As an accountant, you are trained to speak the language of business to ensure that the nation's businesses operate efficiently and that business records are kept accurately.

Outstanding Preparation
A Master of Science in Accounting degree points the way for you to succeed in a field where qualified professionals are increasingly in demand. As an accounting student, you acquire technical knowledge, the ability to analyze complex accounting and business issues, and the skills to effectively communicate with all levels of management. You will be expert in preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents for clients, as well as providing services ranging from budget analysis to financial planning.

Graduates of GSU's accounting program work in a range of companies and industries including large and medium size public accounting and business consulting firms such as KPMG, Crowe Horwath, PwC, BDO, Legacy, Miller Cooper, and Sikich, along with smaller local firms. Other GSU accounting graduates also work in industry, government, and business consulting services such as Exelon, Tyson Foods, Cars.com and Oracle. Some GSU accounting graduates choose to start their own private CPA or related accounting or business consulting services firms or moved into roles of management or executive leadership within organizations.

Demand for accounting professionals remains strong. Accountants who have earned  professional license as a Certified Public Accountant has even stronger prospects according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The MS in Accounting degree program satisfies the eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Illinois.

Although a bachelor's degree in accounting is not required for admission to the M.S. in Accounting program, if you have earned a baccalaureate degree in another academic area you will be required to complete appropriate preparatory courses in business and accounting in addition to those required for the master's degree.

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  • What Will You Learn?

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    Through coursework you will 

    • Apply accounting theory to a variety of organizations and industry scenarios
    • Achieve the necessary coursework to pursue professional licensure in public accounting
    • Gain foundational technical knowledge and skills in financial, managerial, audit and assurance services, taxation and business regulatory environment, and accounting information systems
    • Apply accounting technical knowledge and skills in a diverse set of organizational and industry case scenarios
    • Conduct research, utilizing industry databases and resources
    • Prepare, analyze, and communicate financial reports and other financial information to key stakeholders
    • Evaluate an organization's internal controls, governance structures, and related risks 
    • Utilize industry software used for accounting systems, audit (governance, risk, and compliance), and tax preparation. 
    • Focus elective coursework to meet career goals in an area such as management, taxation, financial planning, or general business

  • Career Options & Certifications

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    The MSA program will prepare individuals with (or without) a background in accounting the ability to 

    • advance their career into decision-making roles with greater responsibility within the organization
    • pursue professional licensure in public accounting by meeting the 150-credit hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Students completing the MSA program meet the educational requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam in Illinois.

    For individuals that may already maintain a CPA license, the MS in Accounting may allow you to gain a credential and enough graduate coursework required for teaching accounting in an institution of higher education.

     What do Accountants and Auditors Do? 
    (from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

    • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
    • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
    • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
    • Organize and maintain financial records
    • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
    • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

    Career Opportunities 
    (from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    Individuals with an accounting degree have number of career options include:

    •  Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals. Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns. Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

      Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

        
    • Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

      Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.
       
        
    • Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

    • Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.
     
    • External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported. 
        
    • Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

    Certifications

    The primary certification in accounting is the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) credential. Individuals with the CPA may gain additional designations in financial forensicsmanagement accounting (CGMA)business valuationinformation technology, and personal financial specialist

    There are other certifications including internal auditing (CIA), fraud examination (CFE), and management accounting (CMA).

    See more information about the CPA exam on the GSU CPA exam resources page.


  • MS in Accounting Curriculum

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    Accounting Core Courses (12 Hours)
    ACCT 6201 Seminar in Financial Accounting Theory and Practice (3)
    ACCT 6252 Advanced Tax (3)
    ACCT 6355 Seminar in Auditing Standards and Contemporary Topics (3)
    ACCT 6331 Accounting Information Technology and Systems (3)

    Business Courses (6 Hours)
    Select two
    of the following courses:
    ECON 7500 Managerial Economics and Forecasting (3)
    FIN 7101 Financial Management (3)
    MGMT 7500 Organizational Behavior in the Global Context (3)
    MGMT 7600 International Business
    MGMT 7400 Operations Management: Strategies and Techniques (3)
    MKTG 7100 Strategic Marketing (3)

    Accounting Selective Courses (6 Hours)
    Select two
    of the following courses:
    ACCT 6253 Federal Income Taxation of Partnerships and Corporations (3)
    ACCT 6461 Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting (3)
    ACCT 7815 Financial Statement Analysis (3)
    ACCT 7254 Advanced Tax Research (3)
    ACCT 7111 Managerial Accounting Theory and Applications (3)
    ACCT 8260 Estate Planning (3)
    ACCT 8265 Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning (3)

    Career Selectives (6 Hours)

    Select six hours from any approved College of Business courses numbered 7000 or above. Courses must be approved by an academic advisor. Students may not count ACCT - 7101 Strategic Management Accounting (3) toward the Master of Science in Accounting degree program.


    Master's Final Project (3 Hours)
    ACCT 8965 Integrative Perspective on Accounting Issues (3)

    Total - 33 Graduate Hours

  • Foundation Coursework

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    Applicants must complete preparatory course work for the MSA program if necessary. Required preparation coursework may be completed prior to admission to the MSA program or upon admission into the program. A bachelor's degree in accounting from an ACBSP or AACSB accredited accounting program typically satisfies all or most of the required preparation requirement, although an undergraduate accounting degree is not required to enter the MSA program. Academic advisors will evaluate transcripts to determine prior coursework that meets required preparation for the MSA program. Students must meet a "B" grade average across the following prerequisite coursework:

    With permission of the dean, students can enroll in graduate level courses for which they have completed the prerequisites before completing all of the preparatory courses.

  • Application Requirements

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    View College of Business Graduate Admission Checklist

    Complete the online university application. In addition to university application and admission requirements, applicants must submit the following documents as part of their application package:

    1. a GMAT or GRE score from tests administered within five years of the date of admission*;
    2. two confidential letters of recommendation from professional references (e.g. current or former college faculty member, current or former work supervisor, community leader);
    3. a two-page, double-spaced statement of intent which discusses personal short and long term career goals and reasons for pursuing a MS in Accounting degree at this time and what about this particular program is going to help reach those goals. Please give specific personal examples of leadership and provide other pertinent information to help the committee select candidates who can benefit from and contribute to the program. The statement of intent offers applicants the opportunity to demonstrate writing and communication skills and supports your candidacy for the MS in Accounting; and
    4. a current resume.

    *The GMAT or GRE may be waived for applicants who meet one of the following:

    1. a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher for the last 60 hours, from a regionally accredited college or university, or
    2. a graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university; or
    3. meet the requirement for Guaranteed Admission to the MSA (GAMSA) program for GSU undergraduate students including:
      1. having completed 12 hours (4 courses) in core accounting courses (ACCT-3111; ACCT-3151; ACCT-3152; ACCT-3252; ACCT-4251; or ACCT-4354) at GSU with a minimum of 3.25 from those accounting courses taken at GSU; and
      2. having or maintaining a 3.0 GPA or higher in last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree.
       

    Current undergraduate students may only apply for GAMSA if they have met requirement (a) and completed at least 90 hours of their undergraduate degree program with at least an overall GPA of 3.25. Approved GAMSA students may waive the letters of recommendation special admission requirement.


    Items may be submitted separately; however, the application will not be considered for admission by the College of Business Graduate Admission Committee until all items have been received.

    The supplemental documents listed above should be sent to:

    College of Business Graduate Admissions Committee
    Governors State University
    1 University Parkway, G281
    University Park, IL 60484
    -OR-
    You may also send these as attachments to rwilliams2@govst.edu via email

    View College of Business Graduate Admission Checklist