What’s the Difference Between Core and Non-Core CPA Preparatory Courses?

Nov 30, 2016

CPA preparatory courses are split into core and non-core courses. Below we outline the differences between the two, and what you can expect in the courses.

Non-core courses

Non-core courses are offered in an online, self-study format. Students receive access to the materials as early as 12 weeks before the scheduled exam, or shortly after registration if they register within 12 weeks of the exam. Registration for non-core courses closes six weeks before the exam. Non-core courses include:

  • Introductory Financial Accounting
  • Introductory Management Accounting
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Business Law
  • Information Technology

Students can ask course facilitators questions via email or a discussion board, and must receive a grade of at least 50 percent to pass each course.

Core courses

Core courses are available via self-study, with options for webinar or in-class lectures delivered over six weeks by a facilitator. Core courses include:

  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
  • Advanced Financial Reporting
  • Corporate Finance
  • Audit and Assurance
  • Taxation
  • Intermediate Management Accounting
  • Performance Management

Course facilitators also answers student questions via discussion board or email. Students must receive a grade of at least 60 percent to pass a core course.


  Core CPA preparatory courses Non-core CPA preparatory courses
Duration Six weeks Up to 12 weeks
Format Webinar or in-class lecture or self study Self-study
Passing grade 60 percent 50 percent


Students can complete as many core and non-core courses as they need to meet the pre-requisites for entry into CPA PEP.


To register for any CPA preparatory course, start by creating a profile in My CPA portal and requesting a transcript assessment. After you receive the assessment results, submit a CPA preparatory course application, and then register for the appropriate courses. Course registration is offered several times each year; the schedule is available here.