U.S. News Ranks UConn’s Online Masters in Accounting Program as #2 in the Nation
A study released today by U.S. News & World Report ranked the UConn School of Business’ online Master of Science in Accounting Program (MSA) as No. 2 in the nation.
The highly competitive program, which typically draws 200 students each year, was touted as one of 2016’s Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA programs). U.S. News focuses on course design, instructor qualifications, student/instructor interaction, student retention and more. Last year UConn tied for third place in the rankings.
“Our master’s degree in accounting program (MSA) is highly regarded, as our No. 2 ranking from U.S. News and World Report affirms,” said Dean John A. Elliott. “The program, which has been in existence for more than 12 years, is well received by students and employers alike. As an AACSB-accredited institution, we are committed to excellence and a process of continuous improvement. This program exemplifies that commitment.”
Professor George Plesko, who heads the accounting department, agrees.
“One of the most impressive aspects of the program, and a key to its success, is largely invisible, and that is the work of all of the program’s faculty and staff,” Plesko said. “This is an incredibly talented group of individuals who are constantly looking for opportunities to make improvements, large and small, in the program and its classes. Above all, they care about the students’ educational experience, and with that, as the rankings reveal, everything else follows.”
Raymond S. Anderson completed the program in August 2015 with a GPA of more than 4.0. He is a partner at Anderson & Anderson CPAs of Suffolk, Virg. Since completing the program, he has been offered an opportunity to teach undergraduate courses at an AACSB-accredited university near his home. That came, in part, because of the quality of the UConn MSA program, he said.
“UConn has designed an MSA curriculum that goes beyond simply preparing the students to pass the CPA Exam. Merging real world knowledge and expanding on undergraduate coursework, UConn has created a program that will help the students succeed not only on the CPA Exam but also in their careers,” said Anderson.
“The coursework is challenging, relevant and timely, in such classes as Forensic, Taxation, Research and Enterprise Risk Management. Many of the courses incorporate topics and articles recently published in accounting journals, business magazines, and newspapers.”
“The professors and instructors chosen for their expertise in the subject matter, as evidenced in their passion and conviction for the courses, were always accessible, and ready to explore topics introduced by the students, or work with a student on a difficult concept. The professors and instructors strived to make all of the assignments practical and relevant to the “real world,” he added.
The MSA program uses a course designer who works with instructors to develop learning objectives and designs instructional materials to meet them, explained Margaret Sweeney, the program manager. At the end of every trimester, the team surveys the students to determine if those objectives were met. That continuous feedback and redesign process have raised the program’s ranking from No. 23 in 2014.
About half the MSA students are from Connecticut and the rest from across the country. The fastest growing segment is experienced accountants who seek an advanced degree to enable them to enter the teaching profession, Sweeney said.
The MSA program switched from a conventional to an online program in 2003-04 when instructors realized their accounting students were missing classes due to their work schedules. It was among the first online programs in the nation.
The program enrolls students in the fall, spring and summer. It typically takes students about 18 months to complete the 30 credits required for the degree. The program now has more than 1,200 graduates.
“I think it is so strong because both the School and the department are AACSB-accredited and due to UConn’s great reputation,” Sweeney said. “We keep up with the changing technology and offer our students the tools they need to feel connected to UConn.”
“I’m delighted for our students and alums that our MSA program has been highly ranked,” said Amy Dunbar, academic director. “We are committed to providing an excellent educational experience and the ranking helps the marketplace recognize that our UConn MSA degree adds value.”