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Accounting Schools in Massachusetts

Colleges and universities in Massachusetts offer many different options for graduate accounting programs, including degrees in general accounting as well as more specialized areas of study and practice such as tax and financial planning. This guide to accounting programs in Massachusetts includes information on master’s-level accounting programs that are available in the state and profiles of select on-campus and online programs. You will also find information on how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state and data on salary and employment levels.

Quick Facts

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Table of Contents
Steps to Become a CPA in Massachusetts
Massachusetts CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in Massachusetts with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Student Reviews

Steps to Become a CPA in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the state. There are five main steps to complete in order to earn a Massachusetts CPA license.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  4. Apply for a license.
  5. Receive a license.

1. Complete 150 semester hours of acceptable coursework in accounting.

Candidates for a CPA license in Massachusetts must earn 150 semester hours of college credit that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree, typically including 30 semester hours of accounting at the undergraduate level or 18 semester hours of accounting at the graduate level, to qualify for a CPA license. Candidates must also complete at least 24 undergraduate-level semester hours or 18 graduate-level semester hours of supplemental business coursework. Candidates may also meet the specific course requirements by completing a graduate-level accounting program accredited by the AACSB or approved by the Board or a Board-approved Educators Credential Committee as part of the 150 semester hours.

2. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates for CPA licensure must take the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Uniform CPA Exam through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates who have completed at least 120 semester hours of the education requirement, including 21 semester hours of undergraduate-level accounting courses, nine semester hours of undergraduate-level business courses, and a bachelor’s degree. Candidates may apply for and take the exam before meeting these educational requirements, provided the candidate can provide proof of completing the educational requirements within 90 days of completing the exam. Failure to do so will result in the loss of any credit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Applications for the exam in Massachusetts should be completed through the NASBA website. Once candidates are approved, they will receive a Notice to Schedule and can schedule and sit for the exam. All four parts of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period with a score of 75 or higher.

3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Candidates for CPA licensure must complete at least one full year (2,000 hours) of employment in public accounting or three years of experience at a non-public firm under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Non-public accounting experience may include work in government, industry, academia, or non-profit accounting. Experience must be verified by a current licensee or CPA supervisor of the firm or organization at which the experience was obtained.

4. Apply for a license.

Once a candidate has received notification of a passing score on all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam and has completed the education and experience requirements, the candidate may apply for a CPA license through the Board’s website

5. Receive a license.

Once the Board has reviewed the application and determined that all of the requirements for licensure have been met, applicants will receive their license and be able to practice as CPAs in Massachusetts.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

CPA licenses in Massachusetts are renewed on a biennial basis. Once licensed, CPAs in Massachusetts must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) during each two-year renewal period to maintain good standing. The CPE hours must include at least four hours in ethics. CPAs who complete more than 80 hours of CPE may not carry over any excess hours into further renewal periods. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

Massachusetts CPA Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Massachusetts has 34,360 accountants and auditors, earning an average salary of $80,280 per year.10 The BLS reports that the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area has the seventh-highest employment level for accountants and auditors among metropolitan areas in the US.11 An estimated 29,820 accountants and auditors are currently working in this area, with an average annual salary of $85,310.10 Projections Central estimates that the number of accounting professionals in Massachusetts will grow by 3.7% to a total of 40,490 by 2028.12

Massachusetts CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Barnstable Town550$79,510
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH29,820$85,310
Leominster-Gardner280$75,330
New Bedford510$77,940
Pittsfield300$70,740
Springfield, MA-CT2,170$69,540
Worcester, MA-CT1,950$75,670

Top-Ranked Schools with Master’s in Accounting Programs in Massachusetts

Forbes’ Best Business Schools* 2019

  • Harvard (#4)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (#7)
  • Boston University (#39)

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors* 2020

  • Assumption College
  • Babson College
  • Bentley University
  • Boston College
  • Northeastern University
  • Stonehill College
  • Suffolk University

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019

  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst (#25)
  • Bentley University (#32)

US News & World Report’s Best MBA in Accounting Programs 2020

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (#14 tie)
  • Boston College (#17 tie)
  • Harvard University (#20 tie)

Massachusetts Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Massachusetts colleges and universities offering a master’s degree in accounting. The graduation rate is for first-time undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, but since it is widely considered to be an indicator of a school’s overall success, we have included it for comparison. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
American International CollegeIACBEN.Av.Master of Accounting and Taxation (MSAT)N.Av.44%$950
Assumption University35.3%MBA-CPA TrackN.Av.70%Yes$740
Bay Path UniversityN.Av.MS-AccountingN.Av.54%Yes$855
Bentley UniversityAACSB67.5%Master of Accountancy (MSA);
MBA-Accountancy
55.6%90%Yes$1,708
Boston CollegeAACSB69.4%MS-Accounting (MSA)57.5%94%$1,886
Bridgewater State University28.6%MS-Accountancy (MSA)N.Av.61%$427
Clark UniversityAACSB50.0%MS-Accounting;
MS-Accounting Analytics;
MBA-Accounting;
MBA/MS-Accounting*
83.1%79%Yes$5,225
Curry CollegeN.Av.MS-AccountingN.Av.52%Yes$825
Elms CollegeIACBEN.Av.MBA-Accounting;
MS-Accounting & Financial Planning (CPA + CFP)
N.Av.73%$854
Fisher CollegeIACBEN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.33%Yes$623
Fitchburg State UniversityIACBEN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.58%Yes$190
Merrimack CollegeN.Av.MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.75%Yes$622
Nichols CollegeIACBE41.7%MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.59%$800
Northeastern UniversityAACSB51.7%MS-Accounting (MSA);
MS-Taxation;
MS-Accounting/MBA*
32.5%89%Yes$1,491
Suffolk UniversityAACSB58.0%MS-Accounting (MSA);
MS-Taxation (MST);
MBA-CPA Track
67%58%Yes$1,574
University of Massachusetts-AmherstAACSB47.7%MS-Accounting (MSA)29.9%82%$800
University of Massachusetts-BostonAACSB40.0%MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.49%Yes$768
University of Massachusetts-DartmouthAACSB25.0%MS-Accounting (MSA);
MBA-Accounting
95.7%59%Yes$683
University of Massachusetts-LowellAACSB50.0%MS-Accounting (MSA);
MBA-Accounting
N.Av.66%Yes$842
Western New England UniversityAACSB20.0%MS-Accounting (MSA);
MBA-Accounting
N.Av.65%Yes$919
Westfield State UniversityN.Av.MS-AccountingN.Av.61%Yes$372

  • * indicates combined program.
  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Massachusetts with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Clark University

Clark University’s 30-credit hour Master of Science (MS) in Accounting program will help students develop the skills and critical thinking necessary to prepare them for professional careers as accountants and business leaders. Over the course of the 10-course curriculum, students learn the skills needed to become public accountants and financial managers through courses such as Federal Taxation; Financial Management; Government and Nonprofit Accounting; and Financial and Operational Auditing. Those without prior accounting coursework will be required to complete the foundation courses Foundations of Financial Accounting and Data Driven Decision Making. These courses may be waived with a passing grade on a waiver exam taken at the time of admission. Students may pursue the degree full time or part time; full-time students are able to complete the degree in as little as one year. All full-time students must complete an internship unless they have three or more years of professional work experience. Admission into the program requires a GMAT or GRE score, but those with at least three years of related work experience may be eligible for a waiver.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University (NEU) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting program through its D’Amore-McKim School of Business that allows students to earn the MS degree in as little as seven months of full-time study. The program is organized into cohorts with classes beginning in May and completing in December. Coursework is structured around five core accounting courses and five courses in either the Audit or Tax track. The advanced 30-credit hour curriculum includes study in Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Financial Reporting; Foreign Currency Transactions; Ethics in Accounting; and Multinational Business Combinations. Students typically attend classes three days per week. Program applicants are required to hold an undergraduate degree in accounting. A GRE or GMAT score is not required for admission but scores may be submitted as part of the application. Graduates of the program will meet the educational requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam to become a CPA. Graduates of NEU’s MS in Accounting program may be able to apply their credits towards further study in NEU’s MBA program.

University of Massachusetts Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston’s (UMass Boston) Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) is a challenging program that equips students to take the Uniform CPA Exam. The flexible 30-credit program allows full- or part-time study with courses held during the day, evenings, weekends, and online. Depending on their undergraduate background, students take between 10 and 15 courses across the fields of accounting, business, and electives to satisfy the degree requirements. These courses include Legal Environment of Business; Financial and Managerial Auditing; Accounting Information Systems; and Accounting Fraud Examination. All students take a capstone course in Financial Accounting Theory and Analysis. Students may take an internship or complete a master’s thesis option in lieu of one or both of the elective requirements, respectively. Admission into the MS in Accounting program requires an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA and a GMAT or GRE score. Enrollment in the program requires the completion of four prerequisite courses before beginning the MS in Accounting curriculum; these may be waived if they were completed in undergraduate coursework.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Bay Path University

Bay Path University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting that can be completed entirely online and is designed to help students meet the requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. The 30-credit hour program can be completed in as little as eight months if it is begun in April or May. The MS in Accounting does not hold classes between January and April in order to allow students to pursue internships during tax season. The curriculum offers students the choice of three concentrations in Public Accounting (Tax and Audit), Private Accounting, or Forensic Accounting. Courses offered across all three concentrations include Advanced Financial Reporting, Advanced Cost Accounting, and IT for Accountants. Applicants to the MS in Accounting program must have an undergraduate degree, preferably with a 3.0 or higher GPA. No GMAT or GRE score is required. Bay Path students have access to the Sullivan Career and Life Planning Center, which helps students find internships, career coaching, and networking opportunities.

Suffolk University

Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Business hosts a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program that can be completed entirely online. The MSA is available part time, allowing students with the necessary prerequisite coursework to complete the 31-credit hour program in as little as 20 months. The curriculum is designed to help students meet the certification requirements to be CPAs and Certified Management Accountants (CMA) and to give students hands-on experience in the challenges faced by professional accountants. The program requires a one-credit introductory course, six core courses, three electives, and one capstone course designed to be taken as late in the program as possible. Required courses include Graduate Financial Accounting, International Accounting, and Federal Taxation of Income. Students may choose to focus their elective coursework on a concentration in Business Intelligence; Corporate Accounting and Finance; or Forensic Accounting. Students without the necessary prerequisite coursework may have to take up to six additional courses in accounting and management. Past graduates of the Suffolk MSA program have seen an 87.8% employment rate within the first six months after graduation.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

The Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) hosts a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) online that requires at least 30 credit hours to graduate. The program will help students meet the 150-semester hour rule for CPA licensure as well as assist students in working towards other certifications such as Certified Management Accounting (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Students of the MSA program with a background in accounting will take seven required courses and three electives, while students without an accounting degree may be required to take up to 14 required courses and only one elective. Accounting courses cover topics such as financial statement analysis, international accounting, and cost management. Admission into the MSA program requires an undergraduate degree and a GMAT or GRE score, though the exam requirement may be waived for students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, five years of professional supervisory experience, a professional license, or a graduate degree.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Massachusetts

  • Wolf & Company P.C.: With offices in Boston and Springfield, Wolf & Company provides a wide array of financial services across a full range of industries.
  • CohnReznick: A national firm with offices in Springfield that provides accounting, tax, and business advisory services, CohnReznick employs over 3,000 people in 25 cities.
  • Dukhon Tax: A Boston-based firm that has been offering tax, accounting, and advisory services to individuals and businesses since 2011.

Massachusetts Accounting Associations

  • The Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA): The MSCPA offers members networking and CPE opportunities and advocates for Massachusetts CPAs before regulatory bodies.
  • The Massachusetts Association of Accountants (MAA): Offering professional development seminars and CPA, the MAA co-sponsors the Annual Combined Institute on Taxation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Bentley University to help CPAs stay up-to-date on the latest changes in tax procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my CPA in Massachusetts?

To become a CPA in Massachusetts, you must first complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework including a specified number of credits in accounting and business. When you have obtained a bachelor’s degree and completed at least 120 semester hours of acceptable coursework in accounting or more, you may take and pass AICPA’s Uniform CPA Exam. You must complete at least one year (2,000 hours) of professional experience in public accounting under the supervision of a licensed CPA or three years of professional accounting experience in industry, government, or academia. Once you have met these requirements, you may apply to the Board for your CPA license.

How many CPAs are there in Massachusetts?

According to the BLS, 34,630 accountants and auditors are working in Massachusetts.10 The Boston-Cambridge-Nashua metropolitan area has the highest employment level for accounting professionals in the state and seventh-highest in the country, with 29,820 people working as accountants and auditors.10,11

How do I renew my Massachusetts CPA license?

As of 2019, all renewals of CPA licenses in Massachusetts are done online. The Board will mail a renewal notice to CPAs 60 days prior to the license expiration date. The notice will include a 10 digit authorization code to link your license to the Board’s online portal. You must submit your renewal information, proof of CPE, and renewal fees by the June 30 expiration date.

Massachusetts Accounting Program Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Boston University
1 Silber Way
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 353-2000
https://www.bu.edu/

Student Review: “Boston University’s School of Management has an excellent accounting program. I am a second-year student so the core classes required for my major, such as statistics and freshman writing, were offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, which allowed me to experience different aspects of the school and make friends who are pursuing different majors. My own college, stated above, shares a floor with the office of the president and many others in his department. I enjoyed talking to them and am confident that they will help me establish a reliable network for my future career. I am currently looking into obtaining an internship opportunity at an investment firm for next summer.” -Aleriza B., student at Boston University
stars-5

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/2/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. Public Accounting Report 2019 Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs: https://wpcarey.asu.edu/sites/default/files/par-grad-2019.pdf
5. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
6. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Report on the CPA Exam: Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2018 Edition. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc., 2019.
7. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International: https://www.aacsb.edu/about
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): https://acbsp.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): https://iacbe.org/
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Massachusetts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
12. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
13. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools