Master of Science in Accounting


Program Description

Expand Your Knowledge & Opportunities

The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program stands out at the state and national level because of its in-depth concentrations in financial accounting and reporting, forensic accounting, internal auditing, and management accounting. Students learn real-world skills from faculty who work in government, private industry, and public accounting — including the prestigious Big Four firms. GGU's ties to the accounting community in San Francisco's Financial District go back more than 100 years, and have created a natural pipeline from the classroom to the workplace.

The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) is intended to meet the needs of those who have studied accounting and wish to further develop their expertise. For many students, the MSA will satisfy the 150-hour education requirement to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Students have the opportunity to customize their degrees by choosing electives from an extensive list of accounting, tax and business courses. Students also have the option to complete the MSA degree with a concentration in financial accounting & reporting (FAR), forensic accounting, internal auditing, or management accounting.

Eligible students may earn up to six units of electives through an internship for approved, real-world experience acquired during their degree program.

The Master of Science in Accounting can be obtained in person through our evening program in San Francisco and / or online. The evening and online formats allows students to earn their degrees at their own pace.


The Path2CPA option makes the journey to an advanced degree quicker and less expensive. Students can earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in as little as one year after completing GGU’s Accounting, BSBusiness, Accounting Concentration, BS. The Path2CPA option can also satisfy the 150-hour education requirement for CPA licensure. Pursuing this option eliminates the requirement to apply for the MSA program and no GMAT/GRE test score is required.

The Path2CPA includes the following graduate-level courses: ACCTG 302 and ACCTG 351B. The graduate-level courses will be included in the unit totals and GPAs for both applicants’ undergraduate Accounting and graduate-level Accounting degree programs. Students whose average GPA in the two graduate-level courses falls below a 3.00 GPA will be conditionally admitted to the Master’s programs.



The master of science in accounting (MSA) taxation concentration is intended to meet the needs of those who have studied accounting and wish to further specialize in the field of taxation. By requiring an extensive focus on taxation, this concentration develops significant tax knowledge as part of a program that includes creation of a strong accounting foundation.

The School of Accounting's MSA taxation concentration includes required accounting coursework, with concentration courses in tax research, federal income taxation, and property transactions.

Declaring concentrations

Students may declare concentrations when they have completed the coursework required for their desired concentrations, or after the “Last Day to Drop Course without Tuition Charge” (per the Academic Calendar) for their final terms, if they will be able to complete their concentrations in their final terms.

To be eligible to declare concentrations, students must have already completed the required concentration coursework, or be able to complete it in their final terms without requiring waivers, substitutions, or directed study courses, unless they are approved in advance by the department chair, program director, or dean.

Students may declare up to two concentrations in a given degree program. Students seeking to declare more than two concentrations will be required to appeal to the dean or vice president of academic affairs for approval. Students’ diplomas will list the concentrations that they had successfully completed at the time their degrees were conferred. Students may not declare additional concentrations after their degrees have been conferred.

Admission Requirements

The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program requires 30 units of graduate coursework.

International students (F and J visa holders) admitted to the MSA program at Golden Gate University will be required to take a gateway course on academic readiness and accounting-course support in their first trimester. This requirement will be waived only by the school at file review.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the master of science in accounting program will:

  • be able to identify accounting issues, research and effectively communicate the results orally and in writing.
  • have a defined body of knowledge of essential accounting principles and doctrines, including but not limited to the following, and be able to critically apply these principles to practical situations and to adapt to changing work environments: revenue recognition; IFRS; auditing; internal controls; control environment; materiality; ethics, both practical implementation and professional responsibility; and fraud.
  • be prepared to be effective accounting decision makers in an increasingly international business environment.
  • have an understanding of the business, legal, professional, and ethical context for a career as a professional accountant, including the ability to identify and appropriately act when ethical dilemmas are encountered in the activities of a professional accountant.
  • have experience and skill in accomplishing objectives by collaboration.
Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America's #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings. Golden Gate University prepares indivi ... Read More

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America's #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings. Golden Gate University prepares individuals to lead and serve by providing high-quality, practice-based educational programs in Accounting, Law, Taxation, Business and related professions - as a non-profit institution - in an innovative and challenging learning environment that embraces professional ethics and diversity. Read less
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