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Accounting Leaders


Find out if you qualify for a



With the MS in Accounting that Makes Financial Sense

Merrimack’s online MS in Accounting is built for recent graduates and working professionals who are ready to fast-track their credentials and career opportunities in this high-paying, growing career field.

With input from our Industry Advisory Group, business leaders from renowned companies and accounting organizations, Merrimack College has designed an online MSA program that is aligned with employer needs. Prepare to sit for the CPA Exam, complete your credit hour licensure requirements and earn the MS in Accounting degree that positions you for:

  • Strong salaries and salary growth
  • Accelerated career progression
  • Broad employment options across multiple industries

With affordable tuition and scholarship opportunities, Merrimack’s online MS in Accounting program provides an efficient way to realize the return on an investment in your future.


For those looking for the full, campus-based experience, please click below for more details.

On-Campus MS in Accounting

If you are interested in taking the Certified Public Accountant’s Exam in Massachusetts, our program meets the MA exam and licensing requirements. If you are interested in licensing in another state, required courses vary by state. For specific CPA requirements by state, please visit the NABSA website.


Accounting job growth is robust and professionals with a Master’s degree and advanced skill-sets are in high demand, earning significantly more than those with a Bachelor’s degree alone.

Potential Career Paths and Earnings for Graduates of the MS in Accounting include:

Auditing Manager
Corporate Controller

Average Annual Salary Source:, Obtained October 2018


With An Employer-Aligned Degree

To ensure that our graduates will stand out among peers when seeking promotions or new positions, we consulted industry leaders in designing an MS in Accounting that incorporates a powerful combination of accounting, analytical, and strategic management skills, including:


It’s Easier than You Think to Change the Trajectory of Your Professional Career

  • 100% online – no travel time, easy to fit into your busy weekly schedule
  • Each course is four weeks (2 credits) or eight weeks (4 credits) long
  • Total program is only 32 credits
  • Start the program during the part of the year that works best for you with 6 entry points
  • Complete an entire master’s degree in 16 months
  • Take up to 5 years to complete the degree if that works for your life
  • Prerequisite courses available online for non-accounting bachelor’s degree holders

To see the list of prerequisite courses, please read the MSA Bridge Program information listed below. 


The emphasis of this course is on developing and analyzing financial statements. The course explores how particular transactions and differing accounting options may affect financial statements. Topics such as income recognition, inventory alternatives, leases, pensions, and other current issues are studied, through case analysis, to understand their impact on the financial statements. These topics are covered in the larger context of industry cases in which multiple companies are analyzed and evaluated using profitability and risk ratios. A final project (case) will integrate financial analysis, forecast and valuation.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Gain in-depth understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Interpret financial statement data and disclosure
  • Analyze financial statement using different analytical methods
  • Value companies using different valuation models

This advanced course in auditing will further develop the student’s skills and research abilities in assurance services. Case studies are utilized to further develop the student’s audit and assurance skills. Emphasis will be on risk analysis, development of research skills in accounting and auditing, audit documentation, and development of leadership, teamwork and communication skills including effective report writing. An introduction to fraud examination and the impact of information technology on the audit process will be included.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should:

  • Be able to communicate in a professional manner on issues related to assurance services and the client’s business environment.
  • Be able to identify alternative audit and sampling approaches to testing the client’s financial statement assertions.
  • Make informed and responsible judgments and exercise professional skepticism about client business and fraud risks, control environment, and form an opinion on fairness of the client’s financial statement presentation
  • Understand the importance of working as a team and each team members responsibilities on an audit engagement

This course covers ethical and professional conduct including the role of rules of ethics and legal aspects relating to the practice of public accounting. The course is case based and includes the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, AICPA and SEC independence rules, as well as current developments in the ethical and legal environment as it relates to public accounting. Case analyses of recent corporate scandals are a component of the course. The mandates included in the SARBANES-OXLEY legislation will also be covered.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should:

  • Be able to recognize ethical issues in a business context.
  • Be able to identify the stakeholders, alternative courses of action, and costs and benefits of each alternative in the environment of AICPA professional ethics and legal frameworks as they relate to the situation.
  • Be able to make informed, responsible, and ethical judgments between available alternatives in specific business and professional situations.

This course examines C corporations, S corporations, Limited Liability Corporations, Limited Liability Partnerships, and partnerships as taxable entities. Topics include the theory and political environment of taxation, income determination, deductions and credits, acquisition and disposition of property, and related gains and losses. Additional topics include distribution of income and liquidation of business entities Tax planning and research are emphasized.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand types of business entities and tax implications of these various ownership structures.
  • Understand basic tax concepts and apply relevant Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) sections and regulations and case law.
  • Understand the tax changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
  • Understand your obligation to make informed and ethical decisions regarding tax planning strategies and tax savings opportunities.

This course will strengthen students’ skills and abilities to analyze data at a level required by top employers. The course will delve into assignments that build mastery of productivity tools commonly used by managers. Several workshops will develop skills for using computer-based technologies to locate, access, evaluate, manipulate, create, store, and retrieve information to express ideas, perform sophisticated analysis of data, and communicate information and results with others. Students learn how to build spreadsheet models to perform scenario analysis, analyze the impact of uncertainty, and formalize trade-offs in the context of business decisions. Students will integrate a variety of supporting materials to deliver a thorough business presentation. By the end of the course, students will have a more analytic view of business decision-making and be more adept at analyzing data and presenting results in a business context.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Define and successfully analyze problems in a business context and in a communication style and approach that is clear, precise and understandable
  • Select analytical tools, techniques and approaches to best identify solutions and that in turn will assist you with conveying your message
  • Communicate findings through both oral and written presentations; the biggest hurdles for many people in this area is the ability to overcome fear and to be able to have your audience “trust” you and that message or messages that you are conveying
  • Collaborate with a team to enhance the above; the ability to identify with and project a team approach that gives each member of the team credibility; how to pick up on when one’s analytical skills are not being received effectively i.e. Body language
  • Communicate effectively in cross cultural environments in our global environment

Effective writing and speaking skills are necessary for a career in management. This course is designed to help students develop a process for thinking and writing strategically. Students will learn how to analyze message, purpose, and audience; develop strategies for structure and style; construct persuasive arguments; and review for tone, organizational flow, and quality of evidence. This course will enable students to develop and demonstrate their ability to deliver formal and informal presentations and written reports in the context of addressing business challenges. Students will also learn communication strategies, principles, and methods as well as interpersonal skills that are essential for success in business. Students will have the opportunity to receive instructor and peer feedback.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Have a working knowledge on how the communication process (sender, message, channel, receiver, interpretation) are directly related to successful business communication.
  • Understand the importance of effective communication in business and society, and the mastery of such communication – including persuasive writing, oral, and presentation skills.
  • See advancements in their own writing and speaking abilities in a variety of settings and business contexts, including channels and methods to effectively communicate visual data.
  • See improvements in students’ own skill levels in interpersonal, small group, public, and persuasive communication.

This course deals with concepts, methods, and applications of decision modeling to address various marketing issues: segmentation, targeting, positioning, new product design, advertising and promotional planning, and strategic planning. Topics include gathering primary and secondary data, questionnaire/instrument design, experimental design, data analysis, and presentation of results. Students use substantiated facts and inferences to make managerial decisions. Students make analytical presentations in a client-based atmosphere.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand important concepts, theories, and models related to marketing planning, marketing strategy, branding, marketing research, and consumer behavior
  • Deploy critical thinking skills
  • Execute problem identification and analysis, strategic alternative identification and evaluation
  • Develop meaningful marketing recommendations and implementation planning

This course examines how managers work to integrate operations, marketing, finance, information systems, and management processes to achieve competitive advantage. Students will examine how to analyze the external environment and assess the capabilities of an organization to craft competitive strategies. Different strategic perspectives will be reviewed to understand the competitive dynamics within a strategic group. Case examples will be reviewed to consider how managers combine analysis with creative problem solving to achieve innovative strategies, to create new markets, and to compete in novel ways.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the main concepts in strategic management, including the different levels and components of strategy, sources of sustained competitive advantage, and the interconnection among organizational decisions.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of innovation-based strategies.
  • Analyze how managers responsible for executing strategy lead their organizations through successful strategic changes.
  • Perform the necessary diagnoses and analyses to make decisions about valuable strategic options and express them in written and oral communications.

ELECTIVES (4 Credits):

This course will provide the student with an understanding of accounting as an information system. Specifically, the course will give the student hands on experience with understanding the structure of an accounting system and also the use of accounting software as a tool. Frameworks for analyzing internal control systems and understanding the structure and risks of IT based systems are also covered.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of separation of duties
  • Have the ability to read and understand a flowchart
  • Utilize accounting software, specifically QuickBooks

This course considers the reporting environment and rules of the Financial Accounting Standards Board as it relates to Not-for-Profit entities and the rules and procedures of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board as it relates to governmental entities. The course will investigate and examine the reporting practices of federal, state, and local governments and specific not-for-profit entities such as hospitals, universities, and not-for-profit organizations.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the issues unique to not-for-profit and governmental accounting where the accounting system lacks a “bottom line” profit motive.
  • Understand the accounting processes and methods, including entries and financial statements unique to not-for-profit and governmental entities.
  • Be able to use research tools unique to the not-for-profit environment such as Guidestar and the data available from States’ Attorney General’s Office.
  • Be able to analyze not-for-profit and governmental entity financial statements.

This course will focus on the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and Common Law practices related to commercial transactions, particularly those relevant to accountants and auditors. Topics include contract law, the Uniform Commercial Code, agency law, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies, securities regulations, bankruptcy, property laws, and accountant/auditor liability.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should:

  • Students will understand how contracts are formed, parties’ rights and responsibilities pursuant to a contract, methods of enforcement and remedies in the event of a breach.
  • Understanding the application of legal principles in the accounting profession.
  • Appreciate the means by which courts analyze legal cases in deciding and applying legal issues in the context of business regulation and control.
  • Students will gain an understanding of the various court systems and administrative agencies authority in the regulation of business and will gain an understanding of how government agencies operate and create laws that regulate business including antitrust regulation, financial regulation and insurance.
  • Students will learn the law of negotiable instruments (checks, drafts, notes etc.) and their role in the financing of operations.
  • Students will learn the role of bankruptcy law and its impact on the law of property and ownership.

This course will provide the student with a knowledge of a variety of fraud schemes, how to prevent them, how to investigate them, and how to document their findings. We will consider the auditors’ role in investigating scams, employee fraud schemes, and fraudulent financial reporting. Specifically, the course will give the students hands-on experience with a simulated case study of a fraud.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify common scams, fraudulent reporting methods and employee fraud schemes.
  • Understand methods of prevention and detection of fraudulent financial reporting and employee fraud.
  • Have a working knowledge of documenting and reporting fraud and the legal rules of evidence.


Admission and Tuition

Ready to Get Started?



With Your Very Own Academic & Career Advisor

Merrimack College’s highly personalized approach starts with a one-on-one discussion between you and your academic and career advisor. Your advisor will:

  • Develop the most appropriate curriculum plan for you given your background and preferences
  • Help ensure you achieve adequate progress toward degree completion
  • Counsel you on when and how to prepare for the CPA Exam should you be pursuing CPA licensure
  • Offer career planning assistance and advice
  • Help you stay on track to achieve the skills, knowledge and abilities to succeed in your career

Your advisor will be an integral part of your academic journey from initial inquiry to graduation with a vested interest in your success!


With the MSA Bridge Program for Non-Accounting Majors

Candidates interested in pursuing an MSA degree who don’t have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a professional background in accounting, can easily start by taking the required prerequisite courses right away.  Like the graduate courses, prerequisite courses are offered 100% online, in 8 weeks each.

The number of prerequisite courses needed depends on undergraduate course coverage and will be evaluated and discussed during the admissions process. Courses include:

  • Accounting for Business (Introductory Accounting)
  • Intermediate Accounting I
  • Intermediate Accounting II
  • Cost Accounting
  • Taxes (U.S.)

Discover the Merrimack Difference


At Merrimack College, we’re proud of our long history of providing quality degrees to students entering the job market. Our faculty are more than just teachers. We are committed to helping you grow — academically, personally and spiritually — so that you may graduate as a confident, well-prepared citizen of the world.

  • Money magazine 2018 Most Transformative College
  • US News & World Report 2018 #50 Best Regional Universities/North
  • US News & World Report 2018 #11 Most Innovative School Regional Universities/North
  • The Princeton Review 2018 Best Regional College
  • Transitioning Athletics to Division 1 and joining the Northeast Conference in 2019-20

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