Top Graduate Programs for Accounting Majors

There are several benefits to earning a master’s degree in accounting. In many programs, graduates earn the required credit hours to sit for the CPA exam before having to take a full-time job. In addition, a master’s degree can assist you with earning more money over your career. The time commitment averages two years, although some schools offer a fast-track program that can be completed in ten months. Below find the top five programs according to the US News and World Report’s 2014 listing.

University of Texas – Austin (McCombs School of Business)

The McCombs School of Business offers an MBA with a concentration on accounting. Full-time tuition costs between $34,000-$50,000 per year depending on whether the student is in-state. McCombs is top of its class in many programs, and earning a degree comes with a immediate credibility. A unique program called Venture Fellows places students in internships at venture capital and private equity firms. The acceptance rate for the MBA program averages 29 percent for full-time students.

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School)

Wharton School also offers an MBA with the option to concentrate in accounting.  Some students pursue accelerated degrees such as an MBA in conjunction with JD (law degree). Wharton’s program is heavily geared toward analytics, focusing on employing quantitative data to make critical decisions. Courses emphasize how accounting information is generated and utilized. Acceptance rates average 19 percent. Tuition totals $57,000 per year for full-time students.

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois s Master of Accounting Science is a one-year program for students with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy.  This program offers dynamic curriculum with world-reknown faculty members. In addition, the University of Illinois partners with Big-Four CPA firms more than any other academic institution.  Tuition averages between $20,000 and $30,000 per year for full-time students depending on whether the student is an in-state resident.

University of (Booth School of Business)

The Booth School of Business also offers an MBA with the option to choose an accounting concentration.  Booth offers the MBA accounting student the opportunity to explore complex real-world accounting issues by providing activities outside the classroom. Examples are participation in programs such as the Distressed Investing and Restructuring Group or the American Bankruptcy Institution Corporate Restructuring Competition. Both offer in-depth analysis of accounting issues related with crisis management. The acceptance rate is approximately 23 percent. Tuition for full-time students is $56,000 per year for full-time students.

The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross School of Business)

The Ross School of Business offers a Master of Accounting program that qualifies graduates to sit for the CPA exam in all 50 states. In addition, Ross students have one of the highest CPA passing rates in the nation. Ross boasts cross-functional expertise that provides students with the skills to adapt in an ever-changing business environment. Tuition is between $50,000 and $55,000 per year depending on whether in-state residence status. Acceptance averages 41 percent.


Whether applying for an MBA or MS program, be sure to get your applications in early. Most deadlines are in the Spring, so you should try to have all yours material ready by early February.


About Sara Huter

Sara Huter has over 15 years experience in the banking and energy industries, and over 10 years as an adjunct professor. Her work has been published for, the International Directory of Company Histories, the Encyclopedia of Business Insights: Global,, and Find out more about Sara at her Google+ Profile.