Top 25 Cheap Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs 2018

online masters in accounting degree programsAspiring accountants often have to go to graduate school to earn an online master’s in accounting degree before they can work professionally. Why? Because to qualify to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, students must have 150 credit hours of education in accounting. There are many other specialized credentials – in areas such as management accounting (CMA) and internal auditing (CIA), for example – that come with strict academic requirements as well.

In most cases, students can’t meet these requirements through an undergraduate program. So an online master’s in accounting degree is the logical next step. The curricula for these programs are often geared toward specific credentialing exams, with classes and prep courses designed to help you pass with flying colors.

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The Master’s in Accounting from Syracuse University allows you to earn the credits you need to sit for the CPA exam in a flexible online format. GMAT waivers are available. Get more information here.

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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, often with a focus on business and finance. That means you’ll have dozens of schools from which to choose, each with a unique combination of resources, expert faculty members, and academic benefits.

The 25 Best Online Accounting Master’s Degree Programs Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer graduate accounting programs online. All of the programs we considered are actively conferring degrees (meaning they all produced at least ten graduates last year) and are available 100% online.

And because of our focus on affordable schools, we only considered degree programs with an average* cost-per-credit of $1,000 or less.

*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates. Note that we acquired financial data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Therefore, values are approximate. Be sure to check each program’s website or speak with an admissions representative for the most up-to-date tuition information.

Ranking Factors

To rank the value of each master’s degree in accounting online, we defined four cost and quality metrics. These were:

  • Affordability: What is the average charge per credit? (weighted 20% of the total score)
  • Convenience: What is the minimum amount of time required to complete the degree? (weighted 20% of the total score)
  • Customizability: Can students customize their coursework through electives and/or concentration options? How many concentrations are available? (weighted 30% of the total score)
  • Popularity: What percentage of all business graduate students choose to major in accounting?* (weighted 30% of the total score)

*The significance of this metric is affected by the total number of business programs that the college offers. For example, a school might enroll 30% of its business students in the accounting major, but that’s not very impressive if the department only offers two programs. Therefore, we calculated a “popularity index:” PI = % of business graduate students in accounting + the total number of business programs available.

After adding up each program’s score in all four categories, we scaled the results so that the top-scoring college earned 100 points. The 25 programs that received the highest scores (50 points or more) made our final ranking. Keep scrolling to find out more!

Note: This article contains sponsored links. These are designed to help you connect with programs easily.

Cheap Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Program Rankings


National University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

If you’re new to the field but want to earn an accredited master’s in accounting online, National University’s program might fit the bill.

25. National University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
Students without an undergraduate degree in accounting will appreciate National University’s affordable online master’s in accounting program. The curriculum doesn’t assume background knowledge in the subject, instead providing a broad set of courses that cover several intro-level concepts. Many of the courses also focus on topics that are essential for passing the CPA exam. But aspiring public accountants aren’t the only ones who should be interested in this degree. The generalized curriculum leaves graduates ready for myriad careers in the field, from governmental accounting to work in the nonprofit sector.
Average Cost: $416/credit
Score: 50.39

Indiana Wesleyan University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The top online accounting master’s degree program at Indiana Wesleyan incorporates Christian ethics and a biblical framework.

24. Indiana Wesleyan University

Online MS in Accounting

Website
Although coursework addresses many types of accounting, this 30-credit-hour program primarily emphasizes work with organizations and within business environments. Because IWU is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, classes also incorporate a “biblical framework” and place a strong focus on Christian ethics. But one of the biggest perks of attending this accredited online MAcc program is the chance to participate in cohort-style learning. This model seeks to recreate classroom experiences in a virtual space by dividing program members into small groups. You and the other students in your group will take all of your classes together, giving you the chance to develop relationships and work together over multiple semesters.
Average Cost: $523/credit
Score: 53.34

Western Governors University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

At WGU, you can earn a cheap online master’s in accounting and set yourself up for a successful career.

23. Western Governors University

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Website
Western Governors University offers one of the best online accounting master’s degree programs for fast learners. The reason? It utilizes a competency-based pedagogy in which students earn credits by directly demonstrating their understanding (i.e., by taking exams) rather than simply accruing a certain number of hours in the classroom. As such, the program is probably best suited to students who have some background knowledge in accounting and can move through the curriculum quickly. In addition to traditional finance topics, coursework also emphasizes important business skills like communication and decision-making. Given that it’s also one of the most affordable degrees on this list, there’s no denying WGU offers one of the best values in accounting education.
Average Cost: $325/credit
Score: 55.17

University of Scranton Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The Jesuit-affiliated University of Scranton boasts one of the best online MAcc programs for producing ethical, responsible leaders in the field.

22. University of Scranton

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
Students who want to earn an accredited master’s degree in accounting online and feel strongly about ethical practice should check out the University of Scranton. As a Jesuit institution, Scranton highlights the importance of social responsibility, education, and integrity in all its programs. This philosophy is especially relevant in accounting, a field all too often plagued by fraud and greed. Fortunately, Scranton grads have the skills to act as examples of ethics-driven leadership in the workforce. And if you’re planning to sit for the CPA exam, enrolling in this program will grant you discounted access to one of the best exam prep courses in the country.
Average Cost: $946/credit
Score: 56.53

Franklin University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

You can choose from two pathways as you pursue your top master’s degree in accounting online at Franklin University.

21. Franklin University

Online Accounting Master’s Degree Program

Website
Franklin University has one of the few accredited master’s in accounting online programs that allow for customization through different “pathways” (i.e., concentrations). After completing their core coursework, students select one of two specialties: Taxation or Financial Operations. Each consists of four career-relevant classes and provides real-world examples to prepare you for work in your chosen field. You’ll also use industry tools and software to work on accountancy issues and communicate your findings. And because Franklin’s purpose as an institution is to give adult learners accessible and flexible higher education options, the school lets you arrange your course schedule to meet your needs.
Average Cost: $647/credit
Score: 57.6

Florida Atlantic University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

FAU faculty have designed three accredited online accounting master’s degree programs with the needs of working adults in mind.

20. Florida Atlantic University

Online Executive Master of Accounting

Website
Florida Atlantic University offers not one, but three top online master’s in accounting programs – all thoughtfully tailored to the needs of busy professionals. For example, the Master of Taxation program offers a break in the spring semester so that working students can focus on getting through tax season. The other two programs – in Forensic and Professional Accounting – also provide plenty of flexibility. You can live-stream lectures for a more engaging classroom experience, or watch the recordings later on your own time. FAU also lets online learners take classes at their Fort Lauderdale campus if they live locally.
Average Cost: $698/credit
Score: 59.12

Georgia Southern University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Georgia Southern provides a comprehensive, interactive experience for students earning their affordable master’s in accounting online.

19. Georgia Southern University

Online Master of Accounting

Website
Applicants to Georgia Southern’s AACSB-accredited WebMAcc program don’t technically need to have an undergraduate degree in accounting. However, the curriculum comes with a stringent set of prerequisites, so it will be useful if you’ve taken at least a few classes in the subject. And the comprehensiveness of this program ultimately pays off, as graduates are well-prepared with the skills they need – from research to problem-solving – to deal with myriad real-world situations. Students enrolled in this top master’s degree in accounting online will also appreciate GSU’s use of the cohort model. This team-based approach helps maximize interactivity and engagement for distance learners.
Average Cost: $691/credit
Score: 59.85

Emporia State University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

After graduating from Emporia State’s top online master’s in accounting program, you can sit for the CPA exam in Kansas.

18. Emporia State University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
Don’t want to take the GMAT or GRE? You’re in luck! Emporia State will provide an exam waiver for any student who graduated from an AACSB-accredited undergraduate program with a GPA of 3.50 or higher. But that’s not the only reason to buy into Emporia’s cheap online MAcc program. For an extremely reasonable cost, this curriculum offers all the courses that Kansas residents need to meet the 150-hour requirement and sit for the CPA exam. And even if you don’t plan to work in public accounting, you’ll appreciate this program’s expansive list of electives covering a wide range of financial subfields.
Average Cost: $507/credit
Score: 60.18

George Mason University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

GMU has one of the best master’s degrees in accounting online for students who can enroll full-time.

17. George Mason University

Online MS in Accounting

Website
Applicants to George Mason University’s accredited master’s in accounting online program have the option to attend part- or full-time. The latter option should be especially exciting to impatient students, as you’ll be able to earn your degree in just 11 months! But regardless of schedule, all program participants benefit from self-paced learning that incorporates the latest technology and career-oriented concepts. And if you lack hands-on experience, you can boost your skills (and receive credit) by completing an internship. What’s more, the curriculum features a unique “global residency” requirement. During this week-long, professor-led “international study tour,” you’ll travel overseas to participate in seminars and meet prominent business leaders in the field.
Average Cost: $961/credit
Score: 63.34

University of Alabama at Birmingham Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The accredited online MAcc program at UAB uses a technology-focused curriculum to help accountants develop their skills.

16. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Online Master’s Degree in Accounting

Website
Numerous ranking sites have recognized the quality of UAB’s top online accounting master’s degree program, and it’s easy to see why. First, the AACSB-accredited curriculum will help you develop your skills and harness the latest technology to become a leader in your field. At the same time, you’ll benefit from access to seasoned professors who bring a wealth of industry knowledge to the classroom. And as graduation nears, the school’s robust professional development center is on hand to help students articulate their career goals. On top of everything else, this flexible, five-semester program (which is open to experienced professionals and newcomers alike) maintains a generous credit transfer policy.
Average Cost: $666/credit
Score: 63.8

Edgewood College Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Earning a top master’s degree in accounting online from Edgewood gives you the chance to choose from diverse electives.

15. Edgewood College

Online MS Accountancy

Website
Edgewood College’s broad-based online accounting master’s degree program prepares graduates for work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, making it a great choice for students of all backgrounds and career goals. The curriculum incorporates foundational coursework in business and accounting; all centered around the bedrock ideas of innovation, a global mindset, and corporate responsibility. After completing your core classes, you can choose electives that help narrow your focus. For example, you can take the two-part Volunteer Income Tax Assistance class if you’d like to use your skills to help underserved communities. And if cost is a concern, you’ll appreciate that Edgewood offers a modest graduate scholarship to help offset the financial burden of earning your degree.
Average Cost: $898/credit
Score: 64.59

Golden Gate University San Francisco Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Golden Gate’s top online master’s in accounting comes with four unique concentrations.

14. Golden Gate University-San Francisco

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Website
Students with previous accounting experience might be best suited to earn a top master’s degree in accounting online from Golden Gate University. The program assumes a baseline of knowledge in the field and works to develop those skills. It’s also a great choice for professionals who want to work in a specific area of the field, as concentrations are available in Internal Auditing as well as Forensic, Financial, and Management Accounting. The latter option is relatively uncommon amongst online programs. It aims to develop students’ operations, strategy, and management skills and prepares them to sit for the CGMA and CMA exams after graduation.
Average Cost: $975/credit
Score: 66.26

Shorter University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Shorter’s cheap online accounting master’s degree program provides a comprehensive education at a great price.

13. Shorter University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
As a Baptist institution, Shorter University’s primary goal is “transforming lives through Christ.” But this religious mission doesn’t detract from the quality of its academics. In fact, Shorter’s 12-month, affordable online MAcc program is one of the best ways to earn high-quality education at a quick pace. The core curriculum covers everything from auditing and managerial accounting to taxation. There are also a few unique upper-level courses. For example, a required “Current Issues in Accounting” class gives professors the flexibility to cover emerging topics, ensuring that graduates enter the workforce with up-to-the-minute knowledge. In addition, a “Research Methods” offers practice in how to analyze (and solve) real-world accounting problems.
Average Cost: $500/credit
Score: 67.63

Gardner Webb University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The accredited master’s in accounting online at Gardner-Webb lets you choose an emphasis area to narrow your focus.

12. Gardner-Webb University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
Gardner-Webb manages to provide a top-notch curriculum at an eminently affordable cost. But of course, the school’s cheap online master’s in accounting doesn’t sacrifice quality in doing so. The uniquely flexible curriculum starts with a practical core that meshes theoretical knowledge with real-world skills. Students even learn about communication techniques and technology usage. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can either select an emphasis (Tax, General, or Forensic Accounting) or define your own specialty by combining work from different areas. A final capstone class in advanced auditing rounds off your education. Ultimately, you’ll walk away with the skills you need to succeed as a business leader in a variety of careers.
Average Cost: $429/credit
Score: 68.39

Western New England University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

You can complete the top online MAcc program at WNE in just 10 months of full-time study.

11. Western New England University

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Website
Few schools can compete with the flexibility of Western New England University’s accounting graduate program. For ambitious students, this is one of the best master’s degrees in accounting online. Why? The full-time, accelerated option takes a mere ten months to complete! But this program isn’t only for speed demons. In fact, WNE caters to professionals all over the globe. International students are welcome to apply, while local learners have the option to augment their virtual coursework with in-class sessions. Regardless of your pace, you’ll benefit from a strong foundation of core coursework as well as opportunities to refine your career interests. There’s even an optional concentration in Forensic Accounting/Fraud Investigation.
Average Cost: $804/credit
Score: 70.06

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The affordable online accounting master’s degree program at SUNY Polytechnic offers a newly established concentration in forensic accounting.

10. SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Online Master of Science in Accountancy

Website
SUNY Polytechnic has created one of the top online master’s in accounting programs by listening to feedback from current and prospective students. Indeed, the school is continually updating its curriculum to meet current demands. The program has even added new electives in forensic accounting and valuation to help prepare graduates for work in these growing fields. More specifically, these courses impart much-needed skills in fraud detection and prevention and data analysis. Or if a traditional accounting degree is more up your alley, you can skip the concentration and choose a series of electives that meet your interests.
Average Cost: $689/credit
Score: 70.36

Stetson University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Earning a top master’s degree in accounting online from Stetson leaves you well-prepared to sit for the CPA exam.

9. Stetson University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
Students who enroll in Stetson’s accredited online accounting master’s degree program will take classes in a small-group setting alongside 20 or so classmates. The limited size of the program helps foster connections even as students complete courses asynchronously. These courses include a functional blend of business and accounting topics, while training in both for-profit and governmental/not-for-profit accounting will prepare you for a career in either field. In addition, many of the classes are organized to reflect the various sections covered on the CPA exam. This approach allows you to easily identify the courses you need to take to sit for the exam after graduation.
Average Cost: $932/credit
Score: 73.98

Liberty University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Students of faith can earn a cheap online master’s in accounting from Liberty University.

8. Liberty University

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Website
Students with a significant number of graduate-level accounting classes under their belt will appreciate Liberty University’s generous transfer policy: You can complete fully 50% of the required credit hours with relevant transfer credits. This affordable online MAcc program will also appeal to students of faith, given Liberty’s well-known evangelical Christian affiliation. The program also stands out for its seven specializations – by far the highest on this list. Options such as business, leadership, and financial services are not particularly common, making this a great choice if you are interested in working in an interdisciplinary career field.
Average Cost: $466/credit
Score: 78.42

DePaul University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The asynchronous courses that make up the top master’s in accounting online at DePaul use a variety of instructional methods.

7. DePaul University

Online Master of Science in Accountancy

Website
No matter what learning style you prefer, DePaul likely has a way to help meet your learning needs. The carefully crafted courses that comprise the school’s MSA help students succeed as they earn an accredited master’s degree in accounting online by incorporating a variety of instructional methods (videos, discussions, reading, assignments, and more). The online school operates on the quarter system, meaning you’ll spend 11 weeks on each class. And because the general curriculum introduces many of the most common topics in the field, you’ll graduate with a broad knowledge base you can put to work on the job.
Average Cost: $790/credit
Score: 81

Bay Path University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Industrious learners can complete one of the best online MAcc programs in just eight months.

6. Bay Path University

Online MS in Accounting

Website
With five start dates per year, three concentrations (Public, Private, and Forensic Accounting), and customizable study plans based on your state’s CPA exam needs, Bay Path provides one of the most flexible accredited master’s in accounting online programs on this list. But that’s not all the school has to offer. If you start the program in April or May, you can earn your degree in just eight months with full-time study. That schedule also incorporates a thoughtful tax-season break: Bay Path doesn’t schedule courses between January and April, giving working professionals much-needed time to focus on the tax season.
Average Cost: $780/credit
Score: 82.83

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The top online accounting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois blends pre-recorded lectures and real-time classroom sessions.

5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Online Master of Science in Accountancy

Website
Multiple publications have reported that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers one of the absolute best online master’s in accounting. This reputation is due, in part, to the program’s flexible and engaging teaching methods. Courses combine asynchronous video lectures with hands-on live sessions known as “global classrooms.” During live meetings, program members work alongside their classmates and instructors to tackle real-world problems. They also provide time to collaborate on assignments, ask questions, and discuss the video lectures. Throughout the program, you’ll also have access to alumni who can provide guidance and who will serve as valuable contacts once you graduate.
Average Cost: $896/credit
Score: 83.1

New England College Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

New England College’s top online MAcc program prepares graduates to sit for a variety of exams and certifications.

4. New England College

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Website
Students planning to sit for a specific accounting exam should give New England College’s affordable online accounting master’s degree program a look. Not only does it meet the 150-hour CPA exam requirement in most states, but it prepares graduates to sit for both the CMA and CIA exams as well. And if you’d like to focus on fraud or criminal investigations, you can opt for the Forensic Accounting concentration and acquire the skills necessary to earn the CFA designation. Even if you don’t intend to sit for a specific exam, you’ll come away from this program with a thorough understanding of reporting, risk analysis, decision modeling, strategic thinking, and more.
Average Cost: $565/credit
Score: 93.01

Southern New Hampshire University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

SNHU’s top online master’s in accounting program offers four concentrations.

3. Southern New Hampshire University

Online MS in Accounting

Website
Exam-averse students, take note: Southern New Hampshire University doesn’t require GMAT or GRE scores for admission to its MSA program. But the perks don’t stop at the application. In fact, earning this accredited master’s degree in accounting online gives you access to four highly-specialized areas of concentration: Auditing, Forensic Accounting, Taxation, and Management Accounting. All options include a focus on using technology effectively and seek to ground what you’re learning in an ethical framework to help guide your decisions. They also culminate in a capstone course that will put the skills and theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom into practice.
Average Cost: $627/credit
Score: 94.98

Saint Josephs College of Maine Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

The fast-track version of SJC’s cheap master’s in accounting online takes just 12 months to complete.

2. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
If you have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you’ll appreciate that Saint Joseph’s College of Maine will waive up to six graduate credits based on your undergraduate grades. This qualifies you for the “fast-track” version of the school’s affordable online MAcc program, which you can then complete in a single year. Fast-track or not, the degree provides students with a CPA-focused curriculum that highlights both technical and interpersonal skills. Communication is key here, and you’ll learn how to express yourself in a clear, understandable way. You’ll also develop problem-solving skills as you work with your instructors to tackle real-world issues.
Average Cost: $470/credit
Score: 96.5

Southern Utah University Online Accounting Masters Degree Programs

Students enrolled in SUU’s accredited master’s degree in accounting online can also earn credit toward an MBA degree.

1. Southern Utah University

Online Master of Accountancy

Website
With a nearly 100% job placement rate, Southern Utah University offers one of the best master’s degrees in accounting online. Along with more expected program outcomes, SUU includes a surprising one: encouraging students to have “moral courage in accounting.” This goal reflects SUU’s commitment to service and to helping its graduates become leaders in the field. Professors leverage their own professional experience in the field to bring valuable real-world knowledge to the classroom, while a required internship imparts confidence and hands-on training. And if you’re also interested in business, you can earn an MBA while you study for your accounting degree by taking just 15 additional credits.
Average Cost: $677/credit
Score: 100

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 25 best cheap master’s degrees in accounting online!

Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator

Related:
Accounting Scholarships
Top 20 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Degree Programs.

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