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Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

Academic Qualification Requirements

Accountancy is a dynamic profession. Its education requirements are geared to meet the increasing demand for the many services that CPAs provide now and will be providing in the future.

Entry Routes to Becoming a CPA

The main entry route to becoming a CPA is a bachelor degree. Details on the several possible entry Paths to CPA qualification are provided in Regulation 6-1; Student Registration and Regulation 6-4; Legacy CA Student Registration and in the CPA Path Decision Tree.

Degree Requirement

The core academic qualification requirement consists of a 4-year, 120-academic-credit-hour university degree in any discipline from any recognized degree-granting institutions, nationally and internationally; relevant experience gained during co-op work terms may qualify as prescribed practical experience, but not as academic requirement.

New CPA Program (Regulation 6-1; Student Registration)

The degree requirement for entry into the new CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) is a 4-year, 120-academic-credit-hour university degree.

Individuals who select to complete the CPA PreRequisite Education Program (PREP) may enrol with a 3-year, 90-academic-credit-hour university degree but must have the equivalent of a 4-year, 120-academic-credit-hour university degree prior to enrolling into the CPA PEP.

The CPA PREP is a series of 12 Modules covering the Entry Level knowledge, skills and competency proficiency level required to enroll in the CPA PEP. An individual may earn Advanced Standing in any of the Modules by  completing prescribed degree-credit courses in any recognized degree-granting institutions. Charts of courses eligible for Advanced Standing are available on CPA Ontario's website.

51 Credit-Hour-Requirement (Regulation 6-4; Legacy CA Student Registration)

Individuals who are currently enrolled in degree-credit programs leading to the 51-credit-hour requirement (bachelors, post-graduate degree-credit diplomas, or continuing education degree-credit courses) will be bridged into the new CPA Certification Program.

All requirements (Education, Examination, Practical Experience) must be completed before February 1, 2020 for Path B: CPA, CA Students, and before June 1, 2020 for Path C: CPA (Transition) Students. See the CPA Path Decision Tree.

These prescribed degree-credit courses cover all of the topics in The UFE Candidates' Competency Map: Understanding the Professional Competencies Evaluated on the UFE. A self-study Transitional Bridging Module will be made available to all Students in Ontario.

A number of Legacy CA Accredited University Programs and Streams offer the prescribed courses that have been approved as meeting the 51-credit-hour requirement as a whole. These programs and streams are different from the new CPA Accredited Programs. Some of these Legacy CA Accredited University Programs and Streams have applied for accreditation under the new CPA Certification Program that requires Graduate Studies for gaining Advanced Standing in the CPA PEP. Check with your 

Most of Ontario degree-granting institutions offer all or most of the prescribed courses in their business degree programs and so do many out-of-province degree-granting institutions. International degree-granting institutions also offer courses that may be recognized toward the 51-credit-hour requirement. 

Charts of eligible courses are available on CPA Ontario's website.

The specific areas of coverage are:




Financial Accounting (Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced)15
Cost and Management Accounting6
Advanced Accounting Elective (Financial, Managerial or Capstone)3
Auditing (Introductory, Advanced and EDP)9
Canadian Taxation (Personal and Corporate)6
Management/Business Information Systems3
Economics (Micro and Macro)3
Canadian Business Law3



Legacy CMA Program

Students currently enrolled in the Legacy CMA program should contact CMA Ontario for Bridging/Transition Provisions.

Computer Requirement

Regulation 6-1; Student Registration and Regulation 6-4; Legacy CA Student Registration s. 2.4 requires that a Student have "access to a computer that meets the minimum configuration requirements as set by CPA Ontario from time to time, including Internet access and a valid email address, unless exempted from this requirement by the Registrar."

Currently the minimum configuration requirements are as follows:

  • Capability of running Securexam (CA) on a PC (no Apple Mac computers, even if running Windows Parallels).
    • MS Windows O/S: Vista, 7, or 8;
    • 1GB of RAM; 
    • 100MB of free hard-drive space;
    • a connected mouse and/or numeric keypad (optional); and
    • a free USB port for a USB key.
  • A valid e-mail address;
  • Access to the Internet;
  • Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Web Browser;
  • Acrobat Reader 4.0 (minimum); and
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1 or greater.

Printed on Fri, December 19, 2014 - 2:22:10 EST

© 2014 Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
(The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario) (“CPA Ontario”)