Degree Access Points

There are multiple access points to University of Illinois online business education. You can apply directly to a graduate degree, inquire about our Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT), enroll in a for-credit course, or sign up for one of two non-credit options.

You don’t have to apply to a degree program to take for-credit courses or to enroll in noncredit classes and certificate programs. They’re all available as stand-alone options.

Degree Access Points

  • Take noncredit courses individually or toward certification
  • Enroll in a for-credit course individually
  • Apply to a graduate certificate program
  • Apply to the Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT)
  • Apply to a degree program

Take noncredit courses individually or toward certification

Self-directed, noncredit courses are the basic building block of your degree. Each of these noncredit courses serves as the first segment of a corresponding for-credit course. The noncredit segment provides foundational material for the for-credit segment.

You can take just the self-directed, noncredit courses for free if you don’t plan to go on to a degree program, advanced graduate-level work, or earn a noncredit certificate. If you just want some foundational knowledge, you’ll find that the on-demand classes are great resources and will likely have immediate applicability in your work. Once you complete the noncredit segment, you can:

  1. Earn a noncredit certificate for a single course if you don’t want to go onto the graduate level by paying a membership fee.
  2. Earn a noncredit specialization certificate. You would take a prescribed sequence of noncredit courses by paying a membership fee. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. You’re welcome to complete a full noncredit business specialization now and build it into a graduate certificate over time.
  3. Enroll in the for-credit portion of the class by applying and paying tuition.
Why enroll in a noncredit course?

There are three reasons you might want to enroll in a noncredit course:

If you intend to go onto the for-credit course or a full degree and want to get a head start.

If you just want to take the foundational free content and not go further.

If you want to earn a certificate in a business specialization but not a full degree.

How do I get started?

Noncredit courses and specializations are offered in accounting, finance, digital marketing, management, and more. The self-directed segments of our classes are delivered through the website of our partner, Coursera.

View Noncredit Courses

View Noncredit Specializations

Enroll in a for-credit course individually

Taking for-credit courses as a non-degree student is a great way to demonstrate your readiness for a degree program, and to determine if the degree program is the right fit for you. Graduate-level, for-credit courses start at various times throughout the year. They deliver content that can make an immediate impact in your work, and credits can be applied toward your degree (or transferred to other universities).

Why enroll in a for-credit course

There are three reasons you may want to enroll in a for-credit course as a non-degree student:

You are planning to apply to an online degree program or are in the process of applying. You want to get a head start on your coursework or take a first course as a way to ease back into being a student.

You are interested in a specific subject area or specialization and not a full degree program. You can take just the classes that peak your interest with a shorter time and commitment.

You want to earn academic credit for transfer to another program or university. Credits earned are full University of Illinois credits, but be sure to check with your home institution.

How do I get started?

You will go through a short application process to become a non-degree student. You will be onboarded into the program and will then register for courses.

Courses are comprised of two parts: foundational content through Coursera and high-engagement content through the Illinois platform (Canvas).  These two parts are designed to be completed together.

Application Instructions

To apply, please complete an application through the University of Illinois Graduate College. Use the following information on your application:

Program: Accountancy (iMSA) or Business Administration (iMBA, iMSM)

Degree: iMBA, iMSA, or iMSM Non-Degree Program

Non-Degree Track: Non-Degree General

Apply to a Graduate Certificate

If you're not quite ready for a master's degree, you can enroll in a for-credit Graduate Certificate. These 12-credit-hour certificates are built around specific skills or competencies. Once complete, each certificate can be stacked into any of our online graduate degrees

View Graduate Certificates ›

Apply to the Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT)

If you're concerned that your profile might not be strong enough to gain admission to one of our online degree programs, the Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT) could be a good fit. This first-of-its-kind pathway into the iMBA, iMSA, and iMSM gives learners the opportunity to take graduate-level courses – and earn credit – before officially entering a degree program.

Discover the PAT Program ›

Apply directly to a degree program

We offer three online degree programs: Master of Business Administration (iMBA),  Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA), and Master of Science in Management (iMSM).

Each degree program is delivered in a flexible, fully online format by the same faculty and with the same rigor as an on-campus program. Applications are accepted throughout the year with cohorts beginning in the spring, summer, and fall.

Explore Master's Degrees ›

Find your best fit

We offer a range of starting points and paths to fit your life and support your goals. Reach out if you'd like help determining what's best for you.