The Master of Science in accounting degree is intended for students pursuing careers in public, corporate, and not-for-profit accounting, including those with limited undergraduate accounting education. The M.S.A. degree meets current educational requirements for public accounting certification (CPA) in the State of Michigan.
Admission to the Master of Science in Accounting Program
Admission to the M.S.A. program is based on an evaluation of the candidate’s application and other submitted documentation. An undergraduate degree in accounting is not required, but those with limited undergraduate business education are required to complete business and accounting courses that provide a foundation for advanced study in accounting.
Applicants must submit official documentation of all previous college coursework, including a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent international credential). Additionally, applicants must submit:
- GMAT score (unless waived)
- Personal statement
- TOEFL score (if English is not the applicant’s first language)
Admission requirements are provided in detail in the Seidman College of Business section of this catalog, including conditions that qualify applicants for a GMAT waiver.
The Graduate Accounting Committee bases admission decisions on previous undergraduate and graduate academic performance, performance on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and evidence of other competencies related to program and workplace success. Academic performance in intermediate accounting courses is a particularly strong predictor of academic success in the M.S.A. program; consequently the committee looks for an earned grade of B or better in all intermediate courses. A TOEFL score of at least 80 (IBT) is required of applicants whose first language is not English. Work experience is not required but may be used in the admission decision.
The Graduate Admissions Committee considers a scholastic index (SI) for M.S.A. applicants computed as follows:
SI = (GPA for last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework x 200) + GMAT score.
Applicants with a scholastic index of at least 1100, a GMAT score not less than 500, a cumulative GPA of not less than 3.0, and satisfactory evidence in their other credentials are considered qualified for full admission.
Students admitted under this status must meet specific requirements detailed in their letter of admission to be fully admitted to the program.
If an otherwise qualified applicant has not completed prerequisite or foundational courses including intermediate accounting (or received a grade below a B in any intermediate accounting course), it is likely that the applicant will be offered conditional admission. Full admission to the M.S.A. program will be granted upon meeting specified conditions. The conditional admission status is described in detail in the Graduate Admissions section of the catalog.
Individuals not yet admitted to the M.S.A. program may enroll in 500-level Foundation courses with permission from the Seidman Graduate Programs Office. Candidates who have not completed Intermediate Accounting I (ACC 310 or equivalent) with a grade of B or higher may only enroll in Foundation or undergraduate Accounting Exposure courses until ACC 310 is completed with a grade of B or higher. Accordingly, the student is advised to take ACC 310 as soon as its prerequisites are met. Undergraduate courses and Foundation courses do not count toward the 33 graduate-credit minimum for the M.S.A. degree. Candidates who have not completed Intermediate Accounting II (ACC 311 or equivalent) with a grade of B or better should take this course in the first semester of attendance after the ACC 310 prerequisite has been met.
Enrollment in dual-listed 500-level courses or 600-level courses is generally restricted to students admitted to the respective program who have also completed the appropriate prerequisite courses. The exception to this policy is Seidman College accounting students with senior standing who meet all other admissions criteria. Such students will have: 1) completed ACC 310, ACC 311, and ACC 340 with a grade of B or better; 2) no more than 35 credits left to complete their undergraduate degree requirements; 3) a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; and 4) a GMAT score of at least 500 (or qualify for a GMAT waiver). With permission of the Seidman Graduate Programs Office, such students may enroll for as many as four graduate-level accounting courses that may be applied toward the M.S.A. degree once they are admitted.
The following categories of applicants may request a waiver of the GMAT examination requirement:
- GVSU undergraduate accounting students who have no more than 35 credits left to complete their undergraduate degree requirements with a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA in their last sixty hours of coursework and with a 3.3 GPA (with no grade lower than a B) in ACC 310, ACC 311, ACC 321, and ACC 317 or ACC 318.
- Applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an AACSB-accredited business school with a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA in their last sixty hours of coursework and with a 3.3 GPA (with no grade lower than a B) in the following courses or their equivalents:
- ACC 310 - Intermediate Accounting I,
- ACC 311 - Intermediate Accounting II,
- ACC 321 - Cost Strategy and Decision Making, and
- ACC 317 - Individual Income Taxes OR ACC 318 - Entity Taxation.
- Applicants who have earned a master’s degree from an AACSB-accredited business school.
- Applicants who have completed a US Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- A certified public accountant registered or licensed in any US jurisdiction.
Applicants seeking a GMAT waiver should contact the Seidman Graduate programs Office for details. A GMAT waiver does not result in guaranteed admission; the admissions decision will be based on the applicant’s application materials.
A maximum of nine semester hours of transfer credit will be given for appropriate graduate courses completed with a grade of B or better from another AACSB-accredited college. These credits may be substituted for required or elective courses as determined by the Seidman Graduate Programs Office. University policy on transfer of credit also governs such courses.
A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required in all graduate-level courses. Additionally, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required in all 600-level courses that fulfill graduation requirements for the M.S.A. A grade of C or better must be earned in all graduate courses that fulfill graduation requirements for the M.S.A.
The M.S.A. program is offered at the Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Most courses are located in the L. William Seidman Center, home of the Seidman College of Business.
Graduate Outcomes/Time to Program Completion
The School of Accounting faculty has identified the following learning objectives for M.S.A. students, and objectives are assessed regularly to ensure that they are being achieved.
M.S.A. graduates will be
- technically competent;
- effective accounting researchers;
- effective communicators;
- internationally literate; and
- prepared to recognize and respond to ethical questions encountered in the practice of accounting.
Students with an undergraduate degree in accounting or business can generally complete the program in one calendar year. Students with no or limited accounting coursework can complete the program in two calendar years.