Tech’s inaugural Master of Accountancy class completes first residency

The first cohort of students gathers for Tennessee Tech’s Master of Accountancy program. The MAcc program launched this fall and features and online and residency component.

Tech’s inaugural Master of Accountancy class completes first residency


COOKEVILLE – She has been working in accounting for more than 25 years and knew she wanted to get her master’s degree, so when Julie Sproul of Knoxville heard about Tennessee Tech University’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program, she was excited.

Tech’s new MAcc program launched this semester, and is designed to allow students to simultaneously earn a master’s degree and sit for the CPA exam. Most of the coursework is completed online, which is an appealing feature for working professionals like Sproul.

“The faculty are excited about the opportunity to offer a new graduate program that benefits both individuals planning to enter the accounting profession and those who desire to take the next step in their existing career development. The interaction among faculty and students, at different stages of their careers, will provide valuable learning experiences for everyone,” said Rob Seay, Professor and MAcc coordinator.

Recently, Sproul and other students in the program’s inaugural cohort gathered at Tech to participate in the program’s residency component.

“One thing that I am impressed with is the enthusiasm of the professors,” Sproul said. “I think the fact that they are so enthusiastic about the program and the success of the program will ultimately make us all successful.”

The group is a mix of students nearing completion of their undergraduate work, recent graduates and working professionals like Sproul who are interested in earning a master’s degree and successfully completing the CPA exam.

“I knew I wanted to get my master’s and I knew I wanted to get my CPA license too, and when I found out that this was just for that, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Leah Stephens, an undergraduate student at Tech who heard about the program from Seay. “It answered a lot of questions for me.”

The program answers the question of how and where to get a Master of Accountancy degree and prepare for the CPA exam for many, according to Richard Rand, Chair of Tech’s Accounting Department.

“This is a program that fills a need for the state of Tennessee,” Rand said. “This is a program people were looking for but had difficulty finding and accessing. With this hybrid online MAcc program, we are bringing a quality experience to them, just as the College of Business’s online MBA program did 15 years ago. The team work and energy our faculty have put into this is phenomenal. The technology is right, the time is right and we have the people to make this happen. With 15 years of experience in delivering online education, Tech’s College of Business brings a strong delivery competency to the program.”

Andrew Pitman, a recent Tech graduate now enrolled in the MAcc program, said, “I never took an online class as an undergrad so I was a little worried about how it would work out, but the faculty is really good about communicating and sharing resources. It has been great.”

Tech’s Master of Accountancy is a 30-hour program with a one-year or two-year track. It includes online coursework with on-campus residency experiences while providing CPA exam preparation and professional interaction.

While on campus for their residency work recently, the students spent Thursday evening through Saturday exploring technology relevant to their field of study, working on application of audit and tax skills through group exercises, talking with professionals and getting to know one another.

“This weekend seminar being early in the semester, giving us a chance to put faces with the names and getting to know each other a little bit, has been a great opportunity for everybody,” said student Justen Cooper.

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