Best 15 Masters in Accounting Programs in 2020 - Best Value Schools

    Best 15 Masters in Accounting Programs in 2020

    Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

    When considering any program for a master’s degree, there are a tremendous number of factors to consider. Those seeking an advanced degree in accounting can benefit from weighing factors that address the rigor of curriculum and post-degree benefits. To begin whittling down the best schools, we will be looking at four factors: tuition, business school accreditation, graduation rates, and first attempt CPA exam pass rate (where available).

    Tuition

    All costs are for a full-time graduate student for one academic year (two semesters). These costs do not include housing and are listed for out-of-state students. Some schools have reduced rates for in-state students.

    Accreditation

    In addition to accreditation done by regional bodies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the field of accounting is also accredited at many business schools. This type of accreditation can be done by different bodies and is vital for those who plan to make accounting their career. There are three types of business school accreditation:

    • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
    • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
    • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

    These forms of accreditation are benchmarks indicating a college’s or university’s dedication to providing an excellent business and/or accounting education. They take into consideration things like the quality of the faculty and curriculum, and devotion of institutional resources to research. This gives prospective students greater insight into the academic quality of the program.

    AACSB is better known and has a long history than the other two, and brings more prestige to a research-based program. It accredits business schools as well as individual accounting programs. AACSB is an accreditation that may weigh more heavily for students interested in pursuing careers in academia. All the top schools listed here are AACSB accredited.

    While not among the schools listed here, ACBSP and IACBE are accreditations that are also considered indications of a quality program by prospective students. These forms of accreditation are often held by smaller and/or private programs for baccalaureate or master’s degrees.

    Graduation and CPA Pass Rates

    Graduations rates should be seen as a positive indicator because it helps to understand the program and the faculty’s ability to successfully matriculate students through a demanding program. While graduation rates are important, particularly for rigorous programs, the exams for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are a notoriously difficult exam and can be an equal measure of preparedness after graduation. The overall pass rate for graduate degree holders is 58.3%, so any percentage significantly above that is a testament to a master’s in accounting program’s quality of instruction and preparedness. Where provided, successful first-time pass rates on the CPA exam are included.

    Rank School Location
    1Brigham Young UniversityProvo, Utah
    2Rice UniversityHouston, Texas
    3Emory UniversityAtlanta, Georgia
    4University of VirginiaCharlottesville, Virginia
    5University of WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin

    What are the best Masters in Accounting Programs?

    1

    Brigham Young University

    • Provo, Utah
    • Graduation Rate: 62%

    BYU offers both an integrated program for students who get their baccalaureate degree and master’s in accounting, and a non-integrated program for those who achieve their four-year degree from a different accredited college or university.

    School Overview

    Non-LDS Tuition: $26,900
    Graduation Rate: 89%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 89.2%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    2

    Rice University

    • Houston, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 93%

    Rice’s Master of Accounting program welcomes all undergraduate majors and gives students the opportunity to sit for the CPA exam in only 10 months.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $50,310
    Graduation Rate: 95%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 90.8%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    3

    Emory University

    • Atlanta, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 90%

    Emory offers a wide range of attendance options, from one- or two-year programs, to an Executive masters, or even an MS in accounting online.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $50,590
    Graduation Rate: 90%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 89.9%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    4

    University of Virginia

    • Charlottesville, Virginia
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    The Economist has ranked the university’s Darden School full-time master’s program number one for best business education experience in the U.S. for nine consecutive years.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $30,926
    Graduation Rate: 94%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 89%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    5

    University of Wisconsin

    • Madison, Wisconsin
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    A career specialization model allows students the opportunity for experiential learning and engagement with high-level industry contacts.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $38,791
    Graduation Rate: 85%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 87.2%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Georgetown University

    • Washington, D.C.
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Available as a full-time or flexible option, both programs have access to the same high level of faculty and extensive alumni network.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $53,520
    Graduation Rate: 94%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 85.2%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    7

    University of Florida

    • Gainesville, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    UF’s Warrington College of Business offers flexibility in programs, combined degrees, and extensive specialization tracks.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $25,694
    Graduation Rate: 90%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 84.8%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    8

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    • Champaign, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    UI’s reputation as a top 10 public business school and access to one of the great US research institutions make it a good program to consider. It also ranked fourth as a business school with the best employment record in 2018.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $37,400
    Graduation Rate: 85%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: 80%
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    9

    New York University

    • New York City, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    The Stern School offers a one-year, full-time masters in accounting on campus in one of the world’s greatest financial capitals.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $56,508
    Graduation Rate: 85%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    10

    Stanford University

    • Stanford, California
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Home to Nobel Prize-winning economists, Stanford’s program has an MSx program designed to accomplish your goal in one year, a great advantage for mid-career professionals.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $24,902
    Graduation Rate: 94%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    11

    University of Chicago

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    With campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong, students have access to the world’s leading business school faculty.

    School Overview

    Tuition $49,734
    Graduation Rate 94%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    12

    University of Michigan

    • Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    Ranked in the top 10 (number 9) for full-time business graduate programs by The Economist, and the number one public university in the country, UM gives students real-world business leadership skills.

    School Overview

    Tuition $35,524
    Graduation Rate 92%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    13

    University of Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Graduation Rate: 95%

    The Wharton School is world-renowned for its leadership development, innovation, and access to a vast global perspective.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $74,500
    Graduation Rate: 95%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    14

    University of Southern California

    • Los Angeles, California
    • Graduation Rate: 92%

    With three areas of focus in their master’s programs, students can choose from a standard Master of Accounting degree or one that emphasizes data and analytics, or business taxation.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $48,705
    Graduation Rate: 90%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website
    15

    The University of Texas

    • Austin, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    Uniquely located to take advantage of Austin’s entrepreneurial scene, this program is ranked first in the nation for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in accounting by US News & World Report’s Public Accounting Report.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $24,516
    Graduation Rate: 81%
    CPA First-time Pass Rate: unavailable
    AACSB Accreditation
    Visit School Website

    The stated criteria of affordability and CPA first-time pass rate (where available) were a focus for ranking programs. Flexibility in timelines for degree completion was also considered.

    If your school is included and you have comments or updates on your school’s information, please contact us.

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