Academic Programs Catalog

The Eli Broad College of Business and The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management

Department of Accounting and Information Systems

Graduate Study
Accounting - Master of Science

The Master of Science degree in Accounting is a STEM designated program designed for persons interested in advancing their knowledge of accounting and quantitative and data analysis skills. It provides an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge in at least one concentration area of accounting along with skills in data analysis, statistics, modeling and forecasting, and the design and testing of computer systems and applications. Students will also complete courses in several related fields such as communication, finance, management, marketing, or supply chain management. Each student’s program of study is developed according to chosen professional objectives, complementary to prior academic work.

This degree is relevant for persons interested in pursuing careers in the public accounting profession that typically require the Certified Public Accountant certification, or in similar positions in corporate accounting, advisory and consulting services, and government. It provides students with the skills a professional accountant is expected to possess such as quantitative and data analysis skills applied in an accounting setting, critical thinking and strategic problem-solving abilities, oral and written communication skills, and well-developed interpersonal skills including the ability to work effectively with groups and to provide leadership.  

There is increasing evidence that an undergraduate college degree may be insufficient to provide the breadth and depth of accounting knowledge and the skill development necessary for professional success. All states require at least 150 semester hours of college credits to obtain a Certified Public Accountant certification.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of The Eli Broad College of Business and Graduate School of Management, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Students may start the program in any semester (fall or spring), or summer session, as space permits. Applications for admission to the program must be received by January 15 for fall semester or summer session, and March 1 for second-round admission consideration, as space permits. Students desiring to start in spring semester must apply by October 1.

To be considered for admission to the program, applicants must:

  1. Submit to the Director of the Master of Science degree in Accounting program a completed application packet that is available on the program Web site.
  2. Take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have the scores submitted to the Master of Science degree in Accounting program. The GMAT test must be taken not more than five years or the GRE not more than two years prior to the submission of the application for admission to the program. Current Michigan State University students in the undergraduate accounting or finance major with both an overall grade-point average and junior-senior level accounting course grade-point average of 3.0 or higher are not required to take the GMAT.

The minimum standards for admission to the Master of Science degree in Accounting are:

  1. a bachelor's degree in accounting from a recognized educational institution with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0; or a bachelor’s degree in another major from a recognized educational institution with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 and completion of the following prerequisite courses:  intermediate financial accounting, and probability and statistics.
  2. a strong GMAT/GRE score. Students with qualifying credentials may be able to waive the GMAT/GRE and applicants should consult with the program director to see if they are eligible for the waiver.
  3. a grade-point average of at least 3.0 for any junior-and-senior level courses taken as an undergraduate.

Admission to the program is competitive. Meeting the minimum standards listed above does not guarantee admission. The applicant’s overall record is considered including letters of recommendation, the students statement of objectives, work experience, extra curricular activities, and TOEFL and IELTS scores. Admission is also subject to space availability.
The program accepts qualified applicants whose undergraduate degree is not in accounting and only includes an intermediate-level financial accounting course. These students will be required to complete collateral course work and their program of study will typically require more than 30 credits for the degree. Students should contact the director of the program to determine course deficiencies. Credits earned in collateral course work does not count toward the Master of Science degree in Accounting.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Accounting

A minimum of 30 credits, with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, is required for the degree under Plan B (without thesis). At least 24 credits must be at the 800-level. The student’s program of study must be approved by the Program Director of the Master of Science in Accounting.

1. Complete both of the following course (6 credits):
ACC 827 Accounting Analytics 3
COM 875 Communication Leadership Skills in Organizations 3
2. Complete one of the following concentrations. Alternative courses can be substituted with the approval of the Program Director.
Information Systems
Four of the following courses:
ACC 822 Information Systems Project Management 3
ACC 823 Advanced Enterprise Database Systems 3
ACC 824 Governance and Control of Enterprise Systems 3
ACC 825 Object Oriented Business Information Systems 3
ACC 826 Enterprise Information Systems 3
Students who did not complete their undergraduate degree in accounting from Michigan State University also need to complete:
ACC 821 Enterprise Database Systems 3
Public and Corporate Accounting
The following course:
FI 801 Managerial Finance 3
Four of the following courses:
ACC 807 Financial Statement Analysis 3
ACC 808 Contemporary Financial Reporting Decisions 3
ACC 814 Advanced Auditing 3
ACC 833 Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders 3
ACC 841 Strategic Management Control Systems 3
ACC 843 Value Chain Accounting and Analytics 3
ACC 850 Accounting for Multiunit Enterprises 3
ACC 830 Tax Research 3
ACC 833 Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders 3
ACC 836 U.S. Taxation of Multinational Transactions 3
ACC 850 Accounting for Multiunit Enterprises 3
FI 801 Managerial Finance 3
3. Electives.
Students must select at least 9 to 12 credits, of which 9 must be outside the accounting major. For students in the public and corporate accounting, and taxation concentrations, information systems courses are considered outside of the accounting major. For students in the information systems concentration, all other accounting courses are considered outside of the accounting major.

Academic Standards

Students who are enrolled in the Master of Science degree in Accounting degree program are expected to maintain:  (1) a minimum grade–point average of 3.0 each semester, and (2) a minimum cumulative grade–point average of 3.0.

The Program Director monitors the progress of students who are enrolled in the Master of Science in Accounting degree program. A policy statement containing additional information relative to academic standards is available from the director.

A student who does not maintain a 3.0 grade–point average will be placed on final probation. Such a student will be given the next semester of enrollment to achieve a 3.0 grade–point average; otherwise, dismissal from the program will result.