by Colton Campbell

The Richards College of Business at the University of West Georgia is launching a new combined master’s degree program to help address the growing demand for graduates who are skilled at crunching numbers as well as running a business.

Students sitting in a classroom at a table.Beginning this fall, graduate students will be able to declare if they would like to pursue this new program, which combines both a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and master’s degree in professional accounting (MPAcc) and allows a full-time student to earn both degrees in only four semesters.

“This combined graduate degree program is a first for UWG, and the ability to combine these two degrees opens new doors and broadens career horizons for our students,” said Dr. Faye McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business. “This is another example of how we are committed to supporting student success and ensuring they have the education and the skills to be highly marketable in the workforce.”

Dr. Christine Haynes, a professor of accounting and director of the MPAcc program, said students earn the accounting degree in three semesters by attending full time, meaning the addition of the MBA degree adds only one semester to a student’s course load.

“We’ve been looking to add something for our students in graduate-level accounting for several years now, and this just feels like a perfect fit,” Haynes said. “Students who earn only the MPAcc degree are skilled at working in groups, presenting before classes and writing reports, but earning an MBA adds a higher level of leadership and management skills that aren’t as inherent in the MPAcc courses.”

Haynes will oversee the progress of the combined degree program with Dr. Jeannie Pridmore, associate professor of management information systems and the MBA program director, and Dr. Hope Udombon, the Richards College of Business graduate academic adviser.

Students will have to declare that they’d like to pursue the 45-hour combined degree program before starting classes, but Haynes said some accommodations will be made for current students who have started down a particular path and would like to add on the other degree before graduating. Interested students must be admitted to both individual programs to participate in the combined program.

“It’s an intense amount of work, but to graduate with both degrees provides huge value-added,” Haynes said. “It does require a lot of commitment, but if you keep the payoff in mind, it’s absolutely worthwhile.”

McIntyre said she hopes the introduction of the new program will spark ideas for similar programs across UWG’s campus.

“Standing alone, an excellent education in accounting or business administration can go a long way, but a program that combines both will provide the best of both worlds,” McIntyre said. “It is an exciting opportunity to be part of this initiative, and we look forward to supporting students as they take on this significant challenge.”

Posted on July 24, 2018