Online Master’s in Accounting With No GMAT
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A master's in accounting can put you on the fast track to a promotion, a raise, or even a new career as a forensic accountant, corporate controller, tax manager, or chief financial officer.
Admission to business school generally requires a bachelor's degree with a qualifying GPA, letters of reference, and a statement of purpose. Traditionally, you also had to submit scores from the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Even today, 7,700 programs at 2,400 universities and organizations in 110 countries employ the GMAT in their selection criteria.
In a post-pandemic world, however, the GMAT has started to fall out of favor. Applicants often don't want to invest the time and money required to perform well on the exam.
There's good news for those prospective students: Some schools may not require the GMAT or will waive it for other requirements. In the guide below, find out more about the GMAT and top schools that offer an MS in accounting online with no GMAT requirement.
Featured Online Master's in Accounting Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Is the GMAT?
The GMAT is a standardized exam that evaluates a test taker's potential performance in graduate business programs. It's a consistent exam that provides a single data point for comparing candidates' knowledge and skills. You can take the GMAT at a secure testing center or online.
The standard exam consisted of 80 questions that covered four areas — quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing assessment. Test takers had three hours and seven minutes to complete the entire exam. Most admissions review committees looked at the verbal and quantitative scores more than integrated reasoning.
The GMAC recently introduced a new version called the GMAT Focus Edition, which includes just three sections and no essay. It's nearly one hour shorter than the traditional exam and includes a question review and edit feature. Preparing for the exam takes 2-3 months.
You can score between 200 and 800, and two-thirds of test takers score in the 400-800 range. Top business schools may require a GMAT score of 725 or better, but only about 7% of test takers score in this range. If you don't score what you want, you can retake the exam up to five times in 12 months. Schools only review the best scores.
Why Do Business Schools Not Require or Waive the GMAT?
Since 1953, the GMAT has given business schools a glimpse into their applicants' knowledge and analytical skills. Many institutions across the world now use the test as an admissions criterion. However, the GMAT may not predict future success and could make comparing candidates difficult. The pandemic recently reduced the number of test-takers.
As a result, business schools have begun moving away from the GMAT as an admissions requirement. Today, test-optional policies, GMAT waivers, and alternative admissions routes may allow schools to welcome a diverse student body. However, many top schools still require the exam because it allows them to compare their applicants' analytical and quantitative skills fairly.
Admission Requirements in Place of GMAT Scores
You can find accounting programs that accept alternative admission requirements by searching online or using data-derived ranked lists such as those on BestColleges. Typically, these programs expect you to provide evidence of an excellent GPA, extensive professional experience, or high scores on an alternative standardized test. Some may call for one or more of these requirements:
Students may receive a GMAT waiver if they hold five years or more of post-bachelor's professional experience either in accounting or another business-related field. Some schools may waive the GMAT or GRE requirement for any professional experience.
High Undergraduate GPA
A solid undergraduate GPA may be a key indicator of a candidate's academic abilities. Schools may set a minimum GPA requirement for admission and a second minimum as an alternative to the GMAT. Generally, you will need a 3.2 GPA in accounting or a 3.5 overall to get an exam waiver.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation should give an admissions committee insight into your character, work ethic, and potential for success in an accounting program. These can come from professors, employers, or other professionals. Ask for recommendations from supervisors or instructors who witnessed your best performance.
Essays or Statements of Purpose
Your essay or statement of purpose should articulate your motivations, career goals, and how the master's program fits into your long-term career goals. A college admissions or professional writing coach can often help you craft an essay that provides a holistic view of who you are.
The GRE or Professional Certifications
Some schools may accept GRE scores or evidence of professional certifications instead of GMAT results. These should provide insight into your quantitative and analytical skills. While not directly measuring academic aptitude, professional certifications can demonstrate your practical knowledge of accounting principles.
3 MS in Accounting Online Programs With No GMAT
Rutgers, a state-sponsored public university, admits 77% of its approximately 11,145 undergraduate applicants annually. The school charges in-state tuition of $16,112 and out-of-state tuition of $33,812 for undergraduates. In-state tuition for graduate students is $18,696, and out-of-state tuition is $30,816.
Rutgers University–Camden School of Business
The Rutgers University–Camden School of Business offers a 30-credit, fully online master of accountancy. The program takes 12 months to complete and accepts new students in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Students can study full time or part time and pay the same tuition rates whether or not they are New Jersey residents.
A master's in accounting at Rutgers consists of 10 courses in areas like auditing, data analytics, accounting analytics, forensic accounting, and accounting information systems. Current accountants follow one track while transitioning professionals follow another. Graduates may qualify to sit for the CPA exam in New Jersey.
Applying to Rutgers–Camden
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in any subject and should have taken prerequisite courses in financial accounting, intermediate accounting, auditing, and taxation. Work experience is not required but may benefit an applicant.
A private school of more than 22,000 students in upstate New York, Syracuse receives about 41,489 undergraduate applications annually and accepts roughly 52% of hopeful students. The school charges an annual tuition of $60,135.
Martin J. Whitman School of Management
The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse offers an online master of science in professional accounting. Students with an accounting background can complete their 30-credit program in 12-15 months. Other learners may take 24 months to finish their individualized programs. The degree focuses on functional accounting and business analytics.
Accounting students take courses such as financial statement analysis, auditing theory and practice, and supply chain and logistics management. By adding one more year of study, students may complete a joint degree in business analytics or entrepreneurship.
Syracuse's accounting program is registered as a New York State CPA licensing degree, and graduates can sit for the exam.
Applying to Syracuse
Applicants who want to waive the GMAT requirement must hold five years of work experience, a master's degree, or an undergraduate degree with a qualifying major and GPA. Prospective students should submit their essays, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a $75 application fee.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
The nation's first public university, UNC, admits 17% of the 56,341 students who apply each year. The school's undergraduate tuition is $10,552 for in-state students and $28,844 for out-of-state learners.
Kenan-Flagler Business School
Accepting applicants from various educational and professional backgrounds, UNC's online master of accounting consists of 36-48 credits, depending on your previous coursework. Core courses include auditing and assurance services, data analytics for accountants, and federal income tax.
Students can concentrate in taxation, audit, or financial analysis and reporting. The entire program requires 12-36 months to graduate. New enrollees can start the program one of four times during the year — early January, late March, late June, or late September.
The Kenan-Flagler Business School reports that 98% of its graduates are employed within three months of graduation. The average starting salary is $60,000, but most graduates hit $120,000 within five years.
Applying to UNC-Chapel Hill
Applicants need to submit transcripts, an application, two references, and a resume to receive consideration for admission. The school does not require but will accept GMAT or GRE scores. The admissions committee conducts interviews and informs successful applicants of their standing.
Questions About MS in Accounting Programs
Do you need a GMAT score to get a master's in accounting?
Some business schools require you to hold a minimum GMAT or GRE score to enroll in their master's in accounting program, but other schools have no such requirement. A few institutions may accept GMAT scores from applicants whose GPAs fall below their expected standards.
Can I get a master's in accounting without taking the GRE?
Yes, you can get a master's in accounting without taking the GRE. Some schools, however, require the GRE or another standardized admission test before they will accept you. It all depends on your school of choice.
Is a master's in accounting enough for a CPA?
Yes and no. A master's in accounting will help you meet the number of credits your state requires for CPA licensure. However, you must also meet other criteria, including minimum qualifying work hours and passing the CPA exam.
Is a master's in accounting considered an MBA?
A master's in accounting is not the same degree as an MBA. However, you can earn an MBA with a concentration in accounting. This degree gives you a grounding in business leadership along with relevant accounting coursework.
Page last reviewed Dec. 5, 2023