MA Accounting and Finance
UCAS code: NN43
Duration: 4 years
School: Business School
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Accounting and Finance
Combine the study of accounting and finance to prepare for the social, political and cultural challenges facing contemporary businesses, governments and not-for-profit organisations.
You will develop the personal and professional competences required to work across a range of roles in contemporary business including:
- accountancy and finance
- human resource management
- data analytics
- entrepreneurship and innovation
Taught by world-leading industry professionals and researchers, you can specialise in areas of business such as:
- Global Business
- Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation
- Eco Innovation
- Future of Work
- Theories and Techniques of Persuasion
Accountancy is the fastest-growing area of business activity. The ability to measure financial information and make projections affects economic and organisational decision-making at all levels. Financial accountants report on the performance of an organisation, and management accountants provide financial information to help with planning and strategy.
Environment for learning
We offer a supportive and encouraging environment where you can grow and develop. Our student experience team offer an extensive range of pastoral and professional provision to support you on your undergraduate journey.
We provide many and varied opportunities for you to engage in co- and extra-curricular activities. Our dedicated Student Development Team can help you develop a range of essential business graduate competencies.
Further development opportunities
You may take undergraduate Edinburgh Awards supported by an alumni professional mentor and trained coaches:
- Personal and Professional Development (Year 2)
- Effective and Responsible Leadership (Year 3 or 4)
You can also participate in a large number of business societies, business events and peer-support schemes.https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/about/accreditation-rankings
Our School and programmes are accredited by a range of world-leading business education organisations and professional bodies, and we have strong links to the world of practice through research, consultancy and teaching.
This ensures that our School and programmes are:
- attuned to world-leading thinking and practice in Business Education
- actively and continuously engaging with, and responding to the needs of employers
It also ensures that you will be work-ready and prepared for entering the diverse range of globally available career opportunities post-graduation.
This programme holds double accreditation from international ranking bodies:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)
This Accounting and Finance programme is also 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)
If you decide to undertake a professional accounting examination with an accountancy organisation (after you graduate), the proposed structure of the degree programme will allow you to be exempt from a number of subjects.
You can apply to join via the graduate entry route and will be awarded the appropriate exemptions (based upon our existing accreditation arrangements with the respective accountancy organisation) when you enrol for their professional examinations.
Professional membership to a professional accountancy organisation is subject to:
- the terms and conditions specified
- passing the required examinations
- having a minimum period of work-related experience (as stipulated by the accountancy organisation)
Other terms and conditions may also apply. Check with the relevant accountancy organisation for full details.
Successful completion of the examinations and attainment of professional membership status with a professional accountancy organisation is regarded as a highly coveted and respected accounting qualification worldwide.
Your studies will focus on key themes of understanding the nature of business including:
- organisational forms
- the impact of globalisation and global inequality
- the shift to a low-carbon economy
- 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 lectures, cases and recorded interviews, developed in partnership with local organisations.
You will study Global Challenges for Business and The Business of Edinburgh which introduce key concepts of management and business including:
- management of people
You will take two accounting courses where you will:
- examine the basic principles and underlying concepts of accounting
- explore the ways in which accounting statements and financial information can be used to improve the quality of decision-making
- learn how accounting relates to the broader context of the strategic and operational aspects of business
You will also:
- produce financial statements from the relevant transactions and events affecting organisations
- analyse, interpret and facilitate the use of accounting information
- 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.
In Introduction to Financial Markets, you will be introduced to, and supported to develop your understanding of, the basic principles of finance. A practical course, it is designed to give a theoretical introduction, looking at the way assets are valued in financial markets. You will consider:
- interest rates and the pricing of fixed-income bonds
- stock market prices and returns
- stock market risk and the influence of risk on the pricing of shares
- the characteristics and pricing of financial futures and options
To complement your accounting and finance, Economic Applications introduces you to the broad principles and applications of economics. Alternatively you may choose to study more business through The Business of Edinburgh course.
You will broaden your knowledge of essential business subjects through the study of a compulsory course in statistical analysis and data interpretation.
You will continue your study of Accounting, and have a choice of courses in:
- innovation and entrepreneurship
- decision analytics
- organisation studies
- international business
- business analytics
- understanding and delivering public services *HR management
- business economics
- business simulation
You will build on the Accounting knowledge gained in Year 1, providing a bridge for you to proceed to the study of Accounting at honours level, and examine more advanced aspects of financial accounting/reporting. Topics will include:
- tangible and intangible assets
- group accounts
- statement of cash flows
- accounting for overseas involvement
You will also examine more advanced aspects of management accounting and how managers apply this information to assist them to reach better-informed decisions. You will focus on relevant aspects of cost accounting systems, standard costing, and budgeting as well as the control and performance evaluation of responsibility centres.
Introduction to Corporate Finance builds on the finance knowledge gained in Year 1. It is designed to give a theoretical introduction to corporate finance decisions and policies, including key topics such as:
- financial evaluation of investment decisions (capital budgeting)
- the cost of capital
- how firms raise finance and the sources of finance
- the capital structure decision
- the dividend policy
You should enrol on Law for Business in order to gain full accreditation from the professional Accounting organisations.
You may also choose one option course or continue with your studies in other subject areas from across the University (subject to availability and timetabling constraints).
In this year, you will undertake courses which will prepare you for undertaking your Dissertation in Year 4. For example, Research Methods in Finance will equip you with the specific and specialist statistical tools and techniques to undertake quantitative research projects in Finance.
You will continue to specialise in your chosen area of accounting and finance by studying:
- Advanced Financial Accounting
- Investments and Securities Markets
- Management Accounting Applications
The three accounting courses build on financial and management accounting studied in Years 1 and 2.
You will be able to:
- explore some of the more complex and controversial areas of financial reporting
- develop a critical understanding of conceptual issues
- enhance your technical and analytical skills
- gain an understanding of the principles underlying the theory of auditing, of the regulatory framework and of practical audit approaches and techniques
- develop an appreciation of the benefits and limitations of management accounting systems in organisational contexts
- critically interpret the use of management information, control and performance measurement
Your studies in Finance will cover:
- The Modern Portfolio Theory
- The Single-Index Model
- The Capital Asset Pricing Model
You will also study:
- market efficiency
- behavioural finance
- international investing
- one other Finance course from those available
Your Management Honours Dissertation is central to Year 4. You will conduct an independent research project on a topic of your choosing that is closely linked to your degree programme.
Your Dissertation will give you the opportunity to develop skills such as:
- advanced project management
- critical-thinking skills
- cognitive skills
- analytical skills
- evaluative and written communication skills
- developing, building and presenting arguments to a wider audience
You will be allocated a Dissertation advisor who will offer advice and guidance throughout your Management Honours Dissertation. You can also attend Dissertation support sessions and hangouts where you can:
- share your experiences
- learn from each other
- get timely advice form the Dissertation team
You will also take two specialist courses in both Accounting and Finance, including Corporate Finance, with topics including:
- audit practice
- debt policy
- dividend policy
- corporate restructuring
- taxation practices
- behavioural biases in corporate decision making
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.
The Business School is located in a dedicated Business School building in George Square, in the middle of the central campus.
All business teaching takes place across the central campus. However, you may be required (based on your course selection) to travel to the King’s Buildings if you are studying courses in Science and Engineering.
You will have access to:
- specialist business resources in the central Main Library (books, journals, databases)
- dedicated student experience and student development support
For specialist business analytics, business research and finance related courses, we have dedicated teaching labs (and associated software and databases). We also have our own Business School Cafe.
Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to gain an insight into the global business dimension, and the cultures and languages of the individual markets we deal with.
Depending on your degree, a year abroad might be compulsory or optional. To be inspired, read stories by Edinburgh students about their experiences abroad
A wide range of international experiences are available, including studying abroad at one of our partner universities and business schools in:
- New Zealand
Your choice of partner university will depend on your degree programme/availability of courses in the subject area.
Living and studying abroad will give you the opportunity to try new things such as:
- learning a language
- taking on new challenges
- enhancing your academic perspective
- visiting new places
- meeting new people
Your self-confidence will improve and you will develop valuable skills for the future, all of which are highly valued by employers.
All Business School students have the option of studying abroad. However, you will need a strong academic performance in Year 1 (minimum first-year average 60%) to be offered a place at one of our partner universities/business schools.
How will I learn?
Teaching and learning employed within the Business School (and in other Schools where you may take courses outside the business area) embrace a variety of different methods including:
- lectures (led by a lecturer or guest speaker, with usually a large number of students attending at one time)
- computer laboratories (smaller groups of students attending to learn software packages and data interpretation and analysis)
- workshops (smaller groups of students working with a tutor on particular practical problem-based learning)
- tutorials (tutors engaging small groups of students in discussion and analysis, and where you might undertake peer group projects and presentations)
- one-to-one meetings with course lecturers/tutors/academic advisors
- independent learning throughout your studies (in particular for your Honours dissertation research)
You will be taught by:
- experienced subject-specific lecturers
- industry professionals
- research-led academics
- internationally renowned guest speakers
We have a number of leading academics who have designed and developed courses specific to their research, particularly at Years 3 and 4.
Support for learning
We offer a motivating and encouraging environment where you can grow and develop as an independent learner.
You will be guided and supported throughout your studies by our dedicated student experience team who offer enhanced course and programme advice and guidance, wellbeing, professional and academic and study skills development.
We also have an excellent peer support service who can help you develop your study skills. The university offers a ‘one-stop shop’ - EdHelp - where you can get help and advice on everything from finance to counselling, accommodation, and accessing IT and library resources.
Teaching during Covid-19
We are delivering hybrid teaching for on-campus students during the 2021-2022 academic year. Our teaching model for 2022-2023 will depend on Covid-19 restrictions at the time. We will provide you with regular updates on what to expect throughout the application process.
How will I be assessed?
Courses are assessed by a diverse and innovative range of methods and often take the form of formative work, which provides you with on-going feedback, as well as summative assessment, on which your final course grade is achieved.
Some of the assessment methods you may experience are:
- blogs (written and/or video)
- business plan and/or feasibility analysis
- case study analysis
- computer-based timed assignments
- consultancy reports
- reflective diaries/journals
- exams - these might be closed book, multiple choice, oral (group or individual), short questions, seen case study/unseen exam question, open book, timed submission, etc.
- portfolios (paper and/or online)
- presentations (face-to-face/video; group and individual)
- projects (group and individual)
- technical workshops
- the dissertation
Many of your assessments will involve industry engagement, real case examples, and practical solutions to contemporary business problems.
A very small number of courses are assessed using only a single, written examination or coursework assignment. Most courses employ two or more different forms of assessment, and a growing number combine both individual and group-based activities to develop both subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills.
Accounting and Finance graduates are highly valued by employers across the world and graduates of our programmes are highly sought after by a wide range of employers.
Our graduates secure employment in a diverse range of fields, the most popular being:
- human resources
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.
During your time as a student in the Business School and following graduation, the Careers Service will help you fully develop your potential and achieve your future goals.
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: A*AA - AAB.
- IB: 39 points with 666 at HL - 36 points with 665 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.
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.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
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.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of 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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
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
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.
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, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
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.
If studying abroad in Year 3 is a compulsory part of your degree programme (International Business), your costs will vary depending on the country/partner university. Additional costs may include:
- visa requirements
- internet access
In Year 4 you will undertake a Dissertation as a compulsory assessment component. Depending on the field of study you choose, there may be costs associated with:
- undertaking surveys
- 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.