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UConn’s Online Master’s in Accounting Ranked No. 3 by U.S. News

January, 8, 2015 By: Claire Hall, School of Business

A report released Jan. 7 by U.S. News & World Report ranked the UConn School of Business’ online Master of Science in Accounting program No. 3 in the nation.

The highly competitive program, which typically draws up to 200 students each year, was recognized as one of 2015’s Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA programs). UConn tied for third place in the ranking with Arizona State. Indiana University and the University of Texas at Dallas filled the top slots.

“Our master’s degree in accounting program is highly regarded, well established, and committed to meeting the needs of accounting professionals, as indicated by its strong enrollment,” says John A. Elliott, dean of the School of Business.

“The leadership team is committed to excellence and a process of continuous improvement,” Elliott says. “We are delighted that U.S. News and World Report recognized the success of our efforts and of our students.”

The No. 3 ranking is the program’s highest since U.S. News first published its rankings of online degree programs in 2012 (it was rated No. 8 nationally in 2013). Ongoing efforts to improve the program may explain its rise, says Amy Dunbar, professor and academic director of the MS in Accounting and Accounting Certificate Program.

“U.S. News focuses on characteristics like course design, instructor qualifications, student/instructor interaction, and student retention,” she says. “We have invested time and money on all those fronts.”

A course designer works with the program instructors to develop learning objectives and instructional materials to help meet them. At the end of every trimester, the students complete a survey to ascertain whether they achieved the learning objectives, and the survey includes a question about how to improve the courses.

“We have an ongoing loop of feedback and redesign,” Dunbar says.

Students from 19 states are currently enrolled in the program. Its fastest-growing segment is experienced, licensed CPAs who are looking to become more current and obtain new skills.

Michael Ziebka is a CPA and managing partner at Budwitz & Meyerjack in Farmington, Conn., who will complete his degree work in April. With 31 years of accounting experience, he said he was looking for an exceptional program that would challenge him.

He says the program went way beyond his expectations. “There were courses on forensic accounting, non-profit and governmental work, contemporary accounting theory, and much more. … The program delved into senior-level accounting and extremely advanced issues.”

The flexible online format enabled Ziebka to complete the classwork and tests around his work schedule, as well as learn with students from across the country.

“The talent of the faculty and the quality of the curriculum is fantastic. I tell everyone in my field about this program. I feel like its ambassador,” he says. “To be No. 3 is an honor, but a well-deserved honor. I think the program will be the undisputed No. 1 before long.”

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