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CPA Ontario Serving the Public Members Firms / ATOs Students Become a Member

Academic Qualification Requirements 

Chartered professional accountancy is a dynamic profession. Its education requirements are geared to meet the increasing demand for the many services CPAs provide -- as well as the ones they will provide in the future.

There are several possible entry routes to becoming a CPA. The university degree is the main one.

The core academic requirement for qualification consists of a 4-year university degree comprising 120 academic credit hours; credits for internship, co-op term or similar experienced based credits do not count toward the 120-academic-credit-hour requirement; however,  the experience gained during these work related terms may qualify as prescribed practical experience. Contact CPA Ontario for details on qualifying practical experience and read CPA Ontario's Regulation 6-1, a regulation in respect of students.

Students are required to successfully complete CPA Ontario prescribed university degree-credit courses that cover all the topics in The UFE Candidates' Competency Map (Competency Map) of the profession's Uniform Evaluation (UFE).  CPA Ontario accredited university programs and streams offer all of CPA Ontario prescribed courses. Business degree programs at most Ontario universities offer all or most of CPA Ontario prescribed courses.

Students are encouraged to fulfil the 51-credit-hour requirement as part of an integrated university 4-year, 120-academic-credit-hour degree program. Given that CPA Ontario prescribed courses delivered by one university are not necessarily interchangeable with CPA Ontario prescribed courses at another university, taking courses at different universities creates the significant risk of duplication or omission of prescribed knowledge and skills. 

Most Ontario universities are allowing their students to enroll in courses at another university on letters of permission (LoP).  It is important that students validate any course mix with CPA Ontario to ensure that courses on LoP, when related to CPA Ontario prescribed courses,  will be accepted for CPA Ontario credits. All out-of-province and international university courses are required to meet the content breadth and depth and the learning outcomes of equivalent Ontario university courses recognized for CPA Ontario credits.

The prescribed courses may be completed on a full-time or on a part time basis. For students not enrolled in a co-op/intership degree or professional school of accounting program, the courses may be completed on a part-time basis after registration with CPA Ontario.

Some university degree-credit courses delivered in non-business programs may also qualify for CPA Ontario credits. Students should contact CPA Ontario before registering in any non-business degree courses to find out whether the courses qualify for CPA Ontario credits. 


51 Credit-Hour Requirement

The CPA program is designed to provide Students with a comprehensive coverage of the The UFE Candidates' Competency Map for entry to the CPA Profession through university courses. The 51 credit-hour requirement consists of a series of degree-credit courses approved by CPA Ontario.

A -Accredited University Programs

Students completing a CPA Ontario-accredited program/stream usually do not have to worry about meeting CPA Ontario's 51 credit-hour requirement. Departure from the accredited program/stream will however be reviewed.

B -  Other University Courses/Program

The specific areas of coverage are:

Subject areaCredit-hours

Financial accounting
(introductory, intermediate and advanced)


Cost and management accounting


Advanced accounting elective






Business information systems


Finance/financial management








Courses offered by Ontario universities and CPA Ontario's grade requirements as they relate to the 51 credit-hour requirement are listed on the Schedule of Courses Recognized for CPA Ontario Credit. Experience has shown that there is a high correlation between university grades and ultimate success in the CPA program.