Students in a tiered classroom learning from an accounting professor

A top accountancy master’s program with STEM designation

This is a one-year, STEM-designated accountancy program designed for two types of students: international students with any undergraduate degree and domestic students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Pivot your career in one year and become a business leader with this top-ranked Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) from Gies College of Business.

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 accountancy curriculum.

Classes start in June (summer) each year. Applications for 2020 will open on November 1, 2019. Admissions are reviewed on a rolling basis, however the earlier students apply the more likely we are to have seats available. Keep in mind a few important deadlines:

For International Applicants:
February 1, 2020 is the final application deadline for students requiring a visa.

For Domestic Applicants:
February 1, 2020 is the priority deadline for scholarship consideration.
March 1, 2020 is the final application deadline.


Strong career opportunities

We are proud that 100% of 2018 domestic graduates seeking employment landed a job within three months of graduation, and international graduates reported a placement rate of 82%* in 2018. As one of the largest suppliers of leaders in the accountancy profession, we boast more partners in the Big-Four CPA firms and consistently place graduates in C-suite jobs with major corporations. Our graduates have landed jobs, in the US and abroad, with prestigious companies such as PwC, PwC China, ADM, Tencent, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Deloitte, and EY.

The MSA will enable 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 non-technical 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.

*Data retrieved with a 60% knowledge rate.

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 accountancy 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.

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

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

An outstanding student experience

The MSA program balances academic education with the development of non-technical 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.

Woman in yellow top looking at iPad in an open office space

Are you ready to make a one-year career pivot?

Learn more about how the MSA program at Gies Business can help prepare you to be a leader in a top accounting firm.


News and Events

Gies Business names Magelli Office of Experiential Learning

May 17, 2019, 09:19 AM by System
Gies College of Business is proud to announce the Office of Experiential Learning will now be known as the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning.

Gies College of Business is proud to announce the Office of Experiential Learning will now be known as the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning. The naming, which was approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at their May 16 meeting after consultation with the Chancellor’s Joint Advisory Committee on Investment, Licensing, and Naming Rights, will honor longtime faculty member and friend Paul J. Magelli. At Gies Business, learning by doing is in our DNA, and it’s how we help students put their purpose into practice. For 25 years, there was no greater champion of that philosophy than Magelli.

“Paul Magelli stood tall even among the giants of this College’s history, and he left an indelible mark on thousands of students,” said Jeffrey R. Brown, Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and Dean of Gies College of Business. “He was a true visionary, who spearheaded some of the incredible experiential learning programs that have become cornerstones of the Gies Business experience.”

Paul_Magelli SrFor many years, the Office of Experiential Learning has been the vehicle that has delivered the promise of learning by doing to Gies students. Opportunities to gain hands-on experience are ingrained throughout the curriculum at Gies Business, and they include working on real-world projects for Fortune 100 corporations, mid-sized and startup companies, and nonprofit organizations. Undergraduate students conduct projects in Business 301 – the largest experiential learning course in the nation - and through Illinois Business Consulting, the world’s largest professionally-managed, student-run consulting organization. Graduate students in finance, management, technology management, and the MBA program also regularly consult for and analyze businesses.

The results of these efforts by the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning speak for themselves. Of the many students who participated in semester-long client projects over the last two years, 89% say learning by doing improved their Gies experience, and 95% say they have a better story to tell recruiters. Clients clearly see the benefit as well, rating their satisfaction with Gies experiential learning as a 4.8 out of 5. Out of the 125 clients who participated in a project with Gies students, 96% say they would do another project.

“This is the direction higher education is moving and we are at the forefront,” said Andrew Allen, the Director of the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning. “Experiential learning at Gies is not just a one-off course. It’s embedded in the design of our programs. As a result, our employers and alumni tell us that our graduates are better prepared to hit the ground running and add value from day one on the job.”

Magelli devoted much of his life to education. He earned three degrees from the University of Illinois, and then he returned to work at the university in various capacities from 1989 until his death in 2016 at age 85. Magelli served as an assistant dean of the MBA program, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, associate dean and director of budgets, and visiting professor of economics. His mission at Illinois was clear: to create an environment that ensured engaging, meaningful, hands-on experiences for each and every student.

“Our family is so humbled and pleased that Gies College of Business has chosen to honor Paul in this special way,” said his wife Karolyn. “He devoted so much of his life to the University of Illinois, and he took great joy and pride in mentoring students and preparing them for success in life. The naming of this office in Paul’s honor is the perfect way to ensure his legacy lives on for future generations of students and entrepreneurs.”

Under Magelli’s leadership, the College established the Office for the Study of Business Issues in 1995, which later became Illinois Business Consulting (IBC). In 2004, Magelli was instrumental in establishing what has become the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, another initiative that builds on the College’s commitment to experiential learning through real-world entrepreneurial opportunities.

“Gies Business’ leadership as an early adopter and continued innovator in experiential learning is a direct reflection of Paul’s influence,” said Brown. “He knew that students could discover their purpose when they gain real-world experience guided by the wisdom and expertise of business leaders, and he worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to provide that experience for as many students as possible.”

For thousands of alumni, faculty, and industry professionals, Paul Magelli’s name is synonymous with experiential learning and its long and proud history at Gies College of Business. The Magelli Office of Experiential Learning is a fitting tribute to this outstanding educator and mentor, and it is also a reflection of the College’s continued commitment to innovation in learning by doing—a commitment that began with Paul Magelli.