Master of Science in Accounting
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The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program in the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell provides an economically affordable opportunity for qualified students to meet the licensing requirements to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or to prepare for accounting careers in the corporate or government/nonprofit environment. The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy has classified MSA program at Manning School of Business as “Level 1” and deemed the program to be substantially equivalent to AACSB standards. Any student who earns a graduate degree in accounting from a Level 1 program is judged to have satisfied the educational requirements to take the CPA exam. Students who earn degrees from non-Level 1 programs must demonstrate that they have satisfied such educational requirements. Therefore, our MSA program’s Level 1 status makes it easier for UMass Lowell accounting graduates to eventually become Certified Public Accountants (CPA). The MSA will prepare graduates to succeed in a competitive environment and a respected profession, one whose members continue to be in high demand from public accounting firms, financial institutions, industry, government agencies, municipalities, schools and hospitals, and charitable organizations. Most courses are available online, and the program is open to either full-time or part-time students.
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The MSA program at UMass Lowell offers several features that potential applicants will find very attractive.
- The cost of the program is less than half the cost of similar programs at private institutions, making it far more affordable.
- The program can be completed on a part-time basis, thereby allowing students to work while they attend school.
- The online component of the program allows students in distant areas, or students with irregular work schedules, to take courses without making the time and travel commitment required by a classroom course.
- GPA - Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (overall); comparable Accounting GPA.
- GMAT (500+); can be waived if the undergraduate GPA is at least 3.5 at an AACSB-accredited school and upon receipt of a recommendation by a faculty member; GMAT can also be waived for students in the UMass Lowell Plus 1 Program and undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater.
- Successful completion of all other UMass Lowell admissions requirements including three letters of recommendation and Manning School of Business TOEFL minimums.
- Exceptions or modifications to the above will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- An internship or other relevant employment in the field is strongly encouraged, either before or during the program.
For more information on the MSA admissions process, please visit the MSA Prospective Student page.
Academic and Graduation Requirements
- Academic and graduation requirements will be similar to those of the Manning School of Business MBA program.
- No more than six course credits of grades below a B may be counted toward the MSA.
- No graduate degree will be awarded to any student whose overall cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0.
- Other policies, as contained in the UMass Lowell graduate catalog, will also apply as appropriate.
- For a full-time student, the 10-course, 30-credit MSA program can typically be completed in one calendar year (e.g., four courses in the fall, four in the spring, and two in the summer).
- Part-time students will obviously proceed at a slower and more varied pace (on average, about three years).
- The Manning School of Business will accept up to six graduate credits from other AACSB institutions on a case-by-case basis.
UMass Lowell’s MSA program is designed to serve three different audiences:
- students with undergraduate accounting degrees,
- students with undergraduate business degrees, e.g. finance, and
- students with undergraduate non-business degrees.
UMass Lowell’s MSA program’s course requirements differ among the various audiences. We expect students with undergraduate accounting degrees will have to fulfill very few, if any, prerequisites. On the other hand, we expect students with undergraduate non-accounting business and non-business degrees will have to fulfill several prerequisites, many of which will be accounting courses.
To see the specific program that could apply to you, select the appropriate program from the following list:
A limited number of teaching and research assistantships are available to qualified full-time students in the MSA program. The primary purpose of these awards is to provide promising students with financial assistance to offset the costs of full-time graduate study. They also benefit students by providing opportunities to build knowledge and skill by working closely with the faculty members. Assistantships are awarded competitively based on the student's academic record and prior experience. As part of the assessment, consideration will be given to the potential contribution an assistant can make to the program and college in the areas of instructional assistance and research.
Full-time and part-time MSA students have access to extensive computer technology at the Manning School of Business. All meeting areas have wireless capabilities. In addition, within the college, students may use the computer laboratory. Use of this equipment, as part of course work or in conducting research, familiarizes students with current technology and provides them with specific computer skills that are vital for success in today's business world.
The full-time Manning School of Business faculty includes 12 Accounting and over 40 non-Accounting members, including Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing, and MIS/OIS. See the list of full-time Accounting faculty at the end of this overview.
The UMass Lowell Manning School of Business undergraduate and graduate programs are currently accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the most prestigious organization worldwide for the accreditation of business schools.
MSA vs. MBA
Currently, the national minimum requirements to be licensed as a CPA indicate that a student may sit for the CPA exam after earning 120 undergraduate credit hours (30 of which must be in specific areas) but may be licensed as a CPA only after earning an additional 30 credit hours, for a total of 150. A typical undergraduate college degree includes about 120 credit hours. Therefore, although there is some flexibility as to the content of the additional 30 credits, students interested in becoming CPAs must obtain the additional 30 credits either randomly or as part of an organized graduate degree program.
Most MBA programs offer only a limited number of courses in Accounting and, although this is an acceptable way to obtain 30 credits, many students look for programs that offer more Accounting courses, not only to help them complete the CPA licensing requirements, but also to enhance the skills that they can apply in their respective professional positions. The UMass Lowell MSA program fulfills that need: not only does an MSA provide opportunities for additional coursework in Accounting, but it also allows students to elect courses within other Manning School of Business departments to achieve a wider level of exposure and/or pursue a complementary area of academic interest (such as Finance, MIS, or, Management).
For more information, please contact
Prof. Stefanie Tate, CPA
Department of Accounting
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Lowell, MA 01854