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Begin your journey to a CPA designation

Thought leadership at the intersection of accounting practice and accounting policy.

Students interested in qualifying as a CPA must complete the Canadian CPA Certification program, which includes: (1) prerequisite education, (2) the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP), (3) the Common Final Examination (CFE), and (4) practical experience.

(1) Prerequisite education:

To satisfy the requirements for prerequisite education, students must complete an undergraduate degree and cover specific topic areas.  The specific topic areas requirement can be satisfied by completing a set of courses (the prerequisite courses).  Find out more about CPA requirements here.

To qualify, students must obtain an overall average of 70% in the courses and a minimum grade of 60% in each course.

As an alternative, students with an undergraduate degree who did not complete all of the prerequisite courses can complete certain modules of the 12-module  CPA Pre-Requisite Education Program (PREP).  Each missing Ivey prerequisite course can be covered by taking the related module (see the linked document above).

Details of the CPA PREP can be found at:

(2) CPA Professional Education Program (PEP):

The nationally-developed, regionally-delivered, CPA PEP is a graduate-level program. It can be completed part-time over two years, while students work full time at relevant employment. 

If students complete the Ivey Graduate Diploma in Accounting, they will be exempt from CPA PEP Modules 1-4 (Core 1 & Core 2, and Elective 1 & Elective 2).

Before entering the CPA PEP, students will complete Module Zero that will fill any knowledge gaps.  Module Zero includes a Boot Camp portion, a Desire2Learn (D2L) portion and other study materials.

CPA PEP will consist of six modules, with exams following Modules 1-4 and a team board report following Module 5:

  • Core 1 & Core 2 (Modules 1 & 2): the core modules cover the six technical competencies (Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation).  Core 1 focuses on Financial Reporting, while Core 2 focuses on Management Accounting.  Each core module is followed by a 3-hour exam that contains 60-75% objective-format questions and 25-40% case-based questions. 
  • Elective 1 & Elective 2 (Modules 3 & 4): students choose two elective modules to develop deeper skills in their areas of career interest. The elective module options are (1) Assurance, (2) Performance Management, (3) Taxation and (4) Finance.  Public accounting candidates must complete the Assurance and Taxation elective modules.  Each elective module will be followed by an exam that has a combination of objective-format questions and case-based questions.
  • Capstone 1 & Capstone 2 (Modules 5 & 6): Capstone 1 is the capstone integrative module.  It focuses primarily on the development of the enabling competencies of leadership and professional skills, as well as the integration of core competencies.  Capstone 1 is followed by a formal board report that is evaluated in teams.  Capstone 2 is the capstone examination preparation module that prepares students for the Common Final Examination (CFE).

A study guide for CPA PEP can be found at:

Key dates for CPA Module delivery in Ontario can be found at:

(3) Common Final Examination (CFE):

The CFE evaluates candidates on the competencies defined in the Competency Map.

The CFE is a national three-day examination.  Day 1 will be a 4-hour examination based on the case from the Capstone 1 module.  Day 2 will be a 5-hour comprehensive case examination that will allow candidates to choose an Assurance, Performance Management, Taxation or Finance role.  Public Accounting candidates must take the Assurance role.  Day 3 will be a 4-hour examination based on a series of 3-4 shorter multi-subject cases.

To be successful, candidates must demonstrate Breadth in all six core competency areas of Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation.  Further, Depth must be demonstrated in two core competency areas that must be Financial Reporting or Management Accounting plus one other core competency area.  Public Accounting candidates must demonstrate depth in Financial Reporting and Assurance.

(4) Practical Experience:

Candidates must complete a term of relevant practical experience that is a minimum of 30 months of paid employment during which candidates demonstrate that they have acquired the professional knowledge, skills, values, ethics and attitudes necessary of a CPA.  The minimum 30-month term includes allowances for time off for vacations, studying and illness.

Two different routes will be available: (1) Pre-Approved Program and (2) Experience Verification.  Pre-Approved Programs have training positions that have been pre-approved by the profession.  These programs have been designed to provide candidates with the necessary skills and experience within the 30-month period.  A complete list of approved programs is available at

Experience Verification requires candidates to demonstrate that they have obtained the necessary relevant experience at their employer of choice.  Candidates must complete detailed experience reports that are assessed by the profession at key milestones.  Supervisors review and attest to the accuracy of the experience reports. 

Both routes include the follow five common elements: (1) Experience, (2) Supervision, (3) Experience reports and self-assessments, (4) CPA Mentorship and (5) Assessment by the profession.

For more detailed information on practical experience, see