People continue on to graduate studies for several reasons:
-They want to get into research;
-It’s necessary for their job; or
-They haven’t secured a full-time job after undergrad and they’re banking on making connections in grad school.
But, how do you finance such an expensive undertaking?
My most recommended advice is to become a Teaching Assistant (or a Lecturer, if possible). Thanks to the university unions, they pay is fantastic. It’s also convenient since your work is on-campus.
Furthermore, check with your graduate department to see if there are any program-specific awards, grants, or teaching opportunities. You never know what you could dig up!
If you’re in a thesis-oriented program, check out programs like 3 Minute Thesis (http://cags.ca/3mt.php#.WIjU203fOTM) – where you present your research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience. Apart from honing your communication skills, there are cash prizes.
Also, if you’re in Ontario, there are programs like the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program (https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/PRDR013089.html).
Of course, check out the scholarship section of Yconic for award offerings!
As a Master of Accounting student, my two main sources of funding are my savings and OSAP. I take solace in knowing that my firm will reimburse me for most of my tuition. So, check with your employer to see if they have tuition reimbursement programs.
Grad students: how are you funding your degree? Everyone else: if you are thinking about graduate studies, do you have an action plan for financing?
With the recent merging of the CAs, CMAs, and CGAs, the new unified Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation was formed. Becoming a CPA requires you to do certain coursework and examinations. After you meet your prerequisite education requirements (i.e. your undergraduate university coursework – check CPA’s website for specific information on this), you can choose two different paths:
(a) CPA Professional Education Program (PEP); or
(b) University degree/diploma.
The CPA PEP is a post-graduate program run by CPA Canada which requires you to do: (a) 2 core modules, (b) 2 of 4 elective modules in Performance Management, Taxation, Assurance or Finance, and (c) 2 capstone modules. After this, you are eligible to write the CFE.
Pursuing a post-graduate degree or diploma at a university is another option. For a list of all possible options, check out the download here: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/become-a-cpa/pathways-to-becoming-a-cpa/cpa-pep-admission-undergraduate-degree-holders/cpa-accredited-programs-at-psis
As can be seen in the download, some university graduate programs (including all of the Master of Accounting programs listed) will get you exemption from the CPA PEP core modules, elective modules and capstone modules. With other university graduate programs, you must complete some coursework through the PEP.
Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to pursue my Master of Accounting (MAcc) degree at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business. Here are my main reasons for choosing this pathway:
#1: It's Logistically Simpler
Being a MAcc student now, I can say that I am very grateful for this. Specifically, as a MAcc student:
-I do not have to juggle work and school at the same time. Being on an internship now, the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is crack open an accounting textbook and study.
-I did not have to do a CPA Canada transcript assessment. My friends who have had to do it say it can take quite a while for the transcript assessments to be processed.
-It’s a personalized experience. If I do face any issues, I can talk to my professors or the Sprott MAcc Administrator rather than having to connect with CPA Canada.
-No multiple choice (in the Sprott MAcc). The Sprott MAcc is case-based, meaning all of our assessments are case analyses. This mimics the CPA's Common Final Exam (CFE), which is also case-based. However, if you pursue the CPA PEP, the Core Module examinations have significant amounts of multiple choice questions.
#2: Extending My University Experience
I really enjoyed the period of time that I was an undergraduate student, and I saw the MAcc as an opportunity to extend my “student experience”. Apart from being in lectures with friends and learning from professors on an actual university campus, I get to be involved with student clubs once again.
#3: Post-Designation Opportunities
This was my main reason for applying to the Sprott MAcc. Having been a Tutorial Leader for 3 years within Brock University’s Department of Economics, I know that I love teaching. It’s something that I do want to pursue on a part-time basis after I establish myself as a CPA. To be an Accounting Lecturer at most universities, you need your CPA and a graduate degree (MAcc, MBA, MSc, etc.) in order to be a competitive candidate.
Furthermore, having interned in Germany in the past, I know that working in Europe is something that I hope to do again down the road. In countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, top employers tend to give preference to people with graduate degrees. Therefore, pursuing my MAcc will likely provide me with a few more career opportunities at home and abroad.
*Note: Pursuing your CPA is an intricate process, and you should check with your university’s CPA Board of Ambassador representatives or CPA Canada staff to ensure you are following the correct certification steps.
**Small program plug: The deadline to apply to Sprott’s full-time MAcc (May 2017 entry) for domestic students is January 15, 2017.
-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador