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. Plus, with our Mentor Program, you can learn more about today's business environment from experienced leaders and top executives and get valuable guidance on achieving your career goals. A Nichols MSA won’t just make you a great accountant. It will make you a great leader.
Costs Only $21,900
Finishes In 18 Months Part-Time
Why a Nichols MSA?
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.
Learn From Experience
Our experienced faculty, Mentor Program, and extensive alumni network will introduce you to success.
Get there faster
Time is money. So our courses are offered in accelerated seven-week sessions.
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.
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
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 and Master Graduate Course Schedule.
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.
Common Master Level Skills
BUS-610 Experience Nichols I - Explore
This 1 credit course will be taken during the first session of a student’s program. The purpose of this course is to expose students to our six core competencies. They will begin to understand the language and business trends associated with each, as well as develop an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses in each area.
Every week, students will explore a new competency and how it relates to their personal and professional success, Nichols College and the workplace.
BUS-611 Experience Nichols II - Reinforce
This 1 credit course will be taken when a student is 15 credits into their program. The purpose of this course is to give students an opportunity to reflect upon their journey to date, while introducing progressive materials and the opportunity to collaborate with other students to reinforce the six core competencies.
Every week, students will have the opportunity to reflect upon and strengthen their six core competencies. This class is similar to Nichols I, only now the content is more robust and there are a variety of collaboration opportunities to help expand upon and reinforce learnings.
BUS-612 Experience Nichols III - Cultivate
This 1 credit course will be taken when a student is 27 credits into the program. The purpose of this course is for students to reflect deeply upon their journey while learning how to sustain and pass on their knowledge of the six core competencies.
Every week, students will leverage the core six competencies as they work towards creating a TED Talk-esque presentation in a team environment. Students will walk away from this class with tangible new ways to communicate and keep their skills fresh long after graduation.
MSA Core Courses
BUS-615 Business CommunicationsCommunication 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
BUS-620 Cultural Awareness in Global Business TodayToday’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
BUS-625 Current Trends in LeadershipAs 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
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
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 LawAs a result of this course, the student will be prepared to pass the REG section of the CPA Exam.
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
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
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
MSA-730 Current Trends in AccountingThis 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