Credits and costs
Prepare to Become a CPA with a Master of Professional Accounting Degree
Increasingly complex business methods, growing sophistication in auditing approaches, new tax laws, and demand for highly technical services require that you have an expanded knowledge base to become an effective, efficient accounting professional. Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) opens doors to opportunities not only in accounting firms but also across the business landscape. The Penn State World Campus online accounting master's program helps you acquire the skills to successfully prepare for the CPA exam, and provides you with academic credentials to prepare you for licensure as a CPA.
If you have completed an undergraduate degree in business or accounting, and need to satisfy the 150-credit hour educational requirements for CPA licensure in Pennsylvania and most other states, this online master's degree in accounting from the AACSB-accredited Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration is designed for you.
Admission to the Master of Professional Accounting program does not require an undergraduate accounting degree, but it does require certain undergraduate accounting courses. Prerequisite accounting courses are listed on the "How to Apply" page.
The Penn State Difference
The Master's in Accounting program is developed and taught by experienced full-time Penn State faculty with diverse backgrounds. The faculty are experienced in teaching online and are prepared to teach you how to analyze and evaluate business problems.
The School of Business Administration also carries the elite AACSB accreditation, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide.
Start with a Graduate Certificate and Step Up to the Master's Degree
The Graduate Certificate in Accounting consists of four courses from the Master of Professional Accounting, which means you can begin your accounting education by pursuing the certificate, and then choose to continue and apply to the master's degree program. If you apply and are accepted to the master's degree program, you can apply the 12 credits from the certificate toward the degree. The more fundamental Graduate Certificate in Accounting Foundations may provide some of the necessary prerequisite coursework for the master’s degree; however, credit from this program cannot be applied to meet graduation requirements for the Master of Professional Accounting.
In this comprehensive 30-credit master's in accounting program, you will take 10 courses. The curriculum is carefully designed to include courses that explicitly address the content critical to your successful preparation for the CPA exam.
Your final capstone course (ACCTG 803) will integrate material you learned in the preceding courses and, through case studies, will focus on investigative accounting, consulting, and litigation support activities that you undertake in forensic accounting engagements.
Required Courses (27 credits)
Capstone Course (3 credits)
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 15 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 15 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
If CPA licensure is your goal, please verify your state's rules and requirements. See the State Regulations for more information.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — GPA from the final two years of undergraduate studies is required.
GRE or GMAT's — are NOT required
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (2) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Prerequisites — Please be sure you have the required prerequisite courses. If your undergraduate degree is not in accounting, you should have completed or be in the process of taking the following minimum core of accounting course work (or its equivalent) prior to submitting your application:
- ACCTG 211: Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making (generally Principles of Accounting I, covering financial accounting, and Principles of Accounting II, covering managerial accounting, at other universities)
- ACCTG 310: Federal Taxation I (covering individual taxation) — ACCTG 211 is a prerequisite for this course.
- ACCTG 340: Cost Accounting — ACCTG 211 is a prerequisite for this course.
- ACCTG 471: Intermediate Financial Accounting I — ACCTG 211 is a prerequisite for this course.
- ACCTG 472: Intermediate Financial Accounting II — ACCTG 471 is a prerequisite for this course.
- ACCTG 403: Auditing — ACCTG 471 is a prerequisite for this course.
If you have previously taken undergraduate accounting courses and need advice on the specific undergraduate courses you still need for the Master of Professional Accounting program, send your unofficial transcript to [email protected] with your request for assistance.
Résumé — Upload a one- to two-page résumé highlighting your full-time employment and/or military experience to the online application.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?
Advance Your Career
Advance Your Career
The online Master of Professional Accounting degree and Penn State's career resources can prepare you for a career in auditing and public accounting, industrial and managerial accounting, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting.
Professional Licensure / Certification
Professional Licensure / Certification
Qualify for a CPA certificate and license to practice public accounting.
To learn more about the Master's in Professional Accounting, offered in partnership with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration, contact:
For general questions or questions regarding how to apply, contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
For questions regarding your submitted application, contact:
Master of Professional Accounting
Email: [email protected]
For questions regarding program curriculum, contact:
Tom Amlie, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Accounting
Master of Professional Accounting Program
Email: [email protected]
Thomas T. Amlie
DegreePh.D., Accounting, University of Maryland
DegreeMBA, University of Maryland
Dr. Thomas T. Amlie's teaching interests are in the area of financial accounting and reporting. His research interests center on the proper disclosure of accounting information, the assumptions underlying that accounting information, and the effects of those assumptions on business decisions and reporting.
John C. Cameron
DegreeJ.D., Widener University School of Law
DegreeLL.M., Corporation Law, New York University School of Law
DegreeMBA, Temple University
DegreeB.A., University of Pittsburgh
John C. Cameron, associate professor of management and organization, has held corporate positions in health care administration and corporate law. He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. He serves as the co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Health Care Law Committee. He teaches courses in leadership development, business ethics, bioscience management, and negotiations. His research interests are in the areas of corporate governance, bioethics, leadership, and regulatory compliance.
DegreePh.D., Finance, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Finance, Penn State
Dr. Patrick Cusatis, CFA, is an associate professor of finance. Prior to joining Penn State, he was an institutional portfolio manager at CoreStates National Bank, First Union National Bank, and Tucker Anthony. Prior to that, he was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers in New York City, specializing in new product development. His research interests include corporate restructuring, portfolio management, derivative securities, and municipal bonds.
DegreePh.D., Accounting, University of Memphis
DegreeMBA, Finance, University of Alabama
DegreeDCM, Computer Programming, University of Mumbai
DegreeB.S., Chemistry, University of Mumbai
DegreeProfessional Certifications: CPA, ACA, CFE, CMA, CISE
Dr. Ashutosh Deshmukh is a professor of accounting and MIS at Penn State Behrend. He holds certification in public accounting, information systems auditing, management accounting, and fraud examination, and he has served as an expert witness in the U.S. House of Representatives, estimating the potential for fraud, waste, and abuse of grant money awarded over a five-year period by the U.S. EPA. He is the associate editor of the International Journal of Accounting, Auditing, and Performance Evaluation and the author of the book Digital Accounting: The Effects of the Internet and ERP on Accounting.
DegreeJ.D., Widener University
DegreeLL.M., Georgetown University
DegreeB.S., Business Administration, Bloomsburg University
Richard Scheib is an instructor of law, tax, and accounting. Prior to teaching, and simultaneously with his consulting practice, he worked in private accounting for corporations, public accounting with Big Five accounting firms, state government, and large and small law firms handling a variety of both accounting and legal issues.