The Catholic University of America

Program of Study

The School of Business and Economics offers a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA). The Program is a one year program designed to meet the professional accounting career development needs of individuals with accounting or related backgrounds. MSA course work is customized to reflect educational and career backgrounds and objectives.

The MSA program provides students with (1) the more advanced concepts in the fields of accounting, auditing, and taxation, (2) a clear understanding of the strategic role of accounting in business organizations and society, and (3) an international perspective given the increasingly global nature of business.

The program is designed for those who already have a Bachelor of Science in Accounting major or minor, or equivalent. The MSA program provides the academic prerequisites for candidates who wish to take the United States Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination. Most states currently require 150 credit hours for the CPA certificate.

The educational and experience requirements of boards of accountancy vary from state to state. It is the student's responsibility to determine the requirements that must be met in his or her state in order to sit for the examination, and to request changes in the program to meet those requirements.

Students have the advantage of small classes as well as close mentoring from accounting faculty with a wide range of global and diverse professional experience. Internships and part-time employment at professional firms, commercial companies, and government agencies are encouraged.

The MSA program consists of 30 credit hours (of which 15 credit hours must be in advanced accounting courses, and 15 credit hours in related accounting or business electives). The specific Program Course Requirements & Electives are as follows:

Advanced Accounting Courses

To prepare a graduate for a wide range of current accounting issues, and to ensure that they are prepared well for the CPA exam, the five required Accounting courses (of three credit units each) are focused on the three key business elements of the accounting profession – Accounting, Auditing, and Taxation. They are:

Accounting (at least three of the following courses must be selected):

ACCT 517 (Governmental and Not for Profit Accounting) – to prepare students for the governmental/NPF sector
ACCT 518 (Accounting Theory) – to prepare students for the commercial/private sector
ACCT 530 (Forensic Accounting) – to prepare students for the increasingly complex world of fraud and defalcation
ACCT 575 (International Accounting) – to prepare students for the growing and complex global sector
ACCT 580 (Legal, Financial and Tax Aspects of Business Law)
ACCT 582 (Financial Analysis) – to prepare students for interpreting and reporting key financial data in all sectors

Auditing (at least one of the following must be selected):

ACCT 512 (Auditing) – to prepare students who are considering a career in public accounting or the corporate/governmental audit function
ACCT 525 (Accounting Software Systems) – to prepare students for the increasingly complex “audit trails” that must be mastered by auditors

Tax (at least one of the following must be selected):

ACCT 519 (Taxation I) – to prepare students for the complexities of personal income taxes
ACCT 520 (Taxation II) – to prepare students for national and global tax strategies

There are also two required courses:  They are

ACCT 542 Accounting Ethics, and ACCT 650 (Graduate Seminar) which students must enroll in their last semester.  It is the culmination of studies and the practical experience-based course on contemporary accounting problems (for example in the areas of accounting, auditing, reporting and taxation.)

Business or Economics Elective Courses

Up to three electives can be chosen from ACCT 500, MSBA 500, or MSM 500 level graduate courses.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation from the MSA program.