The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business will offer a weekend executive master of science in accounting, featuring a unique internal auditing focus.

"In today's era of heightened accountability, the demand for highly qualified auditing specialists who can successfully interpret new rules, better understand business control processes and design effective internal controls has never been greater," said the dean of the business school, Howard Frank, in a statement.

Frank said that interest in the university's accounting programs has been on the rise. He noted the American Institute of CPAs' 2005 report on the supply and demand of accounting graduates, which revealed that after steady declines in the late 1990s, total accounting program enrollment between 2000 and 2004 had increased by 19 percent.

Smith's faculty -- in consultation with the Big Four firms and other accounting professionals -- developed the new master's program. The program will be delivered in an executive format, with classes meeting on Saturdays for 15 months. In addition to the internal audit track designed for internal auditors, a general accounting track will also be offered as an option to help participants working toward the 150-hour credit CPA education requirement in Maryland, Virginia and Washington.

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