Master of Science in Accounting

GCU's accelerated evening or online Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) opens a pathway toward the achievement of a Certified Public Accountant's credentials. Learners in this program are offered comprehensive preparation for the highly demanding Uniform CPA Exam, through two capstone courses, at the conclusion of the MSA program. These capstone courses strategically approach the exam's four components to maximize the possibilities of success on test day.

The format of GCU's MSA program is commonly referred to as the four-plus-one, catering specifically to candidates who have earned a bachelor's degree in accounting. Learners who are admitted with an undergraduate business degree in a discipline other than accounting would have to complete the bridge program, before they can register for MSA courses.

Course Content

This 34-credit evening or online accounting program, spread across nine courses, takes a little over one year to complete. The curriculum is geared toward the field of public accounting. It enhances the theoretical and practical application of accounting knowledge across a broad array of disciplines.

Aligning with GCU's strong focus on values, MSA candidates are offered a robust legal and ethical framework that is crucial for accountants and managers under Sarbanes-Oxley. Using case studies that incorporate the principles of business law and other systems of ethics, the program demonstrates the importance a commitment to ethics holds in the accounting profession.

Learners are offered applied research experience for using electronic databases to determine proper application of GAAP, IASs and IFRSs in practical situations and to access financial and industry data. The program also examines the current practices and technologies within an integrated automated accounting system. Other topics covered in the program, typical to an MSA, include forensic accounting, cost accounting, auditing and taxation.

Career Objectives

Unique to GCU's MSA program are the eight credits devoted to a candidate's preparation for the Uniform CPA Exam. Learners are strongly encouraged to sit for the test soon after graduation to maximize their potential for success. The Uniform CPA Exam is a required step for achieving a CPA license from a candidates' state of residence or practice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the arena of public accounting, CPAs generally have their own businesses, they work for public accounting firms or they find employment as external auditors.

Program Highlights and Benefits

  • Offered 100% online or in the evening
  • Complete in about a year
  • Strong CPA Exam preparation
  • Commitment to ethics in accounting standards
  • Nine courses, 34-credit program

Program SOC

Financial Examiners
Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents
Budget Analysts
Credit Analysts
  1. It is the policy of the University to collect and remit sales, use, excise and/or gross receipts taxes in compliance with state and local taxing jurisdiction regulations which require the University to remit tax where applicable. These regulations vary by location. Please note: It is also the policy of the University to require payment of sales, use, excise, and/or gross receipts tax. Payment of tax is ultimately the student's financial responsibility to the University regardless of financing arrangements. Per Hawaii requirements: It is hereby stated that students residing in the State of Hawaii will be charged Hawaii General Excise Tax on all transactions. Students living in the District of Oahu will be charged 4.5%. Students residing in other Hawaii districts will be charged 4.0%.
  2. Book costs are based on an average. Costs may increase or decrease depending on electronic availability or publisher's book costs.
  3. Room and board costs may be higher or lower depending on housing and meal plan choice. This number is based on an average for students on campus.
  4. Some Non-Traditional programs may be offered on the ground campus or on-line.
  5. N/A identifies that a program is not offered in that modality or that fewer than 10 students graduated within the reported timeframe.
  6. Tuition and Fees for each program are based on current rates. Future Tuition and Fee Rates may vary. Tuition was calculated using the number of credit hours in the program times the current tuition rate and includes the Graduation Fee. Full time students enrolled at a program taken at the main campus include a Student Activity Fee, charged every semester. Online programs include a one time Learning Management Fee. Some programs may also include additional fees based on course materials.
  7. On-time graduation rates and median loan debt are based on students who graduated in the 2011-2012 award year.
  8. Not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities.
  9. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment.

Online/Evening program disclosures

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.