Forensic and Fraud Examination M.S.

August 21, 2019
Next Start Date
Per Credit Hour


The College of Business and Economics offers a specialized Master of Science in Forensic and Fraud Examination to meet the demand for forensic accountants who are needed to combat widespread growth in white collar crime, fraud, and the illegal international movement of money. There are multiple career opportunities in the public and private sectors for those who earn this degree. Federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the F.B.I. are seeking specialized accountants. Private firms who must comply with legislation such as the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley Acts also need auditors who are skilled at detecting, preventing and deterring fraud. This program provides accountants with additional knowledge and skill in these areas.


This degree combines online learning with two campus visits. This low-residency approach allows students to have the convenience of web courses, and the benefit of face-to-face interaction with both faculty and peers.


U.S. News Best Online Programs 2017


West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business—the Department of Accounting holds an additional accreditation by AACSB making it one of the top programs in the country.


Academic Requirements

  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above* and a score of 500 on the  Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).*
  • OR one of the following:
    • A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate
    • A related certification by an approved credentialing body
    • A Juris Doctor (JD) degree
    • Two years of relevant work experience

Prerequisite Coursework

  • ACCT 201 Principles of Accounting
  • ACCT 311 Intermediate Accounting
  • ACCT 322 Accounting Systems
  • ACCT 451 Auditing Theory

Applicants without the prerequisite coursework may complete the WVU FFE  Ivy Software courses instead.


Application Requirements

  • Applicants must be admitted to WVU as a graduate student using 2158 as the major code.

  • Enter the WVU Application portal.
  • Create a username and password.
  • Once an account has been created, applicants can edit the application at their discretion. Please complete all questions asked.
  • When selecting a start term, choose "fall."
  • Upload an up-to-date resume. Your resume should include enough information for the admissions committee to trace your entire professional work history and should indicate any relevant affiliations.
  • Request 1-3 letters of recommendation through the online portal (not required for WVU students). Individual letters should not exceed one page. We recommend that your reference provide some information that is not found in the other materials being submitted. Topics regarding your ability to work with others, your discipline and ambition, leadership potential, etc. should be addressed. Your reference letter(s) should cover aptitudes necessary for your success in the program to which you are applying.
  • Create a Statement of Purpose (not to exceed one page). Your statement of purpose should be a short, one-page essay which describes your interest in the program, why you wish to pursue the program at WVU, how the program will help you reach your career goals, and any additional information which may be necessary to understanding your candidacy. 
  • Pay application fee.
  • Submit application.
  • Applicants will then need to send their transcripts to WVU's Office of Admissions. If the applicant's undergraduate school offers "e-script" (an official electronic copy of transcripts), email the transcripts to This will help expedite the admissions process. If they do not offer this service, please have your official transcripts mailed to:  
    West Virginia University Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment  
    PO Box 6510  
    Morgantown, WV 26506-6510
  • For applicants submitting GMAT/GRE scores,  the program GMAT code is C2S-6D-25 or 5904 for GRE .
  • International Students are required to submit at TOEFL or IELTS score. The College of Business & Economics TOEFL requirement is higher than the University's—applicants must have a TOEFL score of either 580 (paper), 237 (computer), or 92 (Internet-based). If you have taken the IELTS instead of the TOEFL, the minimum score must be 6.5. English language exam scores should be sent to the Office of Admissions, West Virginia University, PO Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506-6009.
  • For applicants requesting a GMAT waiver based on 2 or more years of relevant professional work experience, please indicate request for waiver in your Statement of Purpose.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis  once all parts of the application are received including transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation.


Residents Non-Residents
Tuition and Fees

for academic year 2018-2019


Per Credit Hour


Per Credit Hour

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827.


The master’s program is 30 credit hours. Students will complete six courses devoted exclusively to forensic and fraud examination and four courses from the nationally ranked Executive MBA program. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiner CFE Exam Prep Course is embedded in Accounting 583, making students eligible and qualified to sit for the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam.


View Curriculum



The curriculum consists of the following courses:

ACCT 580 Forensic and Fraud Examination (FFE) Skills:

Auditing, information technology, financial and managerial accounting and the interface with forensic and fraud examination. This course provides an introduction to forensic and fraud examination and explores the interface between traditional financial and accounting topics and forensic and fraud examinations.

ACCT 581 Fraud Investigation:

Types of fraud, sources of evidence, and analysis of internal and external fraud schemes with an emphasis on the skills needed to identify, investigate and litigate fraud and forensic accounting allegations.

ACCT 582 Fraud Data Analysis:

Digital prevention and deterrence, digital evidence, digital detection and investigation including data mining, digital presentation and reporting tools, cybercrime and electronic case management tools.

ACCT 583 Fraud Criminology/Legal Issues:

The professional fraud examiner’s responsibility to detect fraud, investigative techniques, interviewing skills, legal concepts, evidence management, criminology, and ethics.

ACCT 584 Advanced Fraud Investigation:

Investigation of complex frauds and financial crimes and an emphasis on forensic and litigation support investigations, including international money laundering, organized criminal activities and terrorism financing. The course requires testimony of case investigative results in a moot court setting.

ACCT 585 Advance Analytical Techniques:

Development and mastering of litigation support, valuations as they apply to litigation and forensic accounting and fraud issues and financial statement fraud. Topics would be centered on civil litigation, valuation techniques and complex financial reporting frauds.

BADM 622 - Financial Statements Analysis:

Provides an overview of the current financial reporting process. Includes discussion of the respective reporting vehicles, financial statements, and the alternatives available which affect the reporting process.

BADM 621 - Business Research:

Develops skills in data-driven, fact-based decision making; develops the ability to critically evaluate research proposals and studies which rely on business research; provides a basic understanding of reading and conducting empirical research.

BADM 641 - Decision Analysis for Executives:

Applied mathematical course in solving business problems and decision making issues from a general managerial perspective with particular emphasis on the operations management area of the organization.

BADM 644 - Legal Environment and Ethics:

An overview of the legal system and the legal and ethical issues relevant to business decision making, planning, and the interface between business, government, and society.


As part of the on-campus residencies, students participate in two in-class/online case investigations and two investigative engagements in a team format. Both require students to present and defend their work in front of practicing professionals as follows:


Residency 1: "Pitch to Prosecutor" Exercise

Students will complete one major case investigation (MCI) over the course of study in ACCT 581. The purpose is to provide students with experience in performing basic investigative tasks and analysis. These projects involve analyzing simulated case information based on actual frauds/financial crimes as well as related corporate and business records to determine if fraud has occurred, who did it and how. Students mimic investigative processes used in conducting analytical reviews, soliciting information from clients, and reporting suspicious activity for a fictitious client/target company.

Residency 2 “Moot Court” Exercise

(Capstone Experience)

Supported by attorneys from the Internal Revenue Service and Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC, this course includes an integrative capstone experience using simulated actual case material as a basis for conducting an investigation throughout the course. In order to complete the assignments, students must integrate and draw upon the knowledge and skills developed in the other three courses, including the use of digital tools and techniques developed in fraud data analysis. Additionally, ACCT 581 and ACCT 582 must be completed before taking ACCT 584, Advanced Fraud Investigation.


While WVU is embracing the online instructional delivery, we are also committed to experiential learning, so  two 2-day residencies are required (generally, Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday). These residencies will enhance your educational experience by exposing you to practicing experts currently working in the fraud examination and forensic accounting profession. Meeting your classmates and expanding your WVU network adds to the experience.

The online format enables working professionals to take advantage of graduate education without taking a leave of absence from work or being confined to evening or weekend classroom commitments.

  • Residency 1: As part of the residency, students participate in (1) Financial Crime Scene Investigation (CSI-F) at WVU's Crime Scene Complex, (2) Pitch-to-Prosecutor and (3) Advanced Data Mining.
  • Residency 2: As part of the residency, following the successful completion of the Acct 583 and 584 on-line requirements, students participate in (1) a full day of Interviewing and Interrogation training, (2) Moot Court and (3) a wrap-up session.


Career Information

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Forensic and Fraud Examination M.S. degree may be prepared for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.


Fraud Examiner & Investigator

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook

Quality Control Analyst

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook

Forensic Science Technician

Projected Growth: 15% or higher *Bright Outlook

Private Detective

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook

Criminal Investigator or Special Agent

Projected Growth: 5-9%

Histologic Technician

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook
Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).