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.
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. Click here to view sample schedules.
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 is the iMSA offered?

The iMSA is delivered fully online through the Coursera MOOC platform. To satisfy the degree requirements, students will complete 16 University of Illinois credit-bearing courses. Each Accounting course runs 8 weeks long and represents 2 credit hours (for a total of 32 credit hours). Each iMSA credit-bearing course is offered on a semester schedule (fall, spring, summer).

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 courses on the other hand consist 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?

Yes. If you did take the iMSA course on Coursera with a verified certificate, your grades will be transferred over and count towards the grade on 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.)

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. However, it is your responsibility to determine the rules and requirements of the state(s) in which you intend to practice. 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. 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.
What type of career support is provided to iMSA students?
iMSA students will have the opportunity to interact with our alumni throughout the program. We are also in the process of building a career services webportal exclusively for students enrolled in the iMSA program.
Can I earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit by taking an iMSA course?
Yes, the iMSA accountancy coursework is CPE eligible. To learn more and to request credits for our self-study and live online courses please visit our CPE credit landing page.
Is there financial aid available?
Domestic, degree-seeking students may qualify for student aid. To learn more and to apply for financial aid please visit In order to qualify for federal aid as an online student you must be enrolled on a full-time basis (8 credits per semester during each, the fall and spring semesters). Coursera financial aid is available for the self-directed course components of the iMSA. To learn more please visit this page.