The master of science in accountancy (MSA) degree program provides an advanced professional plan of study designed to prepare individuals for careers as professional accountants in public accounting, industry, or the not-for-profit and governmental sectors. The degree program provides graduates with the skills and knowledge needed (1) to enter the accounting field and (2) to form a foundation for advancement to the highest levels of the profession. Completion of this program will provide, in most cases, the educational qualifications required to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Upon completion of the MSA program, candidates should have acquired the technical knowledge that will serve as a basis for preparation for the relevant professional examination required for certification as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, or Certified Internal Auditor.
The MSA program is designed to be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students with a recent undergraduate degree in accounting can complete the program courses and elective requirements in one year. Part-time students with a recent undergraduate degree in accounting can complete the program courses and elective requirements in two years. Depending on the number of courses taken each semester, students with undergraduate degrees in non-business fields can complete the program and elective requirements in two to four years.
MSA graduates qualify to sit for the CPA exam in Illinois and have rewarding careers in public accounting as auditors, tax specialists or consultants. Graduates who work in corporate accounting may be employed as managerial accountants, internal auditors, income tax specialists, systems experts or management consultants. In the not-for-profit sector, accountants play important roles in governmental entities, health care organizations and charitable agencies. Based on their wide range of business exposure and knowledge, many accountants ultimately move into high-level management positions.