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Available Master’s Degree Programs in Business for Students to Pursue

Majors Overview June 14, 2015

This article talks about various master’s degree programs in business and their coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Master’s Degree Program in Business

Schools offer various types of master’s degree programs in business including the Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.), Master of Science (M.S.) in Finance, and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). Often targeted at working business professionals, these programs are available in weekend and online formats. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a relevant undergraduate degree; schools also offer accelerated MBA programs wherein enrollees can pursue a master’s and bachelor’s degree simultaneously. Students may be required to complete the Certified Public Account (CPA) exam before they can begin some MAcc programs; in other programs, they are required to complete the exam before they graduate.

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Programs

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) programs usually require incoming students to hold a 4-year degree in management, accounting, or business. Students may also pursue an MBA in order to ensure career advancement in other disciplines. In many programs, a 4-year degree and MBA can be earned simultaneously. Coursework aims at developing the leadership, organizational, and communication skills necessary for the executive or upper-level management positions. Schools usually offer concentrations in marketing, human resources, finance, or specialized business areas.


Coursework in an accelerated MBA program usually succeeds the completion by students of prerequisites for their master’s degree before they are allowed to take elective courses in numerous areas including management, accounting, and finance. Also offered are courses in economics, statistics, calculus, and econometrics. There may be other business requirements including those in:

•Business law
•Monetary policy
•Strategic business planning
•Organizational behavior
•Information technology
•International business

Career Choices

A bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum requirement for operations managers and executives. A graduate degree specific to the respective industries or a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) is a requirement for many positions. Executives with doctorates can seek occupations in specialized organizations such as educational, scientific, and public policy organizations, among others.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a relatively low demand for top executives has been predicted (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage industries were the highest paying employers for chief executives; securities and commodity exchanges were the highest-paying industry for general managers. In 2012, operations managers brought in an average annual wage of $95,440, while chief executives earned $168,140 on average.

Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.) Programs

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree in accounting before they can enroll in a Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.) program. In some programs, enrollees will only need a general background in business. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam would have to supplement an undergraduate degree in accounting before an interested individual can enroll in a graduate program. Those without an accounting degree may enroll in an MAcc program on the condition that they will pass the CPA before they graduate from the program. Armed with the MAcc, a graduate can seek employment as an accountant.

Coursework includes market forecasting, financial planning, business taxation, and corporate finance. Students are also taught about reading and creating financial reports, knowledge they can apply in business internships before they graduate. Beyond basic accounting principles, coursework is devised to provide an in-depth grasp of tax policy, risk exposure, auditing, law, securities and financial management.


The curriculum in an MAcc program may include courses in advanced calculus, econometrics, and statistical analysis. Financial markets, monetary policy, and microeconomics are in economics courses, apart from completion of advanced coursework in financial reporting, taxation and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Core coursework typically covers topic areas such as:

•Corporate governance
•Accounting software
•Auditing practices
•Business management
•Business taxation
•Financial instruments

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, accountants brought in an average annual wage of $63,550. A bachelor’s degree and passage of the CPA exam are sufficient for accounting careers. However, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.), or other similar graduate degree would be needed for management positions. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 13% has been predicted for auditors and accountants (BLS). The relatively low growth is attributed to an increasing number of complex financial regulations.

Armed with an MAcc, an individual may seek occupations as budget analysts; in 2012, budget analysts brought in an average annual wage of $69,280. A graduate degree is necessary for most positions in this profession. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for the field (BLS). The growth projection owes itself to expanded job duties calling for the hiring of more workers, as well as advancing complexity in the field.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Finance

Applicants for admittance to graduate programs in finance are usually required to hold a bachelor’s degree in business or a related area. Armed with an in-depth grasp of market conditions and the causes of such conditions, a graduate of the program can seek occupation as a financial analyst or manager.

Coursework covers markets, financial instruments, actuarial science, derivatives, and the operations of exchanges. The emphasis of finance programs is usually on business research and statistical analysis.

With the foundation provided by the program, graduates can expect to satisfy clients’ regulatory compliance and forecasting needs. Graduates from the program can expect to be adept at limiting the risk to their clients, explaining financial engineering products and providing business advice.


The emphasis of coursework in a graduate finance program spanning 12-24 months is on forecasting, financial modeling, and planning. Core coursework covers topic areas such as:

•Portfolio management
•Securities law
•Statistical modeling
•Financial research
•Securities and business valuation

Job and Wage Outlook

Financial analysts must obtain licensure from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority before they can offer professional advice in the securities market. Many analysts hold four-year degrees in finance or business; graduate degrees are requirements in some positions. In 2012, professionals in the field brought in an average annual wage of $76,950; a job growth of 23% has been predicted, over the 2010 – 2020 decade, in this field (BLS).

In 2012, financial managers earned $109,740 on average. The majority of employers of financial managers expect them to hold graduate or four-year degrees in business, they are also expected to have prior experience. Accounting professionals may be required to take the CPA exam. Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a job growth rate of 9% has been predicted for financial managers (BLS).

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