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.
Applicants for admission to the MSA program must meet one of the following admission standards:
International students also must earn a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 213 on the computer-based TOEFL and submit a score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE).
No graduate accounting courses may be taken for credit toward the MSA degree without first completing the following admission prerequisite courses, or their equivalent, with a grade point average of 2.7 or better: ACCT 200, ACCT 301, 302, 303, 311, 312, 315 and 321. These courses do not carry credit toward the MSA degree. Prerequisite courses taken prior to admission to the MSA program ordinarily must have been taken within 6 years of the date the applicant is admitted. An MSA student undertaking prerequisite courses may be terminated from the program if (1) the student’s
grade point average calculated over all prerequisite courses taken at SIUE falls below 2.7 for more than 1 semester, (2) the student receives a grade of less than C in any prerequisite course, or (3) the student fails to make satisfactory progress.
To graduate with the MSA degree, students must complete all program requirements and have a 3.0 grade point average in all courses taken in the MSA program (excluding prerequisite courses) and in all program courses and approved elective courses. Only program and elective courses taken within a 6-year period preceding the completion of all requirements for the MSA degree will count toward the degree. Foundation courses taken to provide the common body of knowledge in business must be taken within an 8-year period preceding the completion of all requirements for the degree.
A significant research project resulting in a written report and a final examination based on the approved program of study are required of each student to be awarded the MSA degree. Both requirements will be completed as part of the requirements for ACCT 580. A satisfactory grade must be received on both the research report and final examination for completion of the degree equirements.
The MSA degree requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work and a maximum of 48 hours beyond the prerequisite courses. No more than 12 hours of 400-level course work may apply toward elective requirements of the MSA degree. Specific courses, or their equivalents,
used to satisfy a student’s undergraduate degree requirements may not be used by that student in satisfying the program or elective requirements of the MSA degree. No more than 9 elective hours taken outside the School of Business will count toward the MSA degree. At the discretion of the
program director, a maximum of 6 semester hours of elective requirements may be satisfied by transfer of credit from other institutions. For transfer credit, a grade of B or better must have been earned in the course. Ordinarily, business courses may be transferred only from institutions accredited by American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. Courses transferred may not have been used to satisfy requirements for any other degree.
Each student’s program of study must be approved by his or her graduate advisor. The program of study consists of three parts following completion of all admission prerequisites:
To remain in good standing in the MSA program, students must maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average in all courses taken in the MSA program (excluding prerequisite courses) and in all program and approved elective courses. Students who are not in good standing for more than one semester may be terminated from the program.
A significant research project resulting in a written report and a final examination based on the approved program of study are required of each student to be awarded the MSA degree. Both requirements will be completed as part of the requirements for ACCT 580. A satisfactory grade must be received on both the research report and final examination for completion of the degree requirements.
Ordinarily, the final examination will be administered as part of ACCT 580. The examination will include questions related to the students’ program of study, their work in ACCT 580, and their research projects. Some parts of the final examination may be common to all students, while other parts will relate to the individual programs of study of the specific students. Examination committees will consist of the instructor of ACCT 580 and two other members of the Graduate Faculty of the School of Business appointed by the program director. For a student to pass the final examination, at least two of the three members of the examination committee must concur that the student should receive a passing grade.
Students who do not pass the MSA final examination on the first attempt will have one additional opportunity to complete the final examination. A student who fails the final examination on the second attempt will be required to complete additional course work specified by the program director before attempting the final examination a third time. Students who do not pass the final examination after three attempts will be terminated from the program.
The MSA research project must be completed satisfactorily as a requirement for passing ACCT 580. However, work on the project is not restricted to ACCT 580. Students are expected to begin developing a research topic and proposal as early as possible in the program and should make substantial progress on the project during completion of the two program courses that are prerequisites to ACCT 580.
Each student’s program will be tailored to that individual so all students can follow their interests through integrated sequences of courses. The entire program is designed to place emphasis on critical thinking, research, and problem-solving. Therefore, the research requirement is not meant to be viewed as the isolated requirement of a single course but the culmination of the student’s program of study.
If you have any further questions, please contact School of Business or our program through phone or mail. Thank you.