Image of Business Instructional Facility

Nov 22, 2021 2021-11 Accountancy Faculty

Two paths. One Destination. The Gies Accounting Master’s Degree Program

It’s easy to see why there might be some confusion surrounding the Master of Accounting Science (MAS) and Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) programs at Gies College of Business. For one thing, their names are practically identical. And for another, they both achieve the same end — giving graduates the skills required to not only succeed, but to excel. While the destination may be the same, each program is designed for students starting their journey from very different places.

The Master of Accounting Science is what you probably envision when you think of a typical master’s degree — a focused program that starts with the accounting skills you’ve already developed and takes them to another level. If you have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a US college or university and a GPA of 3.0 or higher, then this is the program for you. Full stop.

Students enrolled in the MAS program choose their primary area of focus — financial reporting & assurance or taxation — then select electives in their chosen area of concentration. Options include data analytics, corporate governance & international business, supply chain management, and finance.

The focus on data science and analytics is one of the aspects that makes the MAS unique, according to Associate Professor Nerissa Brown, academic director for the program. “The Gies MAS was one of the first programs nationwide to develop a standalone data analytics concentration, and it is still the largest program in the nation to offer a dedicated suite of analytics courses.”

The innovative program is designed to be completed in two semesters, and half of admitted students receive an assistantship or scholarship, making it a very affordable option for accounting grads looking to excel. There’s also no GMAT/GRE requirement for 2022. It’s a great program if you already have a US accounting degree. But what if you have a degree in a very different field – or an accounting degree from outside the US?

That’s where the Master of Science in Accountancy comes into play. “The MSA degree offers an incredible opportunity to pivot your career in just a short 12 months,” explains Rachel Schwartz, academic director of the program. The MSA is also attractive for those looking to cross-pollinate degree or combine a non-US accounting degree with a graduate US accounting degree. And it prepares students like no other. In fact, 100% of the program’s domestic graduates and 85% of the international graduates landed a job within six months of graduation.

You can join the MSA with an undergraduate degree in any discipline. You just need at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and prerequisites in financial accounting, finance, statistics, business management and economics. GMAT/GRE scores and TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for international students, but the former is waived for students who complete four-year degrees in the US and international students with significant work experience.

The MSA offers core courses in accounting, audit, tax, and data analytics, with an optional CPA review course. In addition, students receive a customized study plan designed to fit their unique academic background. “We recognize that students are often coming from very different places,” says Schwartz. “They might have had most of the courses a typical accounting graduate receives or they may be lacking in several key areas. We recognize those differences, and then we provide the missing pieces to get them up to speed.”

In the end, both programs provide an exceptional STEM-designated accounting degree from a graduate program ranked No. 2 in the nation and led by faculty who rank No. 1 in their field. There’s also another advantage applicants should consider — the power of connections. “Our global alumni network is second to none, as Gies produces the highest number of accounting graduates worldwide,” said Brown. “Our alumni network spans all facets of business, including the non-profit and governmental fields, so being able to tap into this network is a game-changer for many of our students.” If you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, apply for your spot today.