2020 Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master's in Accounting

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/9/2022
2020 Most Affordable Accounting Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/9/2022

The most affordable online master's degrees in accounting may offer prospective students an accessible path to earning a degree. These programs aim to teach advanced accounting practices and essential analytical skills. Not only does a master's degree have the potential to make you a more qualified job candidate, but it may also help you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Our rankings list of the cheapest online master's programs in accounting supports prospective students in selecting the school that best meets their financial needs. Afterward, we provide information on the program, financial aid opportunities, and the pros and cons of earning this degree online.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online bachelor's in accounting degrees. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Strayer University $4,480
# 2 #2 American Public University System $6,300
# 3 #3 Marshall University $6,810
# 4 #4 University of South Dakota $6,987
# 5 #5 Southern Utah University $7,097
# 6 #6 University of North Alabama $7,125
# 7 #7 Wilmington University $7,320
# 8 #8 Lindenwood University $7,425
# 9 #9 Colorado State University Global $7,500
# 10 #10 Western Governors University $7,600
# 11 #11 PennWest California $7,890
# 12 #12 Georgia Southern University $7,905
# 13 #13 University of South Alabama $8,250
# 14 #14 Averett University $8,325
# 15 #15 Clarion University $8,355
# 16 #16 Gardner Webb University $8,760
# 17 #17 Ottawa University Online $9,735
# 18 #18 University of Missouri $10,026
# 19 #19 Indiana Wesleyan University Online $10,062
# 20 #20 Bellevue University $10,530
# 21 #21 Brenau University $10,695
# 22 #22 Saint Leo University Online $10,800
# 23 #23 Northeastern University $10,890
# 24 #24 Southern New Hampshire University Online $11,286
#1
#1

Strayer University

Nationwide
Annual Tuition: $4,480
Annual Tuition: $4,480
Annual Tuition: $4,480

Strayer University is a large, for-profit school with numerous campuses across the country. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) recognized Strayer's online Master of Science in Accounting, which consists of 12 courses. Students can select from four concentrations: Corporate Accounting, Public Accounting, Forensic Accounting, and Taxation. All class activities during the 11-week courses are facilitated through the Blackboard system, and classes are primarily asynchronous.... To apply, students must submit college transcripts that demonstrate they have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

All online master's in accounting students pay a flat fee per course. Strayer sponsors scholarships for master's students and offers tuition assistance programs for active-duty military and veterans. Students who don't qualify for other types of financial aid from the school may be eligible for the Graduation Fund, which offers one free course for every three paid courses students complete.

Explore programs at Strayer University >>

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 53%
  • Graduation Rate: 27%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 41,599
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 9,908
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Corporate Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Forensic Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Public Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Taxation
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $6,300
Annual Tuition: $6,300
Annual Tuition: $6,300

American Public University System (APUS) is a large, for-profit school that offers a Master of Science in Accounting, an ACBSP-accredited online degree. Students must complete 36 credits of asynchronous courses to graduate and may choose one of six concentrations — CPA, Applied Business Analytics, Government Accounting, Internal Auditing, Information Technology, and Health Information Management. To apply, prospective students must submit transcripts showing that they have earned a bachelor's degree... from an accredited college. Accepted applicants without a bachelor's in accounting may need to take up to five prerequisite courses.

APUS charges online students a flat fee, which is discounted for military members. Students are allowed to transfer up to 15 credits, and some may be eligible for credits based on prior work or military experience. APUS also offers federal financial aid programs and aid benefits for active-duty and veteran military members.

Explore programs at American Public University System >>

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 7,914
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Concentration in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Concentration in CPA
#3
#3

Marshall University

Huntington (WV)
Annual Tuition: $6,810
Annual Tuition: $6,810
Annual Tuition: $6,810

Marshall University is a medium-sized public university with a 50% graduation rate. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited the school's online Master of Science in Accountancy, which includes 10 classes. Marshall uses the Blackboard system to deliver asynchronous courses taught by Marshall's on-campus faculty. Distance education students have access to several student resources, such as academic advising, the online library, and tutoring. Applicants must have earned... a bachelor's degree in accounting or business with a minimum 3.0 GPA from a regionally accredited college. If accepted, enrollees may have to take up to six prerequisites, depending on the bachelor's coursework they completed.

Marshall's online tuition is lower than its in-state, on-campus rate. Graduate students may be eligible for government financial aid and several school-sponsored scholarships, such as the Anna Lee Meador Memorial Scholarship, Club Tax Network, Inc. Scholarship, and Frank Deacon Scholarship.

Explore programs at Marshall University >>

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 935
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 596
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Accountancy
#4
#4

University of South Dakota

Vermillion (SD)
Annual Tuition: $6,987
Annual Tuition: $6,987
Annual Tuition: $6,987
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,921
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 983
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Professional Accountancy
  • Master of Professional Accountancy - Accounting Analytics
#5
#5

Southern Utah University

Cedar City (UT)
Annual Tuition: $7,097
Annual Tuition: $7,097
Annual Tuition: $7,097
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Average SATs: 1020 -1240
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 730
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 497
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Accountancy - Business Analytics
  • Master of Accountancy - Managerial Accounting
  • Master of Accountancy - Public Accounting
  • Master of Accountancy - Taxation
#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $7,125
Annual Tuition: $7,125
Annual Tuition: $7,125
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Average SATs: 1015 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 700
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,331
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
#7
#7

Wilmington University

New Castle (DE)
Annual Tuition: $7,320
Annual Tuition: $7,320
Annual Tuition: $7,320
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 63%
  • Graduation Rate: 21%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,064
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,291
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • MBA in Accounting
  • MS in Accounting
#8
#8

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles (MO)
Annual Tuition: $7,425
Annual Tuition: $7,425
Annual Tuition: $7,425
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 494
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,042
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
#9
#9

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
Annual Tuition: $7,500
Annual Tuition: $7,500
Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Average SATs: 950 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,114
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,556
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master - Professional Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Specialization in Accounting
  • Master of Criminal Justice - Specialization in Accounting
  • Master of Finance - Specialization in Accounting
  • Master of Healthcare Administration - Specialization in Accounting
  • Master of Human Resource Management - Specialization in Accounting
#10
#10

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City (UT)
Annual Tuition: $7,600
Annual Tuition: $7,600
Annual Tuition: $7,600
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 72%
  • Graduation Rate: 21%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 98,630
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 37,509
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.S. Accounting
#11
#11

PennWest California

California (PA)
Annual Tuition: $7,890
Annual Tuition: $7,890
Annual Tuition: $7,890
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Average SATs: 910 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,141
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,592
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration: Accounting
#12
#12

Georgia Southern University

Statesboro (GA)
Annual Tuition: $7,905
Annual Tuition: $7,905
Annual Tuition: $7,905
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,088
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,619
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accounting
#13
#13
Annual Tuition: $8,250
Annual Tuition: $8,250
Annual Tuition: $8,250
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 277
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,256
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accounting
#14
#14

Averett University

Danville (VA) (and 13 others)
Annual Tuition: $8,325
Annual Tuition: $8,325
Annual Tuition: $8,325
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Acceptance Rate: 59%
  • Average SATs: 860 -1060
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 217
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 244
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
#15
#15

Clarion University

Clarion (PA)
Annual Tuition: $8,355
Annual Tuition: $8,355
Annual Tuition: $8,355
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 699
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 741
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Specialization in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting
#16
#16

Gardner Webb University

Boiling Springs (NC)
Annual Tuition: $8,760
Annual Tuition: $8,760
Annual Tuition: $8,760
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Average SATs: 970 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 563
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 552
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Accountancy - Forensic Emphasis
  • Master of Accountancy - General Emphasis
  • Master of Accountancy - Tax Emphasis
#17
#17
Annual Tuition: $9,735
Annual Tuition: $9,735
Annual Tuition: $9,735
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 205
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 56
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
#18
#18

University of Missouri

Columbia (MO)
Annual Tuition: $10,026
Annual Tuition: $10,026
Annual Tuition: $10,026
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Average SATs: 1120 -1340
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 835
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,423
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accountancy (MAcc)
#19
#19
Annual Tuition: $10,062
Annual Tuition: $10,062
Annual Tuition: $10,062
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Average SATs: 1020 -1230
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 6,185
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,637
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.S. Accounting
#20
#20

Bellevue University

Bellevue (NE)
Annual Tuition: $10,530
Annual Tuition: $10,530
Annual Tuition: $10,530
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 84%
  • Graduation Rate: 24%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 7,352
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,151
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Concentration in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Concentration in Tax
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Concentration in Finance
  • Master of Science in Accounting - Concentration in Tax
  • Master of Science in Strategic Finance - Concentration in Accounting
#21
#21

Brenau University

Multiple Locations
Annual Tuition: $10,695
Annual Tuition: $10,695
Annual Tuition: $10,695
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 746
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 545
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Managerial Accounting
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Public Accounting
  • Masters in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration in Managerial Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration in Public Accounting
#22
#22
Annual Tuition: $10,800
Annual Tuition: $10,800
Annual Tuition: $10,800
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,242
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,720
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Accounting
  • M.B.A. - Accounting
#23
#23

Northeastern University

Burlington (MA)
Annual Tuition: $10,890
Annual Tuition: $10,890
Annual Tuition: $10,890
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Acceptance Rate: 27%
  • Average SATs: 1390 -1540
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 26
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 183
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation - Taxation of Entities
  • Master of Science in Taxation - Taxation of Individuals
#24
#24
Annual Tuition: $11,286
Annual Tuition: $11,286
Annual Tuition: $11,286
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 86,849
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 19,526
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Accounting (Accelerated BS-to-MS pathway)
  • MS Accounting Finance
  • MS in Accounting
  • MS in Accounting - Auditing
  • MS in Accounting - Management Accounting
  • MBA in Accounting

Overview of the Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Accounting

Students can earn a master's degree in accounting entirely online.

To enroll, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from any field, and they'll need to submit the following with their application: GMAT or GRE scores, college transcripts, and other documentation, such as a personal statement or resume.

When searching for an online program to apply to, accreditation is key. Graduate programs in accounting are often accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or International Accreditation Council for Business Education. This stamp of approval guarantees a program's academic quality. Most degree programs require 30-36 credit hours and take about two years of full-time study to complete. Graduate-level courses cover advanced accounting principles and accounting's role in an organization's financial management and strategic planning.

Students pursue a master's degree in accounting for career advancement and to become a licensed CPA. All 50 states require graduates to accumulate 150 credit hours before sitting for the CPA exam. Since earning an undergraduate degree only requires approximately 120 credit hours, many students go on to pursue a master's degree. Before enrollment in an online master's degree program begins, however, prospective students may want to confirm with their state's licensing board that their degree will meet their state's licensure requirements.

How Much Does an Online Accounting Master's Degree Cost?


Online master's degrees in accounting are somewhat more expensive than other degrees. Our data shows that the median annual tuition rate for an online accounting master's degree is $16,128 based on 181 schools, while the median annual tuition for all online master's degrees is $14,278 across 871 schools.


When calculating the total cost of earning this degree, prospective students should also factor in additional expenses, such as books, supplies, and fees. Accounting students who intend to become CPAs may also want to include the costs associated with an exam prep course, sitting for the four CPA exams, and obtaining a license. Fees vary by state, but a reasonable estimate is $1,000 for the certification exams and $500 for the license. CPA exam study courses vary widely, from $1,200 to $3,500.

Accounting students may reduce the cost of attending graduate business school in several ways.

  • For example, they can apply for scholarships and grants funded by the government, schools, and private organizations.
  • Current and former military may be entitled to additional discounts and benefits. If available, students can request a prior learning assessment to determine if their school will grant transfer credits based on military or work experience.
  • Finally, working students may be eligible for tuition reimbursement through their employer.
  • While it is impossible to earn a master's degree in accounting for free without a full scholarship, some free courses in accounting are available on websites, like EdX and Coursera.

Are Online Accounting Degrees More Affordable Than On-Campus Programs?

Online master's in accounting programs may be more affordable than on-campus programs, especially for out-of-state students. Many schools charge online tuition that is comparable to or less than the in-state, on-campus rate. Although online students spend the same amount on books and supplies as their on-campus counterparts, they save on campus-related fees, room and board, and transportation costs to and from school.

For additional information about how to make college cheaper, read our article that contains some practical suggestions.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Students enrolled in accredited online master's degree programs in accounting may be eligible for different kinds of financial aid. Federal, state, and college grants and scholarships are the best types of aid because they don't require repayment. Enrollees may also be offered student loans, but they should thoroughly review the terms before accepting one. Federal and state loans typically involve lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans than private loans. To apply for financial aid, students should begin by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can contact the financial aid office at their school with questions about financial aid or aid packages.



Students enrolled in accredited online master's degree programs in accounting may be eligible for different kinds of financial aid.

Professional organizations sometimes offer privately sponsored scholarships for specific student groups. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants awards more than $1 million in scholarships and grants to hundreds of accounting students annually. Private scholarships usually require a separate application from the FAFSA, and applicants may be required to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay with their application. Numerous scholarship websites list opportunities for graduate accounting students.

Common Courses

The curriculum for an online master of accounting degree typically combines theory and application. Coursework is designed with core courses and electives to help students develop skills in standard accounting practices, tax research, and data analysis. Some programs end with a thesis or capstone project that challenges students to synthesize what they've learned. Most online programs require students to complete six or seven standard accounting courses, some of which are included below.

Accounting Information Systems

Most businesses and accounting firms use some type of accounting information system to store, process, and report financial records. This course often introduces students to information technology systems in use today and employs hands-on exercises to help students understand common processes and applications.

Advanced Auditing

Through real-world activities, students may learn to use software programs and electronic data processing to conduct internal and independent audits that ensure an organization's financial reporting is accurate. Coursework typically explains professional auditing standards, data collection, documentation of evidence, and related legal issues.

Advanced Financial Management

This course provides an overview of key financial principles and concepts, helping students understand how accounting fits into the larger context of an organization's planning and operations. Topics often include financial statement analysis, laws and regulations, the stock market, mergers and acquisitions, and financial evaluation. Coursework may also cover FinTech topics, such as AI and cryptocurrency.

Professional Development and Ethics

Organizations of all sizes have been rocked by financial scandals in recent years, which has placed a greater emphasis on ethical values in higher education accounting curricula. In this course, students explore ethical theories and frameworks that can be used to make sound decisions when faced with ethical dilemmas. Additionally, coursework may cover legal principles that govern the accounting profession.

Tax Planning

This course offers an in-depth study of the Internal Revenue Code, including its regulations governing various types of corporations and partnerships. Coursework also covers how to effectively manage an organization's taxes with this information, which could be valuable knowledge for those who want to enroll in a concentration, such as financial accounting. Some courses may also explore tax planning for estates and trusts.

Is an Online Accounting Master's Worth It?

Given the investment of time and money needed to earn a master's degree, you may wonder if it will be worth the effort. If your goal is to earn CPA certification, a master's degree can be a helpful step toward that objective because you'll need the additional credit hours to qualify. However, you should also consider your personal circumstances, such as financial resources, work commitments, and other goals and responsibilities. Before committing to an online master's in accounting program, you may want to consider some of the following points:

Potential Benefits

Accountants may have greater flexibility in their work environments. Some professionals work in offices, while others are allowed to work remotely from home, which is a desirable quality in a job for many people.

Online courses may give you more freedom in your schedule. Many online master of accounting programs are built on asynchronous courses specifically designed for busy, working professionals. The flexible structure of online learning may allow you to balance your education with other responsibilities, such as allowing students to study part-time.

Potential Drawbacks

Accountants report a low job satisfaction rate. According to a CareerExplorer survey, accountants give their career choice a 2.6 out of 5 rating, placing them in the bottom 6% of all careers in terms of job happiness.

Accountants may occasionally work long hours. According to the BLS, accounting professionals typically work full time but may need to put in additional hours for periodic audits or during tax season.

Online students may find it more challenging to build professional networks. Making meaningful connections with peers and instructors can be instrumental to the future growth of your career, so you may need to put more effort into establishing relationships in an online environment.

Interested in learning about similar degrees? Explore online master's degrees in finance, data science, or business administration.

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