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Question: Are There Online Master’s in Accounting Programs That Do Not Require Applicants to Submit GMAT Scores or That Will Waive the GMAT Requirement?

Answer: Yes, there are online master’s in accounting programs that do not require the submission of GMAT test scores, as well as programs that will grant a GMAT waiver to qualified applicants. Some programs accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT and other programs do not require applicants to submit any standardized test scores. Many online master’s in accounting programs will waive the GMAT requirement for applicants who meet one or more of several criteria, which may include a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification, a graduate degree in business or another relevant discipline, and/or several years of professional experience in the field of accounting.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a standardized, four-part examination administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit organization of business schools. The four-part exam takes three-and-a-half hours to complete and is designed to measure analytical writing, integrated reasoning, verbal, and quantitative skills. Since the 1950s, various iterations of the GMAT have been used by business schools to asses applicants to MBA programs and other graduate degree programs in business, including master’s in accounting programs. However, the GMAT is just one of several metrics schools may rely on to assess candidates, and there are many business schools and accounting programs that either do not require the GMAT or that will extend a GMAT waiver to qualified applicants, and some master’s in accounting programs will accept the GRE in lieu of GMAT.

Admissions to Online Master’s in Accounting Programs

Scores from standardized tests such as the GMAT and GRE are just one of the metrics used by admissions boards to assess applicants. Online masters’ in accounting programs that do not require the submission of test scores rely on a number of other factors to determine a candidate’s eligibility for the program. These include:

  • Undergraduate program transcripts and a candidate’s cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Professional work experience in accounting or a related field
  • Post-graduate training, degrees, and certifications in accounting, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential
  • Two or three letters of recommendation from professors, instructors, and/or mentors
  • A personal goals statement
  • Written answers to one or more essay questions
  • A short video-conference interview

Online Master’s in Accounting Prerequisites

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, it is not uncommon for online master’s in accounting programs to have a list of undergraduate course prerequisites that applicants must complete prior to admission. These prerequisites may include advanced mathematics, introductory economics, and/or business courses. While applicants are typically not required to have majored in accounting, some programs are designed for students who have already completed introductory coursework in accounting, including courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, and/or auditing. Prospective applicants to an accounting program should inquire with a program administrator to determine whether or not they need to take additional courses prior to initiating the application process.

Obtaining a GMAT Waiver

Online master’s in accounting programs that require the GMAT may extend waivers to applicants who meet certain qualifications. The qualifying factors differ by program, but they fall into several categories: undergraduate GPA; professional experience; advanced degrees; and professional certifications. Typically, an applicant must have undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, several years of relevant professional experience, and/or a master’s or doctoral degree to qualify for a GMAT waiver. Applicants who have successfully completed the CPA exam for Certified Public Accountants, or who hold a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) credential may also be eligible for a GMAT waiver.

Programs that offer GMAT waivers usually provide applicants with a waiver form that must be submitted with their application. Potential applicants should note that some programs that offer a GMAT waiver may not guarantee the waiver even if applicants meet the waiver requirements. It is the applicant’s responsibility to apply for a waiver, after which a program may accept or reject the request. If a waiver is not granted, applicants must then complete the GMAT and GRE and submit their scores prior to acceptance by the program.

Online Master’s in Accounting Program GMAT Policies

As noted above, admissions criteria and policies for online master’s in accounting programs vary by school and by program. Admissions committees may also change their requirements over time. For example, some online master’s in accounting programs that used to require the GMAT no longer require that applicants submit standardized test scores. The following three programs provide a representative overview of policies regarding the GMAT for online master’s in accounting programs.

No GMAT/GRE Requirement: The University of Scranton has an online Master of Accountancy program that does not require applicants to submit scores from the GMAT or the GRE. The program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting or who majored in business as undergraduates and completed intermediate-level accounting courses. The program also accepts students who are currently working as professional accountants. Applicants must have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a 3.0 or higher GPA in undergraduate accounting courses. In addition to college transcripts and a professional résumé, applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation.

GMAT/GRE Waiver Policy: Applicants to the online Master of Science in Accounting program offered by St. John’s University can submit either GMAT or GRE test scores, along with undergraduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a professional goals statement, and a current résumé. But the program has a waiver policy regarding the GMAT and GRE. Waivers may be granted to applicants who hold an undergraduate or a graduate degree in business from a school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), as well as to candidates who have professional experience in business accounting, and candidates who have passed a relevant certification exam, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

GMAT or the GRE Accepted (with Possible Waiver): The online Master of Science in Accounting program offered by the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University allows applicants to submit either GMAT or GRE test scores. The program’s admissions committee requires applicants to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and minimum scores of 152 on the GRE’s quantitative and verbal sections or a minimum score of 500 on the GMAT. However, the GMAT/GRE requirement can be waived for applicants who meet one or more of the following criteria: an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher; completion of a Stillman School of Business graduate certificate within the last five years with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher; successful completion of a certification exam (CPA or CFA); and five years of qualifying professional experience in a relevant field.


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