Best Master’s in Forensic Accounting Online Programs

Earning an online master’s in forensic accounting can train you for a fascinating career investigating and preventing financial crimes. Find top programs and more in this guide.

Accountants love to dig deep into financial records to answer questions, and in an exciting field like forensics accounting, you get to work on interesting financial crime issues like fraud. If this possibility seems appealing to you, it may be worthwhile to consider pursuing a master’s in forensic accounting online.

This career requires specialized training, and on this page, we give you a look at the leading grad programs offered online that provide this training. Continue reading to learn about the best online forensic accounting master’s programs out there, what you may study when you enroll, and how much you may pay for tuition. Additionally, we provide information on some of the careers that forensic accounting graduates may be interested in and their earning potential.

College Spotlights: Best Forensic Accounting Master’s Programs Online in 2021

You’re looking for a top-tier school, and our best-in-class initiative was put together to help you. Below you will find a list of the best master’s in forensic accounting online programs that we found this year based on affordability, curriculum quality, services offered to students, and convenience. Specifically, we highlight three standout schools feature below described in detail to give you an idea of what these programs have to offer. Check back later in the year for our complete list of college rankings.

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University offers a master of accounting with a concentration in forensic accounting designed to give students the skills they need to investigate and prevent financial fraud, resolve financial disputes, provide litigation support, testify as an expert witness in fraud cases, and contribute to criminal investigations for financial crimes like money laundering. To be admitted to the program, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university or college and a competitive grade point average. Also, international students are required to earn a high score on the IELTS or TOEFL examinations.

To provide students with the know-how they need to conduct financial examinations that detect irregularities, this program offers coursework in internal accounting, fraud examination principles, forensic accounting in the healthcare industry, and financial statement analysis.

Liberty University

Liberty University’s master of science in accounting with a concentration in forensic accounting is a 30-hour program that takes on average a year to complete. Students can take classes completely online in eight weeks and receive the intensive training they need to promptly move through the curriculum. Among the courses that students take in the program are fraud and information technology, accounting ethics, fraud examination, and corporate governance classes.

To be admitted into this program, prospective students should have at least a 3.0 GPA in a bachelor’s degree program earned at an accredited school. Also, students must take prerequisite accounting classes, such as cost accounting, auditing, taxation, and financial accounting. Those who are not native English speakers must earn a high score on the TOEFL exam.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers a forensic accounting concentration in its accounting master’s degree program designed to help students understand the laws, regulations, and policies that are important to forensic accountants, including helping organizations investigate and recover from issues of fraud. Specific coursework covers fraudulent financial statements, interview techniques, and using computers to investigate fraud. Also, students take core classes in cost accounting, business law, auditing, financial reporting, economics for business, and individuals’ federal taxation.

Those who want to apply to this program can be considered at any point in the year. Applicants are expected to have at least a 2.75 GPA in a completed bachelor’s degree program. However, students with a lower grade point average may be admitted on a provisional basis.

Key Advantages of Earning an Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting

As your looking at schools, you’re most likely thinking about the pros and cons of earning an online master’s in forensic accounting. There are several good reasons to enroll in one of these degree programs, and the following are some of them that you should consider.

  1. Affordability

    For many people, costs can be the top barrier that keeps them from earning a graduate degree. However, with online degrees, an advanced education does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Online degrees cost significantly less money in many cases than traditional degree programs, plus students don’t have to worry about traveling to campus regularly. This can make a big difference and give students a bigger bang for their tuition bucks

  2. Acquiring Investigation Skills

    From identity theft to fraud to money laundering, forensic accountants need to follow the clues that criminals leave behind so they can detect the extent of the offense and find the evidence needed to get a conviction. Master’s degree programs train future forensic accountants to discover the evidence of a crime, examine that evidence to determine exactly what it means, and explain the evidence in reports to law enforcement and court in front of a judge and jury.

  3. Flexibility

    Chances are, you’re not in a position to completely dedicate your time to earn a master’s degree. You probably have a full-time job and family responsibilities to deal with at home. The advantage of an online master’s in forensic accounting is that you can complete your coursework during times that work best for your lifestyle.

  4. Certification Preparatio

    An online master’s in forensic accounting can help students prepare to take the examination to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The program is also designed to prepare students to earn the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credentials.

What You’ll Learn in an Online Forensic Accounting Master’s Program

Forensic accounting master’s degree programs combine the advanced accounting concepts that can be used in any field with the specialized forensic principles designed to help students become skilled investigators. By the time students finish with these programs, they learn vital skills, including managerial accounting, auditing, computer investigation abilities, and an understanding of applicable laws related to financial crimes. The following are examples of some specific classes you may find in these programs.

Popular Courses

  • Fraud Examination

    This class covers how fraud examinations are conducted and the principles that professionals use when they work to uncover a crime. Students learn how to examine the accuracy of financial statements, find red flags in those documents, document irregularities that are evidence of a crime, and create and implement fraud prevention measures within an organization.

  • Auditing Technologies

    Students learn how auditors review financial statements and other documents. Different techniques are discussed, from classic auditing strategies that have been used for years to emerging methods being incorporated into audits today.

  • Interview Techniques

    One of the skills that forensic accountants need to have is the ability to interview people to gather the information that augments what they find in financial documents. This course teaches the principles and techniques that professionals use to help them efficiently and effectively interview people.

  • Fraud Prevention and Deterrence

    In addition to finding instances of fraud in an organization, forensic accountants can also help businesses prevent it by setting up prevention and deterrence programs. Students in this course may learn about cybercrime, white-collar crime, occupational fraud, fraud risk assessments, and the causes of different financial crimes.

  • Accounting Ethics

    Students understand the ethical principles and standards that accountants are expected to bring to their day-to-day work. The course allows them to learn how to apply these ethical standards to common workplace challenges forensic accountants face.

Accreditation for Master’s in Forensic Accounting Online Programs

Forensic accounting is a unique and intricate field of accounting, so people need to get specialized training to qualify for jobs and thrive in the profession. To ensure that you get this training, it’s important that you only consider schools that have been accredited because they have been thoroughly vetted for their quality. Accrediting organizations look at several factors when evaluating schools, including the skills taught in the curriculum, the background of the faculty, and the services the schools provide to students to help them succeed. Online master’s degrees in forensic accounting are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education, or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Forensic Accounting

After completing a master’s in forensic accounting online, graduates have the advanced skills—such as auditing, investigation, and interviewing skills—that can be used in several jobs. The following are examples of some of the things you can do when you earn this degree.

Fraud Investigators

When fraud is suspected in an organization, fraud investigators are responsible for finding the evidence that will either prove or disprove it. This work includes analyzing paperwork, doing data analysis, drafting reports on the findings, and presenting evidence in court. Also, these professionals may get statements from witnesses and advise organizations on how to prevent fraud in the future.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$41,000

$62,000

$92,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Forensic Accountants

Forensic accountants use their understanding of accounting principles and the law to support both civil and criminal matters. Some of the areas they may investigate include cases related to fraud, breach of contract, and breach of warranties. During civil litigation and criminal investigations, these professionals provide reviewing evidence and testifying in court.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$44,480

$71,550

$124,450

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Financial Consultants

Financial consultants are responsible for helping their clients understand their money matters and taking steps to help them reach their financial goals. Some of the areas where these professionals give their expertise can include building an investment portfolio, creating and overseeing a budget, and assessing and managing an estate.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$45,000

$69,000

$105,000

Source: PayScale, 2021

Anti-Money Laundering Specialists

These professionals use their expertise in money laundering to track and prevent these crimes. To do this, anti-money laundering specialists need a strong database, analytical, and communication skills so they can detect possible crimes based on financial documents, understand what the evidence means, and create comprehensive reports explaining their findings.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$41,000

$52,000

$69,000

Source: PayScale, 2021

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts are hired by public and private organizations when they need to have their finances organized. These professionals are responsible for reviewing an organization’s budget proposal to ensure it is accurate and complete, consolidate departmental budgets to get a clear picture of what the entire organization spends, and monitoring spending to ensure the established budget is being adhered to.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$50,230

$76,540

$116,510

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Accounting

Paying for any master’s degree can be challenging, so before enrolling in a forensic accounting program, you should know how much of a financial investment you are committing to. The table below will give you an idea of what you might pay for your education because we have selected three online forensic accounting master’s degree programs to highlight their cost. You can also find information on the resources you may be able to utilize to help you pay for your degree by reviewing our financial aid page.

What Your Online Master’s in Forensic Accounting Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

Liberty University

30

$565/credit

$16,950

Southern New Hampshire University

36

$627/credit

$22,572

Seton Hill University

36

$838/credit

$30,168

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Forensic Accounting Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in forensic accounting?

Although each forensic accounting program has individual standards for admitting students, the following are some of the general criteria that schools may expect from their applicants:

  • Having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
  • Earning a grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Submitting a current resume, letter of intent, and letters of recommendation
  • Providing proof of English proficiency if an international student

How long will it take to finish my master’s in forensic accounting online?

A master’s degree in forensic accounting can be completed in as little as one year or up to two years for full-time students. If you enroll as a part-time student, you may finish the program in about three years, depending on how many classes you take.

Can I earn a master’s in forensic accounting 100% online?

You can generally earn a forensic accounting master’s degree 100% online since these programs don’t require any laboratory work. However, some programs may be offered in a hybrid format, where you take some courses online and others on campus.