Master of Accountancy (MAC)

If you have an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than accounting, our fully online Master of Accountancy program is designed for you. This nationally ranked program will prepare you for success in the accounting field and qualify you to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in Illinois.

Accounting is a field of constant growth. Accountants are in high demand in the areas of taxation, financial reporting, data, analytics and even law enforcement. As the economy grows in complexity, it will need more accountants to analyze and explain vast amounts of information.

When you graduate from the 100% online Master of Accountancy (MAC) program from Northern Illinois University (NIU), you'll have an enhanced understanding of the accountancy field and be qualified to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in Illinois.* This part-time program is designed for working commitments.

*Out-of-state students will have a master's degree that fulfills the requirements to take exams in most states. Check your state's requirements for details.

Learn more about the online Master of Accountancy.

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Program Highlights

  • 100% online program.
  • The NIU College of Business is among an elite 4% of business schools worldwide to hold AACSB International accreditation at all levels.
  • Two years to degree completion when taking two courses per semester.
  • Courses taught by nationally ranked faculty who bring real-world experience to the classroom and are among the top professionals in the Chicago area.
  • The CPA pass rate for NIU MAC students is above the national and state rate.
  • Students benefit from a competitive tuition.
  • Graduate in two years part-time.
  • NIU's undergraduate and graduate accountancy programs are ranked among the top 25 best in the nation.
  • Access to recruiters from over 50 firms at our NIU accountancy career fairs.

Program Curriculum

The courses in this program are designed to provide graduate students with foundational knowledge for success in the accounting field. No matter what you studied as an undergraduate, the MAC will help you develop industry-standard skill sets and enhance your understanding of accounting's role in successful organizations. The curriculum was created alongside expert faculty to help students meet CPA exam requirements.

Most of our faculty practiced accounting before coming to NIU, making them uniquely qualified to bring real-world accounting skills into the classroom. They have a firsthand understanding of what it's like to work as a professional accountant, and they bring that practical experience — in the form of technical skills, interpersonal communication, time management and more — to their teaching.

Core Courses (27 Credits)

  • ACCY 510 - Accounting Information Systems
  • ACCY 622 - Managerial Accounting Information Systems
  • ACCY 531 - Financial Reporting I
  • ACCY 532 - Financial Reporting II
  • ACCY 550 - Principles of Taxation
  • ACCY 560 - Assurance Services
  • ACCY 633 - Advanced Financial Reporting
  • ACCY 650 - Advanced Issues in Taxation
  • ACCY 670 - Accounting Research

Electives (6 credits)

  • ACCY 664 - Financial Statement Auditing
  • ACCY 675 - Data Analytics and Decision Making in Accounting
  • ACCY 679 - Seminar in Accountancy

By the time you graduate, you'll be qualified to sit for the CPA exam and pursue licensure in the state of Illinois and beyond. Check your specific state's requirements for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to complete the degree?

The MAC degree is 33 hours, intended to be completed in two years if students follow the two courses per semester design of the online mode. However, a student can extend beyond the two-year plan as needed or desired (for example, enroll in one course each semester, and complete the program in four years.

The initial three semesters (six courses/18 hours) taken are primarily sequential and are to be completed prior to the majority of the final three semesters (six courses /18 hours). A student should work with an academic advisor to develop a course plan if deviating from the standard two-year plan.

Can the program be started in any semester?

Applications to the MAC program are accepted for the summer, fall and spring semesters. The 33-hour MAC cohort program can be started in the summer and fall semesters. However, students admitted for the spring semester are limited to enrolling only in deficient prerequisite MAC courses and can start cohort courses in the summer or fall.

Can a student pursue the MAC degree if they have earned an undergraduate degree in accountancy?

No, the MAC is specifically for those that have a non-accountancy undergraduate degree. Since the MAC program incorporates both foundational and advanced accountancy coursework, a student already possessing an accountancy degree will have already completed a large amount of the content in their undergraduate program. The Master of Accounting Science (MAS) degree offered at the DeKalb campus is geared to students who have earned an undergraduate degree in accounting, or wish to pursue their graduate accounting degree in our traditional face-to-face weekday program.

Are there prerequisites to start the program?

A two-course Principles of Accounting (financial and managerial) sequence and general business courses in finance, statistics and economics should be completed prior to the start of the MAC program. These requirements can be fulfilled with a C or better in a corresponding undergraduate course, or a B or better in an equivalent graduate course, and may have been previously completed through undergraduate degree coursework. The Financial Accounting prerequisite course should have been completed within the last five years. If beyond the five-year limit, course competency can be proven through relevant experience in the accounting field or through passing score on competency exam or through repeating course. These requirements may be met by completing courses at a university, community college or select online providers.

Can MAC students attend accountancy and NIU career fairs?

Yes, MAC students are eligible and encouraged to attend the accountancy career fairs held each fall and spring semester on the DeKalb campus. These fairs are held specifically for accountancy majors with firms recruiting for both full-time and internship positions. Additionally, students can utilize NIU Career Services Huskies Get Hired to search for jobs and internships.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission to the graduate program in accountancy is limited to those applicants who can demonstrate high promise of success in a graduate business degree program. Admission is competitive. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must demonstrate that they possess the following minimum qualifications:

For applicants with a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited U.S. college or university:

  • Strong record of academic achievement demonstrated by cumulative GPA. The NIU Graduate School requires applicants to have a minimum 2.75 overall GPA in their baccalaureate program, or a 3.2 or higher GPA in graduate-level coursework (15 or more hours completed). The MAC program seeks applicants with a strong academic record, typically seeking a 3.0 or better cumulative undergraduate GPA, and evaluates all required application material to arrive at an admission decision.  Note: The GMAT is no longer required but may be submitted to supplement the academic record if GPA does not fully demonstrate academic ability.
  • Positive recommendations, preferably from an academic source.

For applicants without a baccalaureate or higher degree from a U.S. college or university:

  • Strong record of academic potential demonstrated by GMAT score.
  • Command of both oral and written English - those for whom English is not their first language must submit a minimum TOEFL (IBT) score of 80 or IELTS score of 6.5. Possession of a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution may serve in lieu of the TOEFL score.
  • Positive recommendations, preferably from an academic source.
What is the application process?

To be considered for admission you must submit the following documents to the Graduate School:

  • Online application and application fee.
  • Two letter of recommendation letters.
  • Career goal statement - The goal statement should be two to three paragraphs explaining how the MAC program will help you meet your career goals.
  • Unofficial transcripts – When applying, only unofficial transcripts are required. Once accepted, you will need to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School. NIU students do not need to submit transcripts. Transfer students must submit an official transcript from each school attended. International students should submit both English and native language copies of their transcripts.
  • Official test scores –
    • GMAT score - GMAT required only for those without an undergraduate or graduate degree from a U.S. institution. Allow 2-5 weeks for the official score to reach NIU.
    • TOEFL or IELTS score for international applicants.

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