The numbers keep growing for IMA’s Higher Education Endorsement program, which began as a pilot four years ago and has expanded to include some of the world’s leading colleges and universities. The program aims to recognize schools that provide the quality educational curriculum required to earn the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

The program has attracted a diverse group of schools, from mid-sized private universities to larger public institutions. Of the former, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, is proud of its endorsement and for being one of the earliest institutions to earn this distinction, back in 2014. According to Laurie Burney, Ph.D., CMA, associate professor of accounting and Baylor’s IMA Campus Advocate, joining the program was a carefully considered decision.

“Students hear all the time about the CPA career path, and we wanted to let them know that there is also a benefit to pursuing a career in industry. By gaining endorsement under the IMA program, we’re signaling to our students who are interested in the non-CPA route that management accounting is a rewarding and valuable career path, one that we fully support,” she explained.

Recently, Burney described her school’s experience with supporting management accounting students in an article titled “Accounting Student Transformations,” which appeared in the August 2017 issue of Strategic Finance and can be viewed here.

Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is another, even larger private university that has recently received endorsement. According to Andrew Felo, Ph.D., CMA, associate professor of accounting, his school decided to pursue endorsement last year because, in his words, “not all students want to get their CPA license. There are other career paths to pursue, and we want to affirm that those are equally viable options for our students.”

Felo, who is also the accounting department chair, noted that the process of applying for endorsement was “extremely valuable” and helped the department to assess where there might be overlaps in the teaching of certain topics. “It was a helpful learning experience to take a step back and look at our curriculum and see where there might be redundancies or even gaps in coverage,” he explained.

As a large public institution, the University of Pittsburgh is quite different from a private university but according to Assistant Professor Adam Presslee, Ph.D., has found applying for the IMA endorsement equally as valuable and beneficial. The University of Pittsburgh is among the most recent members of the program, having been granted endorsement just this past spring, and Presslee reiterated the value of the process. “It was a great process for our faculty to go through, to assess our course offerings, and to take a strategic look at our core curriculum,” he said.

Presslee also explained that being part of the program is helping to affirm the school’s commitment to students that are interested in management accounting. “As a public institution, we want to give students as many choices as possible. We want our students to know that they don’t have to want to work for a Big Four firm – they can pursue other options, such as management accounting, and have a rewarding career.”

Faculty with programs that might be eligible are encouraged to submit an application for their school’s endorsement. Following are the general criteria to receive endorsement:

  • Substantially (75%) all of the learning aims of the CMA program are met at the highest cognitive level;
  • There are adequate faculty resources to deliver the program;
  • The program is accredited by a recognized accreditation organization (e.g., AACSB, ACBSP, or other international or regional accrediting body); and
  • The school has an IMA Campus Advocate.

Please click here for a complete overview and application forms. In addition, an article from the August 2016 Strategic Finance, titled “Take Your Program to the Next Level,” provides an overview of the program and the experience of a school that went through the endorsement process.

For questions regarding the endorsement program or preparation of the endorsement application, please contact Jodi Ryan, IMA director of student and academic relations, at or 1 (800) 638-4427, ext. 1556, [+ 1-201- 573-9000 outside of North America].