Students in a tiered classroom learning from an accounting professor

A top accounting master’s degree designed for any undergraduate major

Add accounting to your skill set and become a business leader in just one year with this top-ranked Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) from Gies College of Business.

This STEM-designated accounting program is designed for students of all academic backgrounds; a bachelor's degree in accounting is not required.

You'll develop skills to excel in a competitive job market, while becoming a more professional version of yourself. The Department of Accountancy features a #1 ranked faculty (according to BYU’s Faculty Research Ranking) focused on providing an outstanding student experience, strengthening your business skills, and developing leading-edge accounting curriculums.

Applications for Summer (June) 2021 open on October 1. View Application Deadlines.

Strong career opportunities

We are proud that 100% of 2019 domestic graduates seeking employment landed a job within three months of graduation, and international graduates reported a placement rate of 78% within six months of graduation in 2019 (data retrieved with a 63% knowledge rate).

As one of the largest suppliers of leaders for the accounting profession, we boast more partners in the Big-Four CPA firms than any other university. Our graduates consistently go on to earn C-suite positions with major corporations such as:

  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Grant Thornton
  • KPMG
  • PwC and PwC China
  • Tencent

With the MSA, you to gain a competitive advantage in the job marketplace. Future employers want to hire students who are academically excellent and also possess the important professional business skills. The MSA team works hard, along with Gies Business Career Services, to intentionally create impactful opportunities for students to develop a balance between technical and non-technical skills.

Leading curriculum with a focus on data analytics

Technical excellence is a given. Hiring outstanding faculty, admitting students with exceptional credentials, delivering innovative and market-relevant accounting curriculum, and preparing students to pass the CPA exam are essential ingredients of our leading accounting master’s program. At Gies, we take all of these areas seriously. We teach students to develop and apply an analytics-oriented mindset to a variety of accounting scenarios, including financial accounting, audit and tax, advisory and managerial, and forensics. 

Practicing skills is an equally important component of learning. At Gies, we create opportunities for our students to learn by doing through practicing key technical and non-technical business skills. The results are invaluable and help to accelerate personal and professional development.

The MSA core curriculum applies to all of our students. However, for those students who have previously taken accounting courses equivalent to those in our core curriculum, we will work with you to find a suitable course replacement to recognize the sufficiency of your prior accounting education.

An outstanding student experience

The MS in Accountancy balances academic education with the development of nontechnical business soft skills though a personalized approach. That’s what makes our program unique. We create experiences to enhance your education, job search, wellness, personal and professional development, and cultural fit.

For international students, we offer a supportive environment. This includes the opportunity to enhance your understanding of American university culture and improve your English speaking proficiency through networking events, conversation partners, and group outings. If you’re looking for a STEM-designated, top-ranked graduate accounting degree that will exceed your expectations, look no further than the MSA at Gies Business.


David Parilla Portrait from Master of Science in Accountancy

"The MSA program has exceeded my expectations by taking me far beyond the work in the classroom. From networking events to staff coaching sessions, the program really encourages both academic and professional growth."

David Parilla, MSA '16

Xianhang Wang Portrait from the Master of Science in Accountancy Program

"The MSA program offers me such a supportive environment. Now I am continuously inspired to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, and to improve myself every single day."

Xianhang Wang, MSA '16

Gies News and Events

Agility, authenticity key for brand marketers during pandemic

Oct 22, 2020, 08:20 AM by Aaron Bennett
When COVID-19 hit, nearly half of brand marketers pulled back on their ad spending and one-third cancelled all advertising. The path forward requires discipline, stamina, and strategies specific to these times, according to two experts from the University of Illinois.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit this Spring, nearly half of brand marketers pulled back on their ad spending and one-third cancelled all their advertising. Since then, most have begun engaging consumers again.  The path forward requires discipline, stamina, and strategies specific to these times, according to two experts from Gies College of Business and the College of Media at the University of Illinois.  

Jan Slater is a professor of advertising and chief marketing officer of Gies and Mike Yao is a professor of digital media and head of the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, who also teaches in the Gies iMBA program.

They are the latest experts to share their perspective as part of Gies’ Global Challenges in Business webinar series, which will continue to share ways businesses can navigate the ongoing challenges brought on by the global pandemic and more.

Their session, “Brand Marketing in the Age of COVID-19,” focused on how it has changed the game for marketers and they shared examples of brands that have made quick, smart pivots to stay relevant to consumers.

“The world has turned upside down because of COVID-19 – it affects how we live, how we work, how we play, how we shop, and how we consume. We’re not going back to a ‘normal,’ we don’t even know what a ‘normal’ is going to be,” said Slater. “However, advertising is a $194B business. It is one of those industries that is too big to fail.”

Authenticity – aligning what you say to what you do – will be critical. While that sounds simple, it takes great discipline in times of crisis, Slater said.

“Think about how to stay true to your brand. You’re facing business situations that change every day. Everything you say or do has an impact on your reputation,” said Yao. “In this constantly changing environment, consumers are looking to big brands for some guidance. The temptation is to react moment to moment, which may create problems down the road.”

Yao said the changing digital ecosystem and COVID-19 have created new ways to build a brand’s immunity, identifying unforeseen opportunities and planning proactive communications that boost reputation. He said the key is to be authentic, agile, and personal.

“Pivoting quickly doesn’t mean it has to be a sprint. You have to remember you’re in it for the long haul. I don’t think this sentence makes sense. said Slater. “The consumer wants to know how you can help them during this upheaval in their lives.  Brand that they know and trust are great comfort, and they can help relieve some anxiety and stay positive.

Slater and Yao shared how several marketers responded to the challenge of engaging consumers with authentic messaging that rings true to their brands in these times:

  • KFC launched, paused and ultimately replaced its Finger Lickin’ Good sauce with a new name and recipe given COVID-19’s hygiene protocols. This ad explained the change as the company pivoted to promote contactless delivery the focus became more about families at home instead of individuals.
  • Budweiser was hit with a major curveball when college and professional sports leagues shut down. They responded by celebrating these emerging heroes, shifting media buying investments to support frontline workers and host blood drives at stadiums.
  • Procter & Gamble and Unilever, which market personal hygiene products and disinfectants, recalibrated their business model quickly to respond to changing needs while donating millions of dollars of product to hospitals and nursing homes. Unilever swapped out its typical Dove advertising for a compelling reminder about the importance of washing hands.
  • Frito-Lay directly addressed its reputation by focusing on the need for brands to take action. Advertising explained how the company had created new jobs while donating to relief efforts, providing meals to at-risk families, and funding mobile clinics for COVID-19 screenings.

“These ads personified the brands and showed how they are a part of the community. They reinforce that consumers think of companies as people. None of them deviated from their core message,” said Yao.

Slater and Yao suggest marketers start planning now for what people are going to want from their brands post-COVID. They recommend starting with expected consumer needs and consider A/B testing messaging tracks.

“It’s about trust. We use, engage, and experience brands because they give us something more than quenching our thirsts or giving us salty snacks, or making our faces feel smoother. We use brands for lots more reasons than their product benefits,” said Slater.

Sign up for the next session in the Global Challenges series, “How Can Artificial Intelligence Effectively Augment Human Intelligence?”, on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. (CT). Gies Professor Aravinda Garimella will explore the growing consensus that the better way to think about AI is from a machine-plus-human perspective.