Best Master's Degrees in Taxation

Oct 19, 2021

What Is a Master's in Taxation Degree?

Those interested in working in tax-related careers may decide to pursue a master's degree in taxation to gain advanced knowledge and skills in the field. Several of these master's programs are specifically designed to prepare students for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure exam in their state. Students interested in earning a master's in taxation can commonly choose from a Master of Taxation (MT) or a Master of Science (MS) in Taxation degree. However, there are several other degree options available, including an MS in Accounting with a concentration in taxation. There are many online master's in taxation programs available, as well as hybrid programs and other formats for flexibility, such as evening courses, to allow students to work while earning their degree.

The Best Masters Degree Programs in Taxation

School Tuition* Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
1 CUNY Bernard M Baruch College $11450 43% 70% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits
2 Thomas Jefferson University $21978 66% 70% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits
3 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo $11377 28% 82% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits
4 Bentley University $39180 47% 90% 83% Yes Yes AP Credits
5 California State University-Northridge $8411 59% 55% 86% Yes Yes AP Credits
6 Villanova University $20606 28% 90% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits
7 University of Washington-Seattle Campus $19293 52% 84% 57% Yes Yes AP Credits
8 SUNY at Albany $13403 54% 63% 85% No Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
9 San Jose State University $9286 64% 64% 73% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
10 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus $8069 67% 52% 82% Yes Yes AP Credits
11 Florida Atlantic University $6693 63% 50% 82% Yes Yes AP Credits
12 California State University-Fullerton $8358 53% 69% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits
13 SUNY College at Old Westbury $12608 78% 48% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
14 Weber State University $8326 No Available Data (2019-2020) 34% 91% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits
15 University of Baltimore $15404 78% 41% 97% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
16 Arizona State University-Tempe $12608 86% 63% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits
17 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities $19221 57% 83% 81% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
18 University of Colorado Boulder $13556 78% 69% 66% Yes Yes AP Credits
19 University of Mississippi $8828 88% 66% 86% Yes Yes AP Credits
20 The University of Texas at Arlington $10248 83% 51% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits
21 Yeshiva University $35100 55% 82% 88% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
22 Mississippi State University $8910 54% 61% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits
23 Georgia State University $9292 76% 55% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits
24 Portland State University $13218 96% 48% 82% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
25 DePaul University $19974 68% 74% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
26 The University of Alabama $10780 83% 71% 79% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
27 Northern Illinois University $11280 48% 49% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits
28 University of North Texas $7788 74% 56% 82% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
29 University of Akron Main Campus $9711 73% 46% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
30 University of New Orleans $9108 56% 42% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
31 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis $9947 81% 50% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits
32 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus $14468 77% 71% 75% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
33 Le Moyne College $16674 74% 74% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits
34 Suffolk University $39477 84% 58% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
35 Goldey-Beacom College $20106 57% 58% 100% No Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits
36 American University $31113 36% 79% 75% No Yes AP Credits
37 Gonzaga University $17096 62% 85% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits
38 St John's University-New York $28909 72% 63% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
39 University of Southern California $47107 11% 92% 69% Yes Yes AP Credits
40 Grand Valley State University $17208 83% 67% 87% Yes Yes AP Credits
41 Pace University $32400 79% 57% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits
42 Robert Morris University $0 84% 65% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
43 Fordham University $35289 46% 83% 90% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits
44 Hofstra University $26134 68% 65% 97% No Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits
45 University of Miami $38908 27% 83% 74% Yes Yes AP Credits
46 Eastern Michigan University $19012 74% 46% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits
47 Long Island University $23440 80% 46% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
48 University of Denver $51639 59% 77% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits
49 University of San Diego $27762 49% 81% 82% Yes Yes AP Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit's ranking methodology page.

*Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Common Undergraduate Degrees for Taxation

Applicants to master's programs in taxation do not usually need to have a degree in any particular field. However, it may be more common for applicants to have a background in accounting or another business-related field, as they already have an interest or some knowledge of taxes. Students with a background in accounting or business could be at a slight advantage in these master's programs, as an additional prerequisite course may be required for those who have not taken an undergraduate or graduate course in a specific subject, such as financial reporting.

Admissions Requirements for Taxation Master's Programs

Standards for admission vary amongst different institutions, but in general, master's programs in taxation require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree, usually in any field. Several master's programs in taxation do not require applicants to have GRE or GMAT test scores, but some suggest students who have a GPA below a specific threshold to take the GMAT to boost their consideration for admission.

The admissions process can look different at different schools. Some prefer students to contact an admissions counselor to walk through the process with, while others allow students to apply online. Typically, students will need to submit their transcripts with their application, as well as extra materials like recommendations, a resume, and a goal statement.

Why Should I Get a Taxation Master's Degree?

Earning a master's degree in taxation prepares students for professional credentials in the field and helps them advance their career and knowledge. However, students may struggle when determining whether a master's degree in taxation is the right kind of degree and should consider their ultimate career goals.

For instance, students may be trying to decide between a Master of Taxation vs. a Master of Accounting. A Master of Accounting generally includes broader, additional knowledge of the field of accounting, while taxation programs are more specific to careers working with only taxes.

Students may also choose a master's in taxation over a Master of Business Administration (MBA) if they do not want the broader, business administration-based knowledge the MBA offers.

Students interested in combining their interest in law may consider a Master of Laws (LLM) in Taxation vs. a master's in taxation to get more detailed law knowledge.

How to Choose a Master's in Taxation Program

Once students have determined that a master's degree in taxation is the right degree for them, they should begin to compare programs. The format could be a deciding factor and students should consider whether full- or part-time formats meets their scheduling needs. Flexible learning options, such as online or hybrid, allows students to work and take classes when they can.

Program length may be a factor as well, and students should judge whether a program fits into their personal schedule and goals, as they can range from 9 to 24 months. Finally, students need to think about any unique learning opportunities, such as project-based courses or capstone experiences, as well as financial aid options or other learning resources.

Master's in Taxation Program Accreditation

In addition to usually being offered from regionally accredited institutions, master's programs in taxation often have program accreditation from business-related organizations. This industry-specific accreditation can be preferred by employers, as it indicates that the program has met academic standards that are business-related.

Taxation master's programs are commonly accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). In addition to this program-level accreditation, some programs align their curriculum with standards from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and/or specifically design their curriculum to prepare students for their state's CPA exam.

Taxation Master's Degree Courses

Master's programs in taxation can range from 30 to 36 credits of coursework. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as 9 months, but usually full-time students can finish in 1 to 1.5 years, while part-time students take closer to 2 years to finish. Students typically take core courses and elective courses in the field of taxation. Depending on the program, some conclude with a culminating experience to help students apply what they have learned. Read on to explore different course topics for these programs.

Taxation Foundational Courses

Students may take between 6 and 8 core courses in taxation to learn main concepts and foundational skills in the field. These courses generally explore different types of taxes and give students an overview of what is included, laws and policies concerning the tax area, and how to report and handle these different taxes from an accounting perspective. Although it is not overly common, some master's programs in taxation conclude with a final capstone course that summarizes the content learned throughout the program and allows students to apply the skills they have acquired. Course titles are unique to the school, but students in master's programs in taxation are likely to take courses in topics such as:

  • Individual tax
  • Corporate taxation
  • Partnership taxation
  • Tax procedure
  • Federal tax research
  • Estate, trusts, and planning

Taxation Specialist & Elective Courses

Many master's programs in taxation allow students to round out their degree with some elective courses. Students can usually choose electives from an approved list that are designed to explore additional types of taxes or other areas of interest within the field. Some examples of possible elective courses for these programs include:

  • Charitable gift planning
  • State and local tax
  • Consolidated tax returns
  • Accounting for income taxes
  • Estate and gift taxation
  • Problems in taxation
  • International taxation

Licensure & Certification in Taxation

Licensure and certification requirements for graduates with a master's in taxation varies by the position and what type of career a student wants. Some graduates will go on to take the CPA exam offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This is a 4-part exam that students must complete within 18 months of taking the first part of the exam.

Although requirements to take the exam vary by state, all states require that students have at least 150 hours of college coursework. Once students have earned their CPA license, they must complete continuing education to maintain it. CPAs can also pursue additional credentials that are specific to their area of work, such as the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certification.

Post-Graduate Options After Master's in Taxation

Typically, students who would like to continue their education beyond a master's degree will not find many doctoral degree programs specifically in taxation. However, there are many doctoral degree programs available in accounting. Some of these are offered as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs and can take between 4 and 5 years to complete. Students in these programs gain advanced accounting knowledge and conduct research projects in the field. Graduates can take on positions in academia, research, or advanced leadership and management.

What Can I Do with a Taxation Master's Degree?

Career choices usually do not change too much with the different types of taxation master's degrees. For instance, Master of Science in Taxation jobs are essentially the same as MT jobs. Most often, graduates work in a tax- or accounting-related career.

Students can work for local, state, or the federal government, public or private organizations, and more. It is common for careers in this field to be busy at different points of the year, especially during tax season. Typically, students working in these areas work full-time and need to be organized and detail-oriented as they work with various tax and financial forms. These professionals also need to have great communication, math, and analytical skills. Some potential job titles include:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Tax examiner and collector
  • Revenue agent
  • Tax manager
  • Tax advisor
  • Tax law advisor
  • Financial investigator

Job Outlook for a Master's in Taxation

The job prospects for graduates with a master's degree in taxation varies by position. Graduates of these programs have very specific skill sets in the field of taxation and could have trouble finding a career that perfectly matches their personal interests. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some careers for taxation graduates have a positive outlook, while other positions are in decline.

For example, the job outlook for accountants and auditors was 4% from 2019 to 2029, while the job outlook for tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents was -4% over the same time period. Four percent is the average growth for careers, and CPAs likely have the best job prospects. Competition for tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is fierce, but jobs are more stable at the state and local levels.

How to Become a Tax Examiner, Collector, and Revenue Agent

Education requirements vary by employer and position, but in general, tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents need to have at least a bachelor's degree, commonly in accounting or another business-related field. Most of these positions also need to have some prior work experience and/or specialized experience in the field.

For instance, tax examiners usually need some experience in tax compliance, auditing, or accounting. Tax examiners working for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) need to have at least 1 year of this specialized experience. It is also very common for these professionals to complete some formal and/or on-the-job training to learn the ins and outs of their specific position.

Tax examiners typically handle individual tax returns, while revenue agents handle for larger businesses and corporations. Revenue agents usually work for the government and check returns for accuracy. Collectors work to settle the debt of any overdue tax accounts. They work closely with the taxpayer to determine a method of settling the debt, such as a payment plan. As of 2019, the BLS reported that tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents made a median annual salary of $54,890.

How to Become an Accountant and Auditor

A bachelor's degree is also typically the minimum requirement for accountants and auditors, but master's degrees are sometimes preferred by employers. These professionals usually hold a degree in various areas of accounting, such as tax accounting or forensic accounting, or another closely related field, like business administration. Internship experiences are common in the field to help students gain practical experience with public accounting firms or other organizations. In addition to the CPA credential, other professional credentials are available for these professionals, such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential.

There are several different types of accountants and auditors, including public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors, and information technology auditors. The job duties vary for these different positions, but in general, accountants and auditors are responsible for carefully evaluating financial records to check for accuracy and efficiency. Accountants and auditors may also provide solutions to problems and ways to increase efficiency, ensure that taxes are paid and comply with regulations, and maintain financial records. According to the BLS, accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $71,550.

Master's in Taxation Program Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources

For students who need help paying for their master's degree in taxation, there are several different forms of financial aid available. Students can check their eligibility for state and federal loans and grants through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Scholarships and grants are often preferred, as scholarships do not need to be repaid. Grants and scholarship awards are available from schools, organizations specific to the subject matter, and other outside organizations. Qualifications and award amounts vary greatly, so students will need to do their research. In the case of master's students wishing to study taxation, there are some schools that offer scholarships for the field, including:

  • California State University, Northridge- Students in CSUN's MS in Taxation program may earn one of several partial scholarships for the program that are awarded based on students' academic excellence. The school also provides students with links to a range of other accounting-related scholarships that are available.
  • Villanova University- As of Fall 2021, Villanova is offering scholarships to students entering the on-campus Master of Taxation program. Students apply for the awards along with their admissions application.
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