Best Online Master's Degree Programs 2022

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Updated October 20, 2022

A master's in accounting online degree trains students in specialized areas of the field. If you're looking to advance into better-paying roles, check out the best online master's in accounting degree programs of 2022.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

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A master's in accounting online is a graduate degree that teaches students advanced accounting and financial analysis skills. Attendees learn how to prepare and interpret financial statements and use accounting to make business decisions.

Many programs offer concentrations in auditing, taxation, and forensic accounting. Classes may be a mix of core and elective courses. Online accounting courses may cover tax law, financial management, and financial reporting.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), enrollment in online courses has increased significantly in recent years. As of 2019, the NCES reported that 42.3% of graduate students were enrolled in at least one distance education course. This number has undoubtedly increased over the course of the pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the accounting profession will grow by 7% from 2020 to 2030. Accountants with advanced degrees have more opportunities for career progression. Skills learned in a master's program help accountants keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape to better serve both management and clients.

What to Expect From a Master's in Accounting Online

The requirements for a master's in accounting vary among schools and programs. Similar to on-campus master’s degrees programs, admission to some online master's in accounting programs require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Some programs also require you to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or a similar exam.

Students can specialize in auditing and financial reporting. They may also focus on one of the following: tax planning and compliance, business or financial analysis, or government contracting. Students also learn about accounting software and other technologies.

The Top Online Accounting Master's Degree Programs

  1. Franklin University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Located in Ohio, Franklin specializes in programs for nontraditional learners. Students can pursue flexible undergraduate and graduate degrees. Enrollees benefit from affordable tuition, generous transfer policies, and free academic support resources.

    MS in Accounting

    Franklin's MS in accounting helps prepare learners for career advancement. The 30-credit degree builds on prior accounting coursework at the bachelor's level. Enrollees examine financial accounting theory and management control processes and systems. All accounting students complete a course in tax or accounting research.

    Participants customize the MS in accounting with one of two focus areas: taxation or financial operations. They apply accounting research strategies during a capstone course. Students can complete the degree entirely online in about 17 months.

    Enrollees can also take courses on campus or in a hybrid format. Franklin notes that top employers hire graduates of this accounting program.

    Applying to Franklin

    Admission requires a bachelor's degree, minimum 2.5-2.75 GPA, and prerequisite accounting coursework. Students do not need GRE or GMAT scores to apply to this program.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, International Accreditation Council for Business Education
    • Tuition: $670/credit
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Program Length: 17 months
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous), hybrid, or on campus
  2. Brenau University
    Location

    Gainesville, GA

    Founded as a female seminary, Brenau offers programs on three Georgia campuses. The university operates women's and coed colleges for undergraduates, and enrolls men and women in graduate programs. Graduate students can complete many programs in an accelerated online format.

    Master of Accounting

    Brenau offers a master's in accounting entirely online. Enrollees receive preparation for the certified public accountant (CPA) and certified management accountant (CMA) exams. The 30- to 33-credit curriculum develops skills in areas such as financial management, fraud prevention, and internal control.

    Students can use elective courses to explore specialties such as estate and trust taxation. The curriculum includes CPA and CMA exam questions and simulations. Small classes promote personalized learning, and seven-week terms accelerate degree completion.

    Applying to Brenau

    Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree and prerequisite accounting courses. The application process does not require GRE or GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
    • Tuition: $755/credit
    • Required Credits: 30-33
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  3. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    A Christian college located in Virginia, Liberty offers 450 online degrees. Students can also pursue degrees on campus in Lynchburg. Liberty's generous credit transfer policy can help enrollees finish their degrees faster. The university offers tuition discounts for military personnel.

    MS in Accounting

    Students can complete Liberty's 30-credit MS in accounting online in just one year. The customizable curriculum helps prepare learners for the certified public accountant exam. Enrollees develop advanced accounting skills like cost accounting and auditing.

    Students in the general track can use elective credits to explore several accounting paths. Alternatively, enrollees may opt for a specialization such as taxation, financial services, or audit and financial accounting. The forensic accounting specialization trains accountants to investigate fraud and embezzlement cases.

    All enrollees learn how to incorporate ethics in the accounting profession. Students take classes in eight-week asynchronous sessions. Learners can transfer up to 50% of the MS in accounting's credits from another accredited program.

    Applying to Liberty

    Admission to the MS in accounting requires a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and prerequisite accounting courses. Liberty requires no GRE or GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
    • Tuition: $565/credit
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Program Length: 12 months
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  4. Seton Hall University
    Location

    South Orange, NJ

    Seton Hall is one of the nation's leading Catholic colleges. The school enrolls about 10,000 students on campus in South Orange, New Jersey, and online. Seton Hall maintains status as a hub of academic excellence.

    MS in Accounting

    Seton Hall designed the MS in accounting for students with a limited accounting background. The 30-credit degree provides preparation for the certified public accountant exam in New York and New Jersey. Online learners can complete the degree asynchronously in 18-20 months. Enrollees study areas such as financial reporting and auditing standards and problems.

    All participants complete a commercial law course that explores topics like contract law, sales, and bailments. Students can network with alumni working at prestigious firms. Seton Hall notes that Big Four accounting firms and other prominent companies actively recruit the program's graduates.

    Applying to Seton Hall

    Admission to the MS in accounting requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Seton Hall offers GRE/GMAT waivers for some applicants.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, AACSB International
    • Tuition: $1,350/credit
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Program Length: 18-20 months
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
  5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $14958

    NC State specializes in science, technology, engineering and math programs. The school, which emphasizes learning by doing, enrolls about 36,000 students. NC State offers over 100 online programs.

    Jenkins Master of Accounting

    Students can earn this online master of accounting at their own pace. The program caters to early- and mid-career professionals. Students receive preparation for the certified public accountant exam.

    The 31-credit curriculum covers topics like financial accounting and advanced auditing. Enrollees use elective credits for one of three concentrations: IT, tax strategy, or enterprise risk management.

    NC State notes that first-time CPA pass rates for its graduates regularly exceed the national average. Most students complete the degree online in 18-36 months. Some students graduate in as little as a year, while others take up to six years. Non-accounting majors can complete prerequisite courses through the self-paced ASAP program.

    Applying to NC State

    Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, or a bachelor's in a non-accounting major plus prerequisite accounting courses. Applicants must demonstrate high academic performance and submit GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
    • Tuition: $505.28/credit (in state); $1504.56 (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Program Length: 1-6 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

Learners interested in an online master's in accounting can explore five of the nation's best programs for 2022. We rank schools based on factors like academic quality and school/program reputation. The link below provides more information about our method.

How Does an Online Accounting Degree Differ From an On-Campus Master's?

Comparing Online and On-Campus Master's in Accounting Degrees
Factor Online Program On-Campus Program
Cost $485-$940 per credit $700-$1,800 per credit
Course Load 24-30 credits 24-48 credits
Program Length 1-2 years 1-6 years
Scheduling 100% online accounting programs are available. Synchronous formats allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule. Asynchronous programs arrange virtual “live” classroom sessions. Classes take place in a physical classroom at scheduled times. Some programs offer hybrid formats that include both a physical classroom and asynchronous courses.

Sources: Brenau University, Franklin University, Indiana University, Liberty University, NC State University, North Central University, Purdue Global,Seton Hall University, Syracuse University, Syracuse University (Online), Western Michigan University

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Campus classes provide a more traditional college experience, offering face-to-face interaction with professors and classmates. Online classes provide students with more autonomy and allow students to learn at an individualized pace. Students who thrive in more structured learning environments may prefer campus classes.

Online programs make college degrees more accessible for many students — particularly those who are working full time, have family obligations, or live far from the college campus.

Similar to on-campus degrees, academic excellence is the standard for online master’s in accounting programs. These degrees require students to complete coursework and assessments to achieve student learning outcomes.

Some online master’s in accounting programs require students to log in during scheduled class times. Many are asynchronous, meaning students can access lectures and other materials at their convenience.

Attendees study at their own pace, completing assignments when they have time. For working professionals with obligations outside of school, distance learning can be a great option.

Both formats allow accounting students to network and build relationships with professors and other students. However, graduate students completing online programs may pay lower tuition costs due to program length, textbook-free learning options, or online-specific scholarship options.

Students should also consider textbook costs and other materials when comparing online and in-person program expenses. In-person programs may have higher tuition costs than online programs, on-campus students often have to pay for room and board.

Delivery Formats for Online Accounting Degrees

Online master's in accounting degrees are available in two formats. The hybrid model combines online and classroom learning. Students who prefer this approach complete some of their courses online and others in a traditional classroom.

Hybrid and 100% Online Accounting Program Models

An advantage of the accounting hybrid online model is that students can enjoy the flexibility of online learning while periodically interacting in person with classmates and instructors. Video conferencing and scheduled discussions are two examples of face-to-face interactions allowing students and professors to interact in real time.

A 100% online accounting model is more flexible and convenient for students. They complete their coursework on their own time and at their own pace. This format also eliminates the need for students to commute to a physical campus. Students interact with classmates and instructors online only.

Synchronous or Asynchronous Learning

Colleges and universities may structure programs in synchronous or asynchronous formats. Asynchronous learning allows students to complete coursework on their own schedule. Synchronous learning requires attendance at specific times.

Both asynchronous and synchronous learning offer advantages and disadvantages. Asynchronous learning can be more flexible for students, but individuals may fall behind if they do not keep up with the material.

Accelerated

Some institutions offer accelerated online accounting degree programs that enable students to earn their degrees in a shorter time frame. Many schools use these programs to attract students who want to complete their degrees more quickly. Students should confirm the requirements of an accelerated degree program before applying.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Accounting

Accreditation matters to an online master's in accounting. Accreditation assures potential employers that a school or program provides high-quality education. Credits from accredited institutions are more likely to transfer to other colleges or universities. To gain accreditation, schools must meet standards set by a third-party accrediting agency.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes two types of educational accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation typically applies to the entire institution. Programmatic, or specialized, accreditation usually applies to programs, departments, or schools that are part of an institution.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) accredits many accounting programs. Another accrediting body for accounting programs is the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

State Authorization

The state authorization process protects distance learners who live in a different state than where their college or university is physically located. This guarantees that the school legally operates in the state(s) where it serves student populations.

State-authorized institutions are eligible for state financial aid. If your college is not state-authorized, it may still be eligible for federal financial aid.

List of States with Accounting Degrees

Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Alaska Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming
Kentucky North Dakota

How Much Will an Online Accounting Master's Cost?

Several factors influence the cost of a master's degree in accounting. The type of accounting master’s degree you pursue may affect program costs. Two types of accounting master's degrees are the master of science in accounting and the master of accountancy. Students may also earn a master of business administration in accounting.

Program duration, technology fees, and textbook expenses may influence total program costs. Other considerations include tuition credits, transfer credits, occupational earning potential, and university resources. For instance, many online master's in accounting degree programs employ subject matter experts to ensure students meet CPA exam qualifications.

According to the NCES, the average graduate tuition and fees at public institutions reached $12,410 in the 2019-20 academic year, while the average at private institutions was $26,597. The cost of an online master's in accounting can vary depending on the school. In-state tuition is usually cheaper than out-of-state tuition.

There are many ways to finance your master's in accounting. Some learners apply for scholarships, grants, or student loans to help pay for their online master’s in accounting. Others take advantage of employer tuition reimbursement programs to offset degree costs.

Why Get Your Master's in Accounting Online?

Online master’s in accounting degrees can save students time and money compared to traditional campus-based programs. Many schools allow students to enroll full or part time. Enrollees may attend classes online or through a hybrid approach, which combines virtual and on-campus formats.

Wiley Education Services' 2020 survey of online college students found that 79% of those who also learned in a face-to-face setting felt their online experience was the same as or better than the classroom experience. Likewise, 79% of those completing an online degree agreed that it was worth the cost.

Master's in accounting online programs provide students with the skills and experience necessary for accounting leadership roles. For example, certified public accountants (CPAs) are among the highest-paid accounting professionals. In order to become a CPA, you need at least 150 credits of education to pass the CPA exam. Core courses cover test content to prepare aspiring accountants for the CPA exam.

Pros

  • Ability to learn anywhere in the world
  • More flexible schedule
  • Can be cheaper than traditional college

Cons

  • Online programs may not offer the same resources a brick-and-mortar school provides.
  • May need to be more self-motivated when pursuing an online degree.
  • Can be a lack of connection between student and instructor.

Top Online Master's Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Questions About an Online Master's in Accounting

How long does it take to get a master's degree in accounting online?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The time to complete a master's degree in accounting online depends on each specific program and students' individual circumstances. Most accounting graduate students complete their online programs in 12-24 months.

How much is an online degree in accounting?

Per-credit tuition for a master's in accounting online degree ranges from $500-$1,800, depending on the school. The average online master's in accounting degree costs anywhere from $24,000-$72,000.

Is an online accounting master's valuable?

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for an accountant with a master's degree is $74,000. Those with a bachelor's degree in accounting earn an average of $67,000 — a difference of over 10%. A master's program also helps students rack up the 150 credit hours typically required to complete the CPA exam.

Is studying accounting online hard?

Online accounting master's programs offer flexibility to working professionals seeking advancement opportunities. Studying accounting online may appear difficult because of course requirements. However, many school resources for accredited online programs help set up students for professional growth and success.

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