Taxation or Accounting: Which Master’s Degree is Right for You?

Pursuing a master’s degree after obtaining a few years of work experience is an effective way to help you advance your career. You may be required to obtain an graduate degree if you’re thinking about pursuing more senior positions at your organization.

So which type of degree is best for you? A master’s in taxation or a master’s in accounting? The option you choose will help shape your future career.

The fully Online Master of Science in Taxation program can prepare you for a variety of roles, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The Master of Accounting program can lead you in a similar direction, but with different opportunities available to you. Ultimately, your choice depends on your lifestyle, schedule, and study habits.



What Can You Do with Accounting and Taxation Degrees?

Whether you want to work in taxation as part of a specialized firm or as an independent contractor, a master’s degree can equip you with the skills and abilities to solve complex problems. Likewise, the Master of Accounting degree could potentially give you a leg up in your job search and may even help you earn more over your lifetime.


Master of Science in Taxation

The Master of Science in Taxation program has a clear focus on understanding tax law, tax planning, and developing innovative and effective solutions for the present and future financial landscape.

If you choose to specialize in this degree, you can expect core courses centered on learning about corporations and shareholders, estate and gift taxation, federal tax issues and analysis, and tax research, practice, and ethics.

A Master of Science in Taxation can help you develop a strong foundation of knowledge in the intricacies of U.S. and international tax law. You can also develop focused knowledge in your specific area of interest: taxation of entities or taxation of individuals.

Graduates often obtain job titles such as:

  • Tax examiner
  • Financial manager
  • Auditor
  • Tax consultant
  • Certified Public Accountant


Master of Science in Accounting

The Master of Science in Accounting functions on a different level than a taxation degree. Those who pursue the accounting concentration will find a program designed to prepare them for public accounting.

Many who pursue this degree take the Certified Public Accountant exam. In many states, a graduate degree can serve as a substitute for the two years of work experience required to qualify for the test.

If you wish to deepen your accounting knowledge, you have several graduate options to choose from. Other degrees include Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration in Accounting, and Master of Professional Accounting. These programs have been designed to attract graduates from a wide range of undergraduate programs, including the humanities fields.

Do your research beforehand to ensure that you choose the graduate program that best suits your needs and goals. However, regardless of which master’s degree you prefer, you can expect to increase your knowledge of accounting procedures and regulations. You may also gain a stronger insight into finding the right career path for you along the way.

Master in Accounting graduates often secure job titles such as:

  • Chief financial officer
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Corporate controller
  • Compliance officer
  • Forensic accountant

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s Program in Taxation?

An online Master of Taxation program is ideal for working professionals because it gives you the opportunity to advance your knowledge while maintaining a steady income. Online courses are highly flexible, giving you the benefits of a full-time education with a part-time commitment.

The asynchronous structure of online courses allows you to watch lectures, complete assignments, and participate in class discussions at your convenience. You’ll still need to dedicate time to studying so you can take full advantage of everything the program has to offer. Most students enrolled in Northeastern University’s Online MST program commit between 15 and 20 hours per week to studying.

In addition to core courses designed to strengthen your foundational knowledge of tax law, you can also choose a concentration. Depending on your career goals, you can choose between a focus on the taxation of entities or individuals. Course highlights include:


  • Financial Planning for Investments: This course investigates the reporting of uncertain positions and the accounting treatment of current and deferred income tax liabilities and expenses.
  • Federal Tax Issues and Analysis: This course examines the basis of tax authority and emphasizes property transactions and the resulting tax treatment.
  • Tax Accounting for Income Taxes: In this course, students survey how investment products can be used for financial planning.


Whether you choose to study taxation or accounting, you’ll find many job opportunities awaiting you. As an experienced professional, you likely have some idea of the type of degree you would like to pursue. But if you’re still on the fence, consider utilizing the resources available to you to make your decision easier.

Check out the full curriculum of the 100% online Master of Science in Taxation program from Northeastern University to learn more.


Sources – MST Salary and Career Facts – Top Paying Accounting Jobs