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MAY 2018

New combined degree program streamlines accounting studies

Knowing that accounting students who stay for a master’s degree are better prepared for the CPA exam and career success, Florida State University’s College of Business is making it possible for top accounting majors to get a headstart before they graduate.

Students entering the new Combined Bachelor of Science in Accounting/Master of Accounting (BS/MAcc) program will be able to accelerate their time in school by taking up to nine credit hours of coursework that will count toward both their bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements. “They can easily transition from the undergraduate program into the MAcc program and can graduate a semester earlier,” said Holly Sudano, program director.

Accounting majors are eligible to participate if they have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.4 and an upper-division accounting GPA of at least 3.2, which is based on at least four upper-division accounting courses. Eligible students apply for the combined program by the end of their junior year. Admitted students are then able to register for graduate courses the final semester of their senior year.

“We want to encourage highly qualified undergraduate accounting students to pursue their master’s degree at Florida State, said Rick Morton, accounting department chair and EY Professor. “The new option is an effort to continuously improve our curricula, and responds to feedback from students and employers. Not only does the combined degree provide a streamlined path to meet the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Florida and most other jurisdictions, but the program also ensures that students develop the crucial skills and knowledge that employers desire.”

Scott PriceThose skills include being able to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world situations and critical thinking, said Scott Price (ACG ’97, MAcc ’97), CEO of A-LIGN, a CPA-licensed cyber security firm based in Tampa, Florida, and chair of the accounting department’s Professional Advisory Board. FSU’s graduate accounting programs also allow students to specialize in taxation or assurance and advisory services.

Ranked No. 25 among public schools nationwide, and No. 31 overall, according to Public Accounting Report (PAR)’s annual survey of accounting professors, FSU’s MAcc program has a legacy of high passing rates on the CPA exam.

“FSU graduates are coveted by employers,” Price said. “The rigor of the program, along with the personalized attention of the professors in the program, attracts top students, resulting in a top-tier school that continues to draw company recruiters.” The new combined program adds to FSU’s quality offerings, he said, while also providing students a way to maximize their return on investment.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow 10 percent over the next decade – faster than the average of other occupations. Professionals earning a graduate degree or securing a CPA license stand to make 5 to 15 percent more in salary than those without these credentials, according to a 2018 salary guide published by Robert Half International, a recruitment agency.

Students admitted to the combined program will still be required to apply separately to the master’s degree program during the first semester of their senior year. However, maintaining the GPA requirements for the combined program will qualify the student for a waiver of the MAcc program’s required GMAT entrance exam. The college will continue to offer a one-year MAcc for students who have completed an accounting bachelor’s degree and a longer version for applicants without an undergraduate degree in accounting.

“MAcc students can benefit from our program’s partnership with Becker CPA Review and from being part of a supportive, close-knit group of motivated accounting students eager to see each other succeed,” Sudano said.

Undergraduate accounting students interested in pursuing the combined BS/MAcc program, can learn more at business.fsu.edu/BS-MAcc. For more information on the MAcc program and how to apply, visit business.fsu.edu/MAcc.


By Melanie Yeager 

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