Appendix F: Distance Education Program Being Planned

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SUBMIT DATE:06/23/2014 
Constituent Institution:UNC at Chapel Hill Academic Affairs 
CIP Discipline Specialty Title:Accounting 
CIP Discipline Specialty Number:52.0301 
Exact Title of the Proposed Program:Master of Accounting 
Exact Degree Abbreviation:M.A.C. 
Date of Initiation:06/1/2015 
Will this sequence of courses be completely individual access (e.g., Internet, videocassette)? YES 
If "yes," what will be the mode of delivery?Delivery will be online, utilizing both asynchronous, synchronous, and face-to-face components to create the curriculum. 
If "no," list proposed sites. 
If short-based, length of time to complete the prog (e.g., 1 year, 18 mos.):15-18 months of course work, depending on full-time or part-time status. 

SACS/COC substantive change questions (1=Procedure One; 2=Procedure Two)

Site-based (where the instructor is present):

Is the institution initiating instruction where the student may earn more than 25% and less than 50% of credits toward a degree at a site 30 miles or more from the campus? (2) NO 
Is the institution initiating an (additional) off-campus site at which students may earn at least 50% of an educational program? (1) NO 
Is the institution adding significantly different degree programs at a currently approved site? (2) NO 
Distance learning (where instructor and student are geographically separated):
Is the institution offering its first credit courses via technology-based instruction by which students can obtain at least 25% of credits toward a degree program? (2) NO 
Is the institution expanding a previously reported program from less than 50% of credits to 50% or more of a degree program? (2) NO 
Is the institution adding a significantly different program from previously reported programs offered via technology-based instruction? (2) NO 
Does this action constitute a substantive change? If so, by what date should SACS be notified?  
1. Briefly describe the proposed program and intended audience.

The online Master of Accounting (MAC) program will mirror the residential counterpart. Faculty who teach in the full-time residential program will develop the courses for the online MAC and teach in the program. The online MAC will be a 50-credit program that can be completed over the course of 15-18 months of course work, depending on full-time or part-time status.

The curriculum will model the courses in the residential program, but the framework will model MBA@UNC. The program will offer four ten week terms per year. The coursework will be categorized by core (30 credit hours), specialty track (12 credit hours, Tax or Audit), and electives (8 credit hours). Students will attend an onsite 2-credit leadership and communication skill building immersion to begin the program. Similar to the residential program, the Associate Director, MAC Admissions, Recruiting & Career will work continuously and proactively to assist students in preparing and securing their ideal job at graduation.


The overall MAC market is showing continued growth for five of the last six years. The target audience will be a multidisciplinary under-graduate student who has decided to pursue a career in accounting and become a leader in the accounting profession. The online MAC program will be another viable option for prospective students across the US who cannot relocate to Chapel Hill, but are interested in attended a top-ten nationally ranked Master of Accounting program.

The admission criteria and process will be exactly the same as in the residential program.

2. Describe the proposed instructional delivery systems (e.g., on-site instruction by faculty, interactive video, Internet, etc.).

The online MAC degree program will use an online learning management system and video conferencing tool for method of delivery. The curriculum, learning objectives, mission, and purpose of the online MAC program will mirror the residential program. Courses currently taught in the residential program will be transformed via an online platform. There are two components to the courses: asynchronous materials (multimedia presentations, professional video, forums, quizzes, interviews, and faculty lectures) and a weekly 90-minute video conference session (synchronous session), conducted through the adobe connect platform. The online MAC program will have one required event prior to the start of the program, and multiple recruiting events students can choose to join during the program.

3. Describe need for the program (referencing results of surveys or special studies).

The Associate Dean for the MAC programs, the Executive Director for MBA@UNC and the Associate Dean for Finance and Operations conducted a thorough review of projected budget, expenses, and forecasted revenue.  The interim Dean (July 2013 – January 2014), current Dean and Senior Associate Dean for UNC Kenan-Flagler were involved in the analysis and evaluation throughout the consideration of this program.  Over several months, a series of faculty meetings were held to share information regarding the program drivers, structure and risks.  A faculty vote was held April 30, 2014 which was overwhelmingly in support of moving forward on the program.  The provost’s office was involved in discussions beginning in the fall of 2013 and ultimately approved moving forward to launch the program in June 2015. 

In addition to the internal analysis of the viability of the online MAC program, leaders from the top firms were consulted to discuss the structure and rigor of the online courses. The feedback we received from our contacts was overwhelmingly positive and that a MAC graduate from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School was highly sought after. The MAC market is over 29,000 students (AICPA 2010) and growing.  GMAC reported growth in applicants to MAC programs for five of the past six years, with the current year the first year that showed fewer than 50% of programs reporting growth.  GMAT test-takers are sending scores to specialized one-year programs such as MAC and Masters of Finance programs at an increasing rate, versus a decline in numbers for two-year MBA programs overall.

In addition to the positive market trends, the residential program has grown by 17% between 2013 and 2014 and 10% between 2014 and 2015 graduating classes. Given the positive indicators in the market and in the residential program, the creation of the online MAC program will serve a student population in their career path and employer demand for a high-potential graduate proficient in both accounting specialties and leadership skills.

The following Master of Accounting degree programs are offered by the following institutions in varying degrees: UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University, NC State, and Appalachian State University. The degrees from these universities are face-to-face residential programs.     

4. Projected total annual enrollment:
Year 1:72 
Year 2:127 
Year 3:222 
Year 4:389 
Year 5:
his intent to plan a new distance education degree program (or program site) has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate campus committees and authorities.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Contact Name:Susan Cates 
Contact Title:Executive Director MBA@UNC