eastern Washington’s program, and while there’s a lot to like, the degree being only 36 quarter credits is a potential problem unless you’re overflowing with credits elsewhere, as that degree alone isn’t equivalent to 30 semester hours.
    freeloader likes this.
  8. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    I completely agree. I applied to Eastern Washington, actually, and would have done the joint MPAcc and MBA. It’s only 64 credits/16 classes. That is good in some ways (lower cost than many comparable programs, faster) but also bad (less actual learning, fewer credits/hours if required for certifications, jobs, etc).

    I also looked seriously at Southern Utah University’s combined MBA and Accounting program. It ticked a lot of boxes for me—AACSB, combined/accelerated program, etc.

    I also looked seriously at Louisiana-Lafayette’s accounting program ($14.5 tuition) and Mississippi State (~$16k tuition). I like the idea of having a degree from a bigger “name” state university. Mississippi State was probably my top choice until I realized the fees push the total cost of the degree to well above $20k; to rich for my blood.

    I really liked aspects of those programs, but felt like Marshall was just a better fit. I live around 2.5 hours from Huntington, WV and have worked with many people with Marshall degrees. I like the idea of being part of a “local” alumni network. My resume also won’t scream “online degree”, which I appreciate.
  9. Stoic

    Stoic Member

    Thank you for the information. I got an accounting minor in my undergrad. Do you mind recommending programs geared toward people with less accounting experience/coursework?
  10. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    How extensive was your minor? Most programs I’ve seen want Intermediate I and II, Tax I, Auditing, and Cost. I’d imagine a transcripted minor included most of that?
  11. Stoic

    Stoic Member

    Thanks for your reply.

    I got a Liberal Studies Major - UMPI Accounting minor. So the following classes are on my transcript:

    Principles of Accounting I (Not on UMPI transcript, but I took it through other means)
    Principles of Accounting II
    Intro to Financial Accounting
    Intermediate Accounting I
    Intermediate Accounting II
    Federal Taxation I
    Federal Taxation II
    Managerial Accounting
    Project Risk & Cost Accounting
    Independent Auditing
    Advanced Accounting
    Financial Management

    Do you think this is good enough to get into a Masters program? Though, I probably need a refresher.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
  12. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

  13. Stoic

    Stoic Member

    Thank you. I'm going to try to apply to some universities out there to see what comes out of it.

    Do you think a Masters in Managerial Accounting can qualify for a CPA license down the road? I found this one which is a tad bit cheaper than the rest of the Masters mentioned here:

    But the degree title and curriculum is different from the other programs. It just seems to me like the CPA license checks for accounting credits rather curriculum specific coursework:
    JoshD likes this.
  14. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    What is your budget for a program? I know some go for cheap, others go for the best name, and others go for somewhere in between.
  15. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    You should be in very good shape. The only (accounting) class that you don’t have that I have schools want is Accounting Info Systems. Easy enough to select another school or take that class, if you so chose.

    The Union College program looks interesting, particularly if you are interested in managerial accounting.

    To me, the one knock on Union College is that the school doesn’t have programmatic accreditation. Emporia State and the schools I mentioned are all AACSB and WGU is ACBSP. If you think you may want to teach at a school with programmatic accreditation (particularly AACSB), having an AACSB-accredited masters degree is often a requirement. I have also seen PhD and DBA programs from AACSB schools that expect an AACSB masters degree; not having one often means needing to do more coursework before moving on to actual PhD work. I am far from an expert, but I think this is all to do with maintaining AACSB standards for accreditation.

    I don’t think any of the states actually require a master’s degree to sit for the CPA. Most require a bachelor’s and 150 total hours, but you could the extra hours that you need at a community college, if you wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, the master’s might well help you understand accounting better, make it more likely that you pass the CPA exam, help you get a job/get a better job, etc., etc., etc.
    Stoic likes this.
  16. freeloader

    freeloader Member

  17. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Fun fact: before moving into banking and business, I was pursuing a MS in Biology with a Concentration in Molecular Genetics at Emporia State University.

    Their B-School is really good for the overall size of the university.
  18. Stoic

    Stoic Member

    Less (or around) 12k as of now. I think so far Union, Emporia, Marshall, Eastern Washington, UT-PB, University of West Florida seem to be prospects. I will keep looking to see what else is out there.
  19. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    At that price, Emporia State or Marshall in my opinion. ESU is an incredible school.
  20. Stoic

    Stoic Member

    Thank you. This helps. I didn't catch the lack of AACSB accreditation.

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