Most students supplement their undergraduate work by sitting for the certified public accounting (CPA) exam. Students with accounting majors may also serve the government, be employed by hospitals, universities, or other nonprofit organizations, or work for major corporations; these majors may seek certification as management accountants (CMA). At Illinois Wesleyan, you may be able sit for either professional exam at the end of your senior year.
Individuals in Illinois and most other states must complete 150 semester hours of university course work to register for the CPA exam. Most traditional four-year colleges offer only 120-hour programs. Therefore, students may face as much as an extra year of course work to apply for the exam. At Illinois Wesleyan, through careful planning, students may meet the 150-hour requirement in four years.
By taking a regular load of four courses each semester during their four years, IWU students can complete their degree requirements with an equivalent of 128 semester hours. However, there are a number of ways that students can earn additional credits. The optional May Term program allows students to complete one or more additional four semester hour courses. Other students may schedule an occasional overload — taking five courses instead of the usual four. Finally, additional hours may be earned off-campus either as Advance Placement credit or by taking courses in the summer at a college or university near their home.
In addition to being able to complete the necessary 150 hours in four years, the accounting majors at Illinois Wesleyan also benefit from the winter internship program. During the spring of their junior year, students have the opportunity to complete an optional internship during January, February, and the beginning of March. After completing the internship, the two required accounting courses will be offered in a May Term fashion (meeting four to five days a week for a couple hours each day). A student will be able to earn four course units (16 semester hours) with this schedule, which will still allow the completion of 150 hours in four years.
Other students may choose to defer the additional course work until they can enter a graduate program that can grant them a master's degree in business or accounting. For those interested in this alternative, Illinois Wesleyan has completed agreements with several other Illinois universities to ensure that IWU students entering graduate business programs will need to complete as few prerequisite courses as possible.