Master of Science in Accounting

With a Master of Science in Accounting (MSACC) degree from the Gatton College of Business and Economics, you'll be prepared for a professional career in accounting and business. With Gatton's M.S. in accounting degree you will:

  • Improve communication and technology skills expected in the accounting profession;
  • Gain valuable knowledge about the accounting profession;
  • Develop leadership and teamwork skills, especially in researching accounting issues;
  • Enhance your creative problem-solving skills and your ability to think logically and analytically.

Accounting continues to be recognized as one of the world's leading professions. Numerous companies conduct on-campus interviews because our graduates are known for their excellent work ethic, knowledge base, and willingness to contribute. Von Allmen School of Accountancy students are a primary source of talent for all of the international, national, regional, and local CPA firms and corporations. Our placement rate by the semester of graduation for the Class of 2019 was 95% and our average pass rate for each section of the CPA exam for the Class of 2019 was 95%!

Non-accounting majors can now start the program during the summer semester and earn their MSACC degree in just 14 months! 

With a MSACC degree, you will be world-ready: ready for today's changing business world and ready to become part of the next generation of global business leaders.

Admission Guidelines

Application Deadlines:

International students must apply by Friday. March 11.

Domestic students must apply by Friday, July 22, however, it is highly recommended that applicants formally apply much earlier since enrollment is limited.

Domestic students who are applying for partial academic scholarship/stipends must have their applications submitted by Friday, April 1.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and complete the essay for admission and scholarship consideration is mandatory. Applicants will be evaluated for admission based on undergraduate GPA, both overall and in accounting, and if applicable, TOEFL score. Also, the applicant's essay response and ratings from references (if applicable) will be taken into account. Applicants who meet the following admission requirements will be accepted into the program as soon as all materials are submitted:

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum undergraduate accounting GPA of 3.2
  • International students must have a minimum TOEFL IBT score of 90, or IELTS score of 7, or score at least 30 on the verbal section of the GMAT exam

Non-UK students must submit three reference forms. Please click on this link to download the reference form and have your recommenders send the evaluation form directly to the MSACC Director.

Accounting Foundational Courses: Fifteen semester hours of the following accounting courses (3 semester hours each), completed at an accredited college or university, are required for the MSACC program. (Examples of acceptable courses at the University of Kentucky are given in parentheses.):

  • Intermediate Accounting I (ACC 301)*
  • Intermediate Accounting II (ACC 302)*
  • Accounting Information Systems (ACC 324)
  • Auditing (ACC 403)**
  • Concepts of Income Taxation (ACC 407)***

* The Intermediate Accounting courses must be based on the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Also, financial accounting (ACC 201) and managerial accounting (ACC 202) are required foundation courses for the intermediate course sequence.

** The Auditing course must be based on the U.S. Auditing Standards Boards and the PCAOBs standards.

*** The Concepts of Income Taxation course must be based on the U.S. Tax Code.
Students are strongly encouraged to complete either a one semester (fall, spring or summer) accounting internship or have equivalent work experience prior to entering the MSACC program.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete at least thirty semester hours in courses carrying graduate credit, with a minimum of 21 semester hours in accounting courses. The MSACC degree requirements are:

  • Minimum of 21 semester hours of accounting courses, of which at least 15 semester hours must be in courses numbered at the "600" level;
  • Minimum of 21 semester hours must be in courses reserved exclusively for graduate students (i.e., 600 level courses);
  • All graduate-level elective courses require approval in advance by the Director of the Master of Science Accounting program;
  • A minimum average GPA of 3.0 in all courses attempted for graduate credit after being admitted to The Graduate School;
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive final examination in ACC 516.

The MSACC program provides a lock-step course sequence for each of the seven required accounting classes. The graduate electives can be taken in approved courses as they best fit into students' schedules and can include additional graduate level accounting courses.

All students must complete the following courses:

  • ACC 507: Advanced Topics in Taxation
  • ACC 516: Advanced Topics in Financial Reporting
  • ACC 601: Research in Accounting Theory
  • ACC 603: Attest Function
  • ACC 617: Selected Topics in Taxation
  • ACC 621: Understanding Financial Statements
  • ACC 624: Enterprise Information and Control Systems
  • MGT 641: Legal Issues for Accountants
  • Two graduate-level elective courses (at least one at the 600 level).

CPA Exam

An innovative feature of the MSACC program is the ability for students to integrate their course work with preparing for, and taking the CPA examination. Complete requirements to sit for the CPA examination for the State of Kentucky can be found at Kentucky Board of Accountancy. Recent changes to these requirements for the State of Kentucky allow individuals with a degree from an accredited college or university with a concentration in accounting (defined as a minimum of 39 semester hours in business-related subjects, of which at least 27 semester hours consists of accounting courses) to sit for the CPA examination. Most often this will be a student with an undergraduate degree in accounting; however, any degree is acceptable with the required courses when the concentration in accounting is completed.

Students can elect and are strongly encouraged to integrate the MSACC program with a CPA exam review course. The MSACC courses are scheduled to facilitate this integration as presented in the next section.

This schedule allows completion of all MSACC requirements in 11 months while affording students the opportunity to study for and sit for the CPA exam. The MSACC courses are offered throughout the program to integrate with the Becker coursework and study materials. Note that this requires the Spring semester to begin before, and end after the normal dates.

This program requires students to dedicate significant effort to their studies and preparation over the 11 month integration period to achieve the highest levels of learning and success.

MSACC Program Integration Schedule with Becker CPA Exam Review Course

Fall Semester
Course CPA Review Course
ACC507 Advanced Topics in Taxation
ACC617 Selected Topics in Taxation
MGT641 Legal Issues in the Accounting Profession
Two Graduate Level Electives
Spring Semester REG: November & December

Take CPA Exam REG: Jan. week 1 or 2

Week Course Course CPA Review Course Take CPA Exam
1st Jan. week 3 ACC603 ACC624
2nd Jan. week 4 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
3rd Jan. week 5 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
4th Feb. week 1 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
5th Feb. week 2 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
6th Feb. week 3 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
7th Feb. week 4 ACC603 ACC624 AUD
March week 1 Take CPA Exam AUD
1st March week 2 ACC 601 ACC 624
1st March week 3 SPRING BREAK BEC
2nd March week 4 ACC601 ACC621
3rd April week 1 ACC601 ACC621
4th April week 2 ACC601 ACC621
5th April week 3 ACC601 ACC621
6th April week 4 ACC601 ACC621
7th May week 1 Take CPA Exam BEC
Summer Semester 6 weeks
May weeks 2-5 & June weeks 1-3 ACC 516
June week 3 - July week 4 FAR
               End of July                                                                                                               Take CPA Exam          FAR

Course Descriptions

ACC 507 Advanced Topics in Taxation

A study of advanced topics in taxation, including corporate taxation, accounting for income taxes, and international tax.

ACC 516 Advanced Topics in Financial Reporting

A comprehensive study of financial accounting and reporting issues involving business combinations, partnerships, foreign currency transactions, not-for-profit accounting and other current accounting issues.

ACC 601 Research in Accounting Theory

Critical examination of accounting concepts and standards. Study of current problems and contemporary developments reflected in accounting literature and reports.

ACC 603 Attest Function

A critical examination of contemporary professional attestation theory and practice including a comprehensive review of AICPA audit case studies, statements on audit procedure, and their application in simulated business situations.

ACC 617 Selected Topics in Taxation

A study of selected topics in taxation, including partnership taxation, tax research, and other tax topics.

ACC 621 Understanding Financial Statements

Financial statements communicate information about a business and its operations. Students will gain an understanding of the information being communicated (or not communicated) by the business entity. Emphasis is on the uses of information, rather than its preparation.

ACC 624 Enterprise Information and Control Systems

The course simultaneously examines two issues related to enterprise information systems development: 1) methodologies for designing and implementing information systems, and 2) assessment of enterprise risk and internal control systems. Case analyses and real world projects are used to accomplish the course objectives. Current computer technologies, including relational database systems and internet data processing, are integrated into the course content.

MGT 641 Legal Issues in the Accounting Profession

A study of various legal issues in the accounting profession. Among the topics covered are accountant's liability, commercial transactions, business organizations, property concepts and other issues in the legal environment that will be encountered in accounting practice.

Compliance with Regulations

The University of Kentucky is committed to a policy of providing educational opportunities to all qualified students regardless of social status, and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, beliefs, age, national origin, or handicap. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin for further information at

Tuition Costs and University Fees

MSACC Tuition Costs and Program Fees for the 2019/20 academic year are as follows:

Resident Non-resident
Annual Tuition $21,000 $29,000
Estimated University Fees   $1,500    $1,500

The Becker CPA Review course is optional and students will pay Becker directly. The Becker fee for the 2019/20 academic year is estimated to be $3,000.

Financial Assistance

The Von Allmen School of Accountancy has limited funds available for outstanding students in the MSACC program. These partial scholarship/stipend awards are competitively based on GPA overall and in accounting. Candidates are automatically considered when accepted into the MSACC program and no separate application is necessary to be eligible for an award. Candidates who receive MSACC assistant awards are obligated to work no more than ten hours per week during the fall and spring semesters under the direction of a faculty member as an exam grader/proctor or research assistant.

The Graduate School (University-Level)

Information is available on Fellowships, Assistantships, and Support Funding section of the Graduate School's web site.

Application Process

Prospective students must apply online at the Graduate School. All applications and supporting documents should be submitted to the Graduate School. Application deadlines for admission to the Graduate School are shown on the Graduate School's website.

Completion of the prerequisites, Essay Requirement, Reference Forms, the TOEFL, and the application do not guarantee admission into the MSACC program. Applicants will be evaluated for admission based upon their undergraduate grade point averages (GPA), both overall and in accounting, essay response, reference evaluations, and their TOEFL score.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Official TOEFL score if applicable (The TOEFL Institution Code for the UK Graduate School is 1837)
  • Official Transcripts (UK students do not need to submit official transcripts)
  • Three Reference Forms (Non-UK students only and references should be from former professors)
  • Essay Requirement

    In approximately 800 to 900 words, discuss the reasons you wish to pursue a MSACC degree at the University of Kentucky’s Von Allmen School of Accountancy. You must address the following issues in your essay:

    • Why you believe you are prepared academically for graduate study and what have been your academic accomplishments;
    • Your motivation and leadership qualities as well as any previous accounting or business work experience;
    • Your expectations of the MSACC program and what you hope to gain from the graduate coursework;
    • Your short-term and long-term goals and how a MSACC degree will help you complement and achieve these goals;
    • Add any other information you believe may be relevant in evaluating your application.

Apply Online Today!

The Graduate School address is:

UK Graduate School
106 Gillis Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0033

More details may be obtained from the Graduate School, or the Von Allmen School of Accountancy at the address below:

John Smigla, MSACC Director
Von Allmen School of Accountancy
435A Gatton College of Business and Economics
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0034

Policy Changes

All statements made here are announcements of present policy only and are subject to change at any time without prior notice.