Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

MA Accounting and Finance

UCAS code: NN43

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Business School

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Accounting and Finance

Contemporary global business, be it for profit or not for profit, is fraught with complexity, tensions, and socio-political, economic and cultural challenges.

Our accounting-related programmes will prepare you intellectually and practically to embrace these complexities, negotiate tensions and address the wider socio-political and cultural challenges through astute, fiscally appropriate and socially responsible accounting practice.

The study of accountancy and finance provides an extremely strong platform to build a career within or outside the commercial world. Accountants play a crucial role in business, public sector and not-for-profit organisations. Their 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.

Accountancy is the fastest growing area of business activity. Equally the world of finance is a crucial aspect of contemporary business. This programme therefore offers a thorough understanding of both these disciplines.


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 five compulsory courses with the option of including our other Year 1 Business course, The Business of Edinburgh (recommended):

  • Global Challenges for Business

  • Accountancy 1A and Accountancy 1B

  • Introduction to Financial Markets

  • Economic Principles

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.

In Introduction to Financial Markets, you will be introduced to, and supported to develop your understanding of the basic principles of finance. As a practical course, it is designed to give a theoretical introduction, looking at the way assets are valued in financial markets. It considers 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; and the characteristics and pricing of financial futures and options.

To complement your business, accounting and finance courses, Economic Principles introduces you to the broad principles 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 continue with, and focus, your studies in Accounting and Finance in Year 2 with four compulsory courses:

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

You will build on the Accounting knowledge gained in Year 1 and examine more advanced aspects of financial accounting/reporting. Topics will include tangible and intangible assets, liabilities, equity, group accounts, statement of cash flows and 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, with an emphasis on relevant aspects of cost accounting systems, standard costing, and budgeting as well as the control and performance evaluation of responsibility centres.

The accounting courses in Year 2 offer a bridge for students to proceed to the study of accounting at honours level.

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 and the dividend policy.

The Business Research Methods I: Introduction to Data Analysis course introduces you to the quantitative techniques in business to effectively carry out statistical analysis. You will learn all about quantitative material, including the collection, collation, analysis and interpretation of data.

To broaden your knowledge, you will choose another Finance Year 2 course as well as Business Law (required for accreditation purposes) or a course in another subject area (subject to availability and timetabling constraints).

Year 3

You will take the following compulsory courses:

  • Advanced Financial Accounting

  • Auditing

  • Management Accounting Applications

  • Investment and Securities Markets

  • Business Research Methods II: Applications and Analysis or Research Methods in Finance

  • Research in Management

The three accounting courses build on financial and management accounting studied in Years 1 and 2.

You will explore some of the more complex and controversial areas of financial reporting, developing a critical understanding of conceptual issues as well as enhancing technical and analytical skills. You will gain an understanding of the principles underlying the theory of auditing, of the regulatory framework and of practical audit approaches and techniques.

You will develop an appreciation of the benefits and limitations of management accounting systems in organisational contexts with the ability to 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 and the Capital Asset Pricing Model. You will also study market efficiency, behavioural finance, and international investing. You will also choose one other Finance course from those available.

Business Research Methods II introduces further aspects of business research and demonstrates the fundamental role and importance it plays in the making of business decisions. Topics include research approaches and philosophies; qualitative methodologies and methods; qualitative data analysis and interpretation.

You will also be introduced to a range of research methods and support to prepare you for your Management Honours Dissertation in Year 4.

Alternatively, Research Methods in Finance will equip you with the specific and specialist statistical tools and techniques to undertake quantitative research projects in Finance.

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 to 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 choose two more specialist Honours courses in accounting, building on the knowledge gained in Year 3.

You will also take two courses in Finance, including Corporate Finance, with topics including:

  • Corporate governance
  • Debt policy
  • Dividend policy
  • Corporate restructuring
  • Market efficiency
  • Behavioural biases in corporate decision making

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.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2020/21)

Accountancy graduates can train to become a qualified accountant through a traineeship with an accountancy or commercial firm. Alternatively, you can also 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, or take up the opportunity to pursue further study at postgraduate level.

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 Finance

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