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Explore our MS in Accounting Self-Designed specialization

Design a specialization based on your goals and interests. The Self-Designed specialization allows you to investigate industries and technical accounting areas that might not otherwise be readily accessible. Tax analysis, systems thinking, not-for-profit accounting, and government accounting are among the many subjects from which to choose.


Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on September 6, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Completion Requirements

  • 30 semester credits
    • Core courses (15 sem. cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 sem. cr.)
      • Accounting courses (9–15 sem. cr.)
      • Management and leadership courses (0–6 sem. cr.)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

MS in Accounting students must complete five required core courses and five additional courses to complete the Self-Designed specialization.


Course Code Title Credits


ACCT 4990

Business Essentials

A background in the basics of business is often a key to making the most of a graduate business or management program. In this foundational course, students can build their business acumen in major functional areas that are essential to business success including business leadership and management, business ethics, the legal environment of business, accounting, finance, economics, quantitative methods and statistics, information systems management, global business, marketing, and strategic management.

(0 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6000

Decision-Making Tools for Today's Financial Professional

Today's effective finance professionals use a variety of financial management tools as they seek to evaluate alternatives and make sound financial recommendations. Students will gain practical experience of a financial professional's role by using financial modeling tools such as breakeven and cost-volume-profit analysis for model pricing and cost sensitivity, forecasting and cost prediction, variance cost analysis, relevant cost analysis, project valuation and prioritization using payback, rates of return, and discounted cash flow methods. Students' increased diagnostic critical-thinking skills will help them to construct effective, ethical, fact-based arguments, which are among the fundamental capabilities required for financial decision making. Using relevant management articles, case studies, and topic analyses, students also examine how to align business needs with fact-based solutions, how to identify new opportunities, and how to manage and enhance an organization's competitive position.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6010

Analysis and Communication for the Financial Professional

An essential skill for nearly all financial professionals is the ability to effectively communicate with the organization to manage internal and external relationships. The importance of communication in finance is emphasized, and students are presented with the opportunity to practice using the tools required for effectual and efficient presentation of information while gaining critical-thinking, reading, and scholarly writing skills. Students explore various written and presentational forms of communication that financial professionals use within organizational and managerial settings. Students examine techniques for developing and presenting white papers, memoranda used to communicate issues and recommendations to management, and financial and nonfinancial information. They learn about concepts in balanced communication coverage and how to adapt to constantly changing modes of communication, including social networking, blogging, and using professional organizations and training programs to their advantage. Through these activities, students gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the financial professional as well as the ethical methodologies required to maintain a professional obligation to the community and their clients.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6020

Legal and Ethical Issues in Accounting and Finance

In the news, it is too often that we hear about cases of financial fraud and misconduct involving major corporations. It is a social and professional obligation of financial professionals to be concerned and knowledgeable on topics involving legal and ethical issues in accounting and financial reporting. In this course, students learn to appreciate this role and explore the various legal and professional responsibilities of which financial professionals must be aware when developing financial statements and reports. They examine a variety of issues, such as the differences between statute and regulation and between common and statutory law. Students also assess the role of bankruptcy and its impact on business relationships. Through the extensive use of current and seminal case studies, students take a practical approach to examining the best practices of doing business in today's sociopolitical climate from a legal and ethical perspective.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6130

Managerial Accounting for Organizational Performance

One of the primary functions of the accountant's role is preparing internal accounting information that can be used by management for effective decision making and organizational performance. Students can gain a practical perspective into this role through case study review and analysis of pricing and contribution margin analysis, cost management and allocation, activity-based costing and throughput accounting, and inventory management. Students assess performance measurements, including key performance indicators, balanced scorecard, and forecasting. They explore operating and capital budgeting and financial planning techniques and become familiar with quantitative models and approaches used in management accounting. Through this course, students learn about the different departments and operating divisions within an organization and how they work individually and collaboratively to handle accounting responsibilities.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6140

Current Trends in Accounting Standards

Students in this course enhance and utilize advanced accounting research skills in order to investigate and review the current and emerging accounting issues and changes in promulgated accounting standards that could impact 21st-century business. Students examine a variety of up-to-date and relevant topical areas that are discussed in sources such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board, International Accounting Standards Board, and Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of their studies in this course, students will be able to anticipate changes in accounting standards and analyze potential impacts for making informed decisions and recommendations to management.

(3 sem. cr.)

Students must choose a total of five courses from the following specializations:

ACCOUNTING (select 3–5 courses)

ACCT 6600

Managing Operational and Financial Business Risks

Accountants and business managers must be astute and proactive in managing a business to combat the inevitable threat of operational and financial risks, including those involving credit, market, liquidity, reputation, technology, and legality. In this course, students assess the tools used by accountants and managers in managing these risks. They explore the various processes used to identify, analyze, and assess risks, and they learn the appropriate use of financial and operational controls to mitigate such risks. Additionally, students examine ways to implement techniques, such as developing a risk control matrix and using the concepts of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) framework to improve an organization's enterprise risk management.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6610

Managing Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance involves the policies and processes that organizations use to ensure that they follow the rules and regulations in place by the firms that control financial activity in a given jurisdiction. In this course, students explore the facets of regulatory compliance, focusing on the role of accounting with respect to corporate governance within an organizational setting. They also focus on how organizations build transparency into their governance and compliance systems. Students review and explore the responsibilities of management in terms of compliance and auditing and explore the complex processes of checks and balances that comprise compliance systems. Students further develop their understanding of regulatory compliance through a review of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, in addition to an evaluation of decisions made by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Corporation Accounting Oversight Board.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6620

Accounting Theory and Application

In this quantitative course, students examine the process by which accounting policies are formulated and modified. Students use current research and case analyses to make critical evaluations of fundamental accounting concepts and foundations, such as revenue recognition, lease accounting, and other current issues, in light of their theoretical, empirical, practical, and political aspects. Students demonstrate their ability to use promulgated accounting literature to improve their general decision-making and communication skills in the area of accounting as they engage in functional exercises and weekly discussions.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6630

Tax Analysis and Decision Making

Students in this course are provided with an overview of current topics in taxation strategies for individuals and corporations. They learn about the Internal Revenue Service Code on tax differences, including book and tax accounting, inclusions, exclusions, deductions, credits, and tax aspects of property transactions. Students employ a "walk-through" technique through which they gain first-hand experience in the use of tax research services. Students also explore how economic, social, and cultural forces influence tax policy.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6640

Solving CPA Problems

In this course, students review content pulled directly from prior certified public accountant (CPA) exams on a variety of topics, including current accounting trends, managerial accounting, and regulatory issues. Students conduct research, discuss with peers, and analyze the answers to actual CPA exam items to gain a thorough understanding of the format, concepts, and principles on which exam questions are based, gaining confidence and preparedness for taking the CPA exam.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6650

Forensic and Advanced Auditing Topics

In this course, students are provided with tools, techniques, and insight to evaluate the potential for fraud within current operating and financial reporting systems. Students examine creative accounting techniques and red flags of fraud, such as the development of false financial statements; misuse of corporate resources; false revenue recognition; and fraud perpetrated for the benefit of third parties, shareholders, and managers. They explore special topics, such as the override of existing internal controls and absence of proper accounting documentation. Students also examine fraud audit standards, principles of legal evidence, and concepts of the Daubert Rule. Additionally, students examine strategies for identifying sources of securing evidence to prevent loss, corruption, and contamination.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6660

International Perspectives in Accounting

Students in this course examine current topics in international standards for accounting, including financial statement presentation, auditing, and accounting for importers, exporters, and multinational corporations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various perspectives involved in international accounting. Students examine foreign exchange rates and markets, controlled economy accounting, social responsibility reporting, inflation accounting, and international taxation and its impact on an organization's international financial statements. Additionally, students analyze issues in accounting for multinationals, including areas of accounting and financial reporting standards. They also conduct an evaluation of international accounting harmonization efforts, including those involving accounting standards, to acquire an appreciation of the importance of comparability in regard to international financial statements.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6670

Not-for-Profit and Government Accounting

Students explore accounting and financial reporting principles for nonprofit and governmental organizations in this course. They examine issues regarding fund accounting principles, budgetary accounting, and financial reporting practices. Through a variety of assignments on the specifics of the nonprofit and government accounting arena, students develop and hone diagnostic skills and their analytical problem-solving ability. Students learn about the concepts, procedures, and mechanics of financial and managerial accounting and the role of accounting information in nonprofit organizations.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6781

Information Security Governance

Students in this course cover information security issues in an organizational context, recognizing the increasing stakes in keeping systems safe from tampering and disclosure. Topics include management structures and processes for enterprise information security; information security in the supply chain; legal, regulatory, audit, and policy issues; risk management; and the business case for information security.

(3 sem. cr.)

MANAGEMENT/LEADERSHIP (select 0–2 courses)

ACCT 6675

Critical Thinking for Effective Management

This course is designed to improve the learner's overall critical-thinking and reasoning skills within a managerial context. Using relevant management articles, case studies, and current topics analyses, learners will hone their diagnostic reading skills and will learn to construct effective, ethical, evidence-based arguments, which are fundamental capabilities of effective managers.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6691

Practices in Project Management

Students in this course are introduced to the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques needed to successfully manage projects throughout the life of a project, known as the project life cycle. By learning about the project management Knowledge Areas and Process Groups as well as the distinguishing characteristics of each, students gain an appreciation for how these two dimensions of project management interact in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project.

(3 sem. cr.)
ACCT 6665

Initiating and Managing Change

Students in this course explore effective strategies to initiate change in order to achieve organizational goals, as well as how to manage unplanned or unwelcome change. Students explore a variety of approaches and methods to transition individuals and organizations within a changing environment. Students distinguish between reactive responses and proactive responses to change, including examining the implications of culture, inertia, and uncertainty. Additionally, students explore the importance of understanding motivation and effective communication in mitigating negative reactions to change and facilitating the change process itself.

(3 sem. cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost AMOUNT
Tuition 30 semester credit hours $975 per semester hour $29,250
Technology Fee Per semester $210 $1,050

TOTAL $30,300*

*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 15 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.


Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save


Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on September 6, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.



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