MU’s new online master’s of accountancy program expands access for students

“We’re hoping to expand access, the number of students and the geographic reach of our program,” said Shannon Ferguson, assistant director of the 150-hour and master of accountancy program.

MU’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business has expanded its master’s of accountancy program to an online platform. Starting in August 2018, graduate students can take accountancy courses completely online.

“[The new program] targets multiple folds,” said Shannon Ferguson, assistant director of the 150-hour and master of accountancy program. “Anybody who is interested in taking their CPA exam would be our general target audience.

We’re looking to [primarily] target current Mizzou students who maybe have an interest in accounting and didn’t choose accounting when they first came to Mizzou.”

The program is also looking to bring in students from other institutions that want to get their master’s degree from MU, or even working professionals who want to become eligible for the certified public accountant exam, Ferguson said.

The new online degree program will be 30 credit hours. When paired with an undergraduate degree, students will have the required 150 credit hours to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam.

“[Students] will take 30 hours at their own pace,” Ferguson said. “Students can complete it in short of a year if they want to be a full-time student. If they are also working part time, they can complete it over a longer period of time around their work and personal schedule. Students can work at their own pace.”

All of the instructors for the online master’s program were selected from current on-campus professors. Currently, 12 accountancy courses will be available, with 13 faculty members involved, Ferguson said.

As a nationally ranked program, MU’s on-campus masters of accountancy program has had to turn away nearly 100 applicants due to a lack of seats in past years. MU’s School of Accountancy seeks to change that with the online master’s degree.

“We’re hoping to expand access, the number of students and the geographic reach of our program,” Ferguson said.

Offering courses online will allow MU’s accountancy program to reach students outside Missouri.

“[For] students that cannot be in Columbia, due to personal reasons or financial reasons, it will allow them to get a highly ranked degree from a highly ranked program so that they can continue to build their career,” Ferguson said.

The demand for a master’s degree in accountancy also goes outside the classroom. In the near future, there is a projected shortage of individuals in the accounting field due to retirements, Ferguson said. This will soon leave a gap in the job market for CPAs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting and auditor jobs are projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the national average for job growth.

According to the College of Business’s Business Career Services, rates of employment are rising. During the 2015-16 school year, 92 percent of graduates from Trulaske College of Business found employment within three months of graduation.

“That’s one of the things we’re most proud of,” Koni Daws, director of the 150-hour and master of accountancy programs, said. “Not only do our students graduate, but they have jobs when they graduate.”

The prospects of the online master’s program are looking hopeful, with staff predicting it will be a success.

“We’ve got great interest already in the program,” Daws said. “Our faculty and staff are very motivated in making this a success. We have a great grad program office that is promoting the program. So I think with everyone working together, it is going to be a success.”

Like MU’s other online programs, students from anywhere in the country can take MAcc courses online with in-state tuition. Applications are open now for the fall 2018 semester.

Edited by Olivia Garrett | ogarrett@themaneater.com

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