What’s new about Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting?
What’s new about Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting?
What’s new about Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting?

As of Jan. 1, 2024, the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination — more commonly known as the CPA Exam — will undergo several updates and alterations based on the newest trends, laws, regulations, and changes in the field of accounting. This is known as the CPA Evolution initiative.

At Maryville University, we’re dedicated to ensuring our learners get the most relevant, up-to-date education possible. In fact, we have already updated the curriculum in our online Master of Science in Accounting program to focus on preparing our students to be tomorrow’s leaders in this evolving field. We’ve also added three new tracks coming in 2022 and 2023 to help prepare students for trending and future-focused opportunities in accounting.

What does all that mean for people hoping to earn their advanced degrees and move forward in accounting? Check out the information below — or schedule a call to discuss how Maryville can help you prepare for the next step in your career and the future of this field.

Accounting professional working on laptop

Maryville Online can prepare you for CPA Exam success

The changes in the CPA Exam and across the accounting field present unique opportunities for brave learners hoping to plan the next steps in their careers. If you’re ready to explore the future of accounting, we’re here to help. Here’s how:

  • Learn from an updated, redesigned curriculum focused on the CPA Evolution CPA Exam.
  • Choose from three new specializations that correspond with CPA Evolution’s three disciplines.
  • Graduate in as few as 10 months, or benefit from our bridge program if you don’t have an accounting background.
  • Prepare for the CPA exam with Becker CPA preparation classes and a curriculum designed to keep up with the latest trends, changes, and developments.
  • Apply with no GRE/GMAT requirement and benefit from transfer credit-friendly admission.
  • Study on your terms with 100% online flexibility and no campus visits required.

What is the CPA Evolution initiative/CPA Evolution CPA Exam?

The field of accounting is always changing, and so is the CPA Exam. The next major change is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, with the CPA Evolution initiative. This update involves some alterations to the test’s infrastructure and delivery, but it also includes significant changes that affect candidates more directly — namely, updates to the content and material featured, as well as how candidates’ performance is assessed.

Here are some of the broad changes, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA):

  • Updating how research and critical thinking skills are assessed
  • Removing the essay portion (the “Written Communication Task”)
  • Replacing adaptive testing with a linear model for the multiple-choice section
  • Introducing the notion of the “core + discipline licensure model”
  • Infrastructure updates, such as replacing the Excel spreadsheet with a JavaScript-based alternative

How does the CPA Evolution CPA Exam compare to the current Uniform CPA Exam?

The structure of CPA testing is changing. But what does that mean for you? Here’s a brief overview of some of the differences between the current Uniform CPA Exam, which will remain in place until the end of 2023, and the CPA Evolution CPA Exam, which will replace it in 2024.

  • Required core sections. CPA Evolution will require all candidates to test in three “core” areas: Accounting, Auditing and Attestation, and Taxation. The current version of the CPA Exam (through Dec. 31, 2023) requires four sections.
  • Disciplines and flexibility. CPA Evolution adds a new “discipline” section, where candidates take a deeper dive in their choice of one of three areas: Business Analytics and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).
  • New multiple-choice format. CPA Evolution features a linear multiple-choice model, replacing the previous iteration’s adaptive model, based on more modern trends and expectations in assessment.
  • No written component. CPA Evolution drops the written component/essay question that was featured in previous iterations of the CPA Exam.

Maryville’s online MS in Accounting curriculum is up to date and future-focused

At Maryville University, we design our degree programs around your goals, your future, and your career outcomes. For our MS in Accounting, that means refocusing the curriculum to fit the new format and standards coming with the CPA Evolution initiative.

We rebuilt our curriculum and our bridge program from the ground up, so you can go where you want in accounting — whether you’re a seasoned accountant or a professional looking for a new career in the field. Here’s a look at how.

New accounting core coursework (15 credit hours)

Under the CPA Evolution CPA Exam, each candidate will take the same three core tests, centering on Accounting, Audit and Attestation, and Taxation. To help you prepare, we overhauled our curriculum to focus on these essential functions of the accounting profession. Build your competency and confidence through courses like:

  • Ethics
  • Accounting Research and Communications
  • Advanced Accounting, Not for Profit and Data Analytics
  • Advanced Tax Foundations
  • Advanced Audit and AIS

Three new specializations (15 credit hours)

In the new CPA Exam model, all candidates take the same three core tests, but each candidate chooses to test competency in one of three disciplines. The discipline test section requires candidates to display a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the chosen area. At Maryville, you’ll have the opportunity to delve deeply into the discipline of your choice by selecting one of our three new specializations:

  • Business Analytics and Reporting
  • Information Systems and Controls (coming Spring 2023)
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (coming Fall 2023)

Each specialization corresponds with a discipline on the CPA Exam, so you can build the comprehensive knowledge and skills to excel in this portion of the examination process.

Want to learn more about Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting, including career outcomes, curriculum info, and admission requirements? Check out our program page.

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What if I don’t have a background in accounting?

At Maryville, we welcome seasoned accountants as well as newcomers to the field. If you’re not experienced in accounting, we invite you to participate in our bridge program (39-45 credit hours), which can help you build your foundations and prepare for graduate-level coursework.*

In anticipation of the updated CPA Evolution CPA Exam and requirements in each CPA jurisdiction, we’ve updated our bridge program to add an emphasis in areas such as principles of taxation, financial data analytics, and accounting information systems (AIS). Depending on where you plan on practicing, you may also be able take additional business elective courses.

*Note: Even students who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting must meet all bridge program requirements. Students may use transfer credits from an accredited university to fulfill bridge program requirements.

Frequently asked questions

  • A certified public accountant, or CPA, is a higher-level type of accountant who has shown extra initiative to pursue further education and licensure.
    Although you can become an accountant in most areas with just a bachelor’s degree, earning your CPA licensure might require you to earn a graduate degree, complete additional field requirements, and/or pass the CPA Exam.
    Becoming a CPA is a rigorous process, but accountants who pass the CPA Exam and meet their jurisdiction’s requirements can often command higher salaries or pursue more prestigious positions than those who hold only a college degree.

  • The CPA Exam, developed by the AICPA, is the test administered to accounting professionals who hope to become CPAs. By passing the CPA Exam, you earn the opportunity to pursue licensure as a certified public accountant in your jurisdiction.

    The CPA Exam is a distinct credential from any academic degrees you may earn. In other words, earning your bachelor’s or master’s in accounting won’t necessarily qualify you to become a CPA. However, graduate-level accounting degree programs can help you build the skills and knowledge you need to sit for the CPA Exam. For example, Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting features official Becker CPA Review courses designed to help you build your skills and competencies in each of the exam’s four areas, so you can approach the CPA Exam with confidence.

  • The “core + discipline licensure model” refers to one of many changes to the CPA Exam going into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. Under this model, CPA licensure candidates all take the same three “core” tests (Accounting, Auditing and Attestation, and Taxation). Then, each candidate selects one of three “discipline” areas in which to display a stronger, deeper understanding of a key subject. The three disciplines are:

    Business Analytics and Reporting (BAR)

    Information Systems and Controls (ISC)

    Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)

    Note that Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Accounting features three specializations corresponding to the CPA Exam’s three disciplines.

  • Based on feedback the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and AICPA received from accounting employers, the new CPA Exam will focus on skills and competencies like these:*

    • Critical thinking
    • Professional judgment/skepticism
    • Problem-solving
    • Understanding of the business (including systems, controls and risk)
    • Data management and analysis
    • Performance of System and Organization Controls (SOC) engagements


Apply to the online Master of Science in Accounting program at Maryville University.

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