Become an analytics-minded professional with a fully online master’s from a top-ranked accounting powerhouse.
The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, consistently ranked among the nation’s top three accounting programs, is a revered destination for accounting education globally.
The online Master of Science in Accounting (iMSA) provides students with skills in analytical thinking, data mining, and strategic accounting. The accounting degree is intentionally flexible to address the needs of today’s students: whether they seek to begin their career as an accountant, become a CPA, improve their standing in the accounting field and become a CFO, or want to leverage analytical skills in their existing non-accounting career.
Master’s Degree in Accounting
The accounting industry is undergoing rapid change. New accountants need to become proficient in leading analytical techniques and tools; programming in Python and R, data mining, statistical analysis and regression. All of this on top of a traditional accounting education.
The iMSA meets these needs with instruction from some of the very best accounting faculty in the world. Graduates from our program are in high-demand because they possess the most sought-after skills. Our alumni have gone on to become world-renowned founders of businesses, CEOs, CFOs, accounting firm partners, entrepreneurs, and other business leaders.
The iMSA is flexibly designed to meet the needs of the modern day student; whether you want to transition into accounting, sit for the CPA exam, become a CFO, or apply leading analytics skills into your existing career.
Are there any prerequisites?
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:The three courses below, in combination, will satisfy the principles of accounting prerequisite.Financial Accounting - FoundationsFinancial Accounting - Advanced TopicsFormal Financial AccountingFor 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.
Can I apply to the degree program even if I don’t meet the GPA requirement?
If you don’t meet the GPA requirement but are still very interested in applying you may consider taking a course for-credit through the university as a non-degree seeking student. This will enhance your academic credentials and admissions will take your performance in these courses into account in making its decision. More information is available at https://onlinemsa.illinois.edu/admissions/credit/.You may also consider submitting a GMAT or GRE score.
Can I earn credit at the University of Illinois without applying to the degree program?
Yes, you can enroll as a non-degree student at the University of Illinois to earn official university credit through relevant online for-credit enhanced courses while completing open online courses on Coursera. To request approval to enroll as a for-credit, non-degree student, go to https://onlinemsa.illinois.edu/admissions/credit/
Can I try some of the courses before applying?
Yes, you can get started with these Specializations and courses on Coursera to try out the degree program works before you apply. If you apply and are accepted to the program, your work counts towards your degree learning.
Can I use any of my past credits toward the iMSA degree requirements?
We do not offer options to apply credit toward the iMSA degree requirements. All iMSA degree requirements must be satisfied through courses offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Do I have to pay for the entire degree upfront?
No. You need to pay tuition when you enroll in each individual course ($850 per credit hour for accountancy courses and $250 for non-accounting electives). That means you’ll only pay for your courses as you take them.
Do I have to submit official transcripts and degree certificates to apply?
Yes, but this can wait until you receive an admissions decision from the iMSA admissions team. We can complete a review of your application based on unofficial copies of these documents uploaded in your online application. If you have been admitted to the iMSA program, you have to request that the educational institution which issued those transcripts and degree certificates mail your official and original transcripts and degree certificates in a sealed envelope directly to us.
Do I have to take the GMAT or GRE to apply?
GMAT or GRE scores are required, but may be waived if you demonstrate sufficient relevant work experience. To apply for a waiver, please submit the form at the bottom of the page on this link. https://onlinemsa.illinois.edu/admissions/degree/request-waiver/. We will evaluate if the standards for a waiver have been met. Meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee a waiver will be granted. You can submit this form at any point during the application process, including prior to starting an application.
Do you need a master's degree in accounting?
You don’t need a master’s degree in accounting to be an accountant. However, in order to sit for the CPA exam, you need 150 credit hours, equal to 5 years of school. A master’s degree can be a great way to advance your career while earning these additional credits to sit for the exam.
How do I apply for the program?
To enroll in credit-bearing courses and earn the accredited iMSA degree, you must be admitted as a degree-seeking student through the University of Illinois Graduate College.Apply now here. You'll first create an account if you don't already have one. After accessing the ApplyYourself system, simply select Accountancy as the program and Accountancy MS (online)–iMSA as the degree program to begin. For more information about the admission process and requirements, visit the University of Illinois iMSA website or request more information. When submitting your application, select Online Master of Science In Accountancy as your Program of Interest.
I'm not interested in the full MSA. Can I take a few courses?
Yes, each open course is available separately, with or without the enhanced courses that accompany it.
Is a CPA equivalent to a masters degree?
A CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is a professional accountant that has met state-level certification and work experience requirements, and that has passed the CPA examination. It is not equivalent to a graduate-level degree or master’s degree in accounting. In order to sit for the CPA exam, professionals need at least 150 credit hours. Since a typical bachelor’s degree is 120 credit hours, many CPA candidates enroll in a master’s degree in order to fulfill the full credit hours needed to sit for the exam.
Is a master's degree in accounting worth it?
Whether or not a master’s in accounting degree is worth it is entirely dependent on what a professional is looking to achieve. If a candidate is looking to earn the 150 credits required to sit for the CPA exam, a master’s degree can help them earn these credits while also earning a valuable credential to carry with them for the rest of their careers. In addition, a graduate-level degree in accounting can provide connection with some of the brightest minds in the field, especially when you are looking at top-ranked programs.
Is financial aid available?
Domestic, degree-seeking students may qualify for student aid. To learn more and to apply for financial aid please visit http://www.osfa.illinois.edu/. Coursera financial aid is available for the open courses components of the iMSA. To learn more please visit this page. The iMSA program at Illinois is a self-funded program and does not offer teaching or research assistantships to students enrolled in the program.
What are the requirements for admission?
Please refer to the requirements here.
What can you do with a master's degree in accounting?
Accounting jobs are projected to grow 10 percent by 2026, with opportunities in auditing, management, data analytics, and finance. For more information, take a look at this blog post on what you can do with an accounting degree.
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.
Which is better, a master's in accounting or an MBA?
There are a few different kinds of graduate-level accounting degrees. MBA in Accounting (MBA) and Master of Professional Accounting (MPAc) degrees often take students from a variety of fields. Master of Accountancy (MACC) and Master of Science in Accounting programs (MS) tend to require undergraduate degrees in accounting. A master’s degree in accounting often is a shorter, more specific degree than an MBA program. While they both provide notable ROI, if a professional is more interested in diving deeper specifically into the world of accounting, data analytics, and finance - a master’s in accounting makes more sense. If a candidate is interested in learning more about the broader world of business, an MBA may be a better degree for them.The iMSA program is a fully online Master of Accounting program and welcomes students with a bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline.
Will I be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA exam after I complete the iMSA?
Earning a Master of Accounting such as the iMSA will help you meet the education requirement, which includes extensive course work in accounting. While the CPA exam is the same no matter where you take it, every state/jurisdiction has its own set of education and experience requirements that individuals must meet in order to be licensed by a state board of accountancy. We highly recommended that you review these requirements issued by each state’s Board of Accountancy prior to applying to the online program.
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.