Master of Science in Accountancy

Faculty Coordinator: Theresa Hammond, Ph.D.
Phone: (415) 817-4300
E-mail: mba@sfsu.edu

Graduate Advisors: Hammond, Hetherington, Hsieh

General Information

The Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program provides an emphasis in accounting, with specialization in financial accounting tax, auditing, managerial accounting, and accounting information systems. In addition to ACCT 890 (3 units), at least 9 units of 800–level graduate accounting courses must be completed. The remaining 18 units may be selected from appropriate graduate and undergraduate courses. The course selection must be approved by an advisor. ACCT 800 and ACCT 801 may not be taken for credit if ACCT 301 and ACCT 302, or the equivalents, have been completed in which case two additional 800–level classes must be substituted. For students without prior accounting or business course work, additional classes may be needed to qualify for the 150 hour CPA licensure requirements. Contact the California State Board of Accountancy for details.

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from any of the MSA Graduate Advisors. 
 

Accreditation

The MSA program is accredited by the most respected business accrediting association in the world, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). San Francisco State University is also accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This ensures continuous improvement of faculty in teaching, research, and professional service.

Admission

U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students are accepted for both fall and spring admission according to the following schedule.

  • Fall semester filing period: October 1 through May 15 (international applicants). October 1 through May 30 (domestic applicants).  There are three rounds of application deadlines during this period.   
  • Spring semester filing period: August 1 through October 15 (international applicants).  August 1 through November 1 (domestic applicants). 

The above dates are subject to change. Check the Graduate Business Programs website for the latest dates.

Application Process

Each applicant to the MSA program must submit the following documents:

  • California State University Application for Graduate or International Admission plus an application fee of $55
  • One official transcript from every college or university attended
  • The score on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination). The deadline to take the GMAT or GRE is May 15 (international applicants) or May 30 (domestic applicants) for Fall admission and October 15 (international applicants) or November 1 (domestic applicants) of the prior year for Spring admission. 
  • A statement of purpose showing how the desired graduate business program is related to the applicant’s career and future goals.  Please refer to the College of Business website for a list of questions that should be addressed in the statement of purpose. 
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English is required for admission from all applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants will need to file the Financial Affidavit form to obtain an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility

The California State University Application for Admission may be submitted before other documents are submitted, but the admission decision is not made until all required materials are received. 

Admission Criteria

The College of Business admissions committee reviews an applicant’s overall qualifications and takes the following requirements into consideration:

  • Completion of a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • A minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average overall, or in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of university coursework completed (average incoming class GPA is 3.3)
  • GMAT exam including total score, verbal, quantitative, writing scores, and integrated reasoning scores (average incoming class total GMAT score is 570) or the GRE test verbal, quantitative, and writing scores. A GMAT AWA score of 5.0 or a GRE AWA score of 4.5 or higher is required for classified admission. A GMAT AWA score of 4.5 or GRE AWA score of 4.0 is acceptable. However, a student will be conditionally admitted and must complete an approved College of Business writing course.
  • Quality of statement of purpose using guidelines stated on College of Business website
  • Two supportive letters of recommendation from workplace supervisors or faculty members
  • Qualifications on résumé
  • TOEFL score of at least 590/243/96 or IELTS score of at least 7.0 or PTE score of at least 65.  The TOEFL, IELTS or PTE must have been taken within the past two years and is a requirement of all applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree from a country where the official language is not English.

Meeting minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission to the program.

Program Requirements

Orientation and Professional Development Workshops

The College of Business Graduate Programs orientation helps students prepare for the academic program and provides professional development opportunities. The workshops included during orientation are designed to enhance career prospects, professional communication style, leadership skills and teamwork. Students are expected to attend the required full-day orientation.

Prerequisite Courses

Depending upon a student’s previous academic background, the number of required prerequisite courses may range from 0 to 18 units. The prerequisite requirements are met by taking the six business foundation courses or by waivers of individual courses based on previous equivalent course work.

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in business administration within the past seven years from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited university, with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units of coursework, automatically meet the program prerequisites. An up-to-date listing of AACSB schools around the world can be found on the AACSB International website. Students who have taken and completed course work equivalent to any of the prerequisite courses at other institutions within the last five to seven years may be able to waive individual prerequisite courses. Each equivalency is determined by course content, grade received, and the amount of time elapsed since the course was completed.

For students who completed their undergraduate degree in business over seven years ago, the program prerequisite courses offer an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and catch up on advances that have taken place in the different disciplines.

Accountancy, M.S. — 30 - 51 units

Prerequisite for Conditional Admits (3 units)

BUS 714Elements of Graduate Business Writing3

Prerequisite Courses for M.S.A (0 - 18 units)

BUS 776Data Analysis for Managers3
BUS 780Financial Accounting3
BUS 783Economics for Managers3
BUS 785Financial Management3
Select two of the following:6
Information Systems for Management
Operations Analysis
Marketing Management
Management Principles and Organizational Behavior

Advanced Requirements (30 units)

Students who have completed a non-accounting undergraduate degree should complete the following upon advisement.

ACCT 800Financial Accounting I3
ACCT 801Financial Accounting II3
ACCT 804Legal and Professional Responsibilities in Accounting3
ACCT 811Introduction to Federal Tax3
ACCT 802Strategic Management Accounting3
or ACCT 848 Seminar in Cost Accounting
Culminating Experience Requirement
ACCT 890Ethics and Contemporary Accounting Issues3
Courses offered by the accounting department by advisement of graduate major advisor (courses with ACCT prefix). Limitations: Up to 6 units may be upper-division undergraduate accounting courses (500 - level) with prior approval of the graduate major advisor.6
Courses offered by the College of Business by advisement of graduate major advisor (800 level classes). Up to 6 units may be graduate level courses within the University, with prior advisor approval.6
Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) total: 30 units

Students who have completed an undergraduate accounting degree should select the following upon advisement.

ACCT 801Financial Accounting II3
or ACCT 831 Financial Statement Analysis
ACCT 802Strategic Management Accounting3
or ACCT 848 Seminar in Cost Accounting
ACCT 804Legal and Professional Responsibilities in Accounting3
or ACCT 818 Accounting Ethics
Culiminating Experience Requirement
ACCT 890Ethics and Contemporary Accounting Issues3
Courses offered by the accounting department by advisement of graduate major advisor (courses with ACCT prefix). Limitations: Up to 6 units may be upper-division undergraduate accounting courses (500-level) with prior approval of the major advisor.6
Courses offered by the College of Business by advisement of graduate major advisor (800 level classes). Up to 6 units may be graduate level courses within the University, with prior advisor approval.12
Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) total: 30 units

Advancement to Candidacy

Before being considered for advancement to candidacy, the applicant must meet all general University requirements, attend all professional development workshops at orientation, satisfy all  prerequisite courses, earn an overall SF State Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0, and complete at least 6 units of College of Business advanced requirement courses.

When requirements have been satisfied, the graduate advisor may recommend to the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies that the applicant be advanced to candidacy for the degree by filing the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form.