Live Chat Now
Give us a call

Send us a text



What Are the Different Types of Accounting Degrees?

By DeVry University

March 31, 2022

5 min read

Whether you’re just beginning your education or looking to change careers, enhance your skill level or to advance in your current role, there are several types of accounting degrees each with their own attributes and concentrations that can help you prepare to pursue career opportunities in this wide-ranging field.

In this article, we’ll provide a description of some of the different types of accounting degrees you might consider at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our roundup will include those offered by DeVry University and a few that are not.

Undergraduate-Level Accounting Degree Programs

If you’re just beginning your education, an undergraduate-level accounting certificate or degree program can serve as a starting point and help you develop a foundational understanding of many of the principles and practices in the accounting field.

Associate Degree in Accounting

An associate-level degree introduces students to foundational concepts in accounting, finance and business. These programs typically require 60 credit hours for completion, which usually takes about 2 years for students who are enrolled full time. 

Graduates of an associate degree program may qualify for entry-level jobs like bookkeeper or accounting clerk. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although a bachelor’s degree is generally required for accountants and auditors, associate degree holders can advance to junior-level accounting jobs after gaining on-the-job experience. 

At DeVry, students enrolled in our Associate Degree in Business program can choose our budgeting and forecasting concentration that introduces accounting principles, design and implementation of budgets and the use of accounting information to analyze data. Courses completed in this program stack into our Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management, should you wish to continue your education with us.1

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

A bachelor’s degree is the highest level of undergraduate degree and can be awarded in various aspects of accounting. At DeVry, our Bachelor's Degree in Accounting teaches many of the accounting skills that you’ll need as you prepare to pursue a career in this field. Offered in both an online and hybrid format2, this degree program gives you the opportunity to build a foundational understanding of accounting, economics, finance and more.

Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Specialization in Accounting

Bachelor's Degree in Business with a Specialization in Accounting may be a good fit if you're interested in getting a better grasp on how to apply accounting in a business environment. This degree program covers the foundational accounting principles along with courses that delve into business administration.

Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Specialization in Finance

A Bachelor's Degree in Business with a Specialization in Finance is designed to cover the principles of finance while exploring their relationship to business practices. You may be interested in this particular degree program if your career goals are to help companies plan and make important financial decisions.

Graduate-Level Accounting Degree Programs

If you've already earned your bachelor's degree and are looking to further your education, a graduate-level accounting degree program might be the right move for you.

Master’s Degree in Accounting

A Master's Degree in Accounting can help you deepen your understanding of the accounting field, or help you brush up on your knowledge as you prepare to take the CPA Exam3. During this program you'll have the opportunity to take advantage of hands-on learning experiences to help you build your skills in areas like accounting theory and practice, advanced accounting studies, accounting research and more.

Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management

A Master's Degree in Accounting and Financial Management blends accounting concepts with financial management skills. This program may be a good fit if you're looking to transition your career into the accounting field, work toward meeting the minimum education requirement for CPA certification and licensure3, or have a passion for making financial decisions that drive business goals. This program also works for those who are already working in accounting or finance but with their undergraduate education rooted in a different field.

MBA with a Specialization in Accounting

An MBA with a Specialization in Accounting is a Master of Business Administration degree that covers high-level accounting concepts as well as business administration skills. You may be interested in an MBA with a Specialization in Accounting if you want to pursue a managerial role in a business environment where accounting knowledge can help you make more effective business management decisions.

MBA with a Specialization in Finance

An MBA with a Specialization in Finance can help you hone your managerial skills as well as your understanding of high-level finance concepts. It might be a great choice if you are looking to pursue management roles or are looking to apply finance concepts to a business environment. Some of the topics you'll cover during this program include advanced financial statement analysis, securities analysis and real estate finance.

PhD in Accounting

Students who want to build a career in research or lecture at the university level may want to pursue a PhD in Accounting or PhD in Accounting and Finance. This doctorate is considered a terminal degree because it is the highest level of education that can be attained in the field. Doctoral accounting programs typically last 4 to 5 years, much longer than other accounting programs, with advanced coursework in data analysis, mathematical modeling, advanced accounting theory and economics in the first 2 years, then completion of a dissertation in a specialized field during the final 2-3 years. At DeVry, we do not offer PhD programs. 

Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate is an option if you want to build your accounting knowledge, learn foundational skills to transfer into a new industry or advance your education without investing the time it takes to earn a master's degree.

Graduate Certificate in Accounting

A Graduate Certificate in Accounting can be a great choice if you're interested in building your accounting skills but aren't sure if you want to pursue a master's degree just yet. During this program, you'll have the chance to explore concepts such as tax accounting, investments, working capital management and financial forecasting. And if you choose to continue your education by earning a DeVry master's degree, this certificate is designed to stack  into our MBA with a Specialization in Accounting program.1

Graduate Certificate in Accounting Certification Preparation

At DeVry, our Graduate Certificate in Accounting Certification Preparation allows you to customize your learning experience with your choice of graduate accounting courses that align with your professional goals. Choose between two emphases: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam Preparation or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Exam Preparation. 

  • CPA Exam Preparation: Choose from a variety of courses that prepare you to sit for the CPA Exam.3 Our exam prep courses integrate elements of Becker Professional Education's CPA Exam review so you can earn your certificate and prepare for the CPA Exam simultaneously.

  • CMA Exam Preparation: Our 3-course CMA exam preparation sequence is designed to sharpen your skills and prepare for the CMA exam. With a focus on strategic financial management, financial planning and performance evaluation, this emphasis allows you to develop relevant business skills while preparing for CMA certification.

Accounting Degrees FAQs

What accounting degree jobs are available to graduates?

According to occupational outlook data from the BLS, jobseekers with a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree, such as a master’s degree in accounting or business, may pursue a variety of career roles as accountants and auditors, in financial accounting, auditing, forensic accounting and managerial accounting, and that some employers may prefer to hire applicants who’ve earned a graduate degree, such as a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA with a concentration in accounting.

Some of the other career opportunities available to jobseekers with an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting include:

  • Financial manager
  • Accounting manager
  • Payroll manager
  • Internal auditor
  • Tax accountant
  • Financial analyst
  • Public accountant
  • Controller

Employment in this occupation may require years of relevant experience or additional certifications.

What is the difference between a finance and an accounting degree?

Just as the interrelated fields of accounting and finance overlap in scope, the coursework in their respective academic programs is foundationally similar. But after covering the fundamentals, the two programs follow distinctly different educational pathways. 

While finance is the big picture area, dealing with the planning of how money will be used to grow personal wealth or enhance the profitability of an enterprise to return maximum value to its shareholders, accounting deals with the detail-oriented tracking and reporting of the inflows and outflows of money.

An academic program in finance, such as DeVry’s online Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Finance, will include the same basic accounting courses as an accounting program, but teaches investment fundamentals and security analysis, financial statement analysis, fixed income securities and credit analysis. In this way, the program prepares students to pursue finance-related careers in banking, corporate finance, insurance and financial planning.

An accounting program like DeVry’s online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting retains a stricter focus on accounting and auditing, with coursework in financial accounting, auditing, accounting information systems and taxation. This curriculum helps students prepare to pursue careers in accounting, auditing, tax accounting, management accounting, forensic accounting and other areas of the field.

How long does it take to get an accounting degree?

Bachelor’s degree programs typically take 4 years to complete, based on full-time enrollment. At DeVry, our 6 academic sessions per year allow you to start when you’re ready and learn at your own pace, finishing on a regular or accelerated schedule that meets your personal and professional goals. Our online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting can be earned in 4 years on a normal schedule or in as little as 2 years and 8 months on an accelerated schedule.4

4Accelerated schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes year-round, full-time enrollment. Normal schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment.

Earn Your Accounting Degree at DeVry

If you’re looking to go back to school, advance your career or simply grow your skills, DeVry can help you find the program that aligns with your goals. Explore our various types of accounting degrees to find the one that's right for you. 

Online learning with DeVry can help you balance your commitment to education with work, family and other aspects of your busy life. Classes start soon. Let’s talk about getting you started in our next session.

1At the time of application to the next credential level, an evaluation of qualifying transfer credit will occur and the most beneficial outcome will be applied.

2Program, course, and extended classroom availability vary by location. In site-based programs, students will be required to take a substantial amount of coursework online to complete their program.

3Credits and degrees earned from this institution do not automatically qualify the holder to participate in professional licensing exams to practice certain professions. Persons interested in practicing a regulated profession must contact the appropriate state regulatory agency for their field of interest. For instance, typically 150 credit hours or education are required to meet state regulatory agency education requirements for CPA licensure. Coursework may qualify for credit towards the State Board of Accountancy requirements. However, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the state board of accountancy for the jurisdiction in which they are applying to determine whether they have completed the appropriate credit hours and coursework to qualify to take the CPA exam. Employees of DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management are not in a position to determine an individual’s eligibility to take the CPA exam or satisfy licensing.

4Accelerated schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes year-round, full-time enrollment. Normal schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment.

8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Filter Blog Post Category

Related Posts