University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Who is a Masters in Accounting degree for?

The iMSA program is open to students of various backgrounds, from non-accounting professionals looking to become accountants, to future CPAs, to early-mid career finance and accounting professionals, to C-suite executives. No accounting undergraduate degree is required for admission.

There are four access points for you to join our courses. Apply directly to the iMSA program, apply for our Performance-based Admissions Track (PAT), enroll in a for-credit course as a non degree student, or sign up for a non credit option.

*If you enroll in a for-credit course as a non degree student, you can take both the asynchronous, self-paced component and the high engagement live class component of the iMSA without applying to the full degree.

*If you sign up for the non credit option, you can try the asynchronous, self-paced component of an iMSA course. Learn how to enroll in a for-credit course as a non-degree student.

Program start dates:

  • The program has three official start dates throughout the year: January, May, and August
  • Non degree students may start any time throughout the year

Application Process

The first step in applying to the iMSA is to fill out the online application and attach all required materials (copies of transcripts for all higher education, resume, personal statement, and names with emails for your recommenders). After the admissions committee reviews your materials, you may be invited to an online interview. After the interview, the admissions committee will notify you with a decision. For admissions support, we offer we offer many ways to connect with the Gies Online team, an admissions checklist, and a variety of events designed to answer all your questions.

Applicants for the degree program must have:

  • A bachelor's degree in any academic discipline from an accredited institution in the United States, or the international equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.
  • The recommended undergraduate GPA is 3.0/4.0, or the US equivalent, from the final two years of undergraduate study.
  • Applicants need to have completed a course in business management along with a one or two course sequence in principles of accounting or a course in financial accounting. If you are missing any prerequisites for the full degree, you can complete Coursera courses to demonstrate readiness and strengthen your application for the iMSA.

For the principles of accounting course prerequisite, Gies offers the following courses. The three courses, in combination, will satisfy the principles of accounting prerequisite.

For the business management course prerequisite, you can take the Business Strategy course.

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.

Applicants for the degree program must submit:

  • Academic credentials (Uploaded credentials must include applicant’s name, institution name, and a transcript legend, grade scale, or grade criteria)
  • A resume
  • A personal statement/essay
  • 2 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.
  • All applicants whose native language is not English must take the Internet-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Duolingo English Test, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. Click here for information on the university English proficiency requirement.. International applicants must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score to the Illinois iMSA. You may be exempt from providing a TOEFL or IELTS score if you meet one of the criteria listed here.
  • Optional: GMAT or GRE scores
  • Optional: Gies Online Coursera Scholarship application essay

International Applicants

International students can find admissions requirements including minimum GPA, required materials, and accepted official transcripts for their country listed here. Minimum required scores, accepted test types, and waiver information for the English proficiency requirement can be found here.

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 iMSA program.

How do I apply to the PAT? If you’re interested, you simply follow the regular iMSA admissions process, 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. If admitted into the PAT, you will take a set of two iMSA courses, and upon completion (cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, including a B or better in both courses) you will be automatically admitted to the iMSA program as a degree-seeking student. The credits earned in those two courses will also be transferred toward your MSA degree. All students admitted to the PAT will be provided access to academic support specialists who can offer guidance throughout the program.

The benefits of the PAT include:

  • No enrollment deposit
  • Opportunity to experience iMSA courses and earn academic credit

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

  • Do not meet minimum undergraduate GPA requirement
  • 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 MSA

Class Profile

It’s always expanding, but the iMSA program currently includes students living and working in 33 US states and 10 different countries.


Please contact Gies College of Business at

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.