A master's degree in accounting prepares students to become financial professionals who can help a wide range of organizations thrive. Accounting is extremely important to any company because financial information, as analyzed and interpreted by CPAs, allows executives to make informed business decisions that help companies become more successful. Through the program, graduates develop specific expertise in the area of accounting by strengthening and enhancing the ability to interpret and communicate information about a company's operations and finances. Academic experience, combined with a practical internship experience, propels graduates to be proficient in the "language of business" that is accounting.

Typically, over 90 percent of MS accounting students have a job in accounting and financial advisory fields at graduation, and the demand for CU Boulder-educated accountants continues to soar. Many graduates begin careers with public accounting firms in audit, tax or advisory business services. Others prefer information management, tax or compliance positions within corporations. Still other opportunities exist in financial management, nonprofits and government agencies.

MS Program

Coursework in accounting conveys a comprehensive understanding of the theory and concepts that underlie accounting practice. Emphasis is placed on logical reasoning and the development, understanding and use of information, which enables students to solve problems in accounting and management of organizations and to make sound accounting policy decisions.

Accounting students have many career options to consider after graduation. Those who aspire to pursue careers in public accounting must become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). The CPA designation is not as critical for other career paths in accounting, but becoming a CPA can be advantageous in any accounting career.

While the CPA requirements of most states have similar components and required courses, the specifics of those requirements differ greatly. Students interested in ultimately pursuing CPA licensure should contact the applicable state licensing board to determine any requirements, including particular courses they may need to fulfill in order to obtain licensure in a particular state.

Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's Degree Program

Students may earn this degree as part of the Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's (BAM) degree program, which allows currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter period of time.

For more information, see the Accelerated Master's tab for the associated bachelor's degree(s): Business Administration - Bachelor of Science (BS).


The MS accounting degree consists of ten graduate-level courses. Students can opt to take additional courses. The degree can be completed in 9–20 months, depending on whether the student wants, and is offered, a busy-season (spring) internship.

The following suggested course pathways are recommended based on a traditional starting date (fall semester), completion date (20 months), and undertaking a busy-season internship. Students can deviate from the suggested pathways depending on their personal timeline and experiences.


The following four intermediate-level accounting courses or their equivalent must be completed before starting the master's-level accounting courses. Course equivalency will be assessed by the MS in Accounting faculty director during transcript review in the application process.

ACCT 3220Corporate Financial Reporting 13
ACCT 3230Corporate Financial Reporting 23
ACCT 3320Cost Management3
ACCT 3440Income Taxation of Individuals3
Total Credit Hours12


Required Courses
ACCT 5240Advanced Financial Accounting3
ACCT 5450Income Taxation of Business Entities3
ACCT 5620Auditing and Assurance Services3
ACCT 6350Current Issues in Professional Accounting--Accounting Ethics3
ACCT 6620Advanced Auditing: Business Risk and Decision Analysis3
BSLW 5120Advanced Business Law3
Electives 12
Select four:
Oil and Gas Accounting
Financial Statement Analysis
Accounting Information Systems
Data Analytics for Accounting
Topics in Business
Textual Analysis in Business
Total Credit Hours30

Plan(s) of Study

Students will meet with their advisors to plan out their course of study to meet degree requirements.