Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Accounting and Finance Division

Master of Professional Accountancy Coordinator: Maria Lopez Leach, D.B.A.
Master of Business Administration-Finance Specialization Coordinator: Jewel Shepherd, Ph.D.
Accounting and Finance Chairperson: Srinivasan Ragothaman, Ph.D.

Beacom School of Business
Master of Professional Accountancy Program
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone: 605-658-6532 or 866-890-1MBA 




Srinivasan Ragothaman, Ph.D., University of Kansas, Chair, Division of Accounting and Finance, Black Hills Corp. Distinguished Professor of Accounting.

Associate Professor:

Maria Lopez Leach, D.B.A., Mississippi State University, Accounting.

Assistant Professors: 

Subash Adhikari, Ph.D., University of North Texas, Accounting.
Klaus Beckmann, Ph.D., University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Business Administration-Finance.
Scott Jackson, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Accounting and Finance.  
Kwabena Kesse, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Finance.
Alice Liu, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Accounting and Finance
Paul Ordyna, Ph.D., Purdue University, Accounting   


Erin Cornelsen, M.P.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Accounting. 
Karen Davies, M.P.A., University of South Dakota, Accounting. 


Master of Professional Accountancy 
Master of Professional Accountancy Fast-Track   


           Accounting Analytics (optional)

Program Description

The Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.A.) program provides specialized training in accounting and related fields for those who wish to prepare for a career in public accounting. In addition, the program enables students to meet the 150-hour educational requirement to sit for the CPA exam in most states, although requirements vary by state. Students can find information about CPA requirements in each state by visiting https://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/licensure.html. In addition, the program provides training in accounting and related subjects for students seeking careers in industry, government service, or accounting education. The primary objectives of this degree program are: 1) to develop judgmental ability relating to the production and use of accounting information and 2) to assist in the development of professional competence.

The program is offered as a twelve-month, full-time, face-to-face program on the Vermillion campus. The program is offered online in its entirety. The online courses are scheduled so students can complete the program in as little as two calendar years (after completing foundation courses, their undergraduate equivalents, or challenge exams). Students can “mix and match” face-to-face Vermillion, and online classes for added flexibility. The Vermillion and online programs have identical entrance and graduation requirements, and the courses are taught by the same faculty. Graduation requirements are identical for all modes of delivery, and the timelines for completion discussed herein assume that all foundations coursework has been completed before the start of the program.

The Beacom School of Business also offers a Master of Business Administration Finance  specialization.

Accounting Mission

Our mission is to prepare students to become successful accounting and business professionals in an environment that promotes critical thinking and encourages ethical business practices led by a faculty empowered to contribute to the profession through the exchange of ideas among scholars and service to our stakeholders. 


  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: https://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/apply-now and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) must accompany an application. Official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for international students. The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
  3. Baccalaureate degree must be from an institution with institutional accreditation for that degree. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.85 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per university policy. 
  4. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institutionally accredited American college or university or from an accredited institution in the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada (Excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or 550 on the Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT), a minimum IELTS Academic score of 6.0, or a minimum PTE score of 53 is required for graduate admission. 
  5. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose and resume.

 Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is required. There is no minimum score required as the scores are considered along with the other application materials.  Applicants may qualify for a waiver of the GMAT requirement under the conditions listed below. Applicants can initiate the GMAT waiver by contacting a graduate enrollment coordinator in Graduate Admissions or a graduate advisor in the Beacom School of Business. The GMAT Online Exam will be accepted through spring 2023 applications.
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation are required.  At least one (1) of these references must be professional in nature (i.e. a supervisor) and all references should be familiar with the applicant’s strengths, weaknesses, and work ethic. B.B.A./M.P.A.fast-track program applicants are required to submit only two letters of recommendation
  3. Prerequisites: An applicant must have satisfactorily completed an undergraduate accounting core either before applying or after admission to the M.P.A. program in preparation for graduate coursework. Challenge exams are also available (see below).

    The prerequisite accounting coursework includes:

    ACCT 310 Intermediate Accounting I (3 credit hours)
    ACCT 311 Intermediate Accounting II (3 credit hours)
    ACCT 320 Cost Accounting (3 credit hours)
    ACCT 360 Accounting Systems (3 credit hours)
    ACCT 430 Income Tax Accounting (3 credit hours)
    ACCT 450 Auditing (3 credit hours)

    The student must have completed the following business prerequisite classes or their equivalent as an undergraduate or while enrolled in the MPA program (challenge exams are also available):

      BADM 350 Legal Environment of Business (3 credit hours)
      BADM 351 Business Law I (3 credit hours)
      ACCT 520 Foundations of Accounting (3 credit hours)
      BADM 505 Foundations of Finance (3 credit hours)
      BADM 520 Foundations of Calculus and Statistics for Business (3 credit hours)
      BADM 525 Production Operations Management (3 credit hours)
      BADM 580 Foundations of Marketing and Organizational Behavior (3 credit hours)
      ECON 580 Foundations of Economics (3 credit hours)

Challenge exams are available to admitted students who do not have course prerequisites complete. Successful completion of this exam satisfies the course prerequisite requirement, though no academic credit is granted for the prerequisite. Students who do not pass the challenge exam are required to take the prerequisite course or equivalent foundation course. 

Beacom School of Business GMAT Waiver

Applicants applying to the Beacom School of Business graduate programs who require the GMAT (see admission requirements) may be eligible for a GMAT waiver if they qualify under one of the following categories. A GMAT wavier does not necessitate admission to a Beacom graduate program.

GMAT Waiver for AACSB Accredited Undergraduate Students:

1.) Students must have graduated with an undergraduate or graduate degree from an AACSB Accredited Business School within the previous 12 semesters to be eligible for a GMAT waiver. The 12-semester timeline is from the time of graduating with the undergraduate or graduate degree to the first semester enrolled in courses as a degree seeking graduate student at USD and includes spring, summer, and fall semesters.
2.) Students must meet undergraduate/graduate GPA requirements to be eligible for a GMAT waiver.
     A.) Cumulative of at least 3.25 for undergraduate (or graduate if applicable)
     B.) Major GPA of at least 3.25 for undergraduate students or Program of Study GPA of at least 3.25 for those holding graduate degrees (student must provide major courses).

GMAT Waiver for Students who have taken the LSAT or MCAT:

1.) Students must provide an official copy of their LSAT or MCAT score.
     A.) Students with an overall scaled LSAT Score in the 50th percentile are eligible for a GMAT waiver.
     B.) Students with an overall MCAT Score in the 49th percentile and a Critical Analysis and Reasoning Score in at least the 37th percentile are eligible for a GMAT waiver.

GMAT Waiver for Students who have taken the GRE (for MBA and MPA ONLY):

1.) Students must provide an official copy of their GRE score.
2.) Students who meet the following GRE score requirements are eligible for a GMAT waiver.
      A.) A verbal score in at least the 45th percentile
      B.) A quantitative score in at least the 45th percentile
      C.) A combined score (verbal plus quantitative) of at least 306. 

GMAT Waiver for Students with STEM Degrees (for M.S. in Business Analytics ONLY): 

1.) Students must have earned a STEM undergraduate or graduate degree from a U.S. or Canadian institution by the time they begin the M.S. in Business Analytics program;  
2.) Students must meet undergraduate/graduate GPA requirements.  
    A.) Cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 for undergraduate (or graduate if applicable);  
    B.) Major GPA of at least 3.0 for undergraduate students or program of study GPA of at least 3.0 for those holding graduate degrees. (Students must provide major courses.) 

GMAT Waiver for Students with an Earned Doctoral Degree or Pursuing a JD or MD at USD

1.) Applicants to Beacom Graduate Programs with an earned doctoral degree from an accredited institution are eligible for a GMAT waiver.
2.) Applicants to Beacom Graduate Programs currently admitted to the USD School of Law pursuing a JD or the USD School of Medicine pursuing an MD or MD/PhD are eligible for a GMAT waiver.

GMAT Waiver for Students who have professional licensure/certification:

Students must be or have been certified or chartered with a professional licensure/certification, subject to program approval. Examples may include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Analytics Professional (CAP). Applicants must provide justification and proof of licensure/certification.

*All percentiles are based on the GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT exams’ most recent published percentile rankings.

B.B.A./M.P.A. Fast-Track Option

Beacom School of Business undergraduate majors meeting requirements for entry into the M.P.A. program may opt to complete both the B.B.A. and M.P.A. concurrently. Students who pursue this fast-track option will be awarded their undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously, upon completion of the two programs. Permission to be awarded the undergraduate degree prior to the completion of the graduate degree is available.

Students may apply for admission to the M.P.A. program using the standard graduate application process after completing 75 credit hours. Applicants for the B.B.A./M.P.A. program are required to submit only two letters of recommendation. Students applying to the B.B.A./M.P.A. program are not required to provide a GMAT exam score for admission to the fast-track option if they meet all the following criteria: cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 and GPA within major of at least 3.25. Applicants who do not meet the above criteria are required to provide a GMAT exam score, which will be evaluated along with all application materials in a manner consistent with applications to the M.P.A. program.

The fast-track option will confer special student status to those admitted, who will then be eligible to take 700-level courses in the graduate program of study upon completion of 90 undergraduate credits, and apply for graduate assistantships. Students must complete the requirements of the B.B.A. program in accordance with the undergraduate catalog and the requirements of the M.P.A. program in accordance with the graduate catalog. The minimum number of credits to achieve both degrees is 150 credit hours.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships  in the Beacom School of Business are awarded each year on a competitive basis to students meeting the following requirements: full-time or a minimum of 9 graduate credit hours, admitted into the program as “full” status (not provisional status), and classified as an on-campus MPA, MBA, or MS student. student. Applications for graduate assistantships in the Beacom School of Business are due on April 1.

Application Deadline

  • Three weeks before the start of the semester
    • Fall, Spring, and Summer starts

Student Learning Outcomes for Accountancy (Professional Accountancy -M.P.A.)

Goal #1: Our graduates will demonstrate knowledge of advanced accounting concepts.  (Knowledge)  


  1. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge in the topical accounting areas covered by the required accounting courses.  
  2. Graduates will be able to complete designated course embedded exams.  

Goal #2: Our graduates will demonstrate critical thinking skills through application of accounting concepts in analyzing business issues. (Critical Thinking and Application)  


  1. Graduates will be able to effectively analyze accounting problems.  
  2. Graduates will be able to make appropriate recommendations for decision making.  

 Goal #3: Our graduates will demonstrate professional communication skills. (Professional Communication)  


  1. Graduates will be able to write professionally.  
  2. Graduates will be able to make effective presentations.  

Goal #4: Graduates will identify common ethical dilemmas in the accounting profession.  


  1. Graduates will be able to apply ethical principles in resolving ethics dilemmas.