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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 Points to Becoming a CPA

The main entry point to becoming a CPA is a university degree. Several other possible entry points to the CPA Certification Program are provided in Regulation 6-1; Student Registration. Complete information on the CPA Certification Program is available on CPA Ontario's website. 

The Legacy CA, Legacy CMA and Legacy CGA Programs are available for a limited time to individuals who have already started their qualification process under previous regulations; for the Legacy CA Program, refer to Regulation 6-4; Legacy CA Student Registration, and to the CPA Path Decision Tree. Information on the Legacy CMA and Legacy CGA Programs are available on their respective website.

Other entry points to becoming a CPA are available in the Become a CPA section. 

University Degree Requirement

The core academic qualification requirement consists of a 4-year, 120-academic-credit-hour university degree, or equivalent, 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.

A 3-year, 90-academic-credit-hour university degree is acceptable for enrollment in the CPA PreRequisite Education Program (PREP) but must be topped up with additional education.

CPA Professional Education Program (Regulation 6-1; Student Registration)

The CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) requires an individual to have acquired a number of entry-level proficiencies in specific subject areas prior to enrollment.

These pre-requisites can be completed during the university degree, or by taking degree-credit courses or CPA PREP Modules, or both.

The CPA PREP consists of 12 Modules covering the Entry-Level knowledge, skills and competencies required for Entry to 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. Transitional Charts of courses eligible for Advanced Standing and lists of Minimum courses required for Entry to PEP are available online.

Note that by completing Modules 05 to Module 12, inclusively and with no substitutions, with CPA Ontario, one may effectively top up a 3 year, 90-academic-credit-hour university degree.

Additional important information on the CPA Professional Education Program is available online.

Legacy CA 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.

Given that the 51 credit-hour courses cover the requirements of The UFE Candidates' Competency Map: Understanding the Professional Competencies Evaluated on the UFE, a self-study Transitional Bridging Module is available to Legacy CA students in Ontario to fill the gap between the competency maps.

A number of Legacy CA Accredited University Programs and Streams offer the prescribed courses that meet 51-credit-hour requirement as a whole. These programs and streams are different from the new CPA Accredited Programs and Streams; they are programs that integrate Graduate Studies as an extension of the Bachelor degree on which they are based. They allow students to gain Advanced Standing in the CPA PEP. Some bridging accommodations have been devised to help students transition from the Legacy CA Accredited Programs and Streams to the CPA Accredited Programs and Streams. Check with your Legacy CA University Program or Stream to determine if you are eligible for a bridging accomodation.

Most of Ontario and many out-of-province degree-granting institutions offer all or most of the Legacy CA prescribed courses in their business degree programs. Advanced Standing in the 51-credit-hour requirement may be granted upon the review of courses offered by recognized international degree-granting institutions.

Charts of eligible courses are available online.

The specific competency area coverage is:




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




Additional important information on Education Credentials' Recognition is available online.

Computer Requirement

Regulation 6-1; Student Registration and Regulation 6-4; Legacy CA Student Registration s. 2.4 require 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:

  • A PC capable of running Securexam (Apple Mac computers are prohibited, even if running Windows Parallels or any similar interfaces).
    • MS Windows O/S: Vista, 7, or 8;
    • 1GB of RAM; 
    • 100MB of free hard-drive space;
    • only mouse, numeric keypad and USB hubs are allowed as peripheral devices at examination centres, and
      • all peripheral devices must be wired;
    • a free USB port for a USB key.
  • A valid e-mail address;
  • Access to the Internet;
  • Newer versions of 
    • Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Web Browser;
    • Acrobat Reader (v. 4.0 minimum)
    • Adobe Flash Player (v. 10.1 minimum).

Printed on Thu, February 11, 2016 - 2:42:39 EST

© 2016 Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
(The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario) (“CPA Ontario”)