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Utica College adds accounting master’s degree

By Traci DeLore

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UTICA — This fall, Utica College says it will launch a new MBA in professional accountancy program that will help prepare students for the rigorous certified public accountant (CPA) examination.

The program is designed for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting or in business with a concentration in accounting and helps them meet the state’s 150-hour educational requirement for the CPA test, says Glen Hansen, associate professor of accounting at Utica College and co-author of the program.

In 2009, the state changed the educational requirements for the CPA exam, adding 30 additional hours of required education. Utica College originally responded to the change with an online program offering the additional hours. But over time, Hansen says, it became apparent that many students wanted the classroom experience where they could interact with faculty and easily ask questions.

Utica College developed the on-campus master’s program, which begins this fall and offers the additional hours of education and also meets the American Institute of CPA’s requirements for new members. Graduates of the program, designed to be completed in one year, will have more than 36 hours of accounting education coupled with more than 36 hours of general business education.

The training may seem extensive, Hansen notes, but the CPA exam is a challenging test that only about half of test takers pass annually. While the CPA designation is not required, many accountants prefer to obtain it because it opens up more career possibilities. Accountants who are not a CPA, for example, could work for a company and perform financial analyses, but only a CPA can conduct an audit. Many employers seek CPAs because they must adhere to a professional code of conduct. “Here is a person who is qualified, competent, and ethical,” Hansen notes.

With about 50 to 60 students in the undergraduate accounting program, Hansen expects anywhere from six to 12 students in the master’s program this fall. Ultimately, he’d like to see an average of 15 students per year. Utica College will be able to staff the program with its current staff, Hansen notes.

The college has marketed the new program locally with both print and radio advertising, says John Rowe, director of graduate admissions and interim director of undergraduate admissions. Utica College has also reached out to current undergraduates in the accounting program along with those who graduated this year.

“I have reached out to Mohawk Valley accounting firms and CPA firms to let them know we are offering the program,” Rowe says. “In addition, my office has contacted accounting departments in New York, Pennsylvania, and New England colleges and universities to let them know we now offer the program.”

For next year’s class, Rowe says the college is directly targeting senior accounting students across the northeastern United States and into Ontario, Canada. The college’s international recruitment office is working to reach out to potential graduate students in countries such as China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.

More information about the program is available online at www.utica.edu/academic/ssm/accounting/mba/index.cfm.

Founded in 1946, Utica College has 2,537 undergraduate students, 736 graduate students, and offers 38 majors and 20 graduate programs.

 

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