Master of Science in Accounting

Curriculum – Prior Business (Non-Accounting) Degree

Prior Business (Non-Accounting) Majors Have a Path to an Accounting Career

Undergraduate Business Major (32 credits)

As a Business major, who might have been interested in studying accounting but couldn’t transition into an accounting major as part of your undergraduate degree, you have your own pathway towards a CPA credential.

The MSA program for prior business majors takes into consideration what you have already learned in your undergraduate degree and adds required hours of learning to help prepare you for pursuing your CPA license or to help you excel within the accounting industry. Your advisor will help you develop a custom path for your program based on your goals.

For those with an undergraduate degree in business, our MSA program has 26-30 required credits, while offering students 2-6 elective credits. The level of required courses will help students form the necessary understanding of industry situations, while simultaneously helping to prepare them for future opportunities to become licensed as a CPA.

Additionally, individual elective credits could be geared toward a student’s goals for a custom approach to your degree, or students are welcome to add additional credits to their program and apply their available credits towards general accounting classes, or one of our concentrations in Business Analytics, Fraud and Forensics, or Taxation. These concentrations are also available as stand-alone certificates.

Curriculum Core

Core Courses (24 – 28 credits) 

GMGT5140: Effective Managerial Communication (2 cr.)
GMGT5130: Professional Skills (2 cr.)
GACC5050: Foundations of Accounting *** (4 cr.)
GACC5060: Financial Reporting & Analysis I (4 cr.)
GACC5070: Financial Reporting & Analysis II (4 cr.)
GACC5150: Assurance Services (4 cr.)
GACC5080: Introduction to Federal Income Taxation (4 cr.)
ACC5225: Ethics in the Accounting Profession (2 cr.)
GACC5340: Business Law for Accountants (2 cr.)

***Note: If students have already completed financial and managerial accounting, they do not need to take Foundations of Accounting and can replace the course with electives.

For additional course detail, please view our Graduate Catalog.

Electives: (4 – 8 credits)

Fraud and Forensic Accounting: (12 cr) 

GACC5360: Forensic Accounting (2 cr.)
GACC5310: Accounting Information Systems (2 cr.)
ACC5350: Criminal Tax Investigation (2 cr.)
ACC5450: Fraud Examination (2 cr.)

Taxation: (12 cr)

GACC5330-OA: Tax Research, Procedures & Ethics (4 cr.)
ACC5350: Criminal Tax Investigation (2 cr.)
ACC5550: Advanced Flow-Through Tax Entities (2 cr.)

Choice of (2):

ACC5420: Personal Tax Planning (2 cr.)
ACC5430: Estate & Gift Taxation (2 cr.)
ACC5560: International Tax InBound (2 cr.)
ACC5570: International Tax OutBound (2 cr.)

To read further about our Concentrations, please advance through this page.  For course description detail, please view our Graduate Catalog.


The Business Analytics concentration, endows students with introductory knowledge and skills in extracting decision-guiding insights out of data and synthesizing the resultant insights with related theoretical and experiential knowledge. Students are introduced to core elements of data management, preparation, analysis, visualization, and result interpretation and communication, in a theory + application context.  Analytics has also recently been identified by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) as one of the key areas of growth in the accounting industry and is being integrated as part of the revisions to the Uniform CPA exam.

Understanding and comprehending how to identify Fraud when conducting an audit is part of the investigative action accountants take to help pinpoint deception or criminal activity.  By completing the Fraud & Forensic concentration, students are introduced to topics around fraud examination, cyber security and tax fraud. The skills acquired will equip students with the tools needed to identify inaccurate reporting and fiscal malfeasance that can occur in organizations.

Taxation is a key sector in the accounting industry. Organizations are always looking for strategic ways to maximize revenue and minimize tax. By completing the Taxation concentration, students are introduced to advanced topics in taxation, and have the option to gain more specialized insight into either personal tax or corporate tax. The course content is focused on issues related to Tax Research, Procedures and Ethics, International Taxation, Estate & Gift Taxation, Personal Tax Planning, Advanced Flow-Through Tax Entities, and Criminal Tax Investigation. Students will learn valuable tax planning and tax return preparation skills that will equip them with the knowledge to excel within a variety of industries.

Accounting Leaders



At Merrimack College, we’re proud of our long history of providing quality degrees to students entering the job market. Our faculty are more than just teachers. We are committed to helping you grow — academically, personally, and professionally — so that you graduate as a confident, well-prepared leader.

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