Most Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting

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Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

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Are you seeking the most budget-friendly degree in accounting to advance your career? You may have been stunned by the staggering fees of top universities offering MSA degrees. 

Two years back, I was in the same condition, as the quality of education from a credible institute on a budget was my top priority. I started to find the most affordable online master’s in accounting. Here’s an updated list of those institutes so you can carry out your education worry-free. 

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top Universities Offering the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting

Pursuing higher studies in accounting can open up many lucrative career opportunities. Only a bachelor’s in accounting is not enough to earn some advanced-level certification in the accounting domain. For that purpose, you must enroll in a master’s in accounting to become eligible for the certification exam like CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

However, pursuing an MSA degree should not break the bank to get lucrative jobs in accounting. After comprehensive research, I have curated this list, considering various factors like affordability, quality of education, flexible learning options, and minimum enrollment criteria. 

The universities offering these MSA degrees are highly reputable, charge a reasonable fee from students, and offer scholarships and financial aid options.

University of Massachusetts

Fortune Education has ranked the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Master’s in Accounting at number three, putting a stamp on its credibility and reputation. Another recognition is by World News and Report, ranking this MSA degree at the ninth spot. 

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The master’s in accounting at the University of Massachusetts offers two tracks: Professional and Transition. The professional track targets students with a bachelor’s in accounting, requiring 30 credit hours. In contrast, the transition track is meant for students without an accounting background, requiring 33 to 45 credit hours. 

Students can complete the degree in one to two years. Studying at the top-ranked usually costs six figures. However, this program is quite affordable, with a fee of $25,500.

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign offers an 18-month-long MS program in accounting, requiring 32 credit hours. Financial aid is also available for students enrolled via Coursera. The program is delivered entirely online with synchronous and asynchronous learning flexibility. 

The fee is the same for online students. HLC and AACSB accredited the MSA at Gies College. The program also doesn’t require GRE and GMAT scores as a prerequisite. 

California State University, San Bernardino

The MSA at California State University is delivered through the College of Extended and Global Education. This program is offered in the MSA online option and the MSA 3:2 option. In the latter option, the CSUSB students are given a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree to transition them from undergraduate to graduate level. 

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Expert faculty carefully crafted both options and prepared the students for CPA licensure. The degree is geared toward polishing the leadership skills in the students, teaching them CPA requirements, and equipping them with the skills needed to pursue doctorate-level degrees in later stages. 

Suny Polytechnic Institute

Suny Polytechnic Institute offers another highly reputed MSA program, ranked at number four by Fortune Education. It primarily requires 33 credit hours and can be completed within a year. Students need to complete 15 credits for accounting and business core courses each. 

In comparison, the remaining three credits are used toward elective subjects. You must pass the GRE or GMAT exam to qualify for admission to MSA at this institute.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

One of the most affordable MSA programs is offered by The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. Students need to complete 30 hours in this accelerated master’s in accounting program, which can be finished in as little as 12 months. You can also apply for scholarships or avail of financial aid options. 

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A minimum of 3.0 GPA in the bachelor’s and GMAT exams is also required. However, the waiver is also available. The curriculum taught in the program meets the requirements of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to appear in the CPA exam.

Colorado State University Global

The MSA program by Colorado State University Global is one of the most affordable master’s in accounting. The university has not changed its fee for a decade. One appealing factor for students is that they don’t need a GMAT score to enroll in this degree. 

The acceptance rate for this degree is a whopping 97%, making it an easily accessible degree for interested students.

The degree requires students to complete 24 core credits and six emphasis credits. Students will be prepared to appear in industry-recognized certifications like CPA, CMA, CIA, CFE, and FSAC. 

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the best universities in the business domain, offering an affordable master’s degree in accounting. It has been ranked higher by many authoritative review sites, and its MSA degree has been ranked 21st overall by US News and World Report.

Students benefit from quality courses and can avail themselves of faculty mentoring throughout their CPA preparation and exam journey. 

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One of the distinguishing factors of MSA at the University of Alabama is that students can also learn information system topics like cybersecurity management and business analytics and earn related graduate certificates along with their master’s degree.

Western Governors University

The Western Governors University is a private institute offering affordable master’s in accounting. The online MSA degree WGU teaches students a competency-based curriculum quicker than on-campus batch mates, preparing them to appear in the CPA exam. 

The fee structure of this degree is based on a six-month tenure instead of credit hours. This is meant to relieve students of financial burden and let them pay less if they try to finish the degree faster. Students can take as many classes as they want without paying an extra penny.

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Western Governors University’s accounting graduates see an average salary increase of $18,700. This degree is accredited by NWCCU (Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities) and ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs). All these factors make it a preferable option for students to consider for higher studies. 

Is an Online Accounting Degree in Master’s Worth It?

Yes, an online master’s degree in accounting is worth it. The recipients of MSA degrees earn 10%-20% more than the bachelor degree holders. Enrolling in MSA is a good idea; however, it’s recommended to do sufficient research on the university and the type of curriculum the faculty teaches.

How Long Does It Take To Complete an Online Master in Accounting?

It takes 12 to 24 months to complete an online master’s in accounting, depending on factors like part-time or full-time studies and previous accounting experience. However, the accelerated option is only available for students with a bachelor’s in accounting.

Does a Master’s in Accounting Help in Your Career Growth?

If you are a recent undergraduate or professional with years of experience, an MSA degree will benefit you regardless of your background. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of auditors and accountants is $78,000 per year. 

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting - fact


Pursuing an online master’s in accounting is a beneficial investment for many people who want lucrative careers. In this article, I have highlighted affordable MSA degree options that balance quality education with flexibility. Obtaining an MSA degree can be a transformative step for your career with enhanced prospects for earning. 

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