Albion to Offer a New, Innovative Master of Science in Accounting

On track to begin in Fall 2021, two options are available and both focus on the benefit of individual learning and CPA certification requirements.

March 9, 2021

Robinson Hall, Albion College

Robinson Hall, near the center of campus, is home to Albion College’s Economics and Management Department.

Albion College is planning to offer, starting this fall, two new innovative pathways for students to gain their graduate degrees in accounting.

Since last spring, accounting professor Dr. John Carlson in the Department of Economics and Management has been working on the specifics that will allow students who have earned their undergraduate degree in accounting to accelerate their quest for a master’s.

Carlson said the traditional way for Albion students to earn a master’s in accounting has been to graduate from Albion, then go to another college for the advanced degree.

Under this new pathway, Carlson said there are two ways for those students to proceed.

“The first is a four-plus-one format,” he said. “Students can get their undergraduate degree from Albion and then take a fifth year at Albion for their graduate degree. The second is doing it the same way but accomplishing both undergrad and graduate in four years. This is for students who enroll at Albion College in their first year and are set on becoming a certified public accountant and want to get their credit hours in. That will be a smaller group, but we want to be a little different and want something that’s more attractive.”

The new graduate program, which will welcome students with accounting undergraduate degrees from other four-year colleges and universities as well, is slated to begin this fall. Both the combined program and the standalone master’s degree are pending final approval from the regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission.

Albion has long been known for the two disciplines of B.A. degrees it offers in accounting—one that targets students who aim to become CPAs, and the other that is tailored toward corporate accounting.

“Accounting is in Albion College’s DNA as an academic strength with a long history of tangible outcomes for our students,” said Dr. Hernan Bucheli, vice president for enrollment and strategic initiatives. “And building on the strength of this academic discipline, we developed a one-year master’s in accounting that meets the requirements of another pathway for Michigan CPA licensure. This pathway provides an opportunity for undergraduate business and accounting majors from Albion or from other colleges and universities to pursue a rigorous and innovative master’s in accounting program. It’s another sign that Albion College is evolving to provide the kind of graduate pathways that are in high demand.”

Bucheli added that with an average annual salary of $82,000 for CPAs nationwide, Albion’s graduate accounting program represents a great opportunity for many students. It will initially be taught by Carlson along with E&M faculty colleagues Dr. Vicki Baker and Dr. Seolah Kim and will focus on individual learning and self-directed academic projects.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time one-on-one with students,” Carlson said. “They’ll come to me as their academic advisor related to taxes or accounting or data analytics or another topic, and we’ll dig into it. There’s going to be a lot of high-touch career mentoring. It will be unique.”

Those students will then join the newly established Albion College Community Collaborative, an experiential program led by management professor Dr. Vicki Baker that focuses on students helping community businesses increase their scope and scale.

Carlson said the new program is a viable, accessible option for Albion students who don’t want to have to earn their master’s by going to another college, or for undergraduate students from other four-year institutions who would like to complete a one-year master’s in accounting at Albion College.

Albion is currently accepting inquiries for the Fall 2021 semester, and will communicate with prospective master’s in accounting students to let them know when the application process will open pending HLC approval.

For more information and to be added to the inquiry list for the one-year master’s in accounting program, please contact Corey Grazul, director of strategic initiatives, at 517-629-0757 or [email protected].