By Craig Osborne
The Siena School of Business will be offering a Masters degree in Accounting starting in the fall 2009 semester. Siena received state approval and is in the finishing touches in finalizing the program. A big reason the program was started was the new requirements to sit for the CPA exam. Starting on August 1, 2009 all accounting students that want to receive New York State CPA certification will need 150 credit hours, which was previously 120 credit hours. There are certain classes that are required to satisfy the credit hour requirement. The best thing about this, is Siena has it set up with the state boards so if you have a certain degree from Siena, they know that you have taken the required classes needed to sit for the CPA exam.
The additional 30 credit hours consist of 24 required and 6 elective hours including internships. The internships will help students gain valuable work experience. Seniors in May ’09 will start taking masters classes this semester and graduate in May ’10. In the future there will be multiple points of entry. Some seniors will be able to take classes beginning the spring of their senior year while still completing their bachelor’s degree. It is the programs hope to have some students finish up the program in December and be able to enter the workforce just in time for busy season. Everybody’s situation is different and if you are interested in pursuing the program you should make an appointment with Professor Gene Farley.
Siena students get first priority to the masters program. The program will be opened up to other schools after all possible Siena students are accepted. Just because you go to Siena doesn’t mean you are in the program though. A minimum overall GPA of 3.1 is required; you must also have at least four B’s in the core accounting classes, which is currently of ACCT 300, 305, 340, 350 and ACCT 400. After 2010 ACCT 400 will drop out of the core and be replaced by ACCT 370 Accounting Systems.
The GMAT is waived for Siena students, not for students from other colleges. There is no application fee for Siena students. There will be a fee for outside students. The tuition will be exactly the same as the undergraduate tuition. Normally graduate programs are funded by loans and not by financial aid. The Stafford loan is increased when you are pursuing a graduate program to $8,500 subsidized and $12,000 unsubsidized. Subsidized loans do not incur interest while in school and based on financial need while unsubsidized loans incur interest during school and are not based on financial need. Everyone’s financial aid situation is different and should discuss this with the financial aid office. Juniors should be expecting to apply over the summer, this way they will know if they are accepted by the fall semester and will be ready to start some classes in the spring semester. Graduate student housing is being discussed and it is the hope for this to be available in the future. This program is a big plus for Siena students and its accounting program.