Recognition of Pre-requisite Courses During the Pandemic

Jul 8, 2022
Photo credit: VitalikRadko/
COVID-19 Affected Semesters: January 2020 to December 2021 inclusive
The CPA profession is dedicated to supporting learners pursuing the CPA designation. This support includes recognizing pre-requisite courses and accredited program courses. Many post-secondary institutions (PSIs) changed CPA-approved preparatory and accredited courses, including online delivery, alternate assessment methods, etc. in response to COVID-19. The CPA profession will ensure full recognition of courses completed between January 2020 and December 2021 and students will receive full credit for these courses for entry into the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). 

Some of the questions that CPAWSB has received from prospective learners appear below, along with the CPA profession’s response:

Q: Does the CPA profession have any requirements on how exams are conducted for post-secondary institution courses that have been recognized for equivalency to CPA preparatory courses? For example, does the exam need to be in-person? Do the exams need to be invigilated, or is invigilation software required if the exams are delivered online?

A: The CPA profession has no expectations around assessment requirements. If the post-secondary institution needs to adjust its assessment style (e.g. online assessments), CPA will accept it as long as the institution takes steps to ensure that the academic integrity and rigour of the examinations are maintained.

Q: How long is the CPA profession’s Special Grades Policy in effect? In previous CPA communications, it states ‘for COVID-19 affected semesters’. Does this mean it is in effect only for the January to April semester? Is it being applied on a semester-by-semester basis? Or is it in effect as long as COVID-19 is affecting society?
A: The CPA profession’s Special Grades Policy ended December 31, 2021. This means any courses completed between January 2020 and December 2021 will have the policy applied. We will reassess if the policy needs to be re-instated based on public health regulations. 

Q: Recently my university announced that due to the COVID-19 situation, students have the option to either receive a grade or take a pass/fail mark without a grade. If I choose the pass/fail option, would that affect my admission to the CPA program in the future?
A: The CPA provincial bodies and regional schools will recognize courses completed with a pass mark while the Special Grades Policy was in place, between January 2020 and December 2021, as meeting the prerequisite subject area for admission; however, these courses will be excluded when calculating applicants’ overall 65 percent cumulative GPA requirement for entry into CPA PEP. Any courses completed with a pass/fail mark after January 2022 will not be recognized.

Q: Unlike other post-secondary institutions, my university did not change its grading system during the COVID-19 situation and is still assigning percentage grades or letter grades. As CPA is honouring courses that receive a pass mark, how is that fair to me if I do not have that pass/fail mark option?
A: To ensure fairness for all applicants, for courses completed at PSIs between January 2020 and December 2021, CPAWSB will also accept grades below 60 percent for core courses, and below 50 percent for non-core courses, as long as the PSI recognizes the course as completed and applicant gets credit for it. Grades below 65 percent will be excluded when calculating cumulative GPA for entrance into CPA PEP.

Q: If my university is still assigning percentage grades or letter grades during the COVID-19 situation, and I get a grade that is 65 percent or above, can that grade be included in my overall cumulative GPA calculation for entry into the CPA PEP?
A: Yes, grades that are 65 percent or above will be included in calculating the cumulative GPA for entrance into CPA PEP.