Are you a student torn by the masters in taxation vs masters in accounting debate? Taking the time to commit to either field will bring immense benefits for sure, ranging from changing career potentials to enhancing one’s educational credentials.

A master’s degree of either kind is associated with higher salaries and more opportunities, however; this is where it can be hard to decide which path best suits you because the differences between the two fields are quite extensive.

This post aims to help you navigate your way through weighing up both studies so that when you do eventually make that choice—you know what investment you’re making into your future professional success!


Let’s start by defining what these degree programs entail. A Master’s in Accounting degree program is created to hone students’ skills and knowledge in accounting, auditing, and tax regulations. This program aims to provide students with insights into accounting principles and the tax code. On the other hand, a Master’s in Taxation degree program solely focuses on taxation. This program is created to help students acquire an advanced understanding of tax law, regulations, and policies related to individuals and corporations. 


Masters in Taxation teaches you about the ins and outs of taxes, tax laws, and policies. It covers topics such as tax planning, tax compliance, tax research, tax consulting, and more. On the other hand, a Master’s in Accounting is broader and encompasses financial accounting, auditing, managerial accounting, budgeting, information systems, and related fields. So, if you are interested in specializing in taxation, go for the Master in Taxation degree. However, if you are looking for a diverse range of career options, a Master’s in Accounting is your go-to.

Another way to understand the differences between these two programs is to look at the coursework. Typically, a Master’s in Accounting program includes courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, accounting ethics, auditing, and information systems. On the other hand, a Master’s in Taxation program includes courses such as corporate tax, legal issues in taxation, international tax, and estate and gift taxation. 

Career Opportunities

Both degree programs can lead to high-paying career opportunities, but the career paths may vary. Graduates with a Master’s in Accounting can have a wide range of job opportunities such as financial analysts, auditors, forensic accountants, and tax specialists. On the other hand, graduates with a Master’s in Taxation can pursue focused careers such as tax analysts, tax managers, tax accountants, tax consultants, and tax attorneys.

Salary Prospects 

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is around $51,000 while the median salary for accountants and auditors is approximately $71,500. Although the salary prospects may vary by location, experience, and job profile, Masters in Accounting graduates tend to earn more than Masters in Taxation graduates. So, if you are looking for a higher paycheck, then Masters in Accounting is a no-brainer.


Another key difference between these two grad school programs is the admission requirements. Typically, a Master’s in Accounting program requires students to have an undergraduate degree in accounting or business, work experience, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Conversely, a Master’s in Taxation program requires students to have an undergraduate degree in accounting, law, or business and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Some programs offer GRE or GMAT waivers for qualified applicants.

Degree Duration 

The average duration of a Masters in Taxation degree is around one year, whereas the average duration of a Masters in Accounting degree is around two years. If you are short on time and want to finish your degree quickly, then Masters in Taxation is the way to go. However, keep in mind that the duration of the degree does not necessarily dictate the quality of education.

Branding Opportunities

Lastly, branding opportunities can help you differentiate which degree program is the perfect fit for your goals. Some universities have a well-established brand in Accounting, which could be a valuable factor for some students as they search for job opportunities. On the other hand, other universities have strong programs in Taxation, which could open doors to networking opportunities and job outlooks.

How hard it is to get admitted to masters in taxation vs masters in accounting

Getting admitted into a master’s program in taxation is often more difficult than getting accepted into a master’s program in accounting. This is because the courses in taxation require more extensive knowledge of tax law and how to apply it to different situations. Additionally, there are fewer universities that offer masters programs specifically for taxation, so students may have fewer options when applying for admission.

When applying for a master’s degree in either taxation or accounting, you will need to demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency with relevant topics such as financial accounting principles, auditing standards, business law, and income tax regulations. You should also show you have a thorough understanding of any applicable state or federal laws related to the field you are pursuing. Additionally, some schools may take into account your prior work experience and/or internships related to your desired field.

When it comes to getting accepted into a master’s program in taxation, you need to be prepared to make a strong case for why you are qualified for the position. A well-crafted resume, letters of recommendation from former employers or professors, and solid personal statements can all help you get admitted into a master’s program in taxation. Furthermore, many universities require applicants to take certain tests such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). While these tests may not be required for admission into accounting programs, they could be necessary if applying for a tax-related degree.

Overall, getting admitted into a master’s program in taxation is much more difficult than getting accepted into one in accounting. Therefore, applicants need to do their research, craft an impressive resume, and be prepared to take the necessary tests. With the right preparation, applicants can increase their chances of getting admitted into a master’s degree program in taxation.

Parting Words

With so much information to consider between pursuing studies in either accounting or taxation, it’s important for you to do their research and weigh up all pros and cons. Ultimately, the decision between the masters in taxation vs masters in accounting should be based on what will best equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in whichever profession you decide to pursue. If you’re a student interested in exploring grad school options, armed with this knowledge you’ll soon be on your way to making an informed choice! 

To help students achieve their masters dreams we offer a range of application services tailored especially for any stage of their education journey. So why wait? Now is the perfect time to seize any opportunities and make strides toward investing your energy into setting yourself up for academic and future professional success. Check out our master’s application services today. Got questions about the application process or would like to get a quick profile assessement? Sign up for a consultation, it’s FREE!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab. As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world.

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