On the right track

New online and face-to-face graduate accountancy degrees in high demand


With high placement rates, successful alumni, a robust internship program and certification pass rates higher than the national averages, the UND Accountancy program’s reputation precedes it. The department is now building on that success with a new master’s program delivered on campus and online. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

The accounting field is expected to change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.

And the UND Accountancy is helping students meet this challenge with new on-campus and soon-to-be-launched online graduate degree programs.

“Our goal is not only to prepare graduates to pass the CPA exam, but to prepare them with critical thinking and professional skills necessary to excel throughout their careers,” said Katherine Campbell, professor and chair of accountancy.

“With high placement rates, successful alumni, a robust internship program and CPA exam pass rates that are up to 20 percent above national averages, the UND Accountancy undergraduate program has a strong reputation,” said Campbell.

The department is building on this success with its Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program.  In addition to a campus-based program, the department is launching two additional MAcc tracks online with instructional design and marketing support from Pearson Online Learning Services.

Solid ground

“The new master’s program is built on solid ground,” said Campbell, “and offering both campus and online delivery allows us to make opportunities available to a broader population of students.”

“It also helps fulfill Goal 3 of the One UND Strategic Plan, delivering more educational opportunities online and on-campus, as well as Goal 1, cultivating critical thinking skills,” said Campbell.

Katherine Campbell

Katherine Campbell

Campbell said the new MAcc Program was in such high demand that the campus-based program launched this spring instead of next fall as originally planned.

“The on-campus program is a professional track, designed for students who hold undergraduate accounting degrees,” said Michelle Garske, director of graduate programs & accreditation. In this track, students have the opportunity to customize their learning experiences through concentrations in data analytics, organizations and leadership or public administration.

Campus students can accelerate their degree by entering into the MAcc combined program, which enables qualified students to dual count six credits of graduate accounting coursework to fulfill their undergraduate degree requirements. In the fall 2018 semester, the campus program will also feature an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) program, which will allow exceptional undergraduate students to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years by dual counting up to 12 graduate credits. The ABM program will provide a new opportunity for UND Accountancy to recruit high achieving high school and undergraduate students.

“Most accounting majors plan to earn their CPA, which requires 150 credit hours,” Garske said. “Now they can become eligible to sit for the CPA exam while earning their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time.”

To serve a broader population of students who are interested in studying accounting at the graduate level, two online tracks of the MAcc will be offered beginning in Spring 2019.

“The fundamentals track is designed for people without an accounting background who may be looking for a career change,” said Garske. “The practitioner track is for individuals who have previously studied accounting and want to continue their graduate learning experience online.”

Michelle Garske

Michelle Garske

“Delivery of high quality online programs requires special skills. That is why the department is working with Pearson,” said Campbell, adding that Pearson offers valuable services including state-of-the art online instructional design support. “Faculty provide course content and work with Pearson’s professional staff to incorporate graphics and technology to make online classes as rigorous, engaging and interactive as those offered on campus.”

“I have been so very impressed with the willingness of the Accountancy faculty to expand into the online learning space,” said Jeff Holm, Goal 3 project manager and UND Psychology chair. “Their decision will let them reach new and different types of students. In the changing landscape of higher education, it’s critical that we at UND are thinking, not just outside the box, but as if there is no box, when it comes to providing new educational opportunities to our students. Kudos to Accountancy!”

Campbell added that working with Pearson’s online instructional designers is a development opportunity for faculty. “Faculty can use those skills to augment face-to-face courses.”

Ready for the future

“Research shows that accountants who earn a master’s degree are more likely to be promoted and become partners in public accounting firms, so it’s important for students to have that opportunity,” said Campbell.

“Skill sets change,” she continued. “Accounting was one of the first information systems and accountants were the original data analysts, but new technology is changing the accounting profession. There is a world of opportunity for those who can develop and communicate quantitative information to support better decision-making. We are responding to that need with programs that prepare students for the future. Campus and online graduate programs will open professional doors and develop competencies that will allow UND Accountancy graduates to follow their passion to work in almost any area of business or nonprofit endeavor.”