The prerequisites for a master’s in accounting vary based on the specialty you want to pursue. However, there are a few common requirements that most programs share. You’ll want to take as many undergraduate-level accounting classes as possible as well as a handful of business and economics courses. Earning good grades in those course will show you understand the basics of accounting and look good on your application, as will a high score on the GMAT.
Because most of your graduate-level courses will cover accounting topics, schools want to know you have the foundation to understand accounting science at a high level. You’ll need to take 3 to 6 semesters of dedicated accounting classes. The exact names of these courses will vary based on your undergraduate institution, but expect to need courses like Introduction to Accounting Principles, Cost Accounting Fundamentals and Advanced Accounting. These will be the most important courses for getting into and succeeding in your graduate program, so be sure to do well in them. Consider taking one course per semester so you can focus on getting an A, and don’t hesitate to use tutoring services or meet with your professors for one-on-advice.
Related link: 20 Best Online Schools for Accounting Master’s 2016-2017
You will also need supplementary courses to help you understand the regulatory and business atmosphere of the accounting profession. You’ll likely be required to take 2 or 3 business courses as well micro- and macroeconomics, statistics and commercial law. In general, as long as you complete a minor or bachelor’s degree in accounting, you will meet the prerequisites for a master’s degree in the discipline. If you’ve already graduated with training in another field, you can take your missing classes as a non-degree student.
The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is the most commonly used admissions test for master’s in business or accounting programs. It measures your writing, reasoning, mathematics and verbal skills. Admission requirements for graduate programs in accounting vary, with some schools placing a high weight on GMAT scores and others using very low score cut-offs. If you’re a poor test-taker and worried about your chances at getting into a M.S. in accounting program, keep in mind that schools use holistic admissions. This means they look at your application essay, motivation, undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores, so you can get into a good program even without a good GMAT score.
Graduate school is challenging. Admissions committees want to know you can handle the academic requirements of a master’s degree in accounting. Your grades as an undergraduate are considered an important predictor for how you will handle graduate-level work. If you have poor grades in some college courses, don’t worry. As long as you have an upwards trend, meaning your transcript gets better over time as you find your way, you’ll be okay. Plus, your grades in accounting and business classes will be the most meaningful, so focus on doing well in your prerequisite courses.
Whether you’re a high school graduate planning for the future or a mid-career professional looking to switch jobs, you can earn your spot in an accounting program. Meet the prerequisites for a master’s in accounting listed here and you will be a great candidate for any school.