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2020-2021 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog
Master of Science in Taxation
The Master of Science in Taxation (M.S.T.) program serves individuals who are interested in expanding or continuing their education in taxation. It is a specialized degree for tax professionals. Students examine substantive tax law and enhance their analytical and research skills, enabling them to identify relevant issues, and arrive at appropriate conclusions or courses of action.
Admission to the M.S.T. program is based on an evaluation of the candidate's application and other submitted documentation. An undergraduate degree in accounting is not required, although those with limited undergraduate exposure to taxation are required to complete appropriate courses to provide a foundation for advanced study in taxation. Applicants must submit official documentation of all previous college coursework, including a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent international credential). Additionally, applicants must submit:
- GMAT score, unless waived.
- Personal statement.
- TOEFL score, required if English is not the applicant's first language.
Candidates are admitted to the M.S.T. program based on an assessment of the candidate's potential to successfully complete the program. The Graduate Accounting Committee bases admission decisions on previous undergraduate and graduate academic performance, performance on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and evidence of other competencies related to program and workplace success. A TOEFL score of at least 80 (IBT) is required of applicants whose first language is not English. Work experience is not required but may be considered in the admissions decision.
The Graduate Admissions Committee considers a scholastic index (SI) for M.S.T. applicants computed as follows:
SI = (GPA for last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework x 200) + GMAT score.
Applicants with a scholastic index of 1100, a GMAT score not less than 500, a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and satisfactory evidence in their other credentials are considered qualified for full admission.
Applicants may be conditionally admitted to the M.S.T. program due to deficiencies in the applicant's academic preparation or performance, or insufficient evidence to completely assess the applicant's potential for success. Students admitted under this status must meet specific requirements detailed in their letter of admission to be fully admitted to the program.
All application materials must be completely submitted at least one month before the semester begins. Individuals not yet admitted to the M.S.T. program may enroll in 500-level Foundation courses with permission from the Seidman Graduate Programs Office.
Enrollment in dual-listed courses at the 500-level or in 600-level courses is generally restricted to students admitted to the respective program who have also completed the appropriate prerequisite courses. The exception to this policy is Seidman College accounting students with senior standing who meet all other admissions criteria. Such students will have completed ACC 310, ACC 311, and ACC 340 with a grade of B or better; no more than 35 credits left to complete their undergraduate degree requirements; a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; and a GMAT score of at least 500 (or qualify for a GMAT waiver). With permission of the Seidman Graduate Programs Office, such students may enroll in as many as four graduate-level accounting courses that may be applied toward the M.S.T. degree once admitted.
The following categories of applicants may request a waiver of the GMAT examination requirement:
- GVSU undergraduate accounting students who have no more than 35 credits remaining to complete their undergraduate degree requirements with a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA in their last sixty hours of coursework and with a 3.3 GPA (with no grade lower than a B) in ACC 310, ACC 311, ACC 321, and ACC 317 or ACC 318.
- Applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from an AACSB-accredited business school with grades of B+ or higher in each of the following courses or their equivalents:
- Applicants who have earned a master's degree from an AACSB-accredited business school.
- Applicants who have completed a U.S. Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- A Certified Public Accountant registered or licensed in any U.S. jurisdiction.
Applicants seeking a GMAT waiver should contact the Seidman Graduate Programs Office for details. A GMAT waiver does not result in guaranteed admission; the admissions decision will be based on the applicant's application and other submitted materials.
A maximum of nine semester hours of transfer credit will be given for appropriate graduate courses completed with a grade of B or better from another AACSB-accredited college. These credits may be substituted for required courses or elective courses as determined by the Seidman Graduate Programs Office. University policy on transfer of credit also governs such courses.
A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required in all graduate-level courses. Additionally, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required in all 500-level dual-listed courses and 600-level courses that fulfill graduation requirements for the M.S.T. A grade of C or better must be earned in all graduate courses that fulfill graduation requirements for the M.S.T.
The Seidman faculty have identified the following learning objectives for M.S.T students, and objectives are assessed regularly to ensure that they are being achieved.
Seidman M.S.T. graduates will be able to do the following:
- Write skillful tax communications.
- Be effective in analyzing and resolving tax problems.
- Be strategic tax planners.
- Master substantive tax law about the formation of a business entity in the context of real-life or simulated client situations.
- Be prepared to recognize and respond to ethical questions encountered in the practice of tax accounting.
All M.S.T. students must complete a minimum of 33 graduate credits that include at least 24 credits of 600-level courses and 21 credits in 600-level tax courses.
Foundation requirements must be completed before graduation. They may be completed as part of the student's undergraduate program prior to admission to the M.S.T. program or completed anytime between admission and program completion. Foundation requirements may be met by completion of the following undergraduate GVSU courses or their equivalents:
Legal Environment and Business
Students who have completed GVSU undergraduate courses listed previously with a grade of B or better or the equivalent at another college or university are not required to complete additional coursework in the respective areas. A background assessment showing the status of the student's foundation requirements is provided to each student at the time of admission.
The following six core courses are required of all M.S.T. students:
- ACC 607 - Ethics for Accountants (3 credits)
- ACC 622 - Tax Research and Writing (3 credits)
- ACC 624 - Corporate Tax I (3 credits)
- ACC 627 - Estate, Gift, and Trust I (3 credits)
- ACC 629 - Partnership Taxation (3 credits)
- ACC 636 - Taxation Problems, Planning, and Current Issues (3 credits)
ACC 636 is the Capstone course and may not be taken until other core courses are complete.
In addition, all M.S.T. students must complete at least two of the following tax elective courses:
- ACC 623 - Sales, Exchanges, and Other Property Dispositions (3 credits)
- ACC 625 - Corporate Tax II (3 credits)
- ACC 628 - Fiduciary Income Tax (3 credits)
- ACC 630 - Multistate Taxation (3 credits)
- ACC 631 - Employee Benefit Plans and Deferred Compensation (3 credits)
- ACC 632 - Tax Accounting (3 credits)
- ACC 633 - International Tax Practice (3 credits)
- ACC 639 - Federal Tax Practice and Procedure (3 credits)
- ACC 640 - S Corp and Limited Liability Co Taxation (3 credits)
- ACC 641 - Advanced Estate and Gift Taxation (3 credits)
The remaining three electives may be selected from among Seidman College M.S.T. courses or, with faculty advisor approval, other Seidman College graduate offerings or graduate program offerings outside the Seidman College of Business.
The M.S.T. is a program designed for working professionals. Classes are offered in the evenings, and most students attend part time. Students who have completed the foundation requirements and enroll for six credits each semester graduate in two years. A student who has completed all foundation requirements prior to admission and who is enrolled full-time in at least two Fall semesters can complete the M.S.T. degree in a total of four full-time semesters. These semesters need not be contiguous.
Students must complete a program plan with their faculty advisor prior to beginning coursework.