Master of Accounting or Management Information Systems degree?

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Students who want to further their business education should carefully consider what they want their future career paths to look like and examine the option of going back to school.

After completing an online Bachelor of Science degree, some students might consider pursuing a higher degree upon graduation. The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers three master’s degree programs that are 100 percent online:

• Master of Business Administration
• Master of Accounting
• Master of Science in Management Information Systems

Students who majored in accounting or information systems during their undergraduate years can broaden their knowledge base and skill set through any of these online master’s degree programs. The Bachelor of Science in Accounting and the Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems programs share many of the same lower level and upper level courses, differing in only the accounting and information systems core courses, respectively.

Students with either of these undergraduate degrees could benefit from pursuing a Master’s in Management Information Systems or a Master of Accounting. Which one is right for you? Read on to explore the nuances of each program and career path:

MIS student coding on his laptop at home.

What you’ll learn in the MS MIS program

A Master’s in Management Information Systems program gives students the knowledge they need to excel in the world of business technology. Core classes would include:

• Introduction to Cyber Security
• Information Technology and Business Strategy
• IT Governance and Management
• Social Media & Virtual Communities
• Data Science for Business
• IT Project Management

These courses explain the importance of cyber security and information technology, as well as best practices and ethical considerations when using resources and tools to a business’s advantage. They also explore the world of social media and teach students how to cut through the noise so they can utilize these platforms correctly to benefit their organizations.

From there, students choose between either a cyber security or an IT management concentration. The cyber security management track teaches students how to view networks from the viewpoint of a hacker looking for vulnerabilities, as well as how to identify and track the source of a cyber crime, how to respond to cyber security incidents, and more.

The IT management track explores concepts like website analytics and identifying and responding to computer-related incidents within a business. Students will also take a Leadership in IT course and a Technology Planning & Capital Budgeting course, which will discuss how to make strategic decisions regarding investing in information technology resources.

Career outcomes of the MS MIS program

Students who earn an MIS graduate degree could have many opportunities in front of them. Some can go on to become a manager of information systems or information technology security. Information systems managers assist in determining objectives for an organization and then implement the computer systems needed to reach those goals. IT security managers focus on keeping business information secure. They’re tasked with identifying threats, detecting intrusions, and maintaining IT infrastructure.

People with an MIS graduate degree may also work up to becoming the Chief Information Officer or the Chief Technology Officer of a company. These high-level roles oversee IT and technological efforts in the organization and help guide strategy to best serve the business.

What you’ll learn in the Master of Accounting program

The Master of Accounting program puts students on the right track to pursue a career in accounting. Core classes would include:

• Business Law for Accountants
• Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting
• Advanced Financial Accounting
• Current Topics in Financial Accounting
• Corporate Governance
• Advanced Auditing and Attestation
• Tax Entities

Through these classes, students learn the best practices, laws, and regulations surrounding accounting in various entities, from for-profit businesses to governmental groups to not-for-profit organizations. They will also get to know regulatory bodies like the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the IRS, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Unlike the MS MIS program, the Master of Accounting curriculum doesn’t include specific concentrations, but students need to take 9 credit hours of electives, or three elective courses, to complete their degrees. Students can choose from 15 course options, including financial accounting, international accounting, auditing, forensic accounting, and business process management.

Career outcomes of the Master of Accounting program

After graduating from the Master of Accounting program, students are well-equipped to begin preparing for the Certified Public Accountant exam or the Certified Management Accountant exam. These designations can build upon the Master of Accounting degree to further boost someone’s career opportunities.

People who earn the Master of Accounting degree can become lead accountants, financial analysts, budget analysts, or financial managers. Some become CPAs, Chief Financial Officers or Chief Accounting Officers for businesses. Each of these positions strive to maintain or advance an organization’s or individual’s financial health, though the various roles focus on these goals in different ways or by using different tools. For example, a financial analyst examines investment options, stock market behavior, and business trends to help individuals make informed financial decisions. Meanwhile, a budget analyst helps institutions organize its financial information and prepares reports detailing an institutions’ spending.

University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online master’s programs help graduates get ahead

Whether you decide the Master of Science in Management Information Systems or the online Master’s degree in Accounting is your best option, you’ll be in good hands with the Collat School of Business’s highly acclaimed online programs.

Each course in the MS MIS program is reviewed and adjusted according to a team of information systems and information technology professionals. This ensures the content in the MIS graduate degree program is up-to-date and reflects industry standards. The Master of Accounting Program was one of the first to achieve dual accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

Once you know what type of career you want to pursue with the knowledge you learned during your Bachelor of Science curriculum, you can begin to pursue your graduate degree. To learn more about applying and enrolling, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
Bachelor to Master of Accounting: Is one (or both) right for you?
5 Key characteristics of an effective MIS leader

Sources:
https://businessdegrees.uab.edu/