Taxation Degrees: Master's & Online Class Info

About this article
A master's degree covering taxation can lead to careers in tax accounting, financial and estate planning or consulting. Get the truth about requirements, courses and career options for your degree.
View available schools

Studying Taxation: Master's Degrees and Online Class Information at a Glance

Even though accounting majors, master's in accounting and MBA candidates may study taxation as part of their degree programs, a master's degree in taxation program involves intensive study of taxation alone. With these degrees, you could be prepared for advanced positions in taxation through acquisition of technical and research skills. Your coursework might help you prepare for and meet requirements of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for its CPA examination or the Internal Revenue Service's Enrolled Agent test.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected job opportunities for all occupations to grow 14% overall from 2010-2020. Opportunities for accountants and auditors may grow 16%. You might find AICPA publications useful for identifying potential career paths.

Master's
Who is this training for? Individuals who want mid to upper-level taxation positions
Common Career Paths (with approximate salary) - Tax accountant ($59,000 - bachelor's with 2-4 years of experience)*
- Senior tax accountant ($75,000 - bachelor's and 4-6 years of experience)*
- Estate planning consultant ($83,000 - bachelor's with 7 years of experience)*
- Tax manager ($104,000 - bachelor's with 7 years of experience)*
- Tax director ($151,000 - bachelor's with 10 years of experience)*
Time to Completion - 1 year full-time for master's in taxation or accounting
- 2 years full-time for MBA
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 30 credits for master's degree in taxation or accounting
- Approximately 60-70 credits for MBA
Prerequisites - Bachelor's degree
- Students who did not major in accounting as an undergraduate may need to meet accounting prerequisites prior to or during the program.
Online Availability Online study is available for accounting or taxation master's degrees and MBA programs.

Source: *Salary.com (2012 median salary).

Master's Degrees Covering Taxation

In a taxation degree program, you could learn to understand concepts and to research, analyze and solve tax problems. You might take a master's program in either taxation or accounting, or explore taxation as a concentration within an MBA curriculum. You could learn to address tax compliance and planning issues and to make appropriate decisions when faced with ethical problems. Programs sometimes collaborate with law schools.

Depending on your choice of advanced electives, you might prepare for a career in public accounting, private industry or government. You might specialize in areas that include but are not limited to bankruptcy, various types of corporate and business organizations, estate planning, pension and profit-sharing plans, real estate or tax-exempt organizations. Combined bachelor's and master's degrees or dual graduate degrees in law or business may be available.

Pros and Cons of a Master's Degree Covering Taxation

Pros

  • You could learn to analyze tax statues, regulations and rulings.
  • Combined with an undergraduate degree in accounting, this program could qualify you to take the CPA exam.
  • Self-employment is an option.
  • In-depth taxation knowledge gained in a master's in taxation program may be highly valued by employers.

Cons

  • Success meeting goals may be influenced by degree selection, since master's degrees in taxation or accounting are targeted programs to develop practitioner expertise, while MBAs are broad-based management programs.
  • Students without prior accounting background may have to make an extra effort to be competitive.
  • Employers who want auditing or management consulting skills may prefer candidates with a master's in accounting or an MBA.

Courses and Requirements

You may be able to take more tax courses in a master's in taxation than in a master's in accounting or an MBA program. Depending on your undergraduate background, you may be able to waive some courses and substitute them with advanced courses. Core taxation courses could include federal, state and local taxation, corporate and partnership procedures and professional responsibility.

You might take advanced courses like these in a master's program covering taxation:

  • Controllership and cost management
  • Estate and gift taxation and planning
  • Consolidated returns
  • Trust and estates
  • Pension and profit-sharing plans
  • Taxation of financial instruments

Online Class Options

Completely online master's in taxation or accounting or MBA programs are available from both traditional and online schools. Schools may offer full or part-time programs. Flexible courses or programs could be convenient for students with work or other obligations who also meet the same requirements as for on-campus courses.

In some programs, you could view on-campus classes in real time, or on-demand at a time that better suits your schedule. You might participate in online discussions and take examinations with a local proctor. Organizations like AICPA may offer online training or CEU units.

Standing Out with a Master's Degree in Taxation

You might have part-time work, internship or tax clinic opportunities. Student organizations may provide leadership opportunities. You could attend AICPA conferences and networking events. You may have opportunities to work with a tax research institute to develop grant or research proposals. Some schools may offer study abroad options that could help you understand international taxation in the context of foreign culture, geography and politics. You might pursue a dual degree in law.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA-Accountancy
      • MA/Accountancy - Accounting
      • MBA - Finance
      • MBA - Media Management
      • MBA - Business Economics
      • MBA
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Accounting
      • MS in Accounting
      • MBA: Finance
      • MBA
      • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
      • MBA: Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Accounting
      • Master: Accounting
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance
      • Master of Business Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master of Finance
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Financial Management
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Arts in Law - Wealth Management/Financial Planning
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance and Investing
      • Master of Business Administration - Franchising
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Human Resources
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance

Featured Schools

Ashford University

  • MA-Accountancy
  • MA/Accountancy - Accounting
  • MBA - Finance

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MBA: Accounting
  • MS in Accounting
  • MBA: Finance

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Master of Business Admin: Accounting
  • Master: Accounting
  • Master of Business Admin: Finance

Are you a US citizen?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Finance

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MBA - Financial Management
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Master of Arts in Law - Wealth Management/Financial Planning

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
  • MBA

What is your highest level of education?