iMSA Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do I earn from this program?

On successful completion of the program, you will earn a full master’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois, the same degree you would earn if you attended classes on campus.

Will my diploma state that I was enrolled in an online program?

No, your diploma will not designate that you completed an online degree. It will simply state that you earned a Master of Science in Accountancy degree from the University of Illinois.

Will I be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA exam after I complete the iMSA

The University of Illinois has not made a determination as to whether the iMSA program satisfies the academic prerequisites for the CPA exam and licensure in all 55 U.S. jurisdictions.   While the AACSB accredited iMSA program will help you meet the education requirement to sit for the CPA exam, specific requirements to be eligible to take the exam and requirements to become a licensed CPA vary from state to state. In some cases, you may need to take additional coursework or exams to meet individual state requirements and/or you may need to complete background checks to take the CPA exam. 

Please review the requirements issued by the Board of Accountancy in your state prior to applying to the iMSA program. Visit the NASBA website for the contact information and a listing of statutes for the State Board of Accountancy in each of the 55 jurisdictions, or the AICPA website to find your state’s CPA resources and contact information. Becoming a certified public accountant, or CPA, carries numerous benefits such as opportunities to increase your authority and responsibility, and, typically, your salary.

Admissions FAQs

What are the requirements for admission?

The requirements are detailed on the admission requirements page.

Do I have to take the GMAT or GRE to apply?

No. However, you may choose to submit a score as part of your application, but it is entirely at your discretion and you are not penalized if you choose not to do so. In some cases, however, the admissions team may request test scores as part of the review process.

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree?

Yes, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution in another country.

If you earned your degree(s) from outside the United States, please refer to the academic requirements by country webpage.

Is there a list of recommended courses I can take to meet the program prerequisites?

We offer online courses through Coursera to help prospective students satisfy the requirements.

For the principles of accounting course prerequisite, we offer the three courses below. The three courses, in combination, will satisfy the principles of accounting prerequisite.

For the business management course prerequisite we offer a course titled Business Strategy.

You will want to make sure that you earn a course completion certificate for each course so you can prove your successful completion of the courses.

What if I don’t meet the minimum academic performance requirements?

Some applicants with very strong professional backgrounds and who have a high probability of success in the program do not meet the minimum GPA requirements. In those cases, we evaluate candidates’ professional experience and accomplishments to determine whether they are an adequate substitute.

This applies to GPA only. Work experience is not accepted as a substitute for an undergraduate degree.

Are letters of recommendation required?

Yes, you will need two letters of recommendation. We strongly recommend that your references come from individuals who know you in a professional setting and can speak to your leadership abilities and to your commitment to succeed in a rigorous program.

If you run into any delays in getting recommendations, we encourage you to submit your application anyway. We can begin initial review of your application once it is received.

Can course credits be transferred into the iMSA program?

Transfer Request Form: Requests for transfer credits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed even if the following criteria are met. A maximum of 12 credit hours can be transferred. Transfer requests must be submitted with the application.

  • Institution must be AACSB accredited 
  • Course(s) cannot have been previously applied toward a degree or other transcripted credential
  • Course(s) must have been taken at the graduate level
  • Course(s) must have been completed within the past 4 years
  • Student must have earned an A- or better
  • A maximum of 12 credit hours will be approved for transfer
Can the application fee be waived?

In some cases, a fee waiver is available. The criteria for a waiver are specified in the fee waiver section of the application. Please note that international applicants are generally not eligible for a fee waiver.

Do I need to do an interview?

Interviews are required under some circumstances. You will be notified if the admissions team would like to interview you. 

Do I need to take TOEFL or IELTS to apply?

Applicants from countries other than the United States must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS, except in the following situations:

If you have completed two years of post-secondary, full-time study:

  • In a country where English is the primary language;
  • At an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction; and
  • Within five years of the intended term of enrollment

If you have been awarded an advanced degree:

  • In a country where English is the primary language;
  • At an institution where English is the primary language of instruction; and
  • Within five years of the intended term of enrollment

If you have current professional work experience in a country in which English is the primary language, and you are offered a waiver based on an interview with us as part of the application process.

To see if you may qualify for an academic-based exemption, check to see if the country where you attended university appears on the exempt countries list.

When can I apply for admission?

The iMSA program accepts applications at multiple times throughout the year. Please check the admissions page for upcoming application deadlines.

Tuition FAQs

What are the tuition and fees for the iMSA degree?

When you register and take a specific iMSA accounting course, you will pay the University of Illinois a tuition of $850 per credit hour effective Fall 2020. This would make a 4-credit hour accounting course $3,400 and a 2-credit hour accounting course $1,700. Tuition for most University of Illinois non-accounting elective courses will be $347 per credit hour, effective Fall 2024, making a 4-credit hour course $1,388 and a 2-credit hour course $694.

BADM 403 will be charged at the iMSA tuition rate.

Estimated Expenses:

  • Credit hours required: 32
  • Cost per credit hour: $850 for accounting and accounting Electives, $347 for non-accounting electives; BADM 403 is charged at the iMSA tuition rate
  • Total tuition: $21,164 – $27,200 depending on elective course choices*

*Annual inflation rate adjustments to tuition possible. Additional costs for case packets may be incurred.

The iMSA program is an approved cost-recovery and self-supporting program. Students in such programs are not eligible to receive tuition and fee waivers except statutory waivers.

Student participation in immersion, alumni, and networking events are not included.

Will I be required to purchase textbooks and other teaching materials?

Most learning materials are included in the cost of tuition. Occasionally, you will need to purchase a text book or case study. If so, this will be indicated in the course syllabus.

Does the program offer fellowships or financial aid?

The iMSA program currently offers limited financial aid.

Domestic students may be eligible for federal financial aid. Many of our students have had success securing funding through a third party or through their employer.

Please refer to the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.

How will I be billed for tuition payments?

You will be assessed tuition by the University of Illinois and receive a bill for tuition from the University. Please refer to the University Bursar Payments page for information regarding your options for tuition payment.

What if I cannot pay my tuition fee in one single payment?

The University of Illinois offers payment plan options. Please refer to the University Bursar Payment Plan page for more information.

Program FAQs

Do I have to come to campus?

No. The iMSA is delivered completely online and does not include a residency requirement.

How long does it usually take to complete the degree?

The University of Illinois operates on a semester system. The iMSA can be completed as little as 18 months, or 4 semesters.

What is the average credit load per semester?

With an average of 8 credit hours per semester the iMSA can be completed in 4 semesters (18 months). We expect that most degree seeking students will complete the degree in 18-36 months, which requires approximately 6 credit hours per semester.

How are iMSA courses different than typical Coursera MOOC courses?

iMSA credit-bearing courses consist of a high engagement component and a Coursera MOOC component. The high-engagement component for each iMSA course provides the ability for University of Illinois faculty to deliver weekly live classes during which you can ask questions and interact with your peers. Moreover, Illinois faculty and teaching assistants provide feedback on submitted assignments, projects, and exams. The typical Coursera MOOC course, on the other hand, consists of on demand videos, reading materials, and basic quiz questions that are peer graded.

If I take iMSA courses for free on Coursera and then enroll either in the iMSA program or the for-credit iMSA course, will the coursework I took for free count towards credit?

No, if you take classes for free, we have no way of verifying your identity. As a result, your coursework will not count toward earning credit.

If I earn a verified certificate for an iMSA course on Coursera and then enroll in a for-credit iMSA course, will the coursework I took on Coursera count toward earning academic credit?

If you take iMSA coursework on Coursera with a verified certificate, your work will be transferred over and count towards the requirements of the for-credit portion of that particular iMSA course.

Do I have to take the Coursera MOOC courses and the high-engagement portion at the same time?

No. You can complete Coursera MOOC courses prior to completing the high-engagement course. Any assignments that were only peer or auto graded for the Coursera MOOC courses can be submitted later to the high-engagement component for consideration by the faculty and staff to satisfy the requirements of the credit bearing courses. (For traditional face-to-face courses, this is analogous to auditing a course and then later taking the course and handing in any assignments the student completed while auditing the course.)

Can I earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit by taking an iMSA course?

Yes, the iMSA accountancy coursework is CPE eligible.

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