Accounting program

Accounting, MS

Offered by:
University of Colorado Denver

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Overview

As the field of accounting continues to evolve, organizations are in need of future-focused accountants who can adapt to new technologies, improve financial processes, and stay ahead of the curve. The online Master’s in Accounting (MAcc) program from the CU Denver Business School is designed for experienced and aspiring accountants who are looking to establish successful careers in accounting and business. Our program prepares you to take the CPA exam with in-depth courses that target exam topics in auditing, advanced financial accounting, tax, and accounting ethics. As the only AACSB Accounting Accredited program in Colorado, you’ll graduate with the practical skills and business strategies you need to manage accounting teams, tackle complex accounting problems, and lead individuals and organizations to financial success.


 

Program Details

Accountants and financial experts are highly valued in all businesses and organizations, and aspiring professionals who earn their master’s degree are well-prepared to move into advanced roles within the field. Our flexible, 100% online Master’s in Accounting program is open to students from all academic and professional backgrounds who are ready to pursue a career in public accounting, auditing, managerial accounting, nonprofit accounting, and more. Even if your bachelor’s degree and experience are in an unrelated field, we encourage you to apply for our online accounting program and pursue your accounting career goals. We offer prerequisite courses for anyone who needs additional foundational accounting education before moving on to more complex concepts.

Many of our students are also working toward becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Our online Master’s of Accounting provides you the knowledge and skillset necessary to become a leader in accounting and finance, while enabling you to meet the Colorado CPA licensure accounting education requirement. Throughout your degree, you’ll take classes in topics such as auditing theory, federal business tax, and financial planning, and you’ll gain the specialized accounting knowledge you need to feel confident when you sit for the CPA exam.

Each course in your master’s degree is designed by expert faculty and experienced accountants who are dedicated to making sure the curriculum aligns with current industry trends. You’ll collaborate with peers who highly motivated to achieve their goals, whether they’re hoping to pass the CPA exam or explore other accounting career paths. Your master’s degree will help you sharpen the accounting, business, communication, and management skills that you need to stand out as an accounting professional.


How is a Master’s in Accounting different from an MBA in Accounting?

While an MS in Accounting and an MBA with an accounting focus are different in many ways, both degrees have the potential to help you meet your professional goals. When you’re deciding which degree is the right fit for your career, consider these important differences between an MBA and a Master’s in Accounting.

MS in Accounting

Our online Master’s in Accounting program is highly specialized, meaning that everything from core courses to electives will focus on honing your expertise as an accounting professional.

You’ll gain a deep understanding of advanced accounting concepts, including financial planning, performance measurement, auditing, and tax planning. Your courses will specifically prepare you for the CPA exam, and you will learn how to solve complex financial problems.

Examples of course topics you’ll study as an MS Accounting student include:

  • Auditing theory
  • Advanced financial accounting
  • Accounting information systems
  • Taxation of business entities
  • Managerial accounting

MBA – Accounting Specialization

For students who aren’t looking for a specialized degree in accounting, CU Online also offers a fully online MBA with an Accounting specialization that focuses on building a traditional business foundation.

An MBA provides a broad background in management and administration, with an emphasis on building an advanced management career. If you choose an accounting specialization, you’ll complement your business education with a few elective courses in essential accounting topics.

Examples of course topics you’ll study as an MBA student include:

  • Applied economics
  • Strategic management
  • Intermediate financial accounting
  • Information systems strategy
  • Marketing dynamics

If you’re wondering which program is the right fit for your career, reach out to an Enrollment Navigatorto talk about your goals and learn more about our online MS in Accounting and online MBA programs.


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The only AACSB Accredited MS in Accounting in Colorado

AACSB Accounting Accreditation

The CU Denver Accounting programs are separately accredited by AACSB International, a global nonprofit association that is committed to providing excellence in education for future business leaders. Less than two percent of the world’s accounting programs are AACSB Accounting accredited, and CU Denver’s MS in Accounting is the only online program in Colorado with this elite accreditation. As an AACSB Accounting accredited degree, our MS in Accounting program must meet rigorous business and accounting-specific standards in addition to demonstrating a commitment to providing high-quality education through strategic curriculum design and dynamic thought leadership. When you earn your degree from an AACSB Accounting accredited program, you’ll graduate with the confidence that you’ve received the best accounting education available and the valued credentials that employers are looking for.

I've wanted to complete my MS in Accounting for a few years now, but scheduling was difficult due to my job demands and lack of flexibility of in-person classes. When I found out that CU Denver offers a fully online and AACSB accredited MS Accounting program, I felt compelled not to wait any longer and finally go for my graduate degree.

– Carissa B., MS in Accounting Student 

Master’s in Accounting Curriculum Overview

Our MS in Accounting curriculum is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam and give you the advanced expertise to thrive in a variety of accounting jobs, from roles as an Auditor or Financial Planner to positions such as Accounting Manager or Chief Financial Officer. Throughout your accounting master’s degree, you’ll learn the technical accounting competencies, business acumen, and critical thinking skills you need to solve complex financial problems.

Our core curriculum focuses on essential accounting concepts and skills, such as auditing theory, accounting management, data analytics, relational database modeling, accounting ethics, and tax planning. Along with foundational courses in accounting, you’ll have the opportunity to tailor your degree with elective courses in specialized topics, including tax research, international accounting, auditing, and government and nonprofit accounting.

All of our courses are aligned with the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP), a common set of accounting standards, rules, and procedures that public companies in the United States must follow to ensure financial transparency and consistency. Our curriculum also aligns with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), a set of international accounting standards that provides guidelines for reporting particular types of financial transactions and events.

Our Master’s in Accounting program is AACSB Accounting accredited and our curriculum is supported by experienced accountants who ensure that every class is industry-relevant. Many of our accounting faculty are licensed CPAs who use their real-world experience and innovative research to provide dynamic, career-focused education.

MS in Accounting Prerequisite Courses (9 credits)

You will be required to complete the following prerequisite coursework if you do not have any previous accounting education:

  • Intermediate Financial Accounting I (ACCT 6031)
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting II (ACCT 6032)
  • Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax (ACCT 6140)

You do not need to complete the prerequisite courses before applying to the Master’s in Accounting program. Prerequisites can be waived based on prior academic coursework. Connect with an Enrollment Navigator to learn more about prerequisites and opportunities to take any necessary courses through CU Online.

MS in Accounting Core Courses (24 credits)

As a Master’s in Accounting student, you’ll complete the following core requirements:

  • Auditing Theory (ACCT 6020)
  • Advanced Financial Accounting (ACCT 6024)
  • Accounting Information Systems (ACCT 6054)
  • Taxation of Business Entities (ACCT 6150)
  • Accounting Ethics (ACCT 6280)
  • Seminar: Financial Accounting (ACCT 6250)
  • Seminar: Managerial Accounting (ACCT 6260)
  • Seminar: Auditing and Other Assurance Services (ACCT 6620)

MS in Accounting Elective Courses (6 credits)

You’ll complete your accounting degree by choosing two of the following elective courses:

  • Accounting for Government and Nonprofit Organizations (ACCT 6080)
  • Fraud Auditing (ACCT 6330)
  • Financial Statement Analysis (ACCT 6340)
  • International Accounting (ACCT 6370)
  • Taxation of C Corporations and Shareholders (ACCT 6400)
  • Advanced Tax for Individuals (ACCT 6410)
  • Tax Research (ACCT 6450)
  • Partnership Taxation (ACCT 6480)
  • Issues in Oil and Gas Accounting (ACCT 6520)
  • Internship (ACCT 5939)
  • Any ACCT 6000 course or higher

CPA Exam & Licensure Preparation

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are in high demand across all industries and must meet rigorous standards to obtain licensure.

To receive your CPA license, you’ll need the following four components:

  • Education – At least 120 credit hours (equivalent to a bachelor’s degree) are required to sit for the CPA exam, and you’ll need to complete an additional 30 credit hours to qualify for licensure. You will also need to ensure that your credits meet your state’s required hours within the areas of accounting, auditing, and business.
     
  • Exam – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is responsible for the creation of the uniform CPA exam. The exam is given in four sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, Regulations, and Business Environment and Concepts. You are allowed to take the exam one section at a time and in any order. All sections of the exam must be completed within an 18-month testing period with a score of 75 percent or higher.
     
  • Experience – While experience requirements vary by state, CPA applicants in Colorado are required to complete 1,800 qualifying work hours within a period of 1-3 years in order to obtain licensure. Your experience must also be verified by a licensed CPA who oversees the work.
     
  • Ethics – In some states, CPA applicants are required to complete an ethics course or exam in order to obtain their CPA license. For example, Colorado requires that you pass the AICPA Professional Ethics course with a score of 90 percent or higher within two years of application for licensure.

Our Master’s in Accounting program is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam through courses that strategically target topics covered on the exam, including advanced financial accounting, auditing, taxation of business entities, and accounting ethics. While our program prepares you foundationally for CPA certification, each state has its own specific requirements. Students planning to obtain their CPA are responsible for ensuring that they meet their state’s requirements for exam and licensure.


Accounting Career Paths

Experienced, effective accountants are in high demand across all industries, from nonprofit organizations and government agencies to private financial firms and major corporations. Our Master’s in Accounting program prepares you for a wide variety of challenging and rewarding financial career paths, including auditing, accounting, and management.

Many of our graduates become CPAs after completing our program and use their expertise to help individuals and organizations achieve their financial goals. CPAs are highly valued across all industries and have the opportunity to work in specialized positions related to tax analysis, financial planning, and business valuation. Our graduates also go on to work for top accounting firms, including the “Big Four” – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG – who all actively recruit interns and full-time employees from our program each year.

Whether you’re preparing to earn your CPA certification or you’re planning for the next steps in your accounting career, you will graduate with the practical accounting skills and advanced business knowledge you need to excel as a financial professional.

Common Accounting Job Titles

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Budget Analyst
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Auditor
  • Financial Manager
  • Accounting Manager
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Actuary
  • Financial Planner
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Compliance Accountant
  • Treasury Analyst
  • IRS Agent
  • Cost Estimator
  • Financial Controller

Business Career Connections

As a Master’s in Accounting graduate, you'll have full access to our Business Career Connections team for life. Our connections to over 300 business partners provide exclusive opportunities to network with industry leaders in the Denver metro area and beyond. With over 10 years of career advising experience, our team of experts will help you navigate the corporate recruiting process for in-demand jobs in finance and accounting.

Our career services include:

  • Career workshops designed to help you perfect your resume, LinkedIn profile, and job search process
  • Advising appointments to explore what your personal career path looks like, review your resume, or schedule a mock interview
  • Career events that help you hone your networking skills and meet hiring managers from top companies
  • Job announcements via monthly emails with the latest job and internship opportunities specific to your accounting degree

Tuition & Fees 

At CU Online, we strive to keep our tuition costs affordable so that you can get a world-class education that fits your budget. When you earn a degree, you’re not simply getting a diploma — you’re making a lifelong investment in yourself and empowering your future career. We know that affordability is an important factor, and that’s why we’re here to help you explore all of the options available to fund your education.  

Our Enrollment Navigators can answer any of your questions about tuition and financial aid, help you take care of the paperwork, and make sure you’re able to focus on reaching your goals.Simply fill out the form on this page to get started. From financial aid and scholarships to corporate tuition assistance programs, we’ll work with you to find the best way to finance your CU Online degree.

Application fee: $50 for domestic applicants; $75 for international applicants

Total tuition for the Master’s in Accounting program*:

  • In-state tuition: $18,780
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,930

*Estimated tuition costs based on full credit hours for the MS in Accounting degree (30 credits). Prerequisite courses are not included in the total tuition estimate.Contact an Enrollment Navigator for more details.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for eligible students to use toward paying educational costs while enrolled in a CU Online program. To determine your eligibility and apply for financial aid, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you submit your FAFSA, you will be considered for three types of aid: grants, work-study, and student loans. To be considered for federal financial aid, you will need to apply early and annually.

Scholarships 

Once you are admitted to the University of Colorado, you’ll have access to our internal scholarship portal where you can view and apply to many funding opportunities offered by the university. Scholarship opportunities typically require an application and may have specific eligibility requirements related to a student's academic merit, financial need, community service, work experience, and more. Unlike financial aid loans, scholarships are gift aid that does not have to be repaid. As a student, you will be able to apply for scholarships every semester.

Transfer Credits 

If you are applying as a transfer student, your coursework from other colleges and universities could count toward your University of Colorado degree requirements. Transferring credits to your CU Online degree program may help you save on tuition costs and complete your degree sooner. Once you are admitted to the university, a transfer credit evaluation will be performed to determine how many transfer credits are eligible to apply to your degree.

Veteran & Military Student Benefits 

CU Online is military-friendly and committed to providing service members and their families with a high-quality education that fits their distinct needs. As a CU Online student, you will have access to the Office of Veteran & Military Student Services (VMSS), which connects veteran, active duty, reservist, National Guard, and dependent students with fundamental support, services, and resources to ensure academic and professional success.

Our veteran and military students may use both veterans benefits and financial aid to pay for their education. Military benefits with CU Online include:

  • Waived application fee
  • GI Bill benefits
  • Potential to be awarded credit hours for military training and experience
  • Free tutoring and academic support

Connect with our Enrollment Navigators to learn more about the benefits and financial assistance available to military and veteran students.

Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) 

The CU Denver Business School is a partner of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) — a regional, nonprofit organization that works with universities to improve access to higher education throughout the western United States. WICHE’s Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) allows graduate students with residency in one of 16 qualified states and territories to receive our in-state tuition rates, which can lower the overall cost of your degree. To find out if you’re eligible for WRGP tuition rates, contact an Enrollment Navigator for more details.

Admissions 

Our online MS in Accounting degree is designed for aspiring accountants from any academic background who are looking to prepare for the CPA exam or move into upper-level accounting roles. Students from all undergraduate majors are welcome to apply, and we offer prerequisite courses in accounting and business fundamentals for those who don’t have prior accounting experience.

As you take the first step toward earning your graduate degree, our team of Enrollment Navigators is available to guide you through the application process. We’re here to help answer your questions about admission requirements, application deadlines, start dates, financial aid, international student support and resources, and more. Fill out the form on this page to get connected to an Enrollment Navigator and start exploring your options.

Prerequisites

In order to apply to the Master of Science in Accounting program, you will need to have completed an undergraduate degree in any field from an accredited institution. You do not need work experience or a background in business to apply for this program.

If you do not have any formal accounting education, you will need to complete up to 9 credit hours of prerequisite coursework to ensure that you have a strong foundation in accounting before taking advanced courses.You do not need to have completed the prerequisite coursework in order to apply for the MS in Accounting program, and prerequisites can be waived based on prior academic coursework.

If you have additional questions about the prerequisites for this program, please reach out to an Enrollment Navigator for more information.

Admission Requirements

Once you’re ready to apply to the Master’s in Accounting program, you’ll need to submit the following application materials by the deadline:

  • $50 application fee for domestic applicants; $75 fee for international applicants
  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every college or university attended
  • Essay responses
  • Resume/CV
  • GMAT or GRE test scores, if applicable
  • Letters of recommendation, if applicable
  • English Language Proficiency scores (international applicants only)

When you’re ready to apply to the MS in Accounting program, your Enrollment Navigator will help you through the entire process, from gathering required materials and submitting your application to checking your admissions status and enrolling in CU Online’s MAcc program. After you submit your completed application and required materials, you will be able to check your admission status online. You’ll receive a final admission decision by email within two to three weeks of completing your application.

If you have additional questions about admission requirements for the MS in Accounting program or would like help starting an application, connect with an Enrollment Navigator for more details. 


Completion Time

To graduate with your master’s degree in accounting, you’ll be required to complete a total of 30 credit hours (10 courses). If you need to take prerequisites before starting your MS Accounting coursework, you will be required to complete an additional 9 credit hours (3 prerequisite courses). Our 8-week online courses are optimized for online learning, allowing you to focus on one course at a time and build on the skills you learn throughout your degree program. Our flexible start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters allow you to begin working toward your accounting master’s degree as soon as you’re ready.

Our accounting curriculum is designed to equip you with the in-demand skills and practical experience you need to build a successful accounting career, whether you’re an experienced accountant or you’re looking to make a career change. Many of our students choose to complete their degree on a part-time basis while continuing to work full-time. We allow students to take up to five years to complete their degree, but part-time students who take one course per 8-week term can expect to complete their degree as quickly as 24 months.

Do I need to live near Denver, Colorado to complete this degree?

The MS in Accounting program from CU Denver is offered 100% online, which means you will never be required to attend classes in-person and you will have the flexibility to complete your degree from anywhere. When you join CU Online, you’ll have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with classmates from Colorado as well as throughout the United States and the world. Our asynchronous courses and innovative online learning technologies give you access to the best education that the University of Colorado Denver has to offer at the time and place that’s right for you. You’ll be able to share ideas with your classmates, collaborate on projects, and connect directly with faculty through Canvas, our easy-to-use remote learning platform.

Online Student Support

When you join CU Online, you’ll be connected with a Student Success Coach who will provide personalized support as you work toward your academic, professional, and personal goals. They will be by your side throughout your degree program, celebrating your successes and empowering you to overcome any obstacles.

As your advocate at CU, your Student Success Coach will:

  • Help you register for online courses
  • Introduce you to online learning technologies
  • Act as your liaison for various university departments
  • Work with you to clarify your academic and professional goals
  • Address any challenges you encounter throughout your degree
  • Connect you with university services and resources to help you reach your goals

From helping you stay on track with classes to connecting you with academic and career resources, CU Online offers the support and encouragement you need to make it to graduation and enjoy your journey along the way.


Apply Now

As you consider an online education, we understand that it’s important for you to know that you’re getting a high-quality, affordable, and flexible online education that helps you reach your goals. That’s why our team of Enrollment Navigators is available to offer guidance and answer any questions that you may have about our degree programs, financial aid options, transfer information, admissions requirements, application questions, and more.

Whether you want to talk through your degree plans, learn more about a specific program, or if you are ready to start your application, our Enrollment Navigators will provide friendly support along your journey to becoming a student with CU Online.

Ready to get started? Take the first step toward earning your online degree by calling us at 303-315-3000 or filling out the form above for more information.