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Masters in Accounting

tiredofwaitingtiredofwaiting Posts: 21Registered User New Member
edited June 2012 in University of Notre Dame
Our daughter has decided to major in accounting.She is starting her junior year at ND in September. Her last trip home she mentioned that she might want to stay at ND for a extra year and get a MS in Accounting and have enough credits to sit for the CPA exam. I would appreciate anyones thoughts on if this sounds like a good move. Thanks
Post edited by tiredofwaiting on
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Replies to: Masters in Accounting

  • jsmithersjsmithers Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    Your daughter hasn't taken any serious accounting courses yet, so IMO it's too early to make this decision. Whether or not it is a good move depends on a number of factors, mainly if she can get a job w/o the masters and also how many credits short of 150 hours she is when she graduates as an undergrad. ND accounting majors are able to secure jobs at Big 4 accounting firms without going the MSA route. There are ways to obtain the additional credits required without doing a full masters.

    Having said that, if money is not an issue and she wants to get a masters, it will help both in satisfying the CPA hour requirement and job placement. Really the only downside is the cost.
  • happy1happy1 Posts: 3,703Registered User Senior Member
    My S went to another undergrad. school and will be coming to ND next year to get his MSA. It looks like a great program and their job placement record is outstanding. If she wants a CPA and won't get the 150 credits as an undergraduate, the masters program is an excellent option.
  • numbersguynumbersguy Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    The CPA exam only requires the 150 hours, not the attainment of a masters degree. If your child can get to 150 hours through AP credits and extra classes each semester, they can meet the 150 hour requirement in 4 years and save an entire year's tuition. While the extra year of accounting education is a nice plus, it will not earn the student significantly more dollars coming out of school than their undergrad degree will. It sounds like slightly more than half the current accounting undergrads are meeting the 150 hour requirement in four years at ND.
  • sryrstresssryrstress Posts: 1,774Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with the above posters. Having a Master's won't earn significantly more at graduation, plus you have the loss of a year's earnings, plus the cost of tuition. If that doesn't matter, I would stay and earn it.

    I don't agree with the change to 150 hrs, because they put no "teeth" in it by requiring only 150 hours--of anything. Lots of students meet that requirement with filler courses that don't serve much other purpose. The get the 150 in 4 or 4.5 semesters. I can't say I blame them because they are already taking 17-18 hrs of an accounting major. It would be a significant time load to take on 3-6 more hours of meaningful course work.

    S's gf got hired in Jan with a bachelor's at $50,000 for a large midwest regional firm. She stayed an extra semester to get her 150 hours, but her school had a program that reduced tuition the last semester and kept them at undergraduate level for financial aid purposes.
  • tiredofwaitingtiredofwaiting Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Thanks to all of you for your input.I appreciate all of your thoughts on this subject. Money is a issue and I will pass these thoughts on to my daughter when she gets home.Right now she is packing her room and starting to study for finals so I don't think it is a great time to talk about it! I have a couple more questions...Is it possible to take on enough extra courses going into junior year if she has only taken the required amount of courses so far? Can she transfer credits in from taking classes at a local university close to home? What type of courses does she need to take? Thanks again.
  • sryrstresssryrstress Posts: 1,774Registered User Senior Member
    I believe ND Acct degree takes 126 hrs. If so, she will need an additional 24 hours. 6 each summer and 3 extra per semester would do it. As far as I am aware, the credits for the 150 hrs can be from anywhere; they do not need to be from the univ. where the BS is earned. I also do not think there are any restrictions on the type of courses--I knew students who met the requirement with yoga/sports mgmt, etc. classes. I think it would be more meaningful to take classes which will contribute to her acct/business skill set, but if she's already taking a typical jr/sr ND load, that might be too much.

    I would suggest reviewing the state board of accountancy website for the state in which she intends to sit for the exam/practice. They should give additional details pertinent to the particular state.

    Most public firms are very cognizant (ok, every one I've ever known) of the fact their new hires need to pass the exam. They encourage it by assisting with payment for CPA Review courses, giving time off for study, etc.
  • numbersguynumbersguy Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    As someone who hires these accounting grads, the masters does not make that much difference in starting pay, almost none. It is the 150 hours and then the ability to sit for and pass the exam that are key. Too many of the grads struggle to pass even one part of the exam at a time, even though they can take it in rapid succession as opposed to waiting six months in the old days to retake it. Seems akin to studying hard for a final, with the ability to take it again quickly if a passing score (75%) is not achieved.
    While summer courses through another university count, it does create more paperwork to verify your studies when applying to sit for the exam, etc.
  • sryrstresssryrstress Posts: 1,774Registered User Senior Member
    ^^Yes, back in the day we had to take all 4 parts in 2.5 days straight, pass at least two parts with >75% and at least 50% on the other two parts. I think it is a HUGE advantage for today's exam takers that they can take one part at a time, and also in quick succession, rather than when we had two sittings per year only. I can only imagine how much easier it would be to concentrate on one part at a time. Yes, I am jealous. :)

    I realize verifying hours from summer classes may be a bit more cumbersome, but the OP's daughter doesn't have enough time left to get the extra hours during regular semester (my opinion), it is much easier to get some of them during the summer, ND may not be willing to let her overload that much (it requires permission), and summer classes at a local uni will be much cheaper.
  • laketimelaketime Posts: 274Registered User Junior Member
    My son a rising senior is considering the same program. It is his understanding that it does not make a difference in new hires, but it is important to have the MA to progress with the goal of someday making partner. He is also weighing the cost/benefit of ND versus our highly ranked state flagship. Anyone care to weigh in?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 25,089Registered User Senior Member
    You need to look at all of the alternatives carefully. It doesn't much matter where you get your accounting degree once you get your CPA exam done, and it almost always takes that extra year to prep for that exam and take certain other courses and get job experience to get your CPA designation. Our son is considering becoming an accountant and the way he intends to do so is to get his degree at his current university with as many accounting courses that he can take. He may or may not get a degree in accounting, though he will try to do so. He will then continue on the accounting track after graduation and in conjunction with a job, at local schools offering the program, and hopefully get his CPA exams and designation that way.

    Because he has lost a year already in going this way, being an Arts and Sciences student, he is taking an accounting course this summer at a local college and will be applying to transfer to the School of Business within his university for next year, hopefully by first semester.
  • happy1happy1 Posts: 3,703Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^I am a CPA and I do have to disagree to some extent with the above poster. I do agree that passing the CPA exam is critical. However, I think that it does matter where you go to college, not always for your first job (although the Big 4 do not recruit at every school and they recruit much more heavily at the top schools), but also going forward in a career. You school, and (if applicable) your grad school are on your resume forever and the friends you make in college often turn out to be business contacts for years to come. A strong college will also help differentiate you from other CPAs when you go for that second or third job and begin to chart a career path.
  • BonnieGirlBonnieGirl Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    My daughter is an accounting major finishing up her junior year at Notre Dame. She will need to another semester of credit hours for the CPA. My question is....can she get those additoinal credit hours by going back to Notre Dame without enrolling in the MSA program? Or does she have to enroll in the MSA program?
  • dlcor1026dlcor1026 Posts: 177Registered User Junior Member
    ^^I'd suggest she speak to a dean/advisor in the accounting department to find out what the best option would be to get to the 150 credit.
  • numbersguynumbersguy Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    If you receive your accounting degree, it does not matter what other college level courses make up the 150 hours. An MBA, a law degree, a masters in accounting or even ball room dancing with Matt Leinert at USC all count toward the 150 requirement. Hence, the MSA is not necessary, just the hours.
  • happy1happy1 Posts: 3,703Registered User Senior Member
    @numbersguy - that is true and that is precisely what makes the 150 credit rule so ridiculous. My S has friends who stayed an extra semester undergrad and took all kinds of non-business related "gut" classes to get to the 150 credits. However, for students who need a full year of grad school to get to the 150 credits, there could be some long-term benefit to obtaining a master's degree in that year.
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