Overview of a Master's Degree Program in Accounting and Finance
Accounting and finance are intimately connected, however they do have their differences. An accountant keeps an accurate record and analyses financial records and with this information, while a financial manager is responsible for creating a strategy to effectively use a company’s finances. A master's degree program in accounting and finance combines these two closely related fields so that students are prepared to organize, analyze and strategize financial information. This is a great degree to earn, as it is an important role in most businesses. Some careers that one may enter after graduating with this degree include investment banker, account manager stock broker or personal financial advisor.
Some students who pursue this degree already have a background in accounting, finance or another business related profession and wish to earn their master's degree in order to have an advantage in the increasingly competitive job market. Other applicants do not have a strong background in business, but may have a strong interest in crunching numbers or helping others with their finances. Although some employers do hire individuals who have a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance, a master's degree can help applicants transition into a management position.
Applying to an Accounting and Finance Masters Degree Program
Many people who choose to apply to a masters degree program in accounting and finance already have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or a related subject. They may even already hold a job in accounting or finance, but are unable to advance to a position with more responsibility because they lack the credentials and training to take on the new responsibilities associated with the job. A master's degree in accounting and finance is provides these individuals with the knowledge to advance in their career.
Each graduate school has their own application procedure. However, there are general requirements that most grad schools do have in common including submitting at least three letters of recommendation, a personal statement describing why you are the perfect fit for the program and your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. In addition, each school request a copy of your college transcripts to weigh your GPA. Typically the minimum GPA that a student must have received in college is a 3.0, although some programs have a higher or lower minimum requirement.
How to Choose a Master's Degree Program in Accounting and Finance
Master's degree program in accounting and finance educate students with in depth information on the subject. In addition, students also gain knowledge on related subjects such as investments or marketing. Though this is the basic information students learn in this degree program, there are a few ways in which the education is delivered.
Some master's degree programs specialize in the theory of accounting and finance, while other programs provide courses for research and case studies so that students have the chance to practice the theory. It is not uncommon for programs to combine theory and practice, so that students graduate with a well-balanced education. The type of program you choose depends on what career you plan to pursue after graduation. For example, a loan agent may need a more practice-based curriculum as they deal with clients on a daily basis.
Working professionals may not be able to afford to leave their job in order to pursue their master's degree in accounting and finance. In this case, there are other program options that provide a more flexible schedule such as night, weekend or online courses. Earning your online master's degree in accounting and finance is a great option if you also have family or other responsibilities, as online programs allow you to complete your assignments in your own time.
What to Expect in a Master's Degree Program in Accounting and Finance
Due to recent acts of legislation that passed after the corporate accounting scandals, accounting and finance programs are now required to teach students the complex laws and ethics that they did not previously have to know. Typical courses for a master's degree program in accounting and finance include managerial accounting, organizational behavior, investment management and tax law.
Some master's degree programs require students to complete a thesis in order to earn their degree, while others are non-thesis degrees. A thesis is an in-depth research paper on a subject within accounting or finance of the student’s choice. Make sure that you are passionate about the subject you choose to write your thesis on as you will be working on it for the entire second half of your degree program.
Top 10 Grad Schools for a Master's Degree in Accounting and Finance
- American InterContinental University
- DeVry University
- Keller Graduate School of Management
- Colorado Technical University
- University of Maryland - University College
- University of Southern Maine, Portland
- Franklin Pierce University
- University of San Diego
- Southern New Hampshire University, Online
- Seattle University
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