If you’re considering going back to school to earn a master’s in accounting degree, one of the first things you will need to do is find out if you meet admissions criteria at your intended school. Different colleges have different admission requirements. Most online master’s in accounting degree programs consider factors such as your undergraduate education, your past grades, your scores on graduate school admission exams and your relevant work experience.

Undergraduate Degree

To get into a master’s in accounting program, you must have a bachelor’s degree. Some of the top online master’s in accounting degree programs require that your undergraduate degree be in accounting, but others accept students with general business backgrounds, and still others consider students with non-accounting backgrounds. No matter what subject you majored in as an undergrad, you must complete any prerequisites, like introductory accounting and business classes, required by your school.

It’s not unusual for a graduate program to require that your degree be from an accredited school or accounting program. Some schools may also care about when and where you earned your bachelor’s degree and may give preferential consideration to applicants who studied at the institution or a partner school as undergrads. For example, the University of Colorado-Denver will waive certain graduate admission exam requirements for applicants who earned their bachelor’s degree from the school within the past five years and achieved a high enough grade point average (GPA).

Past Grades

Speaking of GPAs, your past grades matter when you apply to grad school. Many master’s in accounting programs have minimum GPA requirements and will consider your grades when weighing you against other candidates. For example, Southern New Hampshire University requires applicants to have a GPA of 2.75 or above. Having better grades may be able to allow you to get out of entrance exams or other requirements at certain institutions.

Graduate School Admissions Exams

At many institutions, applicants to a master’s in accounting program will have to take graduate school admissions exams like the business-focused Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or broader Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If you haven’t taken these exams yet and weren’t counting on an additional admission requirement, you’re in luck. Some of the top online master’s in accounting programs, like Southern New Hampshire University, don’t require GMAT or GRE scores at all. Others may waive the requirement depending on your GPA and when and where you earned your bachelor’s degree.

Professional Experience

In business schools, it’s common for graduate students to have at least one to two years of work experience, according to U.S. News & World Report. Some accounting programs might require you to have a set number of years of relevant work experience, while others may not.

Keep in mind that not every school will require you to have every factor on this list, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet every requirement.

Also see:

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting Degrees