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One-Year Program FAQs

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Do I need a bachelor's degree to apply?

Yes. You may apply before your bachelor's degree is conferred, but you cannot begin the Program until you have received your bachelor's degree.

Are there courses that I have to complete before beginning the Program?

Yes. Six fundamental accounting courses are prerequisites for entering the One-Year MAcc Program:

  • ACCTG 211: Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making
  • ACCTG 403w: Auditing
  • ACCTG 404: Managerial Accounting
  • ACCTG 405: Principles of Taxation
  • ACCTG 471: Intermediate Financial Accounting I
  • ACCTG 472: Intermediate Financial Accounting II

All of these prerequisite courses are offered at Penn State's University Park campus each summer prior to the start of the One-Year MAcc Program. Alternatively, you can take the equivalents of these courses at another university. These courses do not need to be taken prior to submitting an application, but must be completed prior to beginning the Program.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No. However, you must be eligible to work in the United States at the time of application. This means that you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or an F-1 visa holder at the time of application.

One Year MAcc Program

How long does the One-Year MAcc Program take?

The One-Year Master of Accounting Program lasts for one year. Coursework begins at the end of August each year and students will graduate with their degree in August the following year.

When do students begin the Program?

All students begin the program in the fall semester.

Can I complete the Program on a part-time basis? Is distance learning or an on-line program available?

The One-Year MAcc Program can only be completed on a full-time basis at the University Park campus.

I’m not interested in earning my CPA license, but I would like to earn a master's degree. Is the MAcc Program still a good fit for me?

No. You would be better suited for another master's program, such as an MBA program.

Current Penn State Students

I'm currently a junior/senior and I am interested in the One-Year MAcc Program. What classes should I take before I finish my undergraduate degree?

Juniors and seniors intending to pursue the One-Year MAcc should avoid scheduling courses that are duplicative of the One-Year MAcc curriculum (see table below) as part of their undergraduate studies.

Juniors and seniors conditionally admitted to the One-Year MAcc must not schedule courses that are duplicative of the One-Year MAcc curriculum as part of their undergraduate studies.

Undergraduate/Graduate Course Equivalents and Description
Penn State Undergraduate Course Equivalent Penn State MAcc Course Course Description
ACCTG 406 ACCTG 806 Corporate Taxation
ACCTG 432 ACCTG 432 Accounting Information Systems
ACCTG 440 ACCTG 440 Advanced Managerial Accounting
ACCTG 473 ACCTG 873 Advanced Financial Accounting
ACCTG 481 ACCTG 881 Financial Statement Analysis
ACCTG 483 ACCTG 803 Forensic Accounting
B LAW 444 B LAW 444 Advanced UCC
FIN 405 FIN 531 Financial Management

Applicants are advised to consult with Dr. Scott Collins regarding undergraduate course selections.

International Students

At the time of application, international students must be eligible to work in the U.S. in order to be eligible for the One-Year MAcc Program.

What does "eligible to work in the U.S." mean?

Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, must hold an F-1 visa at the time they submit an application. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or F-1 visa holders (at the time of application) are not eligible for the One-Year Master of Accounting Program and will not be considered for admission.

Can I apply for the One-Year MAcc Program and obtain an F-1 visa after I am accepted or prior to starting the program?

No. You must hold the F-1 visa at the time that you are applying to the program. Students without it will not be considered for admission.

What are the eligibility requirements for international students?

International students follow the same application process as domestic students. International students are also required to submit a TOEFL test score.

How will I be contacted about visa documentation and where can I find more information?

Once you are accepted into the One-Year MAcc Program, the University Office of Global Programs will contact you by email with a link to use to submit your visa documentation. Documentation can be express shipped via a third-party provider. The Global Programs website contains information that is helpful for international students, from financial and eligibility information to housing.

What are the financial guarantee requirements for international students?

Financial guarantee requirements can be found at the Global Programs website.

Is a three-year degree acceptable?

Penn State uses Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) to assess degree equivalencies. ECE does not consider a three-year bachelor's degree to be equivalent to a four-year U.S. degree. Please check ECE's website to evaluate your degree if you have any questions.

Please note, Penn State does not accept World Education Services (WES)'s evaluations.

Starting the Application Process

How do I receive an application package?

All applications are now processed online via the GRADS portal. There is no paper-based application.

What is the application process?

Applicants are required to complete the Graduate School's Electronic Application including remitting an application fee and submitting or uploading the required documentation.

Application Deadlines

When should I apply?

Seniors interested in the One-Year MAcc are encouraged to apply immediately to receive a prompt conditional admittance decision. As a senior, knowing whether you have been conditionally admitted will greatly assist you in choosing courses for the rest of your undergraduate studies. Conditional admits will be given a list of courses to complete as part of their undergraduate studies.

If you are currently a junior and interested in the program, please contact Dr. Scott Collins, the One-Year MAcc Program Director, prior to applying to the program. Dr. Collins will help map out your remaining semesters and discuss the program with you prior to applying.

What are the application deadlines?

The application deadlines are listed on the Application Information page. Because the application is comprehensive and you will be asked to submit materials and letters of recommendation, we recommend starting at least a month prior to the application deadline.

If you are currently a junior, you should discuss your plans with Dr. Scott Collins, One-Year MAcc Program Director, before submitting an application to the One-Year MAcc Program.

Will you consider late applications?

The electronic (GRADS) application MUST be completed and submitted by the deadline to be considered on-time. However, you may have as much as one week after the deadline for transcripts and letters of recommendation to be received. Incomplete applications will NOT be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.

Can I receive a refund of my application fee if my application is late?

Application fees are non-refundable.

Application Materials Needed

What materials are needed to apply?

Please see the information on the Application Information page.

Can I submit my application if I am missing a required item?

Your application will not be evaluated until all materials are received. You may submit your application before our office has received all of your application materials. We allow one week past the application deadline for all materials to be received by our office. Otherwise, your application will not be considered for admission.

GMAT Tests

What is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)?

The GMAT is a standardized test that measures the verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills of an individual applicant. These are predictors of an applicant's ability to be successful in a rigorous academic environment. The GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)(

Is the GMAT required?

The GMAT is required for admission. Official score reports must be sent directly from the reporting agency. This means you MUST have GMAC send your scores electronically to the One-Year Master of Accounting Program.

I need to have my official GMAT score report sent to Smeal. What is your school code?

The GMAT code is ZZ8-HD-53.

Are there circumstances in which the GMAT can be waived?

A GMAT score is required for everyone who is not a current Penn State undergraduate student. The GMAT requirement is waived for current Penn State students with an SAT score already on file with Penn State.

What is the average GMAT score for accepted students? Is there a minimum score?

See the Community page.

If I take the GMAT more than once, which score will you consider?

We will consider the highest score.

Can I submit a GRE score in place of a GMAT score?

No. We do not accept GRE scores under any circumstances.


What is the TOEFL test?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a test used by colleges and universities to determine English proficiency.

What is the school code to send the TOEFL to your program?

The Smeal school code for TOEFL is 2660.

I have taken the IELTS. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Although the Admissions Committee prefers the TOEFL scores, we will accept the IELTS.

How do I know if I need to submit a TOEFL test score? Is there a waiver for the TOEFL test?

All international students are required to submit a TOEFL score, unless they have already received their bachelor's degree in the United States. Candidates who are U.S. Permanent Residents do not need to submit a TOEFL score. All others need to submit a TOEFL score.

The TOEFL requirement is not waived.

I am an international student who is in the process of completing my undergraduate degree in the U.S. I will graduate within in the next few months. Can the TOEFL be waived for me?

No. The TOEFL requirement is not waived under any circumstances. All international students are required to submit a TOEFL score, unless they have already received their bachelor's degree in the U.S.

What is the minimum TOEFL that you require?

The One-Year Master of Accounting Program does not have a minimum TOEFL requirement. We prefer that applicants have a score of at least 100 on the TOEFL.


Is there a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) required for admission?

There is no minimum GPA requirement. Most accepted students have GPAs above 3.5.

Recommendation / Reference Letters

How shall my referees submit their recommendation letters?

All recommendation letters should be submitted electronically via the GRADS application system. You will be asked to provide email addresses for your referees during the application process. Please verify that the email addresses you provide are valid and correct. Emails to referees are not sent by the GRADS system until the application is submitted. You will receive an email when each reference is submitted and you can also check on references received by logging into your application. Please do not mail or email copies of your recommendation letters.

I am a current (or past) Penn State student and would like a faculty member at the Smeal College of Business to submit a recommendation letter on my behalf. How should they submit their letter?

The Accounting Department encourages Smeal College of Business faculty to use a specialized evaluation form. The faculty member will be contacted by the Accounting Department once your application is submitted and this evaluation form will be provided to them. Please continue to list the faculty member's name on your application and once the form is submitted by the faculty member, your application will show it was received.

I did not attend Penn State, but can I have my recommendation letter writers submit the alternative evaluation form like the Smeal College of Business faculty members?

No. The alternative evaluation form is restricted to use by the Smeal College of Business faculty members. Please have your recommendation letter writers submit their letters on the electronic GRADS system.

How can I resend the link for the recommendation letter to my referees?

Log-in to your application. Click the "Remind" button to resend the email to your referees.

Can I update information for my referees or replace a referee with someone?

Yes, you can do so by logging back into your application.

Who should I pick to write my recommendations?

Recommendations should be from at least two people who you feel are able to present an informal and objective evaluation of you. Each individual will receive an automated e-mail via the online application system; therefore, it is important that you provide a valid e-mail address for each reference. Instructors and recent work or military supervisors are most appropriate. Recommendations from personal friends, relatives, academic advisers, or family acquaintances are not appropriate.

May I submit more than two recommendations? How many recommendation letters are needed?

Yes. You must have at least two recommendations for your application to be considered complete. For this reason, it is a good idea to seek more than two referees in your application, in case a recommendation is unable to reply timely.


What is the cost of tuition for the Program?

The tuition for the One-Year MAcc Program is listed on the Admissions page. The same tuition is charged to in-state and out-of-state students.

It is possible to meet the 150 credit-hour requirement without receiving a Master's degree or any other graduate degree. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, the tuition cost of taking undergraduate courses beyond those required to meet the Bachelor of Science, but which serve to satisfy the 150 credit-hour requirement may be significantly less than the cost of enrolling in the One-Year MAcc Program.

Application Fee

How much is the application fee and what is the method of payment?

The non-refundable application fee is $65. This fee is paid via the Graduate School’s website. You will receive instructions for payment during the application process. If paying by check or money order, please make it payable to The Pennsylvania State University. International money orders or checks must be drawn on a U.S. bank. Bank-to-bank transfers are not accepted. Please note that applications without fees cannot be processed.

Can the application fee be waived?

No. The application fee covers our costs to process applications and therefore cannot be waived.

Submitted Application Status and Decisions

Will you inform me when you receive my application?

Within one to three days after completing your application, the GRADS online application system will send you an automated message that your application was successfully submitted. This message also explains how to make changes to your application. You will also receive an email with your PSU ID and PIN approximately 48 hours later. The PSU ID is a permanent ID number assigned to you starting from the time you are an applicant and will be your ID as a student. Therefore, you will want to retain these emails for future reference.

Will you inform me if my application is complete?

Please do NOT contact the Accounting Department or the Director of the Program to check your status. Instead, you should log into GRADS, which will display the status of your application. Once all application materials are received, your status will be updated on your application.

How many applications do you receive each year, and how many do you admit?

Each year, we receive about 200 applications for the One-Year MAcc Program, and extend between 30 to 50 offers of admission.

When and how will I be notified of the committee's decision?

Once your application is complete, it is reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Decisions are communicated via email shortly after they are made. Please do NOT contact the Accounting Department or the Director of the Program for a decision as no additional or more timely information is available.

When do I need to make a decision if I receive an offer?

After an offer of admission has been extended, a non-refundable tuition deposit is due within sixty days to secure your seat in the Program. If the deposit is not paid within sixty days then you forfeit your offer of admission.

Can I request feedback on my application if I am not offered admission?

Due to the volume of applications we receive each year, the Admissions Committee does not offer feedback on individual applications.


May I reapply if I wasn't accepted previously?

Yes. Candidates who submitted an application and were not offered admission may re-apply for a subsequent academic year. In this case, you should update your application in the GRADS system, for example by providing an updated resume and list of references. Please do not create a new application as it will only be flagged and merged with your old application at a later date. The application fee must be paid again.

Do you keep applications and materials submitted in prior years?

Completed applications and all supplemental materials (including test scores and transcripts) are kept on file for up to three years after the year of application, and then destroyed. If you submitted an application during the past three years, you may request that we pull your supplemental materials from your previous application for inclusion in your new application. Include your full name, PSU ID number and the admission period to which you applied.


Who can I contact with questions?

Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions to see if your question is answered here. If it is not, then you may email us at Please make sure to read the FAQs before emailing us with your question.