CPA Preparation

Acceptance Criteria

Below is a list of requirements for admission into the CPA Preparation certificate program.

Application Checklist

The following materials are required to apply:

  • A completed online application
  • Official transcript showing bachelor's degree conferred (CPA applicants may choose to submit additional transcripts should they seek transfer credits)
  • Select your intended certificate or enter your specialized course plan
  • Statement of purpose
  • A current resume or CV

View the Important Dates page for application deadlines. Supplemental materials, with the exception of transcripts, must be uploaded to the online application. Official transcripts may be sent to our Admissions office at or mailed to our Chicago office. Please be sure to include the name of your intended program when addressing transcripts.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Admissions
Northwestern University School of Professional Studies
Wieboldt Hall, Sixth floor
339 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008
Phone: 312-503-2579
Fax: 312-503-4942

Applicants will be notified once all materials have been received and the application is complete.

Transfer Credit Policy for CPA Preparation

Students in the CPA Prep post-baccalaureate certificate program may transfer in up to three courses, if they have previously taken comparable courses at other schools before being admitted to SPS. The courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited institution and must have been granted academic credit. The courses should be introductory in nature, such as Introduction to Financial Accounting, Introduction to Managerial Accounting, or Income Tax. Students should only consider transferring credit if the courses were completed recently and the student feels adequately prepared for advanced courses. We recommend that students consult with their SPS academic adviser before transferring in the coursework.

Please note that SPS requires an official transcript showing the grade for the course to transfer credit. If the course was not taken at the institution where the student earned an undergraduate degree, please send official transcripts to the SPS registrar. If the course appears on a transcript submitted as part of the admissions process, no additional transcripts are needed. Courses previously applied toward a Northwestern University bachelor’s degree may not be transferred into the certificate program

International Applicants

SPS welcomes international students to apply to our undergraduate programs. SPS does not process I-20 or DS-2019 forms for full-time student or exchange visas. In addition, those with dependent status visas such as F2 or J2 are not eligible to enroll in our certificate or degree seeking offerings. Our programs are designed as part-time programs for working professionals and cannot be used to maintain legal status in the United States. Please reach out to the International Office with any questions.

International Transcripts

Applicants with international transcripts must request an official course-by-course evaluation of those transcripts from a NACES member. A course-by-course evaluation will translate courses, degrees, and grades to U.S. equivalencies. The evaluations must be prepared for Northwestern University School of Professional Studies and must arrive in our office in a sealed envelope issued by the evaluator.

English Proficiency

All applicants to SPS programs whose first language is not English, at minimum must demonstrate language proficiency. Applicants may provide official scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. For the TOEFL, applicants must score 600 or higher on the paper-based test, 250 or higher on the computer-based test, or 100 or higher on the internet based test. SPS's institutional code for the TOEFL is 9019. For the IELTS exam, applicants must receive a score of 7.0 or higher.Additionally, students may choose to provide official transcripts verifying a high school or undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English. Please contact the admissions office for more information on TOEFL, IELTS, and transcripts for international applicants.