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.

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

Benefits of Applying Earlier

  • 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

Spring 2023 Cohort Deadlines

RoundApplication Deadline
Priority Deadline 1October 6, 2022 (PAT included)
Priority Deadline 2November 3, 2022 (PAT included)
Final Deadline for January StartDecember 1, 2022 (PAT included)

Application Requirements

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 of a decision. For admissions support, 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.


Minimum Requirements for the iMSA 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.

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. Please attach this form to your application.

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. You should specifically answer the following questions in essay format. This is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee more about your story and should not be a re-telling of your resume.

The Gies Business vision is “to lead the world in innovation and life-changing access to business education” and mission is to “prepare and empower innovative, purposeful and ethical future business leaders through knowledge creation and immersive learning experiences”.

Please discuss the following in a 750-1000 word, double-spaced essay:

  • 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.

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 iMSA 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 2 iMSA 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 MSA student.

If you earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, 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 courses will also be transferred toward your MSA 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 iMSA 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 iMSA 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 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.

Questions?

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

Application Information

Applications for the Spring 2023 cohort are now open! Classes will start in January 2023.

  • Final Deadline for January Start: December 1, 2022 and no application fee required.

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.