Master of Science in Accounting

Earn your MSA while prepping for the CPA exam

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job prospects for accountants and auditors are expected to grow 30% between now and 2022. Take advantage of that growth and enhance your career prospects by pursuing an MSA degree with Nichols.

If you are a recent accounting graduate or an accounting/auditing professional looking to pass the CPA exam, a Nichols MSA degree is an excellent fit for you. Our program is designed to work with your busy professional life while letting you stay focused on passing the CPA exam. From 2003-2014, 90% of students who completed our partners’ online prep course passed the CPA exam (compared with a national average of 47%).

But we don’t only focus on CPA preparation—we also help you build the communication and leadership skills employers are seeking. A Nichols MSA won’t just make you a great accountant. It will make you a great leader.

Your Degree

Costs Only $20,400

Finishes In 18 Months Part-Time

Why a Nichols MSA?

Get There Faster

Courses are offered in accelerated seven-week sessions, so you can complete your MSA in as little as 18 months. All while you prepare for the CPA exam.

Build skills you’ll use today

With a curriculum that’s always current and a faculty of industry experts, you’ll develop skills you’ll use in your career right now and in the future.

Learn How You Want and When You Can

With HyFlex learning, you can balance your MSA degree with the rest of your life. Choose how you want to learn each week—in class or online in real time.

Get an MSA that pays off

A Nichols MSA is an exceptional return on your investment. Nichols offers great value for the time and money you dedicate.

Admission Requirements

* Waived for Nichols College graduates

Financial Aid

For those students who qualify, financial aid is available. Students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine eligibility for federal and state financial aid. The Nichols school code is 002197.

Countdown to Your MSA

Finish as soon as June 2018

Begin your degree when it’s best for you

With 6 start dates to choose from, Nichols lets you boost your career and balance your life. Be sure to check out our simplified course sequence maps so you can plan for what to expect. If you choose to start on a January, May, or August start date, you’ll follow Course Sequence I. If you choose to start on a February, June, or October start date, you’ll follow Course Sequence II. To find out the exact start date for your course, take a look at our academic calendar.

Outcomes & Courses

Graduates of the MSA program will prepare to pass the CPA license exam and demonstrate the ability to:

  • Critically analyze accounting problems in order to find creative solutions
  • Identify, comprehend and apply appropriate professional accounting rules and standards.   Understand current issues and emerging trends in accounting.
  • Apply an ethical decision making framework to accounting issues to find solutions
  • Use cultural awareness and communication skills to foster highly productive and collaborative relationships. 

Required Courses
Common Master Level Skills

  • BUS-610 Experience Nichols I - Learn.Lead.Succeed.

    This course leads new students through a comprehensive overview of the College, its advantages in the business field, and the resources that are readily available to students.  In addition, this course guides students through the process of personal development necessary to succeed in the program and today’s business market.  (This course is designed to be completed as a series of three one-credit segments.  BUS 610: 1 credit – First Session of your program, BUS 611: 1 credit – 15 credits into your program, and BUS 612: 1 credit – 27 credits into the program.)

    As a result of completing all three parts of this course, the student will:
    1. Identify Nichols community, culture, learning tools, and college resources
    2. Locate methods and tools for research as 21st century learners
    3. Analyze emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, collaboration, and teamwork)
    4. Develop personal learning objectives for maximizing return on investment in a master’s program


    Register for this course →

  • BUS-611 Experience Nichols II - Learn.Lead.Succeed.

    This course leads new students through a comprehensive overview of the College, its advantages in the business field, and the resources that are readily available to students.  In addition, this course guides students through the process of personal development necessary to succeed in the program and today’s business market.  (This course is designed to be completed as a series of three one-credit segments.  BUS 610: 1 credit – First Session of your program, BUS 611: 1 credit – 15 credits into your program, and BUS 612: 1 credit – 27 credits into the program.)

    As a result of completing all three parts of this course, the student will:
    1. Identify Nichols community, culture, learning tools, and college resources
    2. Locate methods and tools for research as 21st century learners
    3. Analyze emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, collaboration, and teamwork)
    4. Develop personal learning objectives for maximizing return on investment in a master’s program


    Register for this course →

  • BUS-612 Experience Nichols III - Learn.Lead.Succeed.

    This course leads new students through a comprehensive overview of the College, its advantages in the business field, and the resources that are readily available to students.  In addition, this course guides students through the process of personal development necessary to succeed in the program and today’s business market.  (This course is designed to be completed as a series of three one-credit segments.  BUS 610: 1 credit – First Session of your program, BUS 611: 1 credit – 15 credits into your program, and BUS 612: 1 credit – 27 credits into the program.)

    As a result of completing all three parts of this course, the student will:
    1. Identify Nichols community, culture, learning tools, and college resources
    2. Locate methods and tools for research as 21st century learners
    3. Analyze emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, collaboration, and teamwork)
    4. Develop personal learning objectives for maximizing return on investment in a master’s program


    Register for this course →

MSA Core Courses

  • BUS-615 Business Communications

    Communication is key to success, whether through inter-office reports and communications, marketplace messages and conversations, or inter-personal interactions.  This course will aid students in developing skills and abilities in the area of communication - personal and business. 

    As a result of this course, the student will:
    1. Generate well-organized and effective informational and persuasive presentations
    2. Analyze and draw inferences from written material
    3. Write effective proposals and reports
    4. Develop strategies for employing style, structure, format, and for maximizing impact
    5. Apply frameworks in the digital age of communication


    Register for this course →

  • BUS-620 Cultural Awareness in Global Business Today

    Today’s business reaches across national and international borders, and the successful business leader understands this paradigm.  This course will lead the student through discovery, analysis, and utilization of international business practices.  In order to complete this course successfully, the student will identify and understand governmental policies, international organizations and competition as well as models for doing business in developing nations using culture in the decision-making process.

    As a result of this course, the student will:
    1. Analyze global business initiatives
    2. Identify issues related to globalization from a variety of viewpoints
    3. Develop an ethical framework and analyze issues through that framework
    4. Identify, describe, and debate major themes concerning globalization, culture, and ethics
    5. Analyze teamwork dynamics across geographic and cultural boundaries
    6. Evaluate business culture and practices in developing nations


    Register for this course →

  • BUS-625 Current Trends in Leadership

    As business practices evolve to meet the changing demands of the marketplace, leaders must constantly evaluate and make adjustments to stay on top of the field.  This course is designed to help students identify, evaluate, and analyze current trends and then to make judgments on the viability and wisdom of those trends. (pre-requisite BUS 610)

    As a result of this course, the student will:
    1. Compare and contrast leadership styles, including leading with vision, inspiring, and motivating others
    2. Analyze and summarize critical issues in leadership and ethical decision-making
    3. Analyze current professional literature
    4. Examine the evolution of teams


    Register for this course →

MSA Focus - 18 credits

  • MSA-705 Business Environment and Systems Assessment (BEC focus for exam)

    This course will prepare students to pass the Business Environment and Concepts section of the CPA exam.  The content of this course will include

    ·      corporate governance
    ·      economic concepts essential to understanding the global business environment and its impact on an entity’s business strategy and financial risk management
    ·      financial management
    ·      Information systems and communication
    ·      Strategic planning
    ·      Operations management


    As a result of this course, the student will be prepared to pass the BEC section of the CPA exam


    Register for this course →

  • MSA-710 Ethics. Law and Forensic Accounting (REG focus for exam)

    This course will prepare students to pass the Regulation section of the CPA exam.  The content of this course will include
    • Federal Taxation
    • Ethics
    • Fraud and Forensics
    • Professional and legal responsibility
    • Business Law

    As a result of this course, the student will be prepared to pass the REG section of the CPA Exam.


    Register for this course →

  • MSA-715 Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR focus)

    This two part course will prepare students to pass the financial accounting and reporting section of the CPA exam.  The content of these two courses will be:
    • Generally accepted accounting principles in the United States that affect business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and government entities.
    • Focus on difficult concepts such as:  Inventory, Revenue Recognition, Bonds and Derivatives, Stock options and EPS, Pensions, Leases, Statement of Cash Flows, Accounting Changes, Business Combinations, and Consolidated Financial Statements.
    • FASB
    • Differences between GAAP and IFRS
    • GASB


    Register for this course →

  • MSA-720 Advanced Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR focus)

    This two part course will prepare students to pass the financial accounting and reporting section of the CPA exam.  The content of these two courses will be:
    • Generally accepted accounting principles in the United States that affect business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and government entities.
    • Focus on difficult concepts such as:  Inventory, Revenue Recognition, Bonds and Derivatives, Stock options and EPS, Pensions, Leases, Statement of Cash Flows, Accounting Changes, Business Combinations, and Consolidated Financial Statements.
    • FASB
    • Differences between GAAP and IFRS
    • GASB


    Register for this course →

  • MSA-725 Auditing (AUD focus)

    This course will prepare students to pass the Auditing and Attestation section of the CPA exam.  The content will focus on:
    • GAAS and other standards related to attestations engagements


    Register for this course →

  • MSA-730 Current Trends in Accounting

    This course will focus on the critical analysis of major issues in accounting today and those expected in the near future.  Students will critically analyze business problems and debate possible solutions to arrive at the most feasible solutions.  At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to analyze situations at a deeper, more critical level.  Content for this course could include:

    ·      Conceptual Framework in Financial Accounting
    ·      Accounting Standard Setting
    ·      Accounting Measures and the challenges
    ·      International Accounting
    ·      Public vs Private GAAP
    ·      Balanced Scorecard and other reporting considerations


    Register for this course →