Why an MSA?
A Conversation with Dr. Anita R. Morgan, Director, MSA
Q. Why should a student pick Ohio Northern University for their graduate degree in accounting?
A. The Dicke College of Business Administration is accredited by the AACSB, which means that we report not only to the accrediting body for the University, but also to our external accreditors. Additionally, AACSB has high standards for accreditation and is widely recognized in the business world.
Q. How does a Master of Science in Accounting differ from a Master of Accountancy?
A. I am often asked about what sets apart our Master of Science in Accounting program from Master of Accountancy programs. In my mind, there are two very important differences. Our Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) is a master’s degree that provides a more focused coverage of a specific field in accounting. The Forensic Accounting and Audit Services Track provides an intensive focus on identifying risks (including fraud) in a business and developing programs to mitigate the risk, such as developing a solid internal audit plan. The Tax Track provides a thorough coverage of taxation issues that can provide opportunities for careers in tax planning and consultation, and, completed concurrently with our JD program, can provide the pathway to an excellent career in corporate governance, corporate legal counsel.
The other important distinction between ONU’s MSA program and other programs is the focus on professional practice versus theories. While students in other programs are writing research papers on accounting theories, our students are learning how to apply the tools of the trade in very practical ways. For example, students in the Business Valuation course work in small groups to value a real business. Students in the program learn how to use industry-specific software packages such as IDEA and ACL and research and write blog posts about current issues in the field. Students also are required to complete an internship in the program to gain even more hands-on experience.
Q. How are the courses delivered? Are students required to be on campus? Are the courses offered online?
A. The program was designed as a blended-learning format, which simply means that there is a mixture of required campus-based instruction and online learning. Students are required to be on campus only two weekends per semester (four per year): August, October, March and May. During these residency weekends, students have the opportunity to meet with faculty and other students to participate in action-learning types of activities. They have the chance to network with professionals in the field and to work on those real-world projects I spoke about earlier.
The remainder of the coursework is completed online. Therefore, the program provides the best of both worlds:
- The opportunity to interact and network with professionals in the field, faculty and classmates
- The flexibility of online learning
Q. How long does it take to complete the program?
A. A student can complete the program on a full-time basis in only two semesters. One could begin in August and graduate the following May. Full-time students also are eligible for scholarships. The program also can be completed on a part-time basis over a period of two to three years; however, part-time students are not eligible for scholarships.
Q. What is the placement rate of the program’s graduates?
A. Our placement rate is at about 95 percent. Most graduates are offered permanent full-time jobs with the companies for which they worked in their internships. While the majority of graduates stay fairly local (within the state of Ohio), we do have one graduate working as far away as North Carolina. The alumni base of ONU is extremely strong and very helpful in placing our graduates. It’s not uncommon for me to receive emails from alumni asking if I have a student/graduate I could recommend for a job. We also have a professional career placement person within the College of Business Administration who is a genius at helping students obtain employment. Almost all of our 2014 graduates had permanent jobs well before graduation.
Q. What are the qualifications for applicants?
A. We look for applicants with undergraduate GPAs of at least 3.0 and either a degree in accounting or some accounting courses (listed on the website). Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.25 will need to submit a GMAT score.
Q. What if someone wants to apply but their undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.0?
A. I would encourage that person to go ahead and apply and to also send a letter that discusses their motivation to complete the program, discussion of their undergraduate GPA and any other pertinent information. The MSA Program Committee will review all such applications for consideration.
Q. Where can potential students get more information or apply?
A. I am working hard to provide as much information as possible on our website at onu.edu/msa. The site also includes a link to a form to request additional information. The site includes an online application at the click of a button. The application process is quite simple: (1) complete the online application; (2) request your transcripts from all colleges and universities you’ve attended; (3) submit two letters of recommendation; and (4) submit a GMAT score (if your undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.25).