The MSA program welcomes students with a bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline, subject to certain business background prerequisites specified under Admissions Requirements.

Admission to the MSA program is highly competitive. Decisions are based on the individual’s composite file, including previous academic accomplishments, test scores, demonstrated potential for graduate and professional success, and references. Work experience is not required for admission but may be beneficial to the student in the classroom.

Questions regarding admission should be directed to the Business Graduate Programs Office at 217.244.9201 or email

For information on some of the common mistakes that applicants make during the admissions process, see our Admissions Blog, Would You Like to Avoid These Common Admission Process Mistakes?

Admission Decision

Your application is considered “complete” once all materials are received, including test scores and official transcripts. Only then can an application be reviewed and an admission decision be made. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in order of file completion.  Because of the expected strength of the entire applicant pool, the review process is likely to extend over a period of time.  If you have not yet heard back from us, you should assume that your application is still under consideration.  Applicants are notified in writing and through e-mail as soon as the admission decision is made. Applicants who receive an offer of admission will be asked to return an acceptance form along with a non-refundable $1,500 deposit to reserve their space in the program. The deposit will be credited to the student’s account during the summer semester.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are required to have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.  They should have earned a minimum grade average of “B,” or the equivalent, in the last two years of undergraduate study. In addition, applicants must have a minimum academic background in business.  This background requirement can be satisfied by completing courses from universities or from online providers such as Coursera, Udacity or EdX.  Note that we generally require a certificate of completion for courses taken from the online providers noted above.  In general, we expect students to have completed courses in finance, business management, statistics, and economics. We also require students to complete a one or two course sequence in Principles of Accounting.

All applicants, domestic or international, are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). This test should be taken early enough to ensure that the results will be available to the MSA program during the application review process.

In addition, all applicants whose native language is not English must take the Internet-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. For information on the university English proficiency requirement, go to We do not waive the TOEFL, iBT or IELTS exam for anyone, regardless of how long you have studied or worked in the U.S.

For additional information that might be useful as you consider admission to our MSA program, refer to our MSA admission blog and FAQs.