MS in Accounting

Thrive in today’s evolving accounting industry with George Mason University's flexible, nationally-recognized Master of Science in Accounting program.

Maximize your potential while preparing for the future of accounting.  

The Master of Science in Accounting program at the Costello College of Business at George Mason University is designed to help you meet Virginia’s 150-credit CPA licensing requirement while developing advanced analytical, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. Those who earn a Master of Science in Accounting and pass the CPA exam have greater accounting career prospects and earning potential.  

Courses emphasize the latest trends and issues in accounting, business ethics, and corporate governance. You also can complete an internship for credit, which gives you meaningful work experience and can lead to a full-time employment offer. You’ll study financial, audit, and tax accounting, and you can also customize your degree by simultaneously earning a certificate in accounting for government contracts, government accounting, forensic accounting, or accounting analytics.  

Committed to access, we understand not all students who want to advance their education have the ability to spend time in a physical classroom. To that end, we offer both fully in-person and fully online options.  

With George Mason University's Master of Science in Accounting program, you’ll build ties to the local Washington, D.C. business and government community and gain diverse business skills, broader insights, and confidence. You'll also benefit from our dedicated career services team that offers you personalized career coaching, employment and networking opportunities, and planning services for life.  

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At Your Pace
Fall start, 30-credit, part-time or full-time structure.
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No Test Required
Submitting GMAT and GRE test scores with your application is optional.
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Customize Your Degree
Add a specialized accounting certificate to your master’s degree.
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Highly Ranked
#44 for Best Online Master's in Business Programs Among Public Universities, #62 overall, U.S. News & World Report 2024
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Top 50
KPMG considers Mason a top 50 university for hiring accounting students.
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Flexible Delivery
Classes are offered both fully online (asynchronous) or in-person at Mason’s Fairfax, Virginia campus, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Christine Munoz, current Master's in Accounting Student at Mason

"The Master of Science in Accounting program at Mason provides me with the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of accounting, such as Accounting Analytics, which can help me advance in my career. Additionally, obtaining a Master's degree in Accounting demonstrates my commitment and expertise in the field, which can help me stand out among other candidates."

Christine Munoz, MSA ‘23

Request More Information

To learn more about Mason's Master of Science in Accounting program, submit this form:

Accounting Advisory Council

A key advantage of Mason’s accounting program is our ties to the accounting industry through our Accounting Advisory Council. The council is comprised of accounting executives from the Big 4, regional firms, and the federal government. Senior leaders and industry experts serve as guest speakers to enrich classroom learning. Explore the full list of council members here.  


The Master of Science in Accounting program requires 30 credits: 15 credits of required, core courses, and 15 credits of elective courses. Complete your degree in 11 months (full-time) or 22 months (part-time). On-campus classes are offered the evening at Mason’s Fairfax, Virginia campus.  

Whether you pursue the on-campus or online program, you’ll experience the same rigorous and relevant accounting courses taught by experienced faculty who bring both theoretical and applied expertise to the classroom by incorporating daily opportunities to connect business theory with reality through role-playing, simulations, projects, and guest speakers. 

Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Program

Request more information here.

Are you a highly-qualified Mason undergraduate? Academically strong Mason undergraduates can apply for an accelerated Master’s program and earn a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in five years. Visit our Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Programs page for more information.

Explore Degree Requirements

See courses and electives for the master's of science in accounting program in Mason's University Catalog

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years.

Course Schedule

See a sample class schedule to discover how earning a master’s in accounting can fit into your work and life.

The Global Residency: ACCT 795 - Global Accounting Environment

Each component of Mason’s master’s in accounting program explores the role of accounting in the complex global economy and examines the risks and opportunities inherent in global commerce. Integral to this is our Global Residency Program.  

ACCT 795 - Global Accounting Environment is a required three-credit course that includes a week-long study tour led by an accounting professor. You’ll meet business and government leaders, participate in seminars, meet professors and accounting students from other universities, and visit local and/or multi-national accounting firms. This trip gives you a firsthand look at how other countries address ethics and corporate governance. Previous cohorts have traveled to Prague, London, Frankfurt, and Ireland.  

We also offer an online option for those unable to travel. Some travel costs, such as lodging, meals, and ground transportation, are included in your tuition. Students are responsible for airfare to and from the country.  

ACCT 795 is only offered in the Summer term. Students are placed in a section of ACCT 795 in the Fall term before travel (e.g., in Fall 2024 for travel in Summer 2025). A Global Residency Forum is typically hosted in late September to present travel and non-travel locations. Students must complete the Global Residency Selection Survey (typically available early October) in order to be assigned to a section of ACCT 795 for the following Summer. Failure to complete the survey will result in delaying participation in ACCT 795 until the following Summer.

Enhance Your Degree with a Certificate

Our add-on certificate programs provide opportunities for you to acquire additional education in emerging fields while pursuing your Master of Science in Accounting. Each certificate program is 12 credits, and courses qualify towards the 150 hours of academic credit needed to sit for the CPA exam. Available as a stand-alone option or part of the master's degree.

Meet Your Instructors

Mason’s faculty live, work, and consult in the Washington, D.C., area and draw on their real-world experience to enrich classroom instruction. Costello College of Business accounting faculty teach both the on-campus and online programs.

Faculty members include:

JK Aier
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Global Engagement

Long Chen
Associate Professor, Accounting
Area Chair, Accounting

Syed Hasan
Instructor, Accounting

Mark Ingram
Instructor, Accounting

Bret Johnson
Assistant Professor, Accounting

Kevin Matthews
Instructor, Accounting

R. William Snyder
Assistant Professor, Accounting

Gnanakumar Visvanathan
Associate Professor, Accounting

Kelly Wentland
Assistant Professor, Accounting

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions, call us at (703) 993-8006.

What are my options if I don’t have a bachelor’s degree in accounting?

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you must complete the specific courses below before you can apply for the MS in Accounting program:

  • 6 credits in Principles of Accounting
  • 6 credits in Intermediate Financial Accounting
  • 3 credits in Managerial/Cost Accounting
  • 3 credits in Audit
  • 3 credits in Tax
  • 3 credits in Accounting Analytics

These courses can be completed through any community college, but the Costello College of Business MS in Accounting program has an agreement with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) to fulfill the necessary pre-approved courses for program eligibility.

What is the Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) pathway?

This pathway is tailored for individuals with non-accounting bachelor's degrees who need additional coursework to meet the eligibility requirements (mentioned above) for the Master of Science in Accounting at George Mason University. It allows students to complete pre-approved accounting courses offered at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) to fulfill the necessary course requirements for program eligibility.

Steps to Apply to the NVCC Pathway:

  1. Apply to the MS Accounting program and submit your transcripts to determine which courses are required for program eligibility
  2. Apply to NOVA. Admit Guide - Northern Virginia Community College
  3. Declare the Accounting Career Studies Certificate at NOVA.
  4. Meet with your NOVA advisor to discuss the required courses and develop a suitable schedule for completion.
  5. Register for and successfully complete the required courses at NOVA.
  6. Keep your GMU admissions counselor updated on your progress.
  7. After registering for your final semester of NOVA courses, email your unofficial transcript, with all completed and registered courses to your George Mason advisor.
  8. If your plans change at any time, please contact your George Mason advisor to let them know.

Is the MS in Accounting program STEM-designated?

No, the master’s in accounting is not a STEM-designated program. Graduating master’s in students on an F-1 visa can be eligible for up to 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT). However, students can make their MSA into a STEM-designated program by pursuing a dual master’s degree with the MS in Business Analytics or the MS in Finance. With this STEM designation, F-1 students can extend their OPT period by up to 24 months or the equivalent amount of CPT. For information regarding individualized dual master’s degree programs of study, please contact the Graduate Admission Team

How long will it take for me to complete the masters of accounting program?

If you enter the program with a bachelor's degree in accounting, you can complete the program in 11 months as a full-time student. Part-time students typically complete the program in two years. 

What does GMAT/GRE test-optional mean?

Under our test-optional policy, applicants are not required to submit their GMAT/GRE test scores or request a waiver. This means that our admissions committee will base their decision on an applicant's previous academic performance, personal statement, recommendations, and resume.

If you would like to submit a GMAT/GRE test score with your application, we invite you to do so. Applicants are not penalized in the application review process for electing not to submit a test score.

If you elect to not submit your test scores:

In your graduate application, you will be asked “Would you like to submit your official GRE/GMAT test scores to be considered as part of your admissions decision?”. Select “No”. The question will be under the “GRE/GMAT Waiver Request” section.

Are there any situations in which it might be beneficial to submit a GMAT/GRE test score?

Yes, while not required, a GMAT/GRE test score may:

  • strengthen your qualification for merit-based scholarships;
  • OR enhance your application package and provide evidence of your quantitative aptitude. Be aware that poor test scores could have a negative impact on your candidacy for the MS in Accounting program.

If you elect to submit your test scores:

In your graduate application, you will be asked “Would you like to submit your official GRE/GMAT test scores to be considered as part of your admissions decision?”. Select “Yes”. The question will be under the “GRE/GMAT Waiver Request” section. Your application portal will be updated to include the GMAT/GRE test as a requirement.

You will need to have your official test scores sent directly by the testing agency to our Office of Graduate Admissions. To submit your scores, please use Institution Code 5827. Test scores are valid for five years from the test date. It can take several weeks for test scores to be processed into your application package so we strongly encourage you to take the test at least 30 days prior to the application deadline.

Does this program satisfy the 150-hour educational requirement for certification and licensure as a CPA in Virginia?

Yes, Mason’s master’s in accounting program helps you meet the 150-credit licensing requirement and educates you in the key areas of business ethics and corporate governance. 

Where are Mason’s Master of Science in Accounting graduates employed?

Our graduates have found professional success at top companies such as:  

  • KPMG 
  • Deloitte  
  • Kearney & Company 
  • Ernst & Young 
  • Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP 
  • The Carlyle Group 
  • PwC 
  • Baker Tilly US, LLP 
  • and many more. 

This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination. 

What can you tell me about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Mason?

Diversity is one of Mason's core values; everyone is welcome here. Mason was recently named the most diverse university in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report. To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Mason, visit the university's DEI website. Visit this page to learn more about DEI at the College of Business. 

What will I learn?

After earning your master of science in accounting from George Mason University, you’ll develop: 

  1.  Professional Communication Skills

    • Communicate effectively to professional audiences in both written and oral forms. 
    • Prepare and deliver a professional quality presentation using appropriate technology. 
    • Prepare and write a paper about an assigned accounting topic.
  2.  Technical Skills and Knowledge
    • Demonstrate and apply technical knowledge of accounting and understand the importance of ethical conduct. 
    • Identify and interpret relevant accounting issues in a business case and use appropriate research tools to solve accounting issues taking into consideration ethical dimensions of a situation.
  3.  Global Perspective
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of accounting in the global business environment. 
    • Research and apply knowledge of the history, culture, and business practices of an international region.
  4.  Technology and Analytics Skills
    • Develop advanced technology skills to support decision-making processes in accounting. 
    • Use electronic spreadsheets to analyze data, develop queries to access accounting information in databases, and access big data using data visualization tools.