The Villanova University interdisciplinary Graduate Tax Program is conducted (in the evenings) jointly by the School of Law and the Villanova School of Business. Students are drawn from both the legal and accounting professions and interact, in and out of the classroom, in an educational dimension that broadens and sharpens their understanding both of federal tax law and procedure, and of the interests and aims of the opposite discipline.
In addition, because the full-time and adjunct faculty includes both attorneys and accountants who specialize in taxation, the substantive course content is flavored by their various backgrounds and approaches. The end result is a rich program that provides students with a working understanding of basic concepts, the practical application of tax principles, and current tax policy issues for use in the planning, compliance, and controversy areas of tax practice.
The program is designed and presented with the expectation that its graduates will emerge from it with significantly enhanced practical skills for issue identification and problem solving in the tax area, together with a heightened sensitivity to their professional role in the tax system and the role of that system in individual, commercial, and financial affairs. Professional responsibility in tax practice is stressed and students are encouraged to use the digital research and communication facilities of the law school.
The course requirements for the attorney’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree and the accountant’s Master of Taxation (M.T.) degree are very similar. While some of the elective offerings may have more appeal to members of one profession than the other, many courses, particularly those involving current planning and transactional issues, have a class composition that contains the appropriate mix of each profession necessary for a meaningful interrelationship between the two.
The present enrollment of approximately 250 degree candidates strikes a desirable balance between a program large enough to offer a broad selection of courses, yet not so large that the individual student is lost in the crowd.
In addition, certificate programs in Estate Planning and Employee Benefits provide qualified professionals with an intense course of study in these two specialty areas. They are separately described below.
Finally, qualified attorneys and accountants are permitted to enroll as auditors in regular courses in the Graduate Tax curriculum.