How long does it take to study CIMA?

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The time it takes to study for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification can vary significantly depending on a few key factors, including your prior education, the level of the CIMA qualification you’re pursuing, your study schedule, and your individual learning style. CIMA offers several qualification levels, including the Certificate in Business Accounting, the Professional Qualification, and the Strategic Level.

Here’s a general overview of the time it might take to complete each level:

Certificate in Business Accounting (CIMA Certificate)

This is the foundational level and consists of:

  • Fundamentals of Business Economics BA1
  • Fundamentals of Management Accounting BA2
  • Fundamentals of Financial Accounting BA3
  • Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law BA4

Certificate typically takes about 6 to 12 months of part-time study. If you have prior relevant education or experience, you may complete it faster.

Professional Qualification

This is the core part of the CIMA qualification, and the time it takes to complete it depends on various factors. On average, each level might take around 6 to 12 months of study, but this can vary. Some students may take a bit longer due to work commitments or other factors.


Operational subjects:

  • Managing Finance in a Digital World E1
  • Management Accounting P1
  • Financial Reporting F1

Average time for completion – 12 months, depending on your study method


Management subjects:

  • Managing Performance E2
  • Advanced Management Accounting P2
  • Advanced Financial Reporting F2

Average time for completion – 12 months, depending on your study method


This level usually takes longer to complete compared to the Operational and Management levels. You might need anywhere from 12 to 18 months or more to successfully pass this level.

Strategic subjects:

  • Strategic Management E3
  • Risk Management P3
  • Financial Strategy F3
  • Case study

Please note that these timeframes are general estimates, and individual experiences may vary. Some students choose to study full-time, while others study part-time alongside their work. The amount of time you can dedicate to studying each week will also impact how quickly you progress.

To help determine a more accurate estimate for your situation, it’s essential to consider your background, available study time, and personal learning pace. With Eagle you’re free to study in any way that suits you best – so the guidelines above are just that, guidelines. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to studying.

Interested in CIMA?

Have a look at our CIMA overview page to find out more about this globally recognised qualification – and try it free for 7 days to see if it’s right for you.