DePaul University’s graduate accountancy programs were recognized for their excellence in national rankings this fall. The school’s MS in Taxation program was ranked No. 2 and its MS in Accountancy No. 3 in the country in an annual survey of U.S. corporate tax hiring authorities conducted by TaxTalent.com. DePaul’s undergraduateprogram also was highlighted ​at No. 6 nationally, up from No. 10 last year.

“Having our undergraduate and graduate programs recognized shows that when it comes to taxation, DePaul is the premier school for professionals at both beginning and advanced levels within the tax industry,” says Kevin Stevens (MST ’86), director of the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems.

For the past three years, TaxTalent has provided annual rankings of undergraduate and graduate tax and accounting programs based on a poll of corporate tax hiring authorities. As the survey noted, by providing annual rankings “directly from the employer perspective, we hope to bridge the gap between academia and the corporate tax world.”

That link between the industry and the school can also be seen in the graduate program, where DePaul tends to attract candidates who are already employed and attending school part-time. “The fact that employers view us so highly means they’ll keep sending their people to our program,” explains Ron Marcuson, director of the MST program.

Stevens agrees. “The purpose of the program is to provide students with the knowledge they need to add immediate value to their jobs—they can leave class at night and use what they learned at work the next day. The rankings reflect that our tax program is imbued with the real world.”

Rising Popularity

A story in Crain’s Chicago Business this September noted that accounting is one of the hottest sectors for job growth. As the magazine reported, “The number of accounting grads surged 20 percent in the 2011-12 academic year, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The total of 61,300 was nearly double the 35,000 a decade earlier.”

DePaul has been involved in educating accounting and tax professionals for years. William Zink (BUS ’70, MST ’77), an adjunct professor, remembers his experience with DePaul as a student. “I could see that DePaul was a no-nonsense school. The instructors did what they taught, and that impressed the hell out of me. Its professors continue to amaze me, as does the resiliency of the students. Now I’m actually instructing them,” says Zink, who this year began teaching at DePaul after retiring in August. He spent more than 40 years in public accounting, most recently as Grant Thornton’s executive director in charge of global tax training.

DePaul’s accountancy students benefit from an environment that emphasizes knowledge and experience gained in the industry, Stevens says. “The reason our students do so well is that the faculty in the classroom and their fellow students are all tax professionals,” he explains.

Looking Forward

While the recent TaxTalent rankings reflect programs in place last year, DePaul is continuing to innovate. The school now offers online options for master’s degrees in both accountancy and taxation.

“We’re giving students the education they want when they want it with more flexibility,” says Marcuson. He also points to newer courses the school has added about accounting for income tax, transfer pricing, unclaimed property, expatriate taxation and comparative tax systems. “When the market demands something, we make sure our students are trained in it,” he says. “Taxation as a discipline is not static, so you can’t leave things the same. We’re always evolving.”

Learn more about DePaul’s MS in Taxation and MS in Accountancy degrees.

View the TaxTalent 2014 Educational Survey as a PDF.