Program overview

Graduates earn a MS Accounting degree from the University of Washington, completed at the University of Washington Bothell. With convenient full-time and part-time options, our program is ideal for busy working professionals.

The Master of Science in Accounting is a 12-course, 48-credit program. On a full-time schedule, you can complete the program in four quarters, or one year. Taking two classes a quarter, part-time students can finish the program in less than two years. Our small class sizes are designed to foster a strong and inclusive learning community.

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This program offers you more than just a degree. It empowers you to develop critical thinking, data analysis and research skills, and build specialized areas of knowledge, including the analysis of Big Data.

At the University of Washington Bothell, gain access to a robust network of alumni, industry connections, and a supportive community that enhances your professional growth. Additionally, benefit from the resources of the wider University of Washington system, including extensive libraries and a prestigious reputation that strengthens your credentials.

I was getting to the point where I was posting positions with basic requirements beyond my own in terms of education and background. I had no CPA, no master’s degree. I realized even though I had 20 years of experience that maybe I should expand my tool set.

Howard Snow, Class of 2016

FLEXIBILITY & CONVENIENCE: We value your time commitment. Evening and weekend classes offered in Bothell accommodate busy work schedules. We offer degree plans for full-time or part-time attendance.

HIGH-IMPACT LEARNING: We emphasize close student-faculty interaction and critical-thinking to provide an inclusive learning environment. We teach students to process and analyze data, using Big Data Tools.

TRUST: Employers want quality accounting graduates from quality business schools. The UW Bothell School of Business is accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB-accredited schools have better programs, better faculty, better students with higher overall GPAs, more international students, more employers that recruit from them, and graduates that receive better salaries. Less than 5% of the world’s 13,000 business programs have earned AACSB Accreditation.

VALUE: Graduate school is one of the biggest investments you will ever make in yourself. What is your ROI? UW Bothell is ranked best in the state by Money magazine in terms of educational quality, affordability and career earnings. The MS Accounting degree will not only satisfy the academic credit hours required to sit for the CPA exam, it will increase your knowledge, build your confidence and provide the means to differentiate yourself in a competitive work environment.


The MS Accounting program allows students to connect studies with the contemporary business environment. Courses offer theoretical knowledge relevant to the accounting profession, using big data tools to develop critical-thinking and data analysis capabilities. We aim to build human capital for short and long term.

The program consists of seven required core classes (28 credits) and five elective classes (20 credits) offered during autumn, winter, spring and summer quarters each academic year. Students complete the program in one year on a full-time schedule, including summer quarter, or may choose to earn the degree on a part-time schedule.

Students will learn a body of knowledge that is relevant to practicing accountants along with an understanding of the foundations of modern finance and economics. We provide graduate level knowledge in these areas:

  • Advanced accounting topics, including Interrelationship of cost management and strategy
  • Accounting theory
  • Advanced managerial accounting
  • Advanced financial reporting
  • Analysis of financial statements for valuing a firm
  • Modeling consequences of accounting rules and regulations
  • Advanced auditing and forensic techniques
  • Financial accounting and research methodologies

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply discipline-specific technical and conceptual knowledge to address both routine and complex accounting transactions and topics.
  2. Apply critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis of the risk environment and economic reasoning skills to support business decisions in a data driven environment.
  3. Produce clearly-written documents and oral presentations conveying accounting information in both technical and non-technical terms.
  4. Demonstrate awareness of evolving ethical and social obligations including the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as professional regulations and standards, and apply them to make informed decisions.

Core courses – 28 credits required

B ACCT 501 – Accounting Theory (4 cr.)

This course will acquaint students with the market paradigm that governs accounting and accounting institutions. The basic demands of accounting information that must serve the purposes of fundamental valuation as well as stewardship will be discussed. Concepts such as agency theory will be used and issues such as the need for disclosure v. accounting will be explored. Concepts of Permanent Income, Hicksian income, comprehensive income and its role in accounting clean surplus relation, and their role in fundamental valuation will be covered. Use of Book Value and Earnings as alternative anchors, and accounting policy choices that favors either book value or income statement will also be discussed. At the end of this course, the students should be able to formulate some opinion regarding the desirability or otherwise of a proposed accounting rule from the point of view of valuation, welfare and contracting.

B ACCT 502 – Seminar on Financial Accounting (4 cr.)

This course will introduce the students to the basic wisdom derived from the Financial Accounting Research. Starting with the efficient market paradigm, the students will be exposed to the concept of value relevant information of the market participants and the role of accounting information. At the end of the course, the students should be able to distinguish and appreciate the difference between the dual roles of earnings as information as well as a measure of wealth.

B ACCT 503 – Corporate Financial Reporting (4 cr.)

This is a comprehensive course that will go into the issue of accounting v. disclosure in depth. Apart from footnote disclosures, this course will go into restatement and its consequences, more details on accounting for risk, securitization and bank financial statements, accounting for complex financial derivatives and the concept of maximally informative accounting report. At the end of this course, the student should be able to read and analyze the financial statements of Banks, Financial institutions and investment banking institutions such Morgan Stanley and others.

B ACCT 504 – Advanced Managerial Accounting (4 cr.)

This course will expose students to the user’s perspective of the use of managerial accounting information primarily for control purposes. The exposition will fully exploit the interrelationship between cost determination, performance evaluation and economic decision making. This course will bring to focus the underlying theory of cost allocation as an applied mechanism design and focus on incentive issues that arise when cost management and control practices are implemented.

B ACCT 505 – Financial Statement Analysis (4 cr.)

This course will teach the students how to actually analyze the financial statements with a view to valuing a firm from the fundamentals. This will apply knowledge from the all other courses, and get them to actually value a firm and compare their results with market valuation and attempt to reconcile the difference. Popular accounting measures such P/E ratio, M/B ratio and ROE, and ROA as well as different accounting policy choice, particularly those that are used for window dressing, will be discussed with reference to research findings. At the end of this course, the students should be ready to apply these ratios and other analysis and theory learned in Accounting Theory and other courses for financial statement analysis and develop a belief about the efficacy of window dressing of accounting numbers.

B ACCT 506 – Seminar on Strategic Cost Management (4 cr.)

This course will examine the interrelationship of cost management and how it may affect strategy. How common practices such as cost plus pricing distort incentives for cost savings will be introduces along with the distortions caused in the delegated investment decisions and the associated performance measures. Role of activity based costing in mitigating some of the problems will also be discussed referring to the research literature. At the end of this course, the students should have a clear understanding of the interrelationship between the two competing roles of cost information; decision facilitating and decision evaluating.

B ACCT 510 – The Accounting Profession (1 cr.)

This is a year-long one unit course that exposes students to a variety of speakers from the industry and profession who provide a variety of perspective on the role of accountant in the business world and the demands made by the business environment on the accountants. Speakers from leaders from industry would make the students realize the comprehensive nature of the business discipline and help them understand the user’s perspective. Students will register for this course at the end of the program.

Elective courses – 20 credits required

Students are required to complete 20 credits of elective coursework. The program offers an extensive set of elective courses that provide flexibility and allow students to customize their MS Accounting program based on areas of interest and career goals.

Electives are available in advanced areas of Financial and Managerial Accounting, Auditing and Tax, and Forensic Accounting, as well as Finance, Economics and other business disciplines within the MBA elective coursework. Special topics include a variety of interest areas, and may vary each quarter. See the Degree Plan. Internships of variable duration (up to 4 credits) may be applied towards academic credit.

Current elective options (may not be offered each quarter):

  • Advanced Financial Accounting (4 cr.)
  • Forensic Accounting for Enterprise (4 cr.)
  • Accounting for Value (4 cr.)
  • Advanced Taxation (4 cr.)
  • Enterprise IT Management (4 cr.)
  • Global Business Study Tour (4 cr.)
  • Advanced Business Law (4 cr.)
  • Game Theory (4 cr.)
  • International Trade & Finance (4 cr.)