Pursuing a Master of Accounting (for non-accounting degree holders)


Prospective students who come to us interested in graduate accounting education come from a variety of backgrounds:

  • Undergraduate accounting majors preparing for their certification exams or seeking to accelerate their career
  • Individuals with business education, like finance or international business, who want to complement their education with specialized knowledge in accounting
  • Graduates from overseas with accounting or business degrees who need to enhance their credentials in the U.S. to advance their careers
  • Professionals with no business education at all who are interested in a complete career change

As interest and demand for accounting roles continue to grow, so has the need to pursue a Master of Accounting (MACC) degree or Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) degree. You might be in the situation where a MACC program seems like the perfect option to continue advancing your career or you might be wondering if switching to this path is even possible for you.

Whatever the reason for earning a graduate-level accounting degree, universities are adapting to make their MACC programs more inclusive and accessible even for those with no previous accounting or business education.

Why switch to accounting

Accounting can lead to plenty of promising career positions ranging from auditors, tax specialists, controllers, CPAs and analysts to even CFOs in companies that are big or small, public or private. Every business needs a skilled accountant, from nonprofits to multinational corporations - providing plenty of jobs available in the market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for the next decade is at a steady rate of 6%, and the median pay is close to $72,000 for accountants and auditors. The high demand and substantial compensation for these roles make them a great choice for those interested in pursuing something new.

Pursuing a MACC degree is a great way to break into the field while equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue the upper-management or executive positions.

How to start your MACC program if you have a non-accounting business degree

Most MACC programs require you to have an undergraduate degree in accounting from an accredited institution because a graduate program builds on the knowledge taught in undergraduate accounting courses.

Some universities provide a specialized path for those with a business degree that isn’t accounting to be eligible to enter their MACC program. This path consists of prerequisite courses that build a strong foundation in accounting principles.

Some institutions call these prerequisite courses "bridge programs." At FIU, our path for business majors is a prerequisite program that includes introductory courses on topics like:

  • The principles of accounting
  • Financial accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • Taxation
  • Auditing

After completing these courses, students are better prepared to move into advanced accounting education and successfully complete their master's degree program.

How to start your MACC if you do not have a business degree

The path to enter a Master of Accounting program for those that do not hold a business degree is not that straight forward. It may vary by institution, but on top of the prerequisite accounting courses mentioned above, you will need to fulfill various foundational business classes at the undergraduate level.

Depending on the options available, you could complete these at a smaller college or your university. These courses will provide you with a well-rounded curriculum of business principles that will prepare you to understand the language and ideas of the advanced classes. These undergraduate courses must be completed to qualify for a graduate program.

We recommend working with the enrollment advisor for your MACC program to learn what support programs are offered for those who do not hold a business degree. Be sure to ask for a list of required courses and instructions on how to transfer those credits if needed.

Accounting is a complex and ever-evolving field. Our complex economy comes with continually changing regulations, standards, and tax laws. It is vital to build a solid foundation of business and accounting knowledge to succeed in your master's program and beyond.

Are you interested in pursuing an accounting degree?

If you are interested in earning a Master of Accounting degree, attend an information session to learn more about the prerequisites needed if you do not have an undergraduate accounting degree from an accredited institution.