University careers follow many different paths, and the pursuit of a degree in accounting is no different. While accountants don’t require more than a bachelor’s degree in accounting to find work, some students pursue further education at a master's level to boost their job prospects. However, a master's degree in mathematics isn't necessarily the natural next step after completing a bachelor of science in accounting.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting Overview
Many schools in the United States offer a four-year Bachelor of Science, or BS, degree in accounting that prepares students for careers as accountants or auditors. These programs have some basic math requirements, of course, since accounting is a number’s game, but most BS degrees also prepare accountants and auditors for business management. Core courses usually include basic college courses in English, math, humanities and sciences. Because accounting is a BS degree, most programs will include mandatory science courses.
Account Specific Course
Accounting BS programs also usually require a series of mandatory classes to prepare students for careers in finance and accounting. These include courses specific to accounting, covering subjects like taxation in addition to core accounting fundamentals. Most BS accounting programs also have required management, statistics and computing courses to round out the BS. While these programs prepare you to work as an accountant, they don’t offer the fundamental math skills required for a masters in math. BS programs allow fewer electives than Bachelor of Arts programs, which means you won’t be able to use your electives to complete requirements for entry into a master's in mathematics.
No accounting programs will give you enough mathematics courses to prepare you for master's level study in mathematics. The math master's at Berkeley, for example, specifically looks for students who have completed undergraduate degrees in mathematics. Math master's degrees focus on advanced math and build on skills acquired in undergraduate studies. A master's in math typically has a different end result than a BS in accounting, too. Master's students may go on to be high-school teachers or junior college instructors, or they might proceed to a doctoral program in math.
Setting Yourself Up
If your desire is to complete a BS in accounting and then transition into a master's program in math, look carefully at your desired master's programs before beginning your BS. Most courses outline the specific prerequisites, and you may be able to take extra courses during your BS in accounting to fulfill the entry requirements for a master's program. This will mean extra work on your part, beyond the expectations of your B.S., but if your heart is set on a master's in math, you may be able to add courses on to your BS in such a way as to meet the prerequisites.
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