Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Accounting

Why choose Accounting at the University of Edinburgh?

  • All of our MA accounting-related programmes are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), the Association of International Accountants (AIA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

  • Our exchange programme offers you exciting opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 at one of our partner universities in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada or the USA.

  • Major accounting firms, as well as other large companies, regularly present talks to and conduct recruitment activities with our students.

  • We're ranked in the UK's top 15 universities for accounting and finance in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Our accounting-related programmes offer you the flexibility of pursuing a double major programme in accounting and business, accounting and finance, economics and accounting, or law and accountancy.

  • All accounting-related programmes are developed to prepare you to successfully achieve your professional accounting qualifications and to meet the expectations of the accounting industry specifically, as well as the requirements of the general job market.

Study abroad

With an international community like this one you never know who you will meet and from where in the world they come.

Bakani Dube 2nd year MA (Hons) Accounting & Finance
Bakani Dube 2nd year MA (Hons) Accounting & Finance

Accountants play a crucial role in business. Their ability to measure financial information and use this to make projections affects economic decision-making at all levels.

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 to ensure that our graduates are attractive to prospective employers.

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


While every effort has been made to ensure that the information given here is accurate, we anticipate that some of our programmes may be modified or changed from 2019/20. Please check online for the latest information.

Year 1

You will study Accountancy 1A, an introduction to financial accounting, and Accountancy 1B, an introduction to management accounting.

You will also study courses in business, finance, law or economics, depending on your joint honours programme.

Year 2

You will study Accountancy 2A, which deals with some of the more complex aspects of financial accounting, such as the preparation of financial statements.

You will also study Accountancy 2B, which examines the more complex areas of management accounting. You will learn about cost management topics and costing systems, including activity-based costing, transfer pricing and divisional performance.

You will choose courses in business, finance, law or economics, depending on your joint honours programme.

Year 3

You will study the compulsory courses Advanced Financial Accounting, Auditing and Management Accounting Applications. You will also study courses in business, finance, law or economics, depending on your joint honours programme.

Year 4

You will choose two courses from a range of options including Advanced Management Accounting; Audit Practice; Taxation Practices; and Accounting and Everyday Life. You will also complete an accounting-based research dissertation or a dissertation in business, finance, law or economics depending on your joint honours programme.

Are there 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.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place across the Central Area campus. You will have access to all the University's libraries and computer facilities. Honours students have access to the Business School's Undergraduate Resource Centre, on level 11 of David Hume Tower.

Study abroad

The University's Business School exchange programme offers exciting opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 at one of our partner universities in Asia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA.

You may also study abroad through the University's international exchange programme. To participate in an exchange programme, you will require a strong academic performance in Year 1.

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.