Who should pursue an MBA?

Successful applicants come from all walks of life, all over the world. We accept talented students looking to expand their knowledge base with applicable real-world experiences, and can demonstrate why the iMBA from Illinois is crucial for personal and professional success. Ideal applicants are emerging leaders and innovative thinkers who contribute unique perspectives to class discussions.

Benefits of applying for a priority deadline:

  • No application fee
  • Apply for scholarship consideration
  • Priority registration for courses
  • Early access to Coursera for Illinois
  • Begin engaging with classmates via Illinois' networking platforms

Program start dates:

Program cohorts begin in January, March, May, August, and October of each year. Open courses are available to start throughout the year.

Spring 2023 Cohort Deadlines

RoundApplication Deadline
Final Deadline for March StartFebruary 2, 2023 (PAT included)

Application Requirements

The online MBA (iMBA) from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is designed for working professionals who demonstrate a commitment to excellence in their careers. Applicants should be ready to explain how the iMBA degree will help them achieve future career plans. See the full checklist.

Minimum Requirements for the iMBA Program

You must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution in a foreign country. If you earned your degree(s) from outside the United States, refer to this webpage for academic requirements by country.

A grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant, for the last two years of undergraduate study is recommended. Applications are reviewed holistically; work experience, positive references, and a strong personal statement are considered indicators of success that can outweigh a lower GPA.

All students are expected to have at least three or more years of rich, valuable operational or managerial experience.

Required Application Materials

Applicants must upload their academic credentials (transcripts, marksheets, certificates of degree, etc.) as required by the Graduate College. For the application review process, applicants do not need to submit official academic credentials; unofficial or scanned credentials are acceptable. If admitted, however, you will be required to submit official academic credentials.

When uploading your academic credentials, please keep the following in mind:

  • Credential evaluations (such as WES or ECE) are not accepted.
  • Uploaded credentials must include applicant’s name, institution name, and a transcript legend, grade scale, or grade criteria.
  • For domestic degrees, your transcript must have your degree awarded information and the date your degree was conferred.
  • For international degrees, you must include the certificate of degree. If the credentials were originally in a language other than English, credentials in native language and English must be uploaded.
  • If you have not yet completed your undergraduate degree at the time of application, we will review your application based on the in-progress unofficial transcripts you have uploaded.

Your professional resume should include personal information (name, address, telephone number, and email address), educational background, work experience (start and end dates for each position and a brief description of responsibilities), internship experience, educational training, professional associations, and leadership experiences. Technical resumes are not required. Please limit your resume to two pages.

Your personal statement should be 750 to 1000 words and double-spaced. This is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee more about your story and should not be a re-telling of your resume.

You should specifically answer the following questions in essay format:

  • How do your personal and professional goals fit within Gies’ commitments?
  • How will completing a Gies iMBA degree help you achieve those goals?

Two letters of reference are required. At least one letter should be a professional reference from a current or former supervisor. Once you enter their information into the online application, your recommenders will be notified to submit a letter of reference or complete a brief online information form. Letters of reference can be received after an application is submitted. Letters must come directly from the recommender, letters submitted by the applicant are not accepted.

If you are a non-native English speaker or do not meet one of the Graduate College’s exemptions, you will need to upload your TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores directly to your application. If you do not have scores and do not meet an exemption, you may also upload an essay requesting an exemption. Please note that if your test scores fall within the limited status range, you may be admitted to the Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT) program to satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

Optional Materials

The GMAT or GRE is not required for the application, but you are welcome to submit scores to supplement your application. Unofficial scores can be loaded into your application, but your official GMAT scores must be sent directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Institution Code – 1836.

You can use this to address any concerns you may have with your application profile. Additionally, if there is something you would like to highlight that you have been unable to discuss in other areas of the application, you can do so in this essay.

Gies College of Business and Coursera have partnered to offer a limited number of need-based scholarships covering 70% of tuition for qualified students. All students who plan on enrolling in August 2021 or later are eligible to apply. Recipients will be selected based on need, academic standing, and essay submissions. To apply, indicate your interest in the application and upload your essay with your application. Essay submissions must be received with the application for full consideration for the scholarship.

Gies College of Business has partnered with the Forte Foundation to provide the Forte Foundation Scholarship to one newly admitted female iMBA student per enrollment cycle. The scholarship is $20,000, awarded throughout the duration of the program. To apply, indicate your interest in the application and upload your essay with your application. Essay submissions must be received with the application for full consideration for the scholarship.

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.

  • School must be an AACSB accredited institution.
  • Course(s) must have been completed within the past 4 years.
  • Course(s) must not have been used towards any other degree.
  • Course(s) must have been taken at the graduate level.
  • Student must have earned an A- or better.

Ready to start your application?

Concerns about your application profile? Explore the Performance-based Admissions Track.

The Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT) is a first-of-its-kind pathway into the iMBA program.

What is the PAT? Gies College of Business offers the PAT program for applicants who feel their profile may not be strong enough to gain direct admission to the degree program. As a PAT student, you will be able to take a set of three iMBA courses and get a feel for the academic rigor of the program. You will attend live sessions, complete assignments, and work on group projects just like a standard iMBA student.

If you earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, including a B or better in at least two courses, you will be automatically admitted to the iMBA program as a degree-seeking student. The credits earned in those three courses will also be transferred toward your MBA degree. All students admitted to the PAT will be assigned an academic advisor and will have support throughout the program. Learn more about the curriculum.

How do I apply to the PAT? If you’re interested, you simply apply using the standard iMBA application link, indicating that you would like to be considered for the PAT. You will undergo the same rigorous application review as a degree-seeking student, including a possible interview.

The benefits of the PAT include:

  • Free application
  • No enrollment deposit
  • Opportunity to experience iMBA courses and earn academic credit
  • Assigned academic advisor

The PAT program could be the best fit for you, if you:

  • Do not meet minimum undergraduate GPA requirement (3.0)
  • Have limited full-time or managerial work experience
  • Are unsure if an online program is right for you
  • Are uncertain about the time commitment needed to earn your MBA

Previously Completed iMBA Coursework

If you have completed an iMBA for-credit course or Specialization, we will consider your performance as we evaluate your application. Please note that good performance in these courses does not guarantee admission to the program.

Class Profile


If you have questions about the application process or eligibility, please send us an email: giesonline@illinois.edu

Application Deadlines

Applications for the Spring 2023 cohort are now open! Students can start classes in March 2023.

  • Final Deadline for March Start: February 2, 2023

Have questions?

Please contact Gies College of Business at giesonline@illinois.edu.

Upcoming Events

The full Gies Online Events Calendar can be found here.

Coursera does not grant credit, and does not represent that any institution other than the degree granting institution will recognize the credit or credential awarded by the institution; the decision to grant, accept, or transfer credit is subject to the sole and absolute discretion of an educational institution.

We encourage you to investigate whether this degree meets your academic and/or professional needs before applying.