MS - Accountancy

The Master of Science in Accountancy is a flexible degree program designed for both accounting and non-accounting undergraduates who aspire to a profession in accounting. Coursework includes advanced financial reporting, auditing, taxation, IT auditing and financial statement analysis. Undergraduate accounting students enroll in a course of study to earn a masters degree and 30 additional units required for CPA licensure. An ambitious, highly motivated liberal arts, sciences or business undergraduate will need to complete the intensive Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals program during the summer semester before matriculation into the MSA degree program.

Purpose of the MSA Program

The MSA program prepares students for a career in public or corporate accounting with a strong foundation for both public accounting certification (CPA) and career advancement.

Educational Objectives

Students with an MSA degree should understand the accounting principles and procedures involved in measuring, recording, summarizing and reporting financial and nonfinancial data for business organizations; taxation concepts; auditing and control procedures; and the ethical and legal challenges in an accounting career. They should communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, evaluate information technology, and demonstrate analytical proficiency.

Benefits of the MSA

The program is designed for accounting undergraduates who want to further their studies in accounting while acquiring an additional 30 units needed for CPA licensure. It also allows liberal arts /sciences/business undergraduates who are interested in changing careers an entrance to the accounting profession. The course work and optional internship provide opportunities to build a framework for a successful and rewarding career in public or corporate accounting.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

To be fully accepted into classified standing, an applicant must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university;
  • Have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of course work;
  • Have taken the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the GRE exam. The ideal candidate will have scores at the 50th percentile or above in both quantitative and verbal sections, or GRE scores of 151 in Verbal Reasoning and 152 in Quantitative Reasoning. The AWA portion of the GMAT is also required. Test scores are one part of the selection process, but the Test score for students admitted into the program averages 600.
  • Have taken an English proficiency exam if the applicant graduated from a postsecondary institution in a country where English is not the principal language. Accepted exams include the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a preferred score of 90, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a preferred score of 7.5, and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) with a preferred score of 75.

In addition, a personal interview may be conducted for each applicant.

Program of Study Requirements

To receive the Master of Science in Accountancy, students must complete 30 semester units of prescribed course work. Specific program policies include the following:

1. Prerequisites

The curriculum requires completion of two lower division and five upper division prerequisite courses (3 semester hours or equivalent) within the past five years with an average grade in the courses of "B" or better prior to the start of the program. All upper division prerequisites must be completed at an accredited 4-year university in the U.S. The seven prerequisite courses are:

  1. Introductory Financial Accounting (lower division course, gateway to upper division courses 2-6)
  2. Intermediate Financial Accounting I
  3. Intermediate Financial Accounting II
  4. Accounting Information Systems
  5. Management Accounting and Control Systems
  6. Tax Factors of Business and Investment Decisions
  7. Statistics (lower division course)

Students may be conditionally admitted into the program pending completion of the prerequisite courses. Students must, at a minimum, submit completion and/or verification of enrollment in Introductory Financial Accounting and Statistics by the published GAPE document submission deadline. One way to fulfill the rest of the prerequisites is to enroll in the Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals at SJSU to complete courses 2-6 with an average of B in the summer preceding Fall enrollment in the MSA program.

2. Course Requirements

The 30 semester units of coursework include six courses required of all students and an elective MSA courses. Electives may be taken from offerings in the MST and/or MBA programs with approval from the MSA director. Students with an undergraduate degree in accounting may substitute electives for up to three of the required courses if an equivalent undergraduate course was completed with a grade of B or better within the last five years.

3. Internship

The courses in the MSA program are designed to prepare students for internships with public or corporate accounting firms. From January through March, students may enroll in an internship course, BUS220K. Students gain practical work experience, participate in firm training programs, and attend roundtable meetings to discuss topics such as professional ethics, working in the professional environment, communication effectiveness, marketing professional services and planning for professional growth.

4. Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

The University requires that all graduate students complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" for details. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website at

5. Comprehensive Project

A comprehensive project is incorporated into Bus 220N, Project Management, Organization & Strategy and into BUS220A, Financial Statement Analysis. The comprehensive project is a culminating experience integrating business functional and interdisciplinary areas. An individual written project report is required and an oral examination may be included. The project may take the form of a field study, business plan, research project or business simulation.

6. Maintenance of 3.0 GPA

Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better on all graduate-level course work. Students who receive grades of C-, D, F, or U in any business graduate course must repeat that course to achieve a grade of C or better. In addition, any student whose GPA falls below 3.0, or who receives two or more unsatisfactory grades (C-, D, F, or U) in graduate status, regardless of units completed, may be disqualified from the MSA program. It is the policy of the Donald and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business not to readmit disqualified graduate students after a second disqualification.

7. Other University Requirements

Students must comply with all other graduate requirements contained in this catalog.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Pre-Requisite Courses
Any of the prerequisite courses may be waived through evidence of recent prior equivalency (within the last years with a grade of "B" or better)
Introductory Financial Accounting
Intermediate Financial Accounting I
Intermediate Financial Accounting II
Accounting Information Systems
Management Accounting and Control Systems
Tax Factors of Business and Investment Decisions
Requirements for the Masters30
Required Courses15
BUS 220H. Auditing: Concepts/Practice3
BUS 220J. Business Communications & EthicsGWAR3
BUS 220P. Taxation of Individuals and Flow-Through Entities3
BUS 220U. IT Audit & Internal Controls3
BUS 220Z. Data Analytics for Accounting3
If an equivalent undergraduate course has been completed in the last five years with a grade of B or better, an elective may be substituted for BUS 220H, BUS 220P, and BUS 220Z.
Comprehensive Project3
Complete one course from:
BUS 220A. Financial Statement Analysis for Accountants3
BUS 220N. Management of Organizations and Projects3
If both courses are taken, one is the comprehensive project and the other is an elective.
Elective courses must be taken in addition to the six required courses in order to achieve the total of 30 semester units.

Total Units:30