2021 entry

MA Accounting and Business

UCAS code: NN14

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Business School

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Accounting and Business

A programme which combines the study of business and accounting provides an extremely strong platform to build a career within or outside the commercial world.

In business the focus is on studying public, private and not-for-profit organisations, both small and large, their management practices and processes for managing strategy and key resources, including people, and the changing external environment in which they operate.

Accountancy is one of the fastest-growing areas of business activity. Financial accountants report on the performance of an organisation while management accountants provide financial information to help with planning and strategy.

Studying accounting at the University of Edinburgh offers you a flexible programme of study. You will be able to combine your study of accounting with business, finance, economics or law and take a wide range of courses. This offers you a broad-based programme with the flexibility to change direction and specialise through your option course choices.

Our staff have a world-leading reputation as prominent researchers in the accounting discipline. Our teaching is therefore based on the most recent research findings and literature. This helps ensure that our graduates are attractive to prospective employers.

Our programmes provide an excellent foundation for those hoping to gain a professional accountancy qualification and can also prepare students for careers in finance and other sectors.


This programme is accredited by the:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Association of International Accountants (AIA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)

Year 1

You will study four compulsory courses, and a choice of Economics courses:

  • Global Challenges for Business

  • The Business of Edinburgh

  • Accountancy 1A and Accountancy 1B

  • Economic Principles AND Economic Applications, OR Economics 1

Your business studies will focus on developing your understanding of the nature of business including organisational forms; the impact of globalisation and global inequality; the shift to a low carbon economy; and the impact of technology and digital disruption.

You will gain an insight into the practice of management by using examples of widely-used concepts and techniques in local businesses and the day-to-day role of managers. This will include guest lecturers, cases and recorded interviews, with some developed in partnership with local organisations.

Accounting is central to any modern organisation. It is concerned primarily with the measurement of, accounting for and communication of financial information to aid decisions and control in a variety of business and other public and not-for-profit organisations.

You will produce financial statements from the relevant transactions and events affecting organisations; analyse, interpret and facilitate the use of accounting information; and relate accounting to the broader context of the strategic and operational aspects of organisations.

The study of internal management accounting systems places particular emphasis on cost calculation and control, and the provision of information for managerial decision making and performance evaluation.

To complement your business and accounting, Economic Principles and Applications introduce you to the broad principles and applications of economics. If you would like to progress your study of economics further into your Year 2, you should choose Economics 1.

Year 2

You will study 3 compulsory courses:

  • Accountancy 2A
  • Accountancy 2B
  • Business Research Methods I: Introduction to Data Analysis

In addition you will choose from a suite of Year 2 courses including:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Organisation studies
  • International business
  • Business analytics
  • Organising for social change
  • Business economics
  • Business simulation

You may take one or two course options in another subject area, subject to availability and timetabling constraints.

The Business Law course is a further option taught by the School of Law and deals with the main areas of law relevant to accounting, economics and business. It is required for accreditation purposes.

Year 3

You will study:

  • Advanced Financial Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Management Accounting Applications
  • Business Research Methods II
  • Research in Management

You will also take part in a hands-on project with companies as part of the Strategic Management course.

You will be allocated to particular company projects working in teams, senior executives will brief you on the challenges and the backgrounds to the projects to get you started, and you will then present your findings to the client.

You will also choose one other course in Business from the available options, subject to meeting the Year 2 pre-requisites.

Year 4

Central to Year 4 is your Management Honours Dissertation. This is an independent research project that you will conduct on a topic of your choosing that is closely linked to your degree programme. It gives you the opportunity to develop advanced project management and critical thinking skills whilst also helping you to develop your cognitive, analytical, creative, evaluative and written communication skills.

You will also develop a strong capacity to develop, build and present arguments to a wider audience.

You will be allocated a Dissertation advisor who will offer advice and guidance throughout your Management Honours Dissertation. This will be further supplemented by dissertation support sessions and hangouts where you can share your experiences, learn from each other and get timely advice form the dissertation team.

You will also choose two more specialist Honours courses in Accounting and two in Business.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2020/21)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place across the Central Area campus. You will have access to all the University's libraries and computer facilities.

Study abroad

The University's Business School exchange programme offers exciting opportunities to study abroad in Year 3. Available partner universities in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada or the USA vary from one year to the next. We publish an up-to-date list to our students each year.

To participate in our study abroad programme, you will need to achieve an average mark of at least 55 per cent in Year 1 to be eligible to study abroad in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and computer workshops.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed on presentations, reports, essays, exams and individual and group projects.

Accountancy graduates can train to become a qualified accountant through a traineeship with an accountancy or commercial firm.

Alternatively you can choose a career in taxation, finance or banking.

Some of our graduates decide to follow a different direction and pursue employment in management positions in the public and private sectors.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA-AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 39 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: Mathematics at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: Mathematics at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5 and either Mathematics at 5 or Mathematical Studies at 6.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 7.0 with 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 100 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 185 with 169 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)

As this degree is very popular, we strongly recommend that international students apply by 15 January 2021 as we can't guarantee to consider all applications after this date.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Accounting and Business

Additional costs

If studying abroad in Year 3, your costs will vary by country. In Year 4 you will undertake a dissertation and, depending on the field of study you choose, there may be costs associated with undertaking surveys and conducting interviews.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding