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Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Accountancy

Most states have adopted the 150-hour education requirement to sit for the CPA exam established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The West Virginia CPA Exam Education requires a minimum of a Baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 27 semester hours in accounting and 27 hours in business courses and 6 hours in business law courses with 3 semester hours in ethics. Wheeling University developed the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) degree to meet these state CPA exam requirements. In addition, the MSA is designed to expand the student’s accounting knowledge base, as well as provide additional background useful in passing the CPA exam and, if successfully completed, provide the student with an additional graduate-level credential. The undergraduate and graduate business programs of Wheeling University are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This distinction means that in addition to University wide accreditation by the North Central Association, the business department programs have met the high standards of this professional accreditation in order to ensure that our curricula, faculty, facilities and internal evaluation processes meet or exceed recognized national standards. 

The MSA is a professional non-thesis degree program designed for undergraduate accounting majors who wish to pursue an advanced degree in the field and qualify to sit for the CPA exam. The program requires 30 semester hours to complete, assuming undergraduate requirements have been met. Classes meet in the evening once a week. 

MSA Admission Requirements 

Applicants for this graduate program are evaluated on the basis of their academic record, recommendations and personal and professional accomplishments. Admittance to the program is contingent on an overall grade point average of 2.80. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is not required. 

Applicants to the graduate accountancy program should, at a minimum, have completed with a minimum grade of “C” the following prerequisite courses or their equivalents:

Computer Science (or demonstrate a working knowledge of electronic spreadsheets and at least one other software package)  



Principles of Accounting I & II  

Principles of Economics I & II  

Principles of Management 

Principles of Marketing 

Principles of Finance 

Management Science 

Intermediate Accounting, I & II  

Cost Accounting 

Federal Income Taxation 

Business Law 

Advanced Accounting  

Applicants to the graduate program in accountancy who have already passed the CPA exam will not be required to make up deficiencies in the above coursework. 


Required Courses

MBA 503

The Ethical Environment of Business

3 cr

Philosophical study of the nature, types and criteria of human value with a study of ethical principles and major philosophies in the area. Special emphasis will be paid to the analysis of contemporary ethical problems in the world of work. Discusses the importance of management decisions in a business-centered society, such as the United States; the desire of businessmen to do what is right; the difficulties they sometimes encounter in acting ethically; and the complexity of their ethical dilemmas. Case studies will be extensively used.

Course Offered: Summer Session I

MBA 506

Managerial Economics

3 cr

A course dealing primarily with the application of economic concepts and analysis to managerial decision-making. Topics include: demand analysis and forecasting; price determination and marketing policy, production and output decisions; capital investment decisions; profitability and cost analysis. The computer will be employed to illustrate the application of quantitative and economic techniques to real business problems.

Prerequisite: MBA 496, 498.

MBA 508

Management of Financial Resources

3 cr

A study of the financial decision-making process within the business firm. Analyzes the problems, policies and functions involving financial management. Topics include capital market theory, cost of capital and capital budgeting decisions, capital structure and dividend policies and financial planning models.

Course Offered: Spring Session I

MSA 509

Law for Accountants

3 cr

This course addresses the significant legal issues relevant to accounting and financial practices. This includes topics such as Sarbanes-Oxley, tax law and valuation practices. Teaching methods include class discussion, cases and examinations.

Prerequisite: Business Law.

MSA 534

Auditing and Professional Auditing Standards

3 cr

This course covers the history and development of auditing theory, practice, and professional standards and provides masters level students with discussions of the philosophical and practical aspects of major auditing topics. Various auditing topics are selected for discussion and for written research reports including: the theory of evidence; collection and analysis of evidence; materiality; internal control; ethics; the role of auditing in society; auditors’ responsibilities; planning and administration of an audit; reporting; use of statistical analysis; audits of EDP systems; the application of auditing standards; and new audit directions and perspectives.

Prerequisite: ACC 406 or its equivalent.

MSA 553


3 cr

This course studies the controller function within the contemporary organization. The controller is typically the chief accounting officer. The course studies the different functions for which the controller has traditionally been responsible as well as the changing role of the controller in the age of information technology.

Prerequisite: MBA 510 or ACC 311 or its equivalent.

MSA 554

Advanced Tax Accounting

3 cr

An examination of the federal tax treatment of corporations, partnerships, S corporations, fiduciaries, gifts, estates and trusts, and an introduction to social security taxes and tax research and methodology. Emphasis is placed on the concepts of income, deductions and credits; recognition and non-recognition of gains and losses from dispositions of property; the determination of entity and investor basis; distributions from, and liquidation of, the business entity; administrative provisions of the tax law; and tax planning.

Prerequisite: ACC 405 or its equivalent.

MSA 560

The Accounting Profession and Its Environment

3 cr

An integrative course which examines the ethical, legal, economic, social and political aspects of the accounting environment. Topics include: ethical dilemmas in accounting; the accounting standards-setting process; the structure of the accounting profession; professional conduct; the legal responsibilities and liabilities of professional accountants; user perceptions of professional accountants; and the impact of changing technologies and social institutions on accounting.

Prerequisite: MBA 534.

Plus two electives


MSA 539

Advanced Information Systems

3 cr

This course provides the manager with a conceptual framework for using computer technology to meet strategic business goals. The latest information technology is discussed in the context of how if affects business operations and human resources. Primary focus is on the organizational and managerial aspects of information systems. Information systems development methods are evaluated. Other topics include internal controls, electronic data interchange, ethical issues and global information systems. Student performance is primarily based on case studies; projects and classroom involvements.

Prerequisites: MBA 510 or equivalent, MBA 512;     Core requisite: MBA 500.

MSA 541

Contemporary Accounting Theory

3 cr

This course is designed to systematize the theoretical foundations provided by all previous financial accounting courses. The aim of this course is to provide students with a general survey of financial accounting theory and policy. Students should emerge from this course with (1) increased knowledge about accounting research and the standards-setting process; (2) familiarity with various financial accounting paradigms; and (3) an in-depth understanding of the major problem areas in financial accounting. Topics include: various theories of income; alternative asset valuation bases; experimental applications in published financial statements; new developments in accounting theory; and current issues and problems in accounting.

MSA 573


3 cr

The internship is a structured work practicum at an accounting firm or performing accounting functions at a for-profit or not-for-profit organization. A weekly journal and deliverable, either a project or paper are also required. The student’s current job is not eligible for internship credit.

MBA elective, with approval of the Director


Transfer Credit  

The MSA program amounts to 30 credits of coursework. For transfer students, a minimum of 24 of these hours must be completed at Wheeling University. Thus, up to 6 hours (two courses) may be eligible for transfer credit. Such credit is available only for graduate level courses and only when the quality and comparability of the work meets with the approval of the head of graduate programs. One course in the program, The Accounting Profession and Its Environment, is not normally transferable. 

Course Load 

A minimum of three courses (nine credits) constitutes a full-time load at the graduate level. Two courses per semester (six credits) constitutes a part-time load for graduate students (Fall and Spring). This also applies to summer session I and II (inclusive). 

CPE for CPAs, CMAs & Others 

Not all accountants wish to complete an entire MBA or MSA degree program and may prefer to take one or more courses in order to meet CPE requirements or for their own personal or professional growth. To meet this need, practicing accountants may take one or more graduate-level accounting courses without becoming fully matriculated students. After six such courses are completed, with a “B” average, the student will receive a certificate indicating completion of a core of advanced level professional accounting courses.