Cal Poly

Grad Business

Cal Poly Masters of Science in Accounting

Program Description

The Masters of Science in Accounting (MSA) at Cal Poly is a rigorous, high-quality program intended to prepare students for entry into the accounting profession. The MSA program prepares candidates for careers with international public accounting firms, regional and local CPA firms, industry and government. The program is a uniquely designed, multi-disciplinary approach to graduate accounting education that combines an advanced financial accounting and audit curriculum with courses in information systems and the fast-emerging field of data analytics. The Accounting Faculty work closely with a very active Accounting Board of Advisors comprised of public accounting and industry leaders to keep the MSA curriculum current and relevant for graduates of the program.

The MSA program weaves Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” philosophy throughout its courses to give students hands-on experience with the principles they learn in class. Interested students have the opportunity to work in unique settings, including Orfalea’s highly successful Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic which assists taxpayers with legal controversies with the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board. The Learn by Doing approach empowers graduates to be confident and career ready as they enter the workforce.

Cal Poly’s program is based on a close-knit cohort approach that ensures students have one-on-one contact with leading accounting professors. Many faculty members have significant industry, audit and tax experience and assist students in making valuable connections with leading firms well before graduation. In fact, the Orfalea College of Business serves as a primary recruiting school for many of today’s leading accounting firms in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area as well as some from Orange County and the Los Angeles area. The placement rate for students completing the program is close to 100% since the program’s inception in 2010. Students graduating from the program historically have excelled on the CPA exam. Orfalea encourages students to complete the CPA exam before entering into full-time employment by offering a partial tuition scholarship for each part of the exam successfully completed.

Located in San Luis Obispo on the majestic central coast of California, Cal Poly is ranked highly in several college surveys based both on the rigor and quality of its programs and on the return on investment to its students after they graduate. Located about equal distance from Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north, San Luis Obispo is consistently ranked as one of the top-10 college towns in the U.S.

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