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Colorado State University Global - 100% Online Degrees & Certificates


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Get CPA Ready With This ACBSP-Accredited Online Accounting Graduate Program

As a CPA you can either work independently or help entire organizations to run more efficiently and successfully. You’ll stay on top of changes to financial-related laws and regulations, and reduce costs and improve profits for clients. An accounting professional may be responsible for the following:


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What will I learn with a Master's Degree in Accounting Online?

The Master's in Professional Accounting program is designed to prepare you to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), as well as an effective leader in public accounting, corporations, government agencies, and other fields. By becoming a licensed accountant by your state’s Board of Accountancy, you can advance quickly within your field.

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In addition to the institutional graduate admission standards, students seeking admission to the MPAcc program must have an undergraduate degree with a major or concentration in accounting, which includes a minimum of 21 credit hours of upper-division accounting coursework. If this requirement is not met, students can seek admission with the program chair approval as long as they meet one of the following conditions:

  • Student has at least 15 hours of upper-division accounting coursework and previous experience in accounting.
  • Student has an M.B.A. with 12 hours of accounting coursework and previous experience in accounting.

To gain full admission to the MPAcc program, provisionally admitted students must complete the above coursework within 12 months of starting and maintain a 3.0 grade point average without receiving a grade lower than a C in any coursework.

The prerequisite coursework is designed to prepare students for the program. Students seeking to become CPAs may need to take additional courses to meet state requirements. Other courses may need to be taken to comply with the prerequisites of some electives.


This program consists of 8 three-credit core courses as part of a full 30-credit master’s degree.

Core Degree Courses (24 Credits)

  • RES501* Fundamentals of Research and Writing
    This course is only required for students who are accepted into this program with an undergraduate GPA below 3.00. The primary purpose of this course is to help students entering graduate level programs at CSU-Global develop awareness of current and effective research and writing practices with the goal of implementing such practices into their writing and research projects. Students will learn what constitutes graduate level writing and research as well as how to communicate with colleagues in online professional forums. Students will also learn to effectively integrate writing and research skills into the writing projects they will pursue throughout their graduate level programs.
  • BUS500** Foundations of Business
    This course provides a foundational survey of business topics including marketing, finance, accounting, management, law, economics, ethics, information systems, quantitative methods, and policy within domestic and global perspectives. The broad focus of the course provides students without a business undergraduate degree with foundational background information in business terminology and concepts that support entry-level knowledge for graduate-level study.
  • ACT506 Advanced: Accounting II
    This course advances a student's knowledge of the principles of accounting. Students will gain a complex understanding of partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations as well as explore international accounting and government accounting.
  • ACT510 Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
    This course explores various types and methods of financial fraud to provide students with ways to prevent and deter fraudulent occurrences in a financial environment. Topics include identifying the warning signs of fraud; fraud prevention, deterrence, and detection; fraud investigation methods; and litigation processes including fraud loss recovery, expert witness testimony, and resolution.
  • ACT520 International Accounting
    This course provides a thorough survey of international accounting practices and principles. Students learn the differences in accounting thoughts, practices, and principles among accounting standards such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP). Other topics in the course include foreign currency translation, national and international financial statements, international transfer pricing, international taxation issues, ethical implications associated with accounting standards and reporting systems, and strategic accounting problems and issues for multinational corporations.
  • ACT560 Accounting Ethics
    This course examines current ethical and professional standards required of accountants and Certified Public Accountants. It includes theories used to predict human behavior and applies these theories to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and other codes of accounting practice. Students will learn ethical reasoning, objectivity, independence, integrity, and professionalism and how these elements apply to real-world situations. Prerequisite: ACT506
  • ACT570 Advanced Cost Accounting
    This course assists students in their ability to use cost and financial data in the planning, management, and controlling functions of an organization. Emphasis is on the budget process, utilization of internal and external data for control and performance analysis, and the allocation of resources to achieve corporate objectives.
  • ACT575 Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services
    This course focuses on the auditing practice performed by public accountants. Students learn the role of the CPA and auditor and the process for how audits are performed. Topics include planning for the audit, audit reporting and required communications, evaluation of internal controls, audit programs for current assets and liabilities, and audit programs for other business cycles.
  • ACT555 Advanced Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting
    This course explores the theories and application of authoritative guidance, rules, and regulations as they apply to governmental and not-for-profit entities. The course emphasizes the similarities and differences in the methods and procedures of government, for-profit, and not-forprofit entities. Topics include governmental accounting, accounting records in government, fund allocation, government-wide reporting, not-for-profit accounting, non-governmental not-for-profit accounting, and governmental performance measures.
  • ACT580 Capstone - Accounting
    This Capstone course focuses on applying and synthesizing accounting concepts related to financial accounting, applications, and financial statements presentations. In this culmination of the student's learning throughout the Master of Professional Accounting program, students apply accounting research tools to current accounting issues, provide an overview of an accounting program, and demonstrate their ability to make sound financial decisions.

* Master’s Plus - Some Master of Professional Accounting students may also be required to take BUS500 and/or RES501 as part of their coursework if they have an undergraduate GPA below 3.00/do not earn an accredited ACBSP-degree in business courses and/or accounting, finance, or business statistics. In this case, the degree is 33 credits.

** Students who do not have a previous degree from an an ACBSP-accredited program must complete BUS500 before completing other program requirements. Once the undergraduate program evaluation is completed, students whose prior degree does not meet the requirements will complete BUS500, rather than RES500 or RES501. Provisionally admitted students whose undergraduate degree meets the requirements will complete RES500 or RES501, rather than BUS500.

Areas of Emphasis



The Data Analytics Emphasis is designed for those who want to acquire advanced analytical skills in addition to having in-depth accounting knowledge. Using various data analytics tools, students learn how to collect and categorize voluminous data as well as how to analyze and prioritize relevant data to make them useful for decision-making.

Data Analytics is a skill that can apply to many facets of accounting including taxation, auditing, consulting, and risk management. Hence, it is important for accountants who work or plan to work in these areas to know how to undertake and analyze data analytics-related activities. Students in the Master of Professional Accounting who select this emphasis with be equipped with such versatile and valuable skills by the end of their coursework. Students declaring Data Analytics Emphasis should have prior coursework and/or experience in statistics and basic programming.

Courses in the Data Analytics Emphasis include:

  • MIS510: Data Mining and Visualization
  • MIS542: Business Analytics


Increased occurrences and awareness of fraudulent activities have resulted in increased demand for fraud investigators and forensic accountants. Forensic accounting extends beyond uncovering and investigating fraud. Forensic accountants utilize their accounting skills to provide investigative, litigation, and valuation support in cases involving financial statement fraud, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy and insolvency, and divorce. Consequently, forensic accountants can work in public accounting, consulting, and forensic accounting service firms. Forensic accountants can also provide expert services to lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and financial institutions.

Students who select this emphasis may be interested in obtaining the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation. CSU Global does not provide or prepare students for the CFE designation.

Courses in the Fraud Investigations & Forensic Emphasis include:

  • ACT557: Advanced Fraud Investigations and Forensic Accounting
  • ACT558: Fraud and Forensic Accounting Data Analysis


Auditing and assurance service is a vital accounting niche. Auditors play important roles in the financial reporting process. Audit and assurance service informs users by painting a true picture of where an organization’s financial information stands, providing relevant insights about financial and non-financial information, changes that are needed as well as how the changes happens so users can make sound decisions. The emphasis is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in internal audit, assurance services, and information technology auditing. Students will learn how to evaluate internal controls and best practices in auditing using computer-based accounting systems.

Students who select this emphasis can further benefit by obtaining the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor(CISA) designation. CSUGlobal does not provide or prepare students for the CIA or CISA designation.

Courses in the Auditing & Assurance Emphasis include:

  • ACT576: Internal Auditing
  • ACT577: Advanced Information System Audit


The taxation emphasis builds on students’ previous conceptual understanding of taxation, awareness of tax professionals’ responsibilities, technical competence as tax professionals, and understanding of tax laws and policies. Students will also learn tax research tools and policies.

Tax professionals are in demand in public accounting, corporations, and governmental entities. Students who select this emphasis can further benefit by earning the Enrolled Agent designation. CSU Global does not provide or prepare students for the Enrolled Agent Designation.

Courses in the Taxation Emphasis include:

  • ACT550: Advanced Income Taxation
  • ACT551: Advanced Tax Policy and Research


This emphasis is designed for students who want to take diverse courses for career growth or for meeting the education requirements of the CPA and other professional licenses’ examinations. In addition to the eight required core courses, students can select two courses from the following list.

Courses in the Professional Accounting Emphasis include:

  • ACT550: Advanced Income Taxation
  • ACT557: Advanced Fraud Investigation & Forensic Accounting
  • ACT558: Fraud and Forensic Accounting Data Analysis
  • ACT595: Accounting Internship
    ACT595 is an optional course that will provide students with
    practical experience in accounting. This course may not be
    available in all states; see the State Specific Authorization Policy under Admissions Policies.
  • FIN520: Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • FIN530: Corporate Finance
  • MGT510: Strategy Planning

How much will my degree cost?

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Financial Aid

You may be eligible to receive financial aid to help cover the cost of your education.

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Regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) means your degree comes from a top quality, trusted university.

ACBSP Accredited logo


Your Bachelor’s in Accounting from CSU Global is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)

#1 Best Online Masters’s in Accounting Degree Programs

CSU Global was ranked #1 Accounting by Intelligent.

#1 Best Master’s in Forensic Accounting for 2020

CSU Global was ranked #1 of 25 in Forensic Accounting by Best Masters Programs.


CSU Global’s online Master’s in Accounting was ranked number 9 by Online Accounting Degree Programs.


In Best Colleges’ Schools of Distinction standings, CSU Global earns one of only 15 gold rankings, out of more than 2,000 online degree programs.


Guide to Online Schools identifies CSU Global as one of the top military-friendly online institutions.

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“CSU Global enables you to finish and further your education with a very flexible and workable platform. I am married with a full time job and a toddler at home and I have been able to go back to school so that I can further my professional career and truly achieve my educational dreams.”



Why You Should Earn Your Online Master’s Degree

Earning your online master’s degree through CSU Global provides you with more than just the diploma you need to get noticed. With an emphasis on real world concepts and career-relevant skills, you get training and experience along with your credit hours. Additionally, CSU Global strives to make your education as affordable as possible. With our Tuition Guarantee, your tuition rate won’t increase over time! Instead, you’ll enjoy the same low rate for the duration of your enrollment at CSU Global.

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Learn Valuable Skills

Students will learn how to develop accounting strategies to solve organizational problems, apply qualitative and quantitative analyses in decision-making, evaluate and manage ethical and legal conflicts, and adapt accounting methods and practices to best meet the needs of both employees and leaders within an organization. As a bonus, CSU Global students receive discounted access to the Wiley CPAexcel® Gold Course, helping fully prepare you for the CPA exam. Additional outcomes include the following:

  • Develop accounting strategies to solve organizational problems and improve performance.
  • Evaluate and manage ethical and legal conflicts or issues.
  • Adapt accounting methods and practices to meet the needs of employees and leaders within an organization.
  • Analyze and apply economic and financial concepts, principles, and theories to problems and opportunities.
  • Examine the principles and impact of accounting standards (domestic and international) on accounting transactions.

Career Outlook


Download this fun infographic to discover things like where most accountants work, skills of successful accountants, and other random information about the profession.


Bachelor’s of Accounting alumni from CSU Global report extremely high rates of working in the field of accounting after completing the program.


The average annual salary for budget analysts is more than $76k. (BLS, 2019)


Top three titles as reported by Bachelor’s of Accounting alumni from CSU Global.