Ball State has offered a master of science in accounting since 2001. Small class sizes and industry connections round out a powerful experience in our program, which is largely focused on preparing future accountants for the CPA exam. In fall 2017, we introduced a revised curriculum that integrates more of the critical skills that are in demand for modern accounting.

We reached out to a handful of students who are pursing a master of science in accounting and asked them to share their experiences thus far.

Q&A | Student Experiences

Tony Dyer, '17 | “I chose the program to further my accounting knowledge and to obtain the soft skills (critical thinking, ethical and moral reasoning, etc.) necessary to best prepare myself for the working world and to help me stand out among my peers. The overall level of care and support that my accounting professors have for their students was an additional reason why I chose the program here at Ball State.”

Emily Denney, '18 | “Throughout my undergraduate career at Ball State, I felt like a person and never like a number. The Parkison Department of Accounting faculty have guided, mentored and supported me every step of the way. Due to this, I cannot imagine pursuing a graduate degree anywhere else.”

Eli Parks, '16 | “I choose the master's program to help prepare me for the CPA exam. The professors in the program understand that most of the master’s students are close to sitting for their exams and help them master topics to perform well on the CPA exam.”

Ellen Skinner, '17 | “I needed 150 credits to be eligible to sit for the CPA exams. The master's program was the best option for me financially.”

Julie Bilsland, '17 | “I chose the master's program because it has a reputation of further preparing accounting students to become successful CPAs. It is a great way to expand your knowledge, earn enough credits to sit for the CPA exam, and add another degree to your résumé. An unintended perk is that everyone in the program has grown to be great friends. I’ve develop friendships I know will last a lifetime, and I am so thankful!”

Bilsland | “The one skill I have improved on the most this year is my critical thinking. This program removes the 'textbook tests' and requires deeper thought and analysis. I have learned not to take anything I hear as truth until I research the issue myself. The program has also helped me develop my public speaking skills, and I now feel more comfortable sharing my opinions about various topics in groups.”

Parks | “The greatest takeaway from the master's program is the relationships that have been formed and grown with fellow master’s students. It is a group of like-minded individuals who will likely become great people to have in my network in the future.”

Skinner | “The master’s program has taught me to think critically and to question things I encounter in my daily life. I look forward to applying these skills to my career.”

Denney | “When I was a freshman, an accounting faculty member told me that you can work hard for four years and party for the rest of your life, or you can party for four years and work hard for the rest of your life. Nothing has ever rung truer.”

Dyer | “My greatest takeaways from the master's program include the importance of staying true to your moral principles and ethical values and to live your life with integrity.”

Parks | “My favorite professor is Dr. James Duncan, because he challenges you to think beyond your first instincts. He challenges you to critically think about any and all topics you encounter in your career and personal life. He also truly cares more about his students and their success, sometimes even more than the students care about their own success.”

Skinner | “All of the professors in the accounting department who work with the master’s program or interact with the students in the hallways are my favorites! They are invested in our success and push us to achieve success.”

Dyer | “I have great relationships with all of my professors; however, Dr. Duncan has probably had the greatest impact on my college career and outlook on life. Dr. Duncan truly cares about his students’ wellbeing and would do anything in his power to help us succeed. He has taught me many life lessons that I will never forget and hope that many more students will take advantage of the opportunity to further their education and chose this master’s program.”

Denney | “My favorite professor is Dr. Kelsey Brasel. Her charisma and teaching style guarantee a pleasant and intelligent interaction, whether in her office, the classroom or simply passing in the hallway. She epitomizes Ball State's commitment to their students. We are so lucky to have her.”

Bilsland | “While I absolutely love all of the accounting professors, I think has had the greatest impact on me throughout this program. His classes have helped develop my critical thinking skills and have proved to me how important it is to form your own opinions on issues and not just take what others say as the truth. He has instilled moral and ethical values into each and every one of us, and I think we can all agree that Dr. Duncan’s lessons will stick with us throughout our careers. I look up to Dr. Duncan so much and am so thankful to have had him as a professor and mentor over the years at Ball State.”

Bilsland | “I would recommend this master's program because it helps you to develop skills that you did not get a chance to develop in undergraduate studies. It allows you to see an entirely different side of accounting by taking away the numbers and focusing more on theory, ethics, and the politics of the field. Students can expect less exams and more reading, presentations and class discussion. I am beyond thankful that I chose to continue my education, as I would have missed out on a great deal of knowledge and skill development had I just entered into the field after undergrad.”

Denney | “I would recommend this program to others because of the environment. If you put in the time and effort, the faculty members simply will not let you fail. They can expect to discover that the "open-door policy" really means that the doors of your professors will be open. No issue is too big or too small to stop in and have a conversation about.”

Dyer | “The master's experience is a completely different learning experience than undergrad. You will have the ability to think more conceptually about why you are performing the accounting problems and have the opportunities to discuss real world problems and issues and lead class discussions and presentations.”

Skinner | “The program pushes you to think deeper and pushes you outside of your comfort zone. That's where the growth happens.”

Parks | “I would recommend this master's of science in accounting program to any student who is looking to expand his or her critical thinking and presentation skills, while also gaining knowledge and credit hours that can be applied towards the CPA exam.”

Bilsland | “I have a job lined up with Katz, Sapper & Miller as an auditor. I will be taking the CPA exams over the summer and will start my job in the fall.”

Denney | “I intend to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation while simultaneously beginning my taxation career in public accounting.”

Dyer | “Upon graduation, I hope to pass my CPA exam and begin my career in public accounting in downtown Indianapolis.”

Parks | “Once I graduate, I will be starting my career with EY in Indianapolis, beginning in the tax practice.”

Skinner | “I plan to study and sit for all four CPA exams this summer and will be starting as a staff accountant at Whitinger & Co. in September.”