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Best 16 MSA Programs in California in 2021

April 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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California is home to numerous accredited MSA programs that prepare students with the required courses to earn their CPA and to pass the exam.  The following MSA programs in California have been ranked according to a matrix of cost, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.  Every single program on this list is accredited by the AACSB.  The schools provide the best programs for professionals in California seeking to earn the MSA and become a certified public accountant.  

16 MSA Programs in California

1

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

The profession of accounting is evolving as rapidly as most other careers, with new technologies, global markets, and changing laws.  The University of Southern California offers a cutting edge Master of Accountancy program that meets the needs of today’s world to prepare tomorrow’s top accountants and CPA’s.  This program is delivered entirely online, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere.  Within the program students further their knowledge of theory, technical, research, and communication skills.  Graduates have gained exceptional employment in public, private, and government sectors as auditors and CPA’s.

School Overview

Tuition: $59,260
Student- Faculty Ratio: 8:1
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2

San Diego State University

  • San Diego, California
  • Graduation Rate: 83%

Anyone seeking an in-depth education and experience in accountancy in a rapidly evolving world, will find the MSA program at San Diego State University to meet those needs.  Students are prepared to meet the challenges and demands of their career.  They have three concentrations to choose from as they earn their degree; accounting information systems, financial reporting, and taxation.  The entire program can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months, with most courses being held in the evening.  San Diego State University also boasts a high ROI for this particular program. 

School Overview

Tuition: $270 Per Unit (Resident) $666 Per Unit (Non-Resident)
Student- Faculty Ratio: 25:1
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3

University of California Irvine

  • Irvine, California
  • Graduation Rate: 87%

The University of California Irvine offers a Master of Accounting program for both professionals that have an undergraduate degree in accounting and for those that are making a career change and do not.  With both 1 and 2 year programs that immerse students into the advanced knowledge and technology available in today’s world of finance.  Students are given an optional summer intensive program that prepares them to begin the MPAc program and succeed.  Graduates are also provided with 36 months of optional practical training that is especially beneficial for companies providing immigration sponsorship. 

School Overview

Tuition: $11,442
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
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4

Azusa Pacific University

  • Azusa, California
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

For those seeking to become CPAs and earn their Master of Professional Accountancy degree at an affordable cost then look no further, Azusa Pacific University offers just that.  With goals of preparing every student to have adequate internship opportunities, pass the CPA exam, and find placement in a CPA firm upon graduation Azusa has set itself apart and its students.  Many graduates find career placement within the Big Four firms as well.  The curriculum is rigorous and prepares students to succeed, not only in the classroom but in the field as they practice as professionals.

School Overview

Tuition: $672 Per Unit
Student- Faculty Ratio: 12:1
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5

California Baptist University

  • Riverside, California
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

Those seeking to advance their careers as educated and professional leaders in the accounting industry will find the MSA program at California Baptist University to be exactly what help them reach their goals.  This innovative degree is entirely online and designed with the professional in mind.  Students explore topics such as auditing and assurance, taxation, business law, financial accounting and business ethics.  Graduates have the advanced knowledge, understanding, critical thinking skills, and communication skills to advance their career within this evolving industry. 

School Overview

Tuition: $62 Per Unit
Student- Faculty Ratio: 14:1
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6

San Francisco State University

  • San Francisco, California
  • Graduation Rate: 79%

San Francisco State University understands that students entering the MSA program come from different levels of experience and availability during their graduate studies, that is why they offer two tracks to earn an MSA.  The first track is an accelerated program that is designed for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting from an accredited school.  This program requires only 10 courses to earn an MSA.  The second track is designed for those that might be changing careers or need a more flexible schedule.  This track is helpful for those that are full-time working professionals and offers evening and weekend classes.  Both award the same MSA degree upon completion. 

School Overview

Tuition: $4,222
Student- Faculty Ratio: 22:1
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7

California Polytechnic University Pomona

  • Pomona, California
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

The accelerated Master of Science in Accountancy program at California Polytechnic University Pomona prepares students to become licensed CPAs with the required courses and licensing exam.  This program is designed for working professionals with classes on Saturdays and a blend of face to face instruction, online, and hybrid.  Graduates of this program are highly skilled and gain the knowledge and skills required for success in the evolving field.  The program meets all the standards and requirements for CPA licensure in the state of California.  

School Overview

Tuition: $24,338
Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
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8

Saint Mary’s College of California

  • Moraga, California
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

Are you looking to increase your salary? Maybe you are seeking to have a leadership role within a business or corporation, or maybe just seeking advanced knowledge and skills in your current profession as an accountant.  If any of these describe you, then earning your MSA at Saint Mary’s College California is a perfect way to meet those goals.  The MSA program trains accounting professionals in areas of auditing, financial accounting, accounting information systems, business ethics, and more.  The duration of the program is 11 months and is currently offered entirely online.

School Overview

Tuition: $33,509
Student- Faculty Ratio: 12:1
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9

San Jose State University

  • San Jose, California
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Professionals living in the Silicon Valley that desire to become CPAs will find an outstanding MSA program at San Jose State University that prepares them for the competitive market of the area.  Students have two admission dates, one in the fall and the other in the spring to allow more students to be part of this exceptional program.  The MSA program is a flexible program that allows working professionals to earn their advanced degree and it is also designed for both accountants and those making a career change.  That means students do not need to hold a bachelors in accounting to apply or enroll in this program.  However they will need to complete the Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals.

School Overview

Tuition: $4,643
Student- Faculty Ratio: 27:1
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10

University of California Riverside

  • Riverside, California
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

The Master of Professional Accountancy at the University of California Riverside prepares students with not only the education requirements to earn their CPA but also the preparation to pass the exam and be confident working as an independent CPA in private or public sectors.  Students will learn audit and assurance, taxation, accounting information systems, and ethics.   Currently there are two tracks offered for interested students, an accelerated track designed for those with a bachelors in accounting and experience, this track can be completed in 9 months.  The second track is designed for those making a career change and do not have an undergraduate degree in accounting, but do hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.  This program can be completed in 15 months.

School Overview

Tuition: $13,584
Student- Faculty Ratio: 22:1
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11

University of San Diego

  • San Diego, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

Those that are seeking small class sizes, personal mentoring from expert faculty, and leadership training will find the perfect program at the University of San Diego.   Students seeking to advance their knowledge and career potential with either a Masters in Accounting or a Masters in Taxation will find personalized programs for each.  Students gain hands-on experience as they learn ethical leadership and negotiate financial strategies as they work with clients.  Students also have access to on on-campus recruiting and interviewing from top accounting firms in the area. 

Student Overview

Tuition: $1,555
Student- Faculty Ratio: 12:1
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12

University of the Pacific

  • Stockton, California
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

Boasting a 100% placement rate the Master of Accounting program at the University of the Pacific prepares students to become leaders in the field of accounting.  Those holding a bachelors in accounting can complete the entire program in two semesters and be hired at a top accounting firm.  Those seeking a change of career can still earn their MSA, it will take longer, closer to three or four semesters depending on previous courses taken within their bachelor’s degree.  Students can also take a variety of advanced courses such as forensic accounting, supply chain financial management, advanced federal taxation, and more.  

School Overview

Tuition: $1,566
Student- Faculty: 14:1
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13

Woodbury University

  • Burbank, California
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

At Woodbury University students can earn their MBA with their concentration in accounting.  This concentration will prepare students with the required courses to earn become CPAs or to advance in the accounting leadership of various firms.  Students take courses in managerial accounting, corporate finance, tax theory and application, and more.  This intensive program can be completed in as little as one year if students are able to commit to 12 courses (36 credits). Students gain leadership skills as they participate in community based learning environments.  

School Overview

Tuition: $1,365 Per Unit
Student- Faculty Overview: 9:1
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14

California State University Sacramento

  • Sacramento, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

The innovative online MSA program at California State University Sacramento has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top 75 programs in the nation.  With an engaging online delivery method that utilizes streaming video, instant messaging, and other online materials ensure student success.  Students learn advanced accounting practices, business law, ethics, and more.  Students are also exposed to the most recent accounting developments including financial, managerial, auditing, internal accounting, and accounting information systems. 

School Overview

Tuition: $755 Per Unit
Student- Faculty Ratio: 24:1
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15

California State University East Bay

  • Hayward, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

The MSA program at California State University East Bay takes 17  months to complete and thoroughly prepares students to qualify for and pass the CPA exam.  The focus of the program is on the knowledge of U.S. and International financial reporting and auditing standards, taxation, business laws and regulations.  As this is a cohort based program, students are accepted into the program only once per year each fall semester.  Graduates pursue a wide range of careers in the public, private, and government sectors of accounting.

School Overview

Tuition: $755 Per Unit
Student- Faculty Ratio: 23:1
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16

California State University Long Beach

  • Long Beach, California
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

Many students that enroll in the MSA program at California State University Long Beach do so to enable them to complete the requirements for the CPA licensure.  This is a fast track 11 month program that is designed using the cohort model.  Students are prepared to address the  complex accounting practices, tax laws, business methods while utilizing the latest technology.  They gain advanced knowledge across areas such as tax, corporate governance, and ethics.  The program prepares students for the CPA exam and offers test prep built into the program throughout the 11 months. 

School Overview

Tuition: $14,760
Student- Faculty Ratio: 26:1
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