Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) Degree

Master of Science in Accounting

Offered By: Colangelo College of Business

Develop Your Understanding of Business Law, Information Systems and Accounting

The Master of Science in Accounting degree is a comprehensive, accelerated learning opportunity for students who hold a BS in Accounting. You will develop advanced skills in financial reporting while building your foundational knowledge of specialized accounting topics. The master’s in accounting is offered by the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University (GCU).

GCU is a private, Christian university that embraces the positive values of servant leadership and ethical problem-solving. Explore ethical best practices and issues pertaining to legal compliance while preparing to take the Uniform CPA Examination. Extend your knowledge of business law, information systems and public accounting practice. It’s recommended that candidates sit for the Uniform CPA Exam during the program, as the capstone courses are dedicated to preparing you for the test.

The robust online learning platform at GCU enables working professionals to take courses on a flexible, convenient schedule. By earning your master’s in accounting online, you do not have to choose between your job and your education. Complete coursework on a schedule that fits your lifestyle and benefit from engaging discussions with your peers. The Master’s in Accounting (MSA) degree requires a total of 34 credits for completion. Most of the online classes are eight weeks long.

Throughout this online MSA program, you will:

  • Develop your research skills
  • Enhance your understanding of the quantitative methods of data analysis
  • Examine key topics in financial reporting and accounting
  • Study ethical practices
  • Grow and apply decision-making skills

Why You Should Earn Your Master of Science in Accounting

There are many reasons to consider earning your MSA degree, from preparing you to pass the CPA exam to broadening your career possibilities. A master’s degree in accounting is the next step in your journey of moving up in the financial field.

The Master of Science in Accounting is a modern degree that includes course topics such as:

  • Auditing
  • Data analytics
  • Financial research
  • Compliance
  • Managerial and cost accounting

You will also take three capstone classes during your evening or online MSA program, including:

  • Capstone I — introduces students to the Uniform CPA Exam and covers the Accounting and Data Analytics Core sections of the exam.
  • Capstone II — examines the Audit and Accounting Information Systems Core portion of the test.
  • Capstone III — prepares students for the Tax Core section of the exam.

While working toward your MSA degree, you will examine a range of learning objectives. These include:

  • Factors that affect the use of cost information for decision-making purposes
  • Meeting ethical obligations under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Advanced data analytical concepts to support financial data
  • Core auditing concepts, including financial reporting for government and not-for-profit entities
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Career Possibilities for MSA Degree Graduates

After completing a master’s in accounting online degree or evening program, advanced management positions in corporate or public accounting may be within your reach. Job applicants with an MSA degree set themselves apart from other candidates.

Some of the careers that can be related to this degree may include the following:

  • Accountant and auditor
  • Appraiser of personal and business property
  • Budget and credit analyst
  • Financial risk specialist
  • Tax preparer

Some accounting career paths require candidates to pass the Uniform CPA Exam.

Evening and Online MSA Degree Program FAQs

Explore our frequently asked questions to learn more about pursuing a career in accounting and earning your MSA degree.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) does not specifically require a graduate-level degree to become a CPA. However, candidates need a total of 150 credit hours, which many earn by completing a graduate degree on top of their bachelor’s.1 It is imperative to have the knowledge, skills and fundamentals from an academic program, such as an MSA, to be properly prepared for certification.

An MSA degree provides you with a deep study of accounting though a curriculum specially curated to prepare you to become a CPA or accounting professional. Meanwhile, an MBA in accounting covers important business, marketing and economic principles while integrating accounting courses. If your career goals involve managing financial aspects related to business, then you may want to consider learning more about an MBA with an Emphasis in Accounting.

A career in auditing can set you up to be financially stable and secure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors have a median annual wage of $73,560 as of May 2020.2

The MSA degree program at GCU consists of 10 classes for a total of 34 credits. The majority of the classes are eight weeks in length, while a few are four weeks long. With this timeframe, you can complete your MSA degree at GCU in less than a year and a half.

A degree in finance can set you up to pursue positions that focus on financial strategy, projected future growth and management of a business’s present and future financial numbers and how to influence those numbers. Accounting, on the other hand, revolves more around the day-to-day financial aspects of a business, processes, principles and reporting on past and present figures.

1 Retrieved from Masters in Accounting, Accounting Schools in Arizona, in October 2022.

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Accountants and Auditors as of May 2020.Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Accountants and Auditors. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks [More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
TUITION RATE:
Online: $630 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
34 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
34 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Business. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course provides students with applied research experience using electronic databases to determine proper application of GAAP, IASs, and IFRSs to practical situations. Students develop the skills needed to access accounting and auditing rules and regulations, company financial statements, and related industry data used for analyzing financial statements.

Course Description

This course explores advanced managerial and cost accounting methods frequently used in accounting. Students apply managerial and cost accounting methods that are commonly tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) discipline.

Course Description

This course explores advanced data analytics techniques frequently used in public accounting. Students apply financial data analytics methods that are commonly tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Discipline.

Course Description

This course explores advanced accounting theories and practices frequently used in public accounting. Students apply advanced accounting methods that are commonly tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Discipline.

Course Description

This course explores accounting theories and practices used for governmental and not-for-profit entities. Students apply governmental and not-for-profit accounting methods that are commonly tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Discipline.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Auditing and Accounting Information Systems Core (AUD). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Tax Core (TAX). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Accounting and Data Analytics Core (ACC). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Discipline. Students reinforce concepts learned throughout the program and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam. Prerequisites: ACC-653, ACC-656, ACC-657, and ACC-658.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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