College of Business adding taxation masters program

The College of Business will begin a new master’s of science degree program in taxation in the fall.

The Board of Regents approved the degree program on June 10. According to the degree proposal, the program will “develop tax professionals who are prepared to serve the public and private sectors with a broad understanding of the compliance, planning and policy elements of tax practice.”

Dr. Zafar Khan, interim department head in the College of Business who helped develop the program, said it was a student and faculty driven program. Khan said that alumni and university employees agreed there was a high demand for students with taxation degrees.

The program will be best suited for general accounting students with a vast array of skills, people with analytical, time management and both written and oral communication skills who are detailed orientated.

“We have structured our program to give a key advantage,” Khan said. “We are partnering with Thomson Reuters. They have the tax software that is used by most accounting firms. They have given us a license to use it in our class, and to our faculty who have already undergone training will be using it in class.”

Some students are already showing interest in the program, like Joel Genter, a sophomore majoring in accounting.

“I’d be convinced to consider taking the program if I knew that job availability was high and that it paid well. But if not then I might as well just go for the CPA,” Genter said.

This will not be the first taxation degree available in Michigan. Other schools, like Wayne State University and Walsh College, have similar programs. Khan said that the biggest draw for students to go to EMU was that it was too far for local students to go all the way to Troy or to downtown Detroit.

“We really don’t want to name names, but there are programs out there that use a lot of part time levelers in there [program],” Khan said. “There are professionals out there who are really successful [who] do not have the time to teach a college program. So often what you see is professionals teaching out there who are the ones who have the time.”

Khan said EMU will hire qualified faculty to head up the program. The graduate course is aiming to have seven students by the time it officially starts in fall. Khan said they already have six interested and will likely have ten to start with. In the long term, EMU aims to have twenty five to thirty students, which is quite large for a master’s program.

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