Accounting MSc

We are a top UK Modern University for Accounting and Finance (The WUR, 2023)



This MSc programme is equally suitable for students with or without an undergraduate degree in accounting, and we have students from a variety of backgrounds on the programme. We have a 100% overall student satisfaction score for our MSc in Accounting (PTES, 2023).

This degree will provide a strong foundation for your accounting career.  It covers the core accounting topics of financial reporting, performance management, and financial management, as well as topics such as the accounting profession, accounting in the public sector, and corporate governance.

It will be attractive to individuals with good financial knowledge, analytical skills, attention to detail, business understanding, and problem-solving. Graduates will be in a strong position to continue their careers in professional practice, private firms, or in the public sector.  The programme also provides a foundation for students wishing to pursue further academic study in accounting.

Although this programme is not designed to maximise exemptions from professional exams, students who successfully complete the programme can apply for exemptions from four ACCA papers (Business & Technology, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, and Corporate and Business Law), and/or gain direct entry to the Management Case Study level of CIMA’s professional qualification.

Entry points to this course are in January and September. Please enquire for more information.



Zhongdong Niu, Lecturer in Accounting Financial Services and Law is sitting listening to a woman speak

Mode of Study:



1 years

Start date:


Course details

This course will equip you with theoretical and practical knowledge of accounting in a variety of contexts.  In the financial reporting and analysis module, you will examine the conceptual framework for financial reporting as well as the regulatory environment for reporting, and some practical problems in implementing accounting standards, as well as the analysis of financial reports.  The financial management module introduces you to the sources of finance, financial decision making, and a variety of techniques including project appraisals and the management of risk.  Our module on strategic performance management introduces you to the concepts of cost accounting and the application of the balanced scorecard approach in business. Our module on Accounting as a Profession will provide guidance on the practical role of the accountant and on accounting ethics.  You will also study public sector accounting and learn the key differences in applying accounting practice to this important sector of the economy.  Our module on Corporate Governance will further develop your communication skills in writing, and discussion in a simulated boardroom setting.

You will also complete a research methods module, followed by a dissertation, which will enable you further to develop your skills in analysing qualitative and quantitative information, as well as in the development of research questions and the presentation of the results of academic research.

How will my degree reflect sustainability and sustainable development?

The Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) – established under the UN Global Compact – places a clear onus on Higher Education to ‘transform management education and develop the responsible decision-makers of tomorrow to advance sustainable development’. The Business School is a PRME signatory, and we seek to influence professional practice and policy nationally and internationally, helping to drive key societal, economic and environmental impacts.

Our mission is ‘to empower communities to apply business knowledge for positive societal impact’ and we work constantly to embed practical actions into our curriculum, to promote sustainability and relate these to the key ideas of sustainability, as reflected in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes now reflect one or more of the SDG, and our research is targeted to solve real world problems, mapped against the criteria used in the Times Higher Education’s Impact Ranking. 

The most recent annual league table for Sustainability - compiled by People & Planet, the UK’s largest student campaigning network - again places Edinburgh Napier in a top 3 position among Scotland’s 19 universities. This reflects their assessment of our performance across a range of environmental and ethical considerations, which include carbon reduction and management, and education.

What is distinct about equality, diversity and inclusion?

Edinburgh Napier University is enriched by the diversity of perspectives, cultures and backgrounds brought by all within our global community. We are committed to a positive environment where diversity and inclusiveness is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, age, ethnic origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership status or whether pregnant or on maternity leave. We commit ourselves to providing a learning, working and social environment that is free from discrimination, prejudice, intimidation, stigmatisation and all forms of harassment and bullying.

The Business School's vision: 'To be the Business School for empowerment, enterprise and employability for all'.

Our mission statement: 'Empowering our communities to apply business knowledge for positive societal impact'.

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    How you’ll be taught

    This is a full-time course and you will attend weekly lectures and tutorials, as well simulated boardroom sessions. You will also spend time on independent study using our extensive library resources.
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    You will be assessed through a variety of methods, including contributions to simulated boardroom sessions, peer review, written papers and written examinations. You will also complete a dissertation representing 400 hours’ research work.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Accounting as a Profession ( ACC11121 )

Overview of Assessment Type
History of Accounting (traditional, alternative histories, issues in the development of the profession – gender etc.)
Roles of accounting in society (FA/MA/Audit/Contemporary issues and settings – environment, sport, singularities etc.)
Application of accounting and relation to management
Professional ethics (for individuals and why individuals might act as they do)
The professional bodies
The professionalisation project (establishment, maintenance, legal aspects etc.)
The future of accounting (societies, evaluation, author, figures vs numbers)

Further information

Corporate Governance ( ACC11124 )

Theories of corporate governance
Legislation, regulation and corporate governance codes
Development of UK corporate governance practices
Models of corporate governance
Corporate scandals and corporate culture
Functions of the corporate board
Board effectiveness and diversity
Board sub-committees
Accountability, audit and risk
Corporate governance reporting and disclosure
Contemporary issues of governance
The role of stakeholders and corporate social responsibility
International and transnational approaches to corporate governance

Further information

Dissertation ( TBS11130 )

Research methodologies, critically reviewing literature, research design and ethics, data collection methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed), analysis methods, research writing and dissemination. Individual research, production of a dissertation, reflection on work undertaken.

Further information

Financial Management ( ACC11118 )

The financial environment, types of debt and equity instruments and their features, measurements of the cost of capital including WACC, capital structure theories and practices, investment appraisal techniques including NPV and IRR, appraising investment under conditions of risk and uncertainty including M&A projects; working capital management and short term financing decisions, risk management policies involving operating and financial risk

Further information

Financial Reporting and Analysis ( ACC11123 )

In this module you will learn about the financial reporting environment and the regulatory and conceptual frameworks for the preparation and presentation of financial statements, including consideration of international practices. You will study the practical problems associated with the application of accounting standards, including accounting for groups of companies. You will also learn how to interpret and analyse the financial performance, cash flows and financial position of organisations from their published accounts.
Module Content:
Overview of the international financial reporting environment
Regulatory and conceptual frameworks
Accounting for groups of companies
Accounting standards and accounting policies
Analysis, interpretation and limitations of published financial statements and annual reports

Further information

Public Sector Accounting ( ACC11127 )

The public sector makes up around 40% of most developed economies. Yet accounting and auditing rules and techniques are almost entirely focussed on the private sector. In many important respects, the public sector deviates from these, but this does not form part of traditional accounting programmes. The working context of the public sector is also different from the private sector – greater levels of accountability (and therefore reporting), the political context of budget setting (especially around tax), and difficulties around what actions to take (policy development) and how to measure success. This module therefore offers you an insight into the workings and processes of the public sector, with particular attention focussing on the annual cycle of budgeting, performance monitoring, and outcomes reporting. This module will contextualise public sector accounting within the theoretical frameworks – value for money, new public management, and public value – that have dominated contemporary academic and practitioner debate. The module will provide you with a conceptual understanding of the sector, as well as knowledge of the specific accounting issues that it faces. It will also provide you with the skills and knowledge to work effectively within a public sector organisation, or to begin further research and study in this area.

Further information

Research Methods ( SOE11131 )

Research methodologies, critically reviewing literature, research design and ethics, data collection methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed), analysis methods, research writing and dissemination.

Further information

Strategic Performance Management ( ACC11125 )

Strategic tools and strategic positioning analysis; management accounting for competitive advantage including innovations in management accounting performance evaluation such as economic value and environmental management accounting; performance measurement systems including the balanced scorecard; performance management and its alignment with performance measures; strategic costing; behavioural aspects of performance measurement systems; risk in the management accounting process.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Accounting?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above. We look for applicants to have a background in any discipline in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Accounting based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £8,300 £8,715
Overseas and EU £17,090 £18,800
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


What can you do with a degree in Accounting?

By studying accounting at Edinburgh Napier University, you will have the knowledge, understanding, and skills to further develop your career.  This could be through employment with a professional accounting firm, other commercial organisation, or the public sector.  You will also be able to complete your professional accountancy training and become a fully qualified accountant. Alternatively, you will be eligible to apply for progression to doctoral-level study in accounting, corporate governance, or financial management at the University or to seek entry to doctoral-level study at another higher education institution.

What does a Professional Accountant do?

Professional accountants often work for accounting firms, providing a range of accountancy services to other businesses, such as tax advice or statutory audits.  Accountants also work within finance departments of other commercial organisations, providing expertise in management or financial accounting, including tasks such as budgeting and strategic financial planning. An MSc in Accounting equips you with strong analytical, quantitative, and problem-solving skills, making you versatile and adaptable in various financial roles. Experienced and highly qualified accountants can also be found in a variety of business leadership positions.

Daily tasks and responsibilities in typical accounting roles include: 

  • Financial reporting
  • Advisory support
  • Audit preparation
  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Budgeting and forecasting
Zhongdong Niu, Lecturer in Accounting Financial Services and Law is sitting listening to a woman speak