The field of accounting is one that seems to divide people into warring factions. On one side, those who need to get their taxes done think that the profession is a great asset. Businesspeople who dread their quarterly results, however, think a bit differently. At the same time, some people find accounting’s involvement in math and numbers to be fascinating. Others, with a slightly less rosy view of math, would prefer to run in the opposite direction.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that the profession is lucrative, growing, and highly skilled. A Master’s degree in accounting is one of the most popular programs at schools nationwide, and it’s the key to enjoying a longer, more successful accounting career no matter where that career takes off. At these five schools, the program is at its best for students of all aspirations and ability levels.
1. Loyola University in Chicago
Loyola University’s campus in Chicago has always been particularly strong in business and accounting programs, so it should be no surprise that their Master’s of Science in Accounting is one of the best nationwide. Loyola’s program is focused primarily on advancing the undergraduate knowledge of those enrolled in the program, virtually all of whom have some level of academic or real-world experience in the field.
Beyond that, extensive preparation for the CPA exam is a key part of the program and that’s what makes it a real asset to students. The CPA exam is notably one of the toughest pre-professional examinations in the country, and the seasoned professors at Loyola help their students pass at a rate that is higher than many competing colleges and universities.
2. Washington University in St. Louis
Home to two presidential debates during some of the most trying economic times in recent memory, Washington University in St. Louis is a business education leader. The Olin Business School is one of the leading providers of professional business education in the Midwest, and especially in Missouri. Accounting students engage in rigorous courses that serve chiefly to prepare them for an ethical career in the field.
Extensive CPA examination preparation is included with the program, and students are exposed to a number of strategies and techniques for success on the exam that will determine their fate in the profession. All told, it’s a well-rounded program perfect for those local to the St. Louis institution.
3. Temple University
It likely comes as no surprise that the Fox School of Business offers a top-ranked accounting program for graduate students. Temple is notable for having particularly small class sizes among its Master’s of Science in Accounting student body. Most classes are less than 20 students in size, a notable accomplishment for this public university that has more than 35,000 students total.
With an extensive CPA preparation component in virtually every course offered to students, Temple has one of the best pass rates for the exam of any business school nationwide. That’s a big accomplishment, and one the university isn’t afraid of touting to each prospect.
4. University of South Carolina
The Marshall School of Business is a key institution in the Southeast, and it’s a valuable resource for local accounting professionals. The University of South Carolina is easily one of the best public schools in this part of the country, and the accounting program is a demonstration of how that reputation has been earned.
Courses at the university focus centrally on ethics within the profession, as well as professional strategies and even management techniques. A CPA preparation component is built into many of these courses, just as it is at other leading schools nationwide.
5. Vanderbilt University
In Tennessee, not too long of a distance from the University of South Carolina, students at Vanderbilt are treated to an excellent program in accounting. The Owen School of Management offers a Masters in Accountancy, or MAcc, that is a little different from other programs nationwide. In addition to traditional accounting, ethics, and CPA courses, students are encouraged to conduct extensive graduate-level research into ethical dilemmas, changes in the profession, and technological advancements.
At the end of the two-year program, graduates are primed for excellent job prospects and some of the most rewarding careers in the industry. It’s a reputation that has made Vanderbilt one of the accounting education leaders at the undergraduate, graduate, and even professional levels.
Great Programs for a Great Field
Despite its controversies, accounting is one of the largest and most resilient fields in the United States. On the strength of these programs, it looks to continue being that way for quite some time.