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Program FAQs

What makes the Rady Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) unique?

The Rady faculty are ranked among the top in the world, they are leading experts in their field, both academically and professionally. As a student in the MPAc program, you will learn from cutting-edge research as well as from current and former senior executives from industry and global accounting giants.

Faculty and staff are with you every step of the way, providing individual career support, academic advising, as well as tutoring, and extracurricular options to expand your experience outside the classroom. You can also expect hands-on experience with major firms within the capstone project. As a student, you have the flexibility to take electives in the program across the Rady Campus. Students in our program have up to 40 percent of the electives from other Rady programs in finance, data, leadership, and industry focus (e.g. energy). We are constantly evaluating our curriculum, based on marketplace changes and industry feedback

How long will it take me to complete the MPAc program?

The Master of Professional Accountancy program is designed as a full-time, nine-month immersive program. Currently, there is no part-time, evening, or weekend format available in the MPAc program. The curriculum consists of seven, four-unit core courses, two, one-unit professional seminars, and 20 units from a set of elective courses. This program is comprised of 40 percent electives which allow you to customize your program to support your career and academic goals.

Will I be getting hands-on experience in the MPAc program?

Yes, the capstone project is a requirement for all students and will provide you with real-world experience working on a company project. This is a key differentiator for Rady, where all of our students graduate with hands-on experience, working on real business problems. Accountants build trust and confidence in capital markets all over the world. You will be asked to support decision-makers as they navigate the complex business demands of a growing number of stakeholders. The capstone will allow you to work with industry or professional firm sponsors to analyze and address a complex issue facing them. The topics are current and will change with the environment.

Is the Master of Professional Accountancy STEM certified?

Yes, the MPAc degree has been recognized as a STEM-designated field of study. Students who complete the MPAc degree will have the opportunity to qualify for an additional two-year STEM extension of their post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permission. The Rady School MPAc degree is one of only 24 percent of specialized master's programs in the U.S. to earn STEM designation. Students take several classes that focus on managerial decision-making using new technologies and approaches with the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Will I receive personalized academic advising?

Yes, each student will receive personalized support from their academic advisor. Your MPAc advisor will be guiding you throughout your entire program.

What are housing options for graduate students?

Graduate students at UC San Diego have a variety of housing options, including on-campus and off-campus accommodations. Visit the UC San Diego HDH Graduate and Family Housing webpage for on-campus housing information. On-campus housing is limited; students wishing to live on-campus are encouraged to submit a housing application as soon as they receive an admissions offer. All on-campus housing is managed by UC San Diego Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH); the Rady School is unable to answer on-campus housing-related questions or request prioritization of housing applications.

Please visit the UC San Diego off-campus housing webpage for more information about off-campus accommodation options.

How can I learn more about the Rady MPAc program?

Contact our Rady Graduate Admissions Department if you would like to schedule an Advising Session with our Associate Director of Admissions: Advisement Schedule

Do I need an accounting background to apply to the program?

To be a competitive applicant to the Rady MPAc program, prospective students should have a solid accounting foundation.  A strong accounting background is necessary to be successful in the academically rigorous MPAc program and the accounting industry’s competitive hiring process.  By the start of the program, applicants must have successfully completed a minimum of 24 quarter units (18 semester units) in accounting including (or their institution’s equivalent of):

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Intermediate Accounting I
  • Intermediate Accounting II
  • Auditing
  • Federal Taxation

Applicants with non-accounting undergraduate degrees and less than 24 quarter units (18 semester units) in accounting will be considered on an exceptional basis. Applicants who do not meet the accounting foundational courses listed above at the time of application must be on track to complete the pre-requisites prior to the program start.

If I do not have previous experience in accounting, would I need to complete additional coursework and gain relevant experience prior to applying?

The most competitive applicants to the Rady MPAc program will have a solid accounting foundation, including completion of the minimum six accounting foundational courses.  You may apply for admission before completing foundational accounting coursework, but you must be on track to complete the foundational accounting courses prior to the program start.

Applicants with non-accounting undergraduate degrees and less than 24 quarter units (18 semester units) in accounting will be considered on an exceptional basis. Applicants who do not meet all foundational accounting courses or are non-accounting majors but who have significant relevant accounting work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What does the graduate admissions committee look for in an applicant?

Applicants are reviewed on a holistic basis, meaning the admissions committee looks at the overall competitiveness of your interview and application as it relates to your prior academic work, professional experience, fit or alignment with the Rady School values and mission, and more. There are many specific factors that go into admission decisions, including previous education performance, recommendations, the GMAT/GRE (if applicable), TOEFL/IELTS (if applicable), work experience, essays, and passion for the program. All of these components are carefully reviewed once your application is completed. The graduate admissions committee will balance the diversity of education, work experience, background, and leadership potential to build a diverse cohort of the high caliber of students.

I am a Junior at a UC school, can I apply early?

Yes, we offer a unique opportunity for Juniors actively attending a UC (UCSD, UCR, UCI, UCSB, UCSC, UCD, UCB, UCSF, UCLA) to apply for early consideration. There are several benefits to becoming a Jr. Applicant. Please see our website for additional information on eligibility or contact Stacy, our MPAc Associate Director of Admissions at

I am not an accounting major. Am I eligible to apply? How can I be competitive?

We welcome applicants from all majors! The MPAc degree is open to anyone who has, or is on track to complete, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, regardless of undergraduate major or professional experience.  Non-accounting majors, especially those who majored in STEM classes that the professional desires (computer science, data science, mathematics, economics, international business) have the potential to be successful in this program, provided that foundational accounting courses are completed prior to the program start.  To be competitive as a non-accounting major, you should be on track to complete the foundational accounting coursework by the start of the program in September. It is okay if you are not an accounting major, however all students need foundational accounting knowledge to be academically successful in this program and, most importantly, to be competitive in the accounting industry.

Can I transfer credits from another Graduate program?

The Rady MPAc program does not accept transfer credit from other graduate programs.

Does the full-time Master of Professional Accountancy program accept 3-year degrees?

The MPAc program accepts applicants with a 3-year undergraduate degree.  Equivalency to a 4-year degree will be evaluated by the UC San Diego Graduate Division Admissions team if nominated for admission to the program.

Do you offer a pre-application review for eligibility?

The MPAc program does not offer pre-application review for eligibility.  If the program aligns your professional and academic goals, we encourage you to submit a complete application for admissions consideration.

Can I apply for a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Instructional Assistant (IA) position during the program?

The Rady School of Management offers a limited number of TA/IA positions each quarter.  Available TA/IA positions and the application process is shared with incoming Rady graduate students before the start of the program.