In many cases, aspiring accountants have to go to graduate school to earn an online master’s in accounting degree. Why? Because in order to qualify to take the Certified Public Accountant exam, students must have 150 credit hours of education in the field. It is rare that a student would be able to amass such a large number of classes during their undergrad program, so an online master’s in accounting degree is the logical next step. The curricula are often geared specifically toward the CPA exam, with classes and prep courses designed to help you pass with flying colors.
If you haven’t already thought about it, you may want to consider earning your degree online. Distance education offers numerous advantages, from the ability to complete coursework on your own schedule to the opportunity to access top-tier schools all the way across the country. As distance education becomes more popular, dozens of new online colleges pop up, oftentimes with a focus on business and finance. That means you’ll have 50+ schools from which to choose, each with a unique combination of resources, expert faculty members, and academic benefits.
It can be incredibly tedious to research every school in the country that offers a truly affordable degree. Trying to locate the most affordable schools that are also accredited and provide a valuable education is a difficult job! Luckily, we’ve done it for you. Listed below are the 20 least expensive accredited schools offering an online master’s in accounting degree. Information was sourced from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database. They are organized from highest to lowest tuition price, with public schools ranked according to the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
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Cheap Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Program Rankings
20. Brandman University
Online MBA, Business Administration, Accounting
An MBA in Accounting from Brandman University uniquely prepares students to excel in careers that demand in-depth knowledge of both business and finance practices. One of the great features of this online college’s program is that you don’t have to only focus on accounting. In addition to gaining experience in finance and cost management, participants of the program can also earn an emphasis in Entrepreneurship, Health Administration, Human Resources, Marketing, and some other fields. As a highly qualifying program, the MBA at this top online college focuses on instilling innovative thinking, leadership skills, and ethical decision-making in its students. Brandman boasts a long list of accolades, and its online college, in particular, was the recent the recipient of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) West Region’s Engagement Award.
19. University of Scranton
Online Master of Accountancy
The University of Scranton, a Jesuit school with a fully online college division, offers a cheap online master’s in accounting degree to qualified students. Admittants of this top program benefit from the opportunity to study within a college that is AACSB-accredited – a clear indicator of its stellar curriculum. Scranton has also partnered with Wiley CPAExcel to offer a CPA exam prep course that consistently and successfully prepares graduates for work with the “Big Four” accounting firms. In addition to providing technical knowledge, the accredited online college also focuses on delivering “soft skills,” in communication, management, and strategy, to help accountants succeed in professional settings.
18. National University
Online Master of Accountancy
Graduates of the accredited online master’s in accounting degree program at National University can find work in a number of different settings, including corporate and public sector accounting, internal auditing, and nonprofit work. Many graduates of the top online college also land jobs with major government agencies, including the IRS, FBI, and CIA. In order to provide students with the best chance of success, the school has based its curriculum on the content specifications of the CPA exam. National University is a great school in many ways, but minorities, in particular, should pay attention; this online college confers more master’s degrees to minorities than any other postsecondary institution in California making this one of the best online master’s in accounting degree programs for diversity.
17. Gardner-Webb University
Master of Accountancy (MAcc) – Online
The online master’s in accounting degree at Gardner-Webb is designed to help graduates secure positions in both the public and private sectors of finance. In order to maximize the program’s flexibility, this program has created a variety of specialty tracks for your convenience. Choose between tax accounting, forensic accounting, or a general concentration to acquire the broadest skill set. The 30-credit program consists of 15 credits of core courses, 9 elective credits, and six hours in general business classes. Gardner-Webb is a highly lauded school that not only places in the Top 50 on U.S. News’ list of best Southern universities, but also has one of the best online master’s in accounting degrees in the nation.
16. California Baptist University
Online Master of Science in Accounting
California Baptist University has created an online master’s in accounting degree worth emulating by sticking to one basic goal: to prepare practical business leaders who will pass the CPA exam and make effective, ethical contributions to both private companies and public organizations. In addition to learning all the fundamentals of taxation, auditing and assurance, law, finance, and business ethics in this top online master’s in accounting degree program, you will also learn how to use technology and engage people in a way that ensures success. Ranked a “Tier 1” university by U.S. News & World Report, this top online college has claimed a WASC accreditation for 10 years, plus approval from the reputable Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) making this accredited online master’s in accounting degree a sure bet.
15. University of Maryland University College
Online Master of Science in Management: Accounting
The University College offers an online master’s in accounting degree program affiliated with the very popular University of Maryland, a large research institution with far-reaching resources. Students attending this college online glean enormous advantages from attending an institution that <Forbes places in the Top 100 nationally. The school boasts a regional accreditation, global recognition, and connections with many other academic units in the area. Students completing this degree explore finance, management, government policy, information systems, taxation, auditing, and numerous other relevant topics. Graduates work in numerous finance-related fields, from forensics or fraud examination to internal auditing.
Tuition: $8,244/yr (In-state) $11,862/yr (Out-of-state)
14. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online Master of Science With a Major in Accounting (MSA)
Indiana Wesleyan’s 30-credit online master’s in accounting degree is ideal for adult college learners. The virtual system allows attendees to experience nearly everything a traditional student would, including small class sizes, Christian principles, and even access to off-campus libraries. Accounting students study tax preparation, forensic accounting, financial reporting, and auditing, all grounded in a spiritual curriculum that emphasizes communicative and ethical business practices. This affordable online master’s in accounting degree program has many more adult learners than traditional students, which makes professional and part-time students feel right at home. U.S. News currently lists the school as one of the best Master’s universities in the Midwest, making this school a wise investment.
13. Concordia University Wisconsin
Accounting: MBA Concentration Online
Concordia University Wisconsin is a Christian college that offers a cheap online master’s in accounting degree grounded in spiritual ethics. This accredited online college offers numerous degree programs for busy working adults, all through a convenient, flexible distance education. The program permits students to further specialize in several unique interest areas, such as environmental studies or risk management. This feature allows graduates to aptly position themselves for successful careers in specific subsets of finance. The curriculum also requires a Capstone Course, but members of the online college don’t have to submit a thesis or supplementary GRE scores. The majority of students report being highly satisfied with their experience at the school, and also cite knowledgeable professors as a reason for the university’s wide appeal.
12. Western International University
Online Accounting (Master of Science)
Students who want to earn an online master’s in accounting degree should consider turning to Western International University. Academic advisors are on hand to coach you through your future degree and can help you choose from courses like “Global Communication for Professionals,” “Accounting Theory and Research,” and “Federal Taxation.” Even students who have no transfer credits can take just one course a month and graduate in less than a year and a half. WIU is already cheap, but tuition that includes the cost of books and materials makes it an even more affordable online college. The website Grad Reports reveals that 82% of alumni recommend the school and 75% experienced an improvement in their career.
Liberty University’s cheap online master’s in accounting degree program is perfect for professional students. Liberty distinguishes itself as one of the best online colleges for accounting students by offering instruction not just in the technical areas of finance and mathematics, but also in written and oral communication skills, research competencies, and management abilities. You will study taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, and more in a supportive virtual environment. Group discussions facilitate practice in critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Online-accounting-degrees.net currently lists Liberty as the 11th best online master’s in accounting degree program.
10. St. Joseph’s College of Maine
Master of Accountancy Degree Online
Students looking for a reputable online master’s in accounting degree program may find a solution at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. SJC requires students to complete 36 credits, all of which are offered in a unique 10-week format. You can take multiple courses at a time over five semesters a year, and ultimately complete the program in fewer than two years. Professors employ a dialogue-intensive strategy and encourage students to engage in active problem-solving. Students must also submit a number of written assignments to develop their communication abilities. FindtheBest gives this accredited online college an 88/100 “Smart Rating,” which speaks to the impressive selectivity, academic excellence, and affordability of this program.
9. University of South Dakota
Online Master of Professional Accountancy
The online master’s in accounting degree program at the University of South Dakota is part of the school’s fully accredited College of Business. With a curriculum approved by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, South Dakota’s program has been rated one of the 295 best online master’s in accounting degrees in the nation, according to Princeton Review. The program is particularly targeted to students who want to sit for the CPA exam and become public accountants. The online and hybrid versions of the program are only available part-time, but those local to the campus can also attend traditional classes to achieve full-time status.
Tuition: $5,050/yr (In-state) $10,687/yr (Out-of-state)
Students at Saint Leo University enrolled in the master’s in accounting degree online enjoy classes like “Fraud Examination,” “Federal Taxation of Business Entities,” and “Accounting Theory.” All program members are required to complete 30 credits (10 courses) in order to earn their degree. Graduates are qualified to take the CPA exam and find work for the government, non-profits, or private corporations. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report named the accredited online college one of the best universities in the South making this one of the best online master’s in accounting degrees.
7. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Online M.S. in in Accountancy
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an accredited online master’s in accounting degree that is tailored to the needs of aspiring CPAs. Students earning their master’s in accounting degree online learn relevant business topics while also gaining in-demand professional accounting skills. Interested students can also sit for the CMA exam upon graduation, and those local to the area may also qualify to take classes at the Twin Cities Campus. U.S. News ranks this top online college #181 out of all universities in the nation and also lists it as the 63rd best college for veterans. Other benefits include affordable tuition, on-demand technical support, and an iPad included with your admission!
Post University offers an incredibly affordable online master’s in accounting degree program. The program is a part of the nationally-ranked Malcolm Baldridge School of Business and is offered in sections of 8-week, accelerated courses. In addition, “Dough Roller” named Post the 4th best online college in the nation in 2012, while the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership gave this program a “Gold Level Innovation Prize” in 2013 making it one of the best online master’s in accounting degrees. Classes cover a comprehensive array of topics, including “Enterprise Risk Management,” “Non-Profit and Governmental Accounting,” and “Research and Writing for the Accounting Profession.”
Grand Canyon University’s 34-credit M.S. in Accounting is available both online and through evening, on-campus classes. All classes are taught by high-caliber faculty, while small class sizes ensure that you still experience the same level of attention you’d enjoy in a traditional classroom. Students completing the online master’s in accounting degree take two capstone courses and also earn applied research experience by training with electronic databases. The program is also unique in that there are two courses devoted entirely to CPA exam preparation, and many courses also include an emphasis on ethical practices. College Prowler reviews indicate that students most often praise the school for its valuable education and knowledgeable professors.
4. Western Governors University
Online Master of Science in Accounting
Western Governors University is not just a great choice for graduate-level accounting students because of its caliber, it also has a reputation for being a very cheap online college. It’s lost cost per year allows more college students to earn an affordable online degree and take advantage of its flexible scheduling options. This program covers topics as diverse as management communication, fraud and forensic accounting, and advanced auditing. In 2013 Fast Company named WGU one of the most innovative companies in the country, while in 2011 Washington Monthly called it “the school for-profits should fear.”
3. University of Massachusetts Amherst
Online Master of Science in Accounting
In response to the demand from talented students, the University of Massachusetts Amherst created this online master’s in accounting degree, which is both challenging and interesting. Going fully online in spring 2015, the program now offers 12-week sessions that you can supplement with “hybrid” classes over the summer. Graduates of the program can both sit for the CPA exam and earn licensure in their state. Classes include “Professional Responsibilities for Accountants,” “Taxes and Business Decisions,” and “Financial Statement Analysis,” plus many other core and elective options. UMass is not only the flagship institution of the state system, but its Isenberg School of Management is internationally recognized for its impressive quality and top virtual programs.
Tuition: $2,640/yr (In-state) $9,937/yr (Out-of-state)
2. American Public University
Online Master of Science in Accounting
American Public University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in accounting degree programs in the United States, and is regularly recognized as having top programs by U.S. News & World Report. Tuition is low but graduation rates are high, and median student debt is below average. The prestigious Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) approves the program’s curriculum, which is chock full of relevant training and professional skill development. Students gain theoretical knowledge while also addressing complex accounting issues and enhancing their communication and problem-solving skills. Graduates can work in any sector of accounting, including the government, private corporations, and non-profits.
1. Fitchburg State University
Master of Business Administration in Accounting Online
Fitchburg State University is a great choice for accounting students because of its almost unbelievably affordable online college tuition rates. Despite being so inexpensive, the school nonetheless offers high-quality classes, delivered via the business school. Students attending the college online complete 30 credits in foundational business courses, such as marketing, quantitative analysis, and finance, as well as specialized accounting topics, like accounting information systems and advanced financial accounting issues. Fitchburg boasts accreditations from several agencies, and U.S. News lists it as one of the top postsecondary institutions in the North. Students earning their online master’s in accounting degree can also explore the Human Resources and Management concentrations entirely through distance education.
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.