Master of Science Degree in Accounting

The M.S. degree in Accountancy prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities in public accounting, industry and finance, government and nonprofit organizations.  The program is designed to produce individuals who are qualified with knowledge and techniques in one or more accounting areas: Accounting Information Systems; Financial and Public Accounting, including auditing and taxation; and Managerial and Cost Accounting. Graduates of the program are prepared to successfully challenge a professional examination for entry into the selected area; committed to professional and career development beyond their formal education into the highest executive levels of the selected area; capable of becoming leaders who exhibit high standards of ethical conduct within the profession; and  prepared for doctoral study and research positions.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must complete 16 units of Foundations of Business courses: CIS 100, BUS 305, ECON 209 or 501, and FIN 205 or 500.  In addition, applicants must complete 20 units of Foundations of Accounting courses: ACCT 500, 320AB, 321 and 322 and have an approved graduate degree program on file in the Business and Economics Advisement Center.

Requirements for the Degree  (45 units)

A total of 45 units of 500-level courses are required.  All programs must be approved by the department.

Core Courses (24 units)
ACCT 520     Managerial Accounting Theory (4)
ACCT 524A   Accounting Information Systems (4)
ACCT 524B   Auditing (4)
ACCT 525    Seminar: International Accounting (4)
ACCT 526    Seminar: Financial Accounting Theory (4)
ACCT 595    Accounting Case Studies (4)

Note: Students who have taken ACCT 424A, ACCT 424B and ACCT 495, or equivalent, before admission to the MS Accountancy program are exempt from ACCT 524A, ACCT 524B and ACCT 595.  These students must complete additional 12 units of 500-level courses selected with adviser approval from the option courses below.

Important message regarding WPE/GWAR: The University policy is that all the graduate students should take the WPE (Writing Proficiency Exam)/GWAR (Univ 400 - Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement) within the first three terms of their graduate program.


Select one of the three options listed below.  Elective courses within the options are determined in conference with a graduate adviser to meet professional objectives. 

A. Accounting Information Systems Option (21 units)
Select 21 units from the following:
ACCT 523  Seminar: Public Accounting (4)
ACCT 530  Seminar: Advanced Cost and Managerial Accounting (4)
BUS 597    Graduate Research (1 - 4)
CIS 504 Management Information Systems (4)
CIS 527 Seminar: Decision Support Systems (4)
CIS 528 Current Problems in Business Information Systems (4)
CIS 543 Data Base Systems (4)
CIS 560 Microcomputer Networks (4)
CIS 583 Information Systems  Consulting (4)
CIS 584 Controlling and Auditing Computer Systems (4)
CIS 585 Communication and Information Services (4)

B. Financial and Public Accounting Option (21units)
Select 21 units from the following:
ACCT 521A Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships (4)
ACCT 522 Seminar: Current Topics in Financial Reporting  (4)
ACCT 523 Seminar: Public Accounting (4)
ACCT 585 Seminar: Tax Theory and Business Applications (4)
ACCT 586 Seminar: Tax Research and Practice (4)
ACCT 587 Seminar: Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders (4)
FIN 530 Seminar:  Business Finance (3)
FIN 533 Seminar:  International Finance (3)
BUS 597 Graduate Research (1 - 4)
FIN 598 Graduate Directed Study (1-2)

C. Managerial and Cost Accounting Option (21 units)
Select 21 units from the following:
ACCT 521A Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships (4)
ACCT 530 Seminar: Advanced Cost and Managerial Accounting (4
ACCT 585 Seminar: Tax Theory and Business Applications (4)
ACCT 587 Seminar: Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders (4)
CIS 527 Seminar: Decision Support Systems (4)
MGMT 576 Seminar: Managing Health Care Organizations (4)
MGMT 577 Seminar: International Business Management (4))
BUS 597 Graduate Research (1)
MGMT 598 Graduate Directed Study (1-2)

All 400-level courses may be applied toward master’s degree requirements subject to limits established by department and approval of graduate adviser.

Classified graduate standing and approval by the College of Business and Economics Advisement Center are required for admission to all 500-level courses. 

Note: Students who have taken ACCT 421A may not take ACCT 521A.


ACCT 500 Financial and Managerial Accounting (4)

Accounting concepts and tools for business organizations;  covers the accounting model, financial statements analysis, cost control and behavior, pricing budgeting, and systems design. Some sections may be technologically mediated.

ACCT 520 Management Accounting Theory  (4) 

Management control theory; covers design of various types of responsibility centers, strategies and strategic planning, performance measurement and management compensation from an accounting perspective.

ACCT 521A Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships (4)

Prerequisite: ACCT 321.  Statutes, regulations, administrative rulings, and court decisions relating to federal and California income taxes of partnerships and corporations; procedural problems, tax management and planning; tax shelters.  Independent research in corporation and partnership taxation.

ACCT 522  Seminar: Current Topics in Financial Reporting   (4) 

Objectives of financial statements, efficient capital markets, setting accounting policy, using accounting data, processing human information. 

ACCT 523 Seminar:  Public Accounting  (4) 

Historical development of professions, audit function in relation to ethical and legal considerations, trends in new services for clients, the CPA firm, multinational practice, signposts of the future. 

ACCT 524A  Accounting Information Systems (4)

Prerequisites: ACCT 320B.  Study of accounting information systems and internal controls;.  provides  the tools necessary to understand and evaluate accounting information systems.  Independent research in accounting information systems.

ACCT 524B Auditing (4)

Prerequisite: ACCT 424A or 524A. Auditing concepts and practices involved in financial auditing, review and assurance services with emphasis on auditing of financial statements by professional accountants in public practice (CPAs).  Independent research in auditing.

ACCT 525 Seminar:  International Accounting  (4)

Selected analytical and policy issues underlying current developments in international accounting.

ACCT 526 Seminar:  Financial Accounting Theory  (4)

Advanced analytical concepts implicit in contemporary accounting practice; current developments in accounting techniques; specific applications to major aspects of financial statements.

ACCT 530 Seminar:  Advanced Cost and Managerial   Accounting  (4) 

Prerequisite:  ACCT 520. Selected analytical and policy issues underlying current developments in standards and techniques; application of advanced concepts to profit and nonprofit organizations.

ACCT 535 Forensic Accounting (4)

Recommended Prerequisite: ACCT 424B or ACCT 524B; or equivalent course. The course teaches the nature of forensic accounting, financial statement fraud and misappropriation of assets - detection, investigation, and prevention. The course develops professional skills necessary to investigate, detect, and prevent fraud through extensive case studies and research projects. Independent research in forensic accounting.

ACCT 554 Special Topics in Accounting (4)

Current topics of special interest in accounting as announced in Schedule of Classes. In-depth presentations and analyses of topics significant to contemporary business world; lectures, discussions, speakers, and research projects.

ACCT 585 Seminar: Tax Theory and Business Applications (4)

Prerequisite: ACCT 421A or 521A.  Tax concepts and judicial doctrines inherent in federal tax law; effects of taxation of business organization, capital structure, policies, and operation.

ACCT 586 Seminar: Tax Research and Practice  (4)

Prerequisite:  ACCT 421A or 521A. Methodology of researching complex tax problems; tax planning; scope of activity, responsibility, and ethics of accountant in tax field. 

ACCT 587 Seminar: Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders  (4)

Prerequisite:  ACCT 421A or 521A.  Statutory, regulatory, and case material applicable to corporation tax including formation, stock redemptions, and liquidations; stock dividends and preferred stock bail outs; elections under subchapters; personal holding companies, accumulated earning tax; collapsible corporations. 

ACCT 595 Case Studies in Accounting (4)

Prerequisite: ACCT 424A or 524A. How to apply the knowledge and skills learned in previous courses to solve real world case problems.  Independent research in accounting case studies.

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