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 students creating - with a purpose

May 6, 2019, 09:49 AM by System
Vishal Sachdev’s Digital Making Seminar course is focusing on accessible product design, infusing purpose into digital making.

University of Illinois students are infusing purpose into digital making. This spring, Vishal Sachdev’s Digital Making Seminar course is focusing on accessible product design. The mission of the course is to teach students how to create products with digital fabrication and share them with the world – but now a renewed purpose is being injected into that mission.

Sachdev and Deana McDonagh, a professor of industrial design, have brought their courses together into a revamped sequence where students create products that are meaningful and provide a pathway to impact in the real world. They took a cohort of 21 students from Gies Business, Fine and Applied Arts, and Engineering, and they paired the students with Adam Bleakney, head coach of the University of Illinois wheelchair track and field team. Bleakney helped frame the students’ discovery toward opportunities in the life experiences of differently abled athletes, rather than their challenges.

Digital Making 3“Wheelchair super-users inspire us,” said Sachdev, who is spearheading Gies Business’ collaboration with the Siebel Center for Design and the School of Art+Design. “Whether it’s the hot sun or an icy day, they’re out there training. If our students can create something these users will like, it will likely also appeal to a broader audience.”

Bleakney is coordinating a group of mentors from the university’s Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, who work hand-in-hand with the students to inspire and guide them. Their focus is designing solutions with people with disabilities, instead of for them. Students are trained on empathetic design, opportunity identification, and concept refinement.

The students start by learning to empathize with the end user, working with mentors who are differently abled. One of those mentors, Jenna Fesemyer, is a prosthetic user and member of the university’s wheelchair track team. She and the other mentors inspire the students to find opportunities to contribute.

“The idea that students are working with me, and not for me, to create a design that will improve my quality of life is extremely rewarding,” said Fesemyer. “My favorite moments are when the students completely light up from their continued interest and understanding of disability and design.”

Digital Making 5After meeting with their mentors as the beginning of the semester, students began the process of empathetic design and 3D modeling in the Illinois MakerLab. The course then moved to the Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab, where students learned to use everything from micro-controllers to laser cutters. They even used a sewing machines to fabricate a wrist accessory that tracks motion.

“Business students get a unique opportunity to work with design and engineering students, and they learn to integrate diverse perspectives and learn from each other,” said Sachdev, co-founder and director of the Illinois MakerLab, the world’s first 3D printing lab inside a business school. “Instead of writing business plans, they get to create a product, and some of them may find pathways to building a social enterprise out of this product.”

AJ Poe is one of the students involved. Her team is prototyping an attachable tread to help prosthetic users walk on ice without slipping, since traditional boots are too heavy for the residual limb.

“The experience has been incredibly inspiring and eye-opening,” said Poe, a sophomore accountancy major. “With the focus on accessibility and affordability this semester, it has been especially enlightening to learn about the struggles of people with disabilities and learn about how difficult it is to obtain products that help them.”

Students continue working on their ideas, create mock-ups of their products and then move into design audits and prototyping. They also get input from an external consulting firm, Milestone Labs, which specializes in accessible product design and taking those products to market.

Digital Making 1It all culminated with a weekend Make-a-thon April 12-14 inside the Fab Lab. More than 60 students from three different courses working in teams to create solutions that can improve the lives of those who are differently abled and ultimately the lives of consumers everywhere. They brainstormed, designed, and built their prototypes over the course of the weekend before presenting their final products to a panel of judges.

After the Make-a-thon, which has the backing of several sponsors including Clark-Lindsey and Ultimaker, students tested and demonstrated their prototypes, reviewed them with their expert users, and gave their final portfolio presentation. Throughout the semester, Sachdev emphasized that the journey is just as important as the end product. Week by week, students have built essential metacognition skills—the ability to understand their own thought processes—reflecting on what they learned by writing a blog. These are skills, Sachdev said, that cannot be automated.

“With a focus on real users, and the prompt to design real products that can go into the world, the students learn the principles of ‘human-centered design’ with a focus on empathy,” said Sachdev. “These skills in design thinking and quick prototyping will help them deal with ‘wicked’ problems in the real world while designing a product, service, or experience.”