Master of Accountancy in Governmental Accounting Curriculum

"I was expecting to learn about governmental accounting, and I did. However, I also learned about American history, economics, public finance and information technology. I am a better accountant and an even better person with this degree. My core ethical framework was challenged and changed for the better, and I think critically more now than I ever did!"

-Barbara Newman, 2016
 Assistant Controller, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Our program requires the completion of 10 courses (30 credit hours) -- seven required courses and three elective courses. Up to six credits may be transferred into the program from another accredited university, with prior approval of the program director.

Alternatively, you may earn an online Graduate Certificate in Government Financial Management by completing 4 courses, or 12 semester credit hours, consisting of Design and Development of Information Systems, Government Accounting and Auditing, Government Budgeting Systems, and Public Sector Auditing. Students enrolled in the certificate program have the option to later matriculate in the master's degree program and have the certificate courses counted toward the degree.

 

Core Courses

(21 credits)

Course # Title Cr
22:010:577 Accounting for Managers* 3
22:010:655 Advanced Topics in Governmental Accounting 3
22:835:604 Concepts in Auditing* 3
22:010:604 Design and Development of Information Systems** 3
22:010:512 Ethical Issues in Public Financial Management 3
22:010:525 Government Budgeting Systems** 3
22:010:551 Governmental Accounting and Auditing** 3
22:010:578 Public Financial Management 3
22:010:654 Public Sector Auditing** 3

*Note: Accounting for Managers and Concepts in Auditing are waived for accounting majors. Non-Accounting majors will be required to complete these 2 prerequisite courses in addition to the other 7 required courses.

**Note: Not all of the above courses are offered each semester. Please address inquiries regarding course offerings to Professor Irfan A. Bora, Director, Masters in Governmental Accounting.

 

Electives
(9 credits)

Course # Title Cr
22:010:609 Advanced Design and Development of Information Systems 3
22:010:691 Applied Public Finance 3
22:010:xxx Federal Financial Management 3
22:010:607 Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations 3
22:010:662 Public Sector Forensic Accounting 3
22:010:689 Special Topics: Governmental Financial Analysis 3
22:010:xxx Special Topics: Independent Study in Public Financial Management 3
Other courses approved by program director 3

 

Course Descriptions

22:010:577 - (3 cr)
Accounting for Managers

An introduction to financial statement analysis which builds on the fundamentals of accounting, including understanding the accounting equation and its application in building the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. Basic accounting concepts, accounting principles, and the audit report are presented. Students work in teams to analyze corporate financial statements. The relationship of economic value to accounting measurement is explored together with factors influencing management choices among competing valuation principles. Theory is applied to the valuation of the asset, liability, and owners' equity accounts. Emphasizes the heavy reliance on estimates in constructing financial statements and how management can use such estimates to strategically manage its reporting responsibilities.

This course is waived for accounting majors. Students may also waive this course if they have already taken Principles of Accounting or an equivalent course at the undergraduate level. An approved elective can be substituted for this course.

22:010:609 - (3 cr)
Advanced Design and Development of Information Systems

This course focuses on the management of information systems (IS) technology. Addresses  emerging issues in IS related to strategic planning, technology assessment, operational activities, and security control. Particular emphasis on the management of IS development and the development and integration of internet technology into an enterprise wide system. Geographic information systems, decision support systems, and expert systems are some of the advanced topics covered in the course. The challenges in the public sector from the use of newer technologies and the impacts on both financial and nonfinancial applications and work processes will also be reviewed.

Prerequisite: Design and Development of Information Systems (22:010:604)

22:010:655 - (3 cr)
Advanced Topics in Governmental Accounting

This course provides in-depth coverage and discussion of currently relevant governmental accounting topics.  It will allow students to further develop their analytical, decision-making, and written communication skills by learning about specific governmental accounting topics in detail and then doing a project or writing a research memorandum answering one or more questions about a topic.

22:010:691 - (3 cr)
Applied Public Finance

Public business administrators, treasurers, and other public financial officials; urban planning and public policy professionals, and others in the public, private, and non-profit sectors often confront subjects related to applied public finance.  These range from doing or reviewing professional development impact reports (e.g., fiscal impact analyses and demographic projections related to new development) to considering/ effecting many policies to foster economic, housing, and community development that rely on public finance (e.g., creating a tax increment financing district or allowing a payment in lieu of taxes). This class overviews many of these applied public finance procedures and policies, with a focus on those related to the property tax. The class presents the history, impetus, current state of art, and potential future changes concerning about ten key public finance-related procedures and policies.

22:835:604 - (3 cr)
Concepts in Auditing

This course is designed to provide a foundation in financial statement auditing. Class units cover the economic and social justifications for auditing; the connections between enterprise strategy, business processes, business risks, financial measures, and the audit; the role of internal control in auditing; the technical details of audit planning, testing, and reporting; and the social responsibility of the auditor.  Investors, analysts, and the public face a significant problem in assessing the quality of the financial information that an enterprise reports as it goes about its activities.  Arguably, these parties can make better decisions if they can trust the executives and management of the enterprise and if they are reasonably sure that the information they encounter is of high quality.  One way to gain both that trust and that assurance is by examining the quality of the information through the process of financial statement auditing.

22:010:604 - (3 cr)
Design and Development of Information Systems

Examines the conceptual issues in cost and value of information, structures of information systems, and modern technologies in information processing. Not intended for information systems professionals, but for students who will come into contact with decisions related to identification of needs and production of information for managerial decisions.

22:010:512 - (3 cr)
Ethical Issues in Public Financial Management

The objective of this course is to expose students to a broad range of ethical issues that they can expect to encounter as government financial managers. Students will learn to recognize and handle with confidence the ethical aspects of public financial management. This course examines the ethical issues facing policymakers and public administrators, including deception and disclosure, the privacy of public officials, corruption, civil disobedience, whistle-blowing, and the ethics of policy analysis. The course also examines issues of distributive justice as they arise in budgeting for health and employment needs. Case studies are used extensively.

22:010:xxx - (3 cr)
Federal Financial Management

Federal Financial Management surveys the broad subject of federal financial management. It begins with the budget formulation and approval process and continues on with the elements of managing the financial resources so allocated. The elements include accounting on both budgetary and accrual bases, reporting performance and results, cost management, and auditing. The course includes a discussion of the significant federal financial management legislation.

22:010:551 - (3 cr)
Governmental Accounting and Auditing

The basic principles of fund accounting are covered, including the analysis of financial management systems applicable to local government units. This course also introduces students to major pronouncements of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board(GASB). An introduction to government auditing is also provided, including a review of Government Auditing Standards, promulgated by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). The Single Audit requirements for state and local governments are also covered.

Prerequisite: Accounting for Managers (22:010:577) or equivalent

22:010:525 - (3 cr)
Government Budgeting Systems

A framework within which to understand the budget concepts and processes used by American governments and their administrative units; provides skills in budgetary analysis and budget management in the public sector including nonprofits, considered through a variety of case studies.

22:010:607 - (3 cr)
Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations

Presents the most common accounting and control programs in nonprofit organizations. The course is heavily case oriented in order to get students to consider accounting and control problems in specific nonprofit organizations, including hospitals, governmental units, colleges and universities, and federal and state agencies.

22:010:578 - (3 cr)
Public Financial Management

Survey major activities that concern the allocation, investment and control of public funds. Activities include financial analysis, cash and pension fund investing, accounting, auditing, financial reporting; budgeting and revenues are also covered in the context of fiscal policy making.

22:010:654 - (3 cr)
Public Sector Auditing

This course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the concepts associated with the types of audits found in a public sector environment. An objective of this course is to enable the student to understand and have a working knowledge of the theory of the audit process and its practical applications. It examines various government auditing standards promulgated by the Comptroller General of the United States. Auditing standards and procedures are studied for financial and compliance audits, as well as for economy and efficiency audits. The role of performance auditing in governmental and nonprofit organizations is also covered. Case studies are used extensively.

22:010:662 - (3 cr)
Public Sector Forensic Accounting

This course provides a comprehensive background to the means, motives and opportunities that give rise to fraud. The ethical dimensions of the fraud examiner's role are presented. The course further covers recognition of the symptoms of fraud, means of fraud prevention, and methods of uncovering frauds by, and against, organizations. Frauds by and against organizations include financial statement fraud as well as consumer fraud. Bankruptcy and e-commerce frauds are also covered.

22:010:689 - (3 cr)
Special Topics: Governmental Financial Analysis

The purpose of this course is to examine the fundamentals of financial analysis of state or local governments, a key skill not just for municipal bond analysts and other financial report users, but also for government financial managers and auditors seeking to provide financial management support to their clients. The course includes both discussion of the conceptual underpinnings of financial analysis (why it is done, and why specific factors are considered) and practical instruction in the mechanics of obtaining information from an audited financial report and other sources, calculating ratios, and drawing conclusions about financial health or predicting fiscal stress. The course also explores emerging areas of analysis of governments, including service performance reporting and fiscal sustainability.

22:010:xxx - (3 cr)
Special Topics: Independent Study in Public Financial Management

This is an independent study project done in conjunction with a faculty adviser. A final written term paper, along with an oral defense of the paper is required. Special permission is needed.

 

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