Corporate and financial fraud is on the rise. The only hero fit for the job? Forensic accountants. Earn an online Master’s in Forensic Accounting and tackle fraud right and left.
Before the early 2000s, forensic accounting didn’t really exist. But with efforts like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the field took off. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act essentially holds CEOs of companies personally responsible for all financial accuracies. It comes down hard on financial fraud and makes it easier to sniff out not-so-legal business dealings.
Forensic accountants are the men and women who keep those businesses accountable. Not all crime looks the same. Not all crime-stoppers look the same, either. If you earn an online Master’s in Forensic Accounting, you’ll be a superhero with a calculator.
What is an Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting?
Forensic accountants are the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system. They aren’t flashing badges or chasing down criminals on foot. Very much the contrary, in fact. They are poring over spreadsheets and piecing together money trails. They are uncovering wire fraud and spotting illegal financial loopholes.
Forensic accounting brings together a mix of a few different careers: criminal justice, accounting, business, ethics, and more. Wondering if this field is right for you? Basically, you need to possess both a meticulous eye for detail and a big-picture perspective.
The curriculum in the Master’s in Financial Accounting degree will be highly specialized. These programs assume you already have a handle on foundational accounting practices. Now you’re ready for the good stuff.
How much can you earn with an Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting?
By earning an advanced degree in the field of forensic accounting, you’re securing access to a lucrative salary. With specialized knowledge comes higher pay—that’s just a given.
The average forensic accountant can make around $91,000 per year. But that number could be much higher, depending on where and how long you work. For example, right now a forensic accountant working at the FBI makes closer to $99,000 per year.
More good news: the demand for forensic accountants will only increase. As of now, accountants are expected to see a 10 percent increase in job outlook.
What is required for an Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting?
Online learning makes a Master’s in Forensic Accounting accessible and affordable. Most of these programs can be completed in just one year, start to finish. While you’re in the application process, here are a few admissions requirements you may encounter:
- GRE / GMAT scores
- GPA minimum (between 3.0 and 4.0)
- At least 1 year work experience
- Application fees
If you’re worried about a few of these requirements, don’t end your search! They range wildly from school to school. Some don’t require GRE & GMAT scores. Others waive the application fee. Even others are open to students without any accounting experience! Take a look at each school and see what fits with your specific situation.
One thing you can count on with each program is around 30-40 total credits to graduate. Some programs include Forensic Accounting as a concentration, while others feature it as a full degree. Regardless, at each of these ten schools you’re guaranteed a quality education.
What are the Best Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
- Tuition: $8,217(in state) / $8,217(out of state)
- Degree can be completed in 1 year
- Generous transfer policy (up to 50% of credits)
- Flat-rate $250/credit tuition for military students
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.40%Admission Rate30%Programs offered online23
Program LevelMedian Debt$34,312Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School6.20%100%OSR Score
A giant of online education, Liberty University leaps to the front for its online MS in Accounting. Students can specialize in Forensic Accounting and take four related specialty courses within the 30-credit degree. Some course examples include Fraud Examination and Financial Fraudulent Reporting.
- Tuition: $16,866(in state) / $16,866(out of state)
- Generous transfer policy and transfer partnerships
- More lenient GPA minimum requirement (2.5 rather than 3.0)
- Military students benefit from Yellow Ribbon program
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedPrograms offered online7
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School11.90%91%OSR Score
Students will earn an online MS in Accounting at Strayer University with the opportunity to also earn a concentration in Forensic Accounting. This concentration includes three career-specific courses, including Emerging Auditing Technologies and Fraud Prevention & Detection. Overall, the degree covers 12 courses.
Southern New Hampshire University
- Tuition: $18,810(in state) / $18,810(out of state)
- No GRE or GMAT required for admission
- 25% tuition discount for military students & spouses
- Courses divided into accelerated 10-week segments
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.60%Admission Rate78%Programs offered online43
Program LevelMedian Debt$41,000Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School3.50%82%OSR Score
The online MS in Accounting with a concentration in Forensic Accounting is made up of 12-13 total courses. This 36-credit program covers both the foundational business materials, but also dives deeper into courses like Financial Reporting and Legal Aspects of Fraud. You can finish this degree in around 15 months.
New England College of Business and Finance
- Tuition: $18,210(in state) / $18,210(out of state)
- Awarded a “Top Military-Friendly” designation
- Program can be completed in 1-2 years
- No additional online fees
School WideStudent Satisfaction82.80%Programs offered online3
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School< 1%71%OSR Score
The MS in Accounting – Forensic Accounting at New England College is a fully online, 40-credit program. The curriculum covers everything from Fraud Risk Management to Litigation Services. Additionally, the coursework covers the 150-hour preparation requirement for the CPA exam.
West Virginia University
- Tuition: $9,450(in state) / $24,390(out of state)
- Same in- and out-of-state tuition rates
- 6 out of the 10 total courses devoted to Forensic Accounting
- GMAT waived if you have work experience
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.80%Admission Rate72%Programs offered online8
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School< 1%70%OSR Score
West Virginia University will more than prepare you for an accounting career with its online MS in Forensic & Fraud Examination degree. This program stands out for its experiential learning component and two two-day residencies. The curriculum specializes in forensics and offers key courses in business.