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Master of Science in Taxation

A comprehensive graduate degree program designed to train students for a career in the tax field. Ranked #1 by Top 10 MS Tax Programs According to Tax Hiring Authorities.


Our MS in taxation degree program is one of the finest tax programs in the nation. Our curriculum consists of approximately 30 courses covering general and specialized tax subjects such as estate and gift tax; partnerships; C corporations; LLCs and S corporations; California and multi-state tax; international tax; retirement plans; tax issues for individuals; and tax research.

You can earn your MS Tax in an accelerated, day-time cohort program which includes participation in the taxation internship selection process.

All classes are taught by tax practitioners and lawyers who are experts in their field.

GGU has earned a reputation for providing the most comprehensive and applicable tax education available today. Our tax program is the largest and one of the most respected graduate tax programs in the country, with many of the Big Four firms hiring Golden Gate University graduates and regularly sending their employees to the university to update their tax education.

Our programs stress a real-world education. They are highly focused and prepare students to be a knowledgeable tax professional. The programs are designed to provide our students with the opportunity to gain a thorough and current knowledge of tax law concepts and practices, as well as trends of the discipline in an environment that promotes the development of analytic and communication skills.

For those interested in gaining a graduate education without having to physically attend classes, the School of Taxation offers the master of science in taxation degree and the graduate certificate in taxation in asynchronous, interactive web-based classes. Students learn through study of prepared web modules and extensive online classroom interaction.



Cohort students earning their MST degree will attend many frequent workshops focusing on career search techniques, including resume writing and interview coaching. Multiple career options are presented by tax and accounting firms and industry leaders. Networking events and interactive sessions with accounting and tax professionals at all levels - from first year staff members to managing partners - are convened exclusively for cohort students. Technical panels and hands-on traning sessions allow cohort students to immediately leverage their classroom knowledge so they are able to use what they have learned in real-life practice situations during their internship or employment position.

Please note that any applicant who has not taken accounting courses is strongly encouraged to complete them prior to enrollment. The recommended courses may be taken at an accredited community college: Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I, and Intermediate Accounting II.



Students eligible for internship credit must have no tax experience, have taken at least 5 courses in the tax program and maintained a 3.0 GPA.


Graduates of the Master of Science in Taxation Program will:
  • Be able to identify tax issues, research and effectively communicate the results.
  • Have a defined body of knowledge of essential tax principles and doctrines, including but not limited to the following, and be able to critically apply these principles to practical situations:
    • Substance over form
    • Common law
    • Business purpose
    • Step transactions tax avoidance
    • Claim of right
    • Assignment of income
    • Realization
    • Constructive receipt
    • Related party transactions
    • Gross income
    • Tax benefit rule
  • Have the knowledge to select and structure a business entity that will provide a client with maximum after-tax profits.
  • Have the basic knowledge and understanding of IRS practice and procedure and be able to represent a client in a tax audit.
  • Have a basic knowledge of professional ethical responsibilities.
  • Be able to provide an individual with an integrated current and future tax benefits plan.
  • Have a general recognition of tax forms.
  • Have the skills necessary to work in a high-level tax practice.
  • Be able to engage in tax planning in an integrated manner.


The master of science degree in taxation requires completion of 30 semester units. Please refer to p. 123 for the Required Academic Progress and Grade Requirements for Graduation for Graduate Students.

All applicants should have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.00 grade-point average (GPA). Individuals with an undergraduate GPA below 3.00 are welcome to apply and will be considered for admission based on employment history, professional accomplishments, recommendations, etc. Certificate and open enrollment students must meet the same standards and prerequisites that apply to degree candidates.



All application materials, enrollment service petition materials, or student documentation (including transcripts and letters of recommendation) should be sent to:

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate University
Office of Admissions
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-442-7200

Office Location:

40 Jessie Street, 2nd Floor
Customer Service Reception



2015 - 2016 MST Day Program application deadlines:

Early Action: February 15, 2015
Priority: May 1, 2015
Final: June 15, 2015

All deadlines are non-binding. Note that all application materials must be received by Enrollment Services or the Office of International Admissions and Advising by the final deadline to be considered for the 2014-2015 MST Day Program.

Admission to the full time 9 month cohort program is selective and limited.

Each application is carefully reviewed by the School of Taxation Admission Committee which considers the following:
  • Academic achievement
  • A written statement of purpose that explains your interests, a sense of career direction, and how the Master of Science in Taxation program will benefit you
  • A letter of recommendation. Letters submitted for recommendation should:
    • Be on business or school letterhead with business or school address.
    • Be sent in a business or school envelope directly from the recommender.
    • Include the signature and contact information of the recommender.
    • An e-mail recommendation is acceptable IF, it is sent on a professional business template, electronically signed, and includes the full professional address and phone number of the recommender. The recommendation must be sent from a business or school e-mail address. Please send to:
  • A detailed resume reflecting education, any work experience, interests and awards
  • A personal interview with the committee may be required


Please Note: Admission to the Master of Science in Taxation Cohort Program is only for the Fall term.


Taxation Courses: $3,195 per 3-unit course.

Tuition varies for other courses. See Tuition & Fees for details.


This program is offered at the following locations: San Francisco, Online, Seattle, Los Angeles.



The day tax cohort is a full-time 9-month accelerated program which commences August of each year. The program is designed for students to complete 18 units in the first 5 months followed by an additional 12 units in the next 4 months. The program is also designed to support and encourage earlier entry into the profession with a goal of part-time or full-time job placement for the students as early as January. Many of the students entering this program are either career changers or recent graduates from undergraduate institutions. The retention rate after 4 terms for this program has averaged 95% for the past 6 years.

Factors contributing to the high rate of retention are:
  • accelerated nature of the program
  • high job placement rate
  • small class size
  • close student-teacher relationships
  • personalized academic and career advising
  • active engagement of tax and accounting professionals as instructors and guest speakers


Since 2003, an average of 62% of full time students successfully graduated within the first 4 terms. Graduation rates increased to averages as high as 88% at the end of 7 terms. To support professional success students are discouraged from enrolling in academic courses when employed in professional internships during the tax/accounting busy season (January-April). In many cases this is a contributing factor extending graduation beyond 4 terms. Once a student is employed, various business obligations may impact timing of degree completion.



The evening and online students primarily matriculate on a part time basis. A majority of these students are working professionals -- both those already in the tax or accounting industry and those seeking career changes. These part-time students typically register for 2 courses per year avoiding taking a course during busy season (spring trimester), graduating in 5 years (or 15 academic terms).

In addition, International students (who are required to enroll in 3 courses a term), and a small group of evening and online students, who by choice enroll in 2-3 courses a term, complete their degree in 2-3 years (6-9 terms).

The average retention rate since 2003 in the first 4 terms for the evening or online student is 82%. The average graduation rate in the first 4 terms is 3% increasing to an average of 42% after 13 terms and an average of 66% after 15 terms.