DePaul University College of Business > Academics > School of Accountancy & MIS > Student Resources > CPA Exam Resources

CPA Exam Resources

Illinois Board of Examiners: The Board of Examiners is the state board of accountancy that evaluates and approves all candidates to sit for the exam.

Illinois CPA Society: The Illinois CPA Society is a statewide professional membership organization comprised of students, educators and CPA professionals. ICPAS provides extensive resources for students and the general public.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: The AICPA is the national association for all accounting practitioners and sets the standards, content and questions that are tested on the exam.

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy: NASBA is the national association which oversees the relationships between state boards of accountancy throughout the United States.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation: The IDFPR is the state agency that oversees the certification of CPAs in Illinois. Visit Public Accounting for information on licensure.

Educational Requirements

Illinois CPA Exam Educational Requirements

Effective July 1, 2013

All semester credit hours (SCH) stated below are at the undergraduate level. Any credits earned in excess of maximums stated count towards the 150-hour requirement.

  1. 150 Semester Credits Hours or 225 Quarter Credit Hours

  2. Baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited school

  3. Degree earned from an accredited school:

    1. Graduate degree in accounting*:
      • Accounting program must be accredited by AACSB or ACBSP
      • No requirements in Research & Analysis in Accounting, Business Communications or Business Ethics 

    2. Graduate degree in business*:
      • Business program must be accredited by AACSB or ACBSP
      • Minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting
      • At least one course each in financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting
      • 2 semester hours in Research and Analysis in Accounting
      • No requirements in Business Communications or Business Ethics

    3. A bachelor's degree in any field or a graduate degree in a discipline other than accounting or business:
      • Minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting
      • At least one course in financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting
      • 2 semester hours in Research and Analysis in Accounting
      • Minimum of 24 semester hours in business other than accounting
      • 2 semester hours in Business Communication
      • 3 semester hours in Business Ethics

*Graduate students who wish to take the CPA exam prior to graduation are treated as undergraduate candidates and must meet the undergraduate educational requirements listed above.

To convert semester hours to quarter hours, multiply the semester hours by 1.5. For example, 30 semester hours in accounting is equal to 45 quarter hours in accounting.​

Templates for Illinois Candidates

CPA candidates should be applying to the state in the U.S. in which they intend to practice as an accountant. Most DePaul students apply to take the CPA exam as an Illinois candidate. If you plan to practice in another state, you should contact that state's board of accountancy. Information on the state boards of accountancy can be obtained at this link: 

https://nasba.org/stateboards

Please note: Students are not advised to apply to take the CPA exam with states that have fewer/lower requirements than Illinois. Students would not be able to transfer their CPA credentials back to Illinois if they do not meet the Illinois education requirements at the time that they take the CPA exam.

ONLY the Illinois Board of Examiners reviews and approves courses that meet the education requirements for Illinois CPA candidates. No personnel at DePaul are authorized to act on behalf of the Illinois Board of Examiners. Thus, only the Illinois Board of Examiners can give a definitive answer regarding whether a student's coursework meets the Illinois CPA candidate educational requirements.

To facilitate the process of determining how accounting programs meet the educational requirements for Illinois candidates, the Illinois Board of Examiners has universities complete a template for their review and approval. The Illinois Board of Examiners has approved templates located on their website for these DePaul programs:  

DePaul accounting undergraduate degree template

  • This template demonstrates that DePaul undergraduate accounting majors meet the accounting course requirements and accounting hours required, as well as the business courses and business hours required in Illinois. Thus, the only Illinois education requirement not met by the DePaul undergraduate accounting degree is earning a total of 150 semester (225 quarter) hours.
  • Therefore, DePaul undergraduate accounting majors only need to take the additional hours needed to earn 150 semester (225 quarter hours); these can be any courses taken from an accredited college/university that do not duplicate courses already taken. As a result, DePaul undergraduate accounting students have a wide range of options to meet the Illinois education requirements AND can do so over a 4-year period (double major, major and minor, just take extra courses desired for 2 or 4 quarter hours). A graduate degree is not required for Illinois candidates, but getting a graduate degree is yet another option for earning the extra hours needed.
  • Undergraduate template located at:  http://www.ilboe.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/DePaul-University-BS-July-20151.pdf

DePaul MSA Program template

  • Most MSA students choose to take the CPA exam when they complete their MSA degree. Those completing the DePaul MSA degree meet the Illinois education requirements since they have earned an accredited accounting degree and earned 150 semester (225 quarter) hours; no specific course requirements apply to MSA students who complete their degree with 150 semester hours earned. Thus, those students would not need to use the DePaul MSA template.
  • The DePaul MSA template was created ONLY to assist MSA students who are considering taking the CPA exam PRIOR to completion of their MSA degree. MSA students trying to take the CPA exam prior to completion of their degree must meet the same education requirements as undergraduate students. This is often not a good option for MSA students who do not have a business undergraduate degree since it would likely require taking additional courses not required for the MSA degree. In addition, even though an MSA student may meet the educational requirements, they are likely not finished with all of the MSA courses they need to be prepared to take the CPA exam. However, for those who do have a business undergraduate degree, there is a chance that you could meet the education requirements prior to completion of the MSA degree and without taking additional courses beyond the MSA degree requirements. This DePaul MSA template was created and approved by the Illinois Board of Examiners to provide official guidance to these students.
  • MSA template located at: http://www.ilboe.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/DePaul-University-MSA-December-2016.pdf​ 

DePaul MBA Program template

  • An MBA candidate does not have the same Illinois education requirements as a student with an accounting graduate degree. This template provides specific guidance for MBA candidates at DePaul who are interested in taking the CPA exam either:
    • before completion of their MBA degree, or
    • upon completion of their MBA degree.
  • MBA template located at:  http://www.ilboe.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/DePaul-University-MBA-July-20151.pdf

For DePaul MACC and MST students, no templates have been developed since MACC and MST students have earned their undergraduate accounting degrees from universities across the U.S. or outside of the U.S. As a result, it is not possible to provide specific guidance that applies to all MACC or all MST students. However, this overall guidance is appropriate:

  • DePaul MACC and MST students who complete their graduate accounting degree and earn 150 semester (225 quarter) hours meet the Illinois education requirements without having to meet any specific course requirements.
  • DePaul MACC and MST students who have already earned an undergraduate accounting degree are very likely to be eligible to take the CPA exam PRIOR to completion of their graduate degree. This is especially true if their undergraduate degree already meets the accounting hours required, the accounting research and analysis hours required, the business hours required, the business ethics and the business communications hours required.
  • MACC and MST students interested in taking the CPA exam PRIOR to completion of their graduate degree should have their undergraduate transcripts reviewed by the Illinois Board of Examiners (assuming they intend to practice in Illinois) to determine where they are deficient in terms of meeting the Illinois education requirements. Students will NOT have to pay the Illinois transcript review fee again when they meet the education requirements, as long as they fulfill their deficiencies within three years of their initial transcript review.
  • MACC and MST students wishing to take the CPA prior to completion of their degree can refer to the MSA template mentioned above to identify which graduate DePaul courses meet the accounting research and analysis, business ethics, and business communications requirements if their undergraduate accounting program did not meet these requirements.
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DePaul Courses

Below are DePaul classes which correspond to each of the sections of the CPA exam. This is an informal advising guide only. The Board of Examiners evaluates all candidates for exam eligibility.
Undergraduate

​CPA Exam Section
​Courses
​Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) ​ACC 101 Introduction to Accounting I
ACC 102 Introduction to Accounting II
ACC 304 Financial Reporting I
ACC 305 Financial Reporting II
ACC 306 Financial Reporting III
ACC 308 Advanced Financial Accounting
​Regulation (REG)
​​​ACC 380 Tax Treatment of Individuals and Property
ACC 383 Tax Treatment of Corporations and Partnerships
ACC 370 Professional Responsibilities and Business Law 
BLW 201 Legal and Ethical Aspects in the Business Environment
​Auditing and Attestation (AUD) ​ACC 372 Auditing I
ACC 374 Auditing II
​Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) ​ACC 303 Managerial Accounting
ECO 105 Principles of Microeconomics
ECO 106 Principles of Macroeconomics
FIN 310 Introduction to Finance
MIS 140 Management Information Systems
​Other Classes ​ACC 350 Information for Decision Making (Research and Analysis)
MGT 248/PHL 248 Business Ethics (Business Ethics)
MKT 376 Effective Business Communication or ORGC 201 Business and Professional Communication (Business Communication requirement)
 
Graduate
 
​CPA Exam Section ​Courses
​Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) ​ACC 500 Financial Accounting
ACC 541 Financial Accounting Theory & Practice I
ACC 543 Financial Accounting Theory & Practice II
ACC 545 Advanced Topics in Accounting Theory
​Regulation (REG) ​ACC 548 Tax Treatment of Individuals and Property Transactions
ACC 551 Tax Treatment of Corporations and Partnerships
ACC 552 Professional Responsibilities and Business Law
​Auditing and Attestation (AUD) ​ACC 547 Audit and Regulation of Corporate Financial Reporting
ACC 550 Advanced Topics in Auditing
​​Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) ACC 535 Accounting Information Systems
ACC 542 Cost and Managerial Accounting I
ECO 502 Selected Topics in Macroeconomics
FIN 455 Principles of Financial Management
MGT 504 Fundamental Operations Management
​Other Classes ACC 640 Accounting Theory And Policy Formulation or ACC 557 Global Strategic Financial Analysis or ACC 558 Tax Research (Research and Analysis requirement)​

CPA Workshops

Multiple CPA Exam Workshops are held by Dr. Elizabeth A. Murphy, Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy & MIS. These workshops are held during the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters each academic year. Both undergraduate and graduate accounting students are notified about these workshops and should follow the instructions on how to register, when notified.

  
Please note that there is no charge to attend this workshop; in addition, students in introductory accounting courses can use this workshop to meet their Career Passport class requirement.

Students attend these workshops to learn about the specifics of the Illinois educational requirements for CPA candidates in Illinois and to learn about the options for meeting these education requirements, to learn about the content of the CPA exam, and to learn about the application process for CPA exam candidates.
 
It is critical for undergraduate and graduate students to attend a CPA exam workshop EARLY in their academic career so that they can properly plan their coursework. In addition, undergraduate students interviewing for internships in their sophomore year that are done in their junior year are expected to document on their resume when they will be "CPA Eligible," which means estimating the timing of when you will meet the Illinois education requirements. Thus, undergraduate students should attend this workshop as a freshmen.
 
These workshops are 1.5 hours long, allowing time for students to ask questions specific to their needs, which often apply to many other students attending the workshop with them.
 
Students are also welcome to attend this workshop as many times as they wish. Many students attend this workshop early in their academic career to understand the Illinois educational requirements, and they attend again when they get closer to actually taking the CPA exam so that they have the latest information on the CPA Exam content and the CPA exam application process in Illinois.