Entry requirements

The equivalent of a UK first or upper second class honours degree. Check the full list of equivalent qualifications

Months of entry


Course content

Our MSc in Accounting is designed to provide an essential introduction to accountancy as a career choice for graduates with no prior learning in the discipline. The programme covers key areas of accounting, and it will stimulate your interest in the broader aspects of finance and business across the globe.

You will develop an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of accounting and it will also sharpen your critical thinking skills, such as decision-making and problem-solving.

Topics covered in the programme include, financial statements and their preparation and analysis, the practical limitations of financial reporting, contemporary and evolving practice in financial and non-financial accounting and reporting, management information for decision-making, and the practice and concepts of auditing.

You will be taught at Durham University Business School, one of the longest established business schools in the UK, offering state-of-the-art facilities and, as an accounting student, you will be part of an academic department with an international reputation for research and teaching excellence.

Professional Exemptions - ACCA and CIMA
The programme also carries professional exemptions from both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants CIMA

  • ACCA Exemptions
    F1 Accountant in Business
    F2 Management Accounting
    F3 Financial Accounting
    F4 Corporate and Business Law
  • CIMA Exemptions
    BA1 Fundamentals of Business Economics
    BA2 Fundamentals of Management Accounting
    BA3 Fundamentals of Financial Accounting
    BA4 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law
    P1 Management Accounting
    F1 Financial Reporting and Taxation
    E1 Managing Finance in a Digital World
    OCS Operational Case Study
    E2 Managing Performance
    P2 Advanced Management Accounting
    F2 Advanced Financial Reporting

International Opportunities
We are proud of our international connections and offer several opportunities to experience life in destinations across the globe:

  • Dissertation Abroad
    You will be offered the opportunity to apply to undertake your dissertation (research project) at one of our prestigious European partner institutions during the summer months (June to September). This exciting programme provides an opportunity to gain experience of living abroad and to build your network, as well as developing an understanding of how campus life works in another destination. Participation in the programme will develop your personal skills, in addition to improving employability by demonstrating adaptability, resilience, communication skills and a global mindset. This partially self-funded programme is very popular and our International Team in the Business School will support your journey from application to departure.
  • Summer School
    If your ambitions lie beyond the UK, you will have the opportunity to participate in a Summer School at one of our global network of university and business partners. These partially self-funded competitive activities, normally take place after exams in either June, July or August, for up to three weeks. They cover a wide range of topics and aim to complement the knowledge you gain during your time in Durham, whilst contextualising it in an international business setting. Please note, in order to be considered for a place on one of our Summer Schools, all students must apply as places are limited.

Practitioner Insights - Guest Speaker Programme
As part of the programme, you will be encouraged to attend presentations by leading academics and professionals who are specialists in your particular area of interest. Past speakers have included representatives of major global multinationals, global professional bodies and leading scholars, combining critical and progressive thinking with practical insights.

Course structure

Core modules:

Auditing and Accountability examines the practice of auditing and underlying concepts including the development of the role of the audit function in modern business society, the governance roles and responsibilities of external audit functions, the concepts of audit quality and assurance and the contribution of audit research in understanding practice and informing policy and regulatory debates.

Modern Accounting Research introduces a range of topics in contemporary and evolving practice in accounting and associated subjects such as reporting and taxation. The module also explores ethical issues in accounting and associated subjects and considers contemporary research agendas in accounting and associated subjects.

Financial Accounting and Reporting enables you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of financial accounting and reporting concepts and ethical issues as well as the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to specific cases involving single entities or groups. You will also prepare single entity and consolidated financial statements that meet IFRS requirements and show an understanding of accounting-based techniques of financial statement analysis.

Financial Planning and Control develops your knowledge of the financial planning and control processes of organisations and understanding of key aspects of management accounting related to financial planning, control and decision-making in organisations. It builds skills that are relevant to management accounting practice such as preparing, interpreting, and presenting essential financial information for management control and decision-making. The module will also enhance your knowledge of current development relating to financial planning and control of organisations.

Research Methods in Accounting explores the main research assumptions used in accounting to build your understanding of the range of methods and techniques employed to achieve different research aims and objectives. You will also use technology used in accounting research (e.g. STATA, Nvivo).

Corporate Governance provides an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of corporate governance, its underlying concepts and practice, academic research and how it informs practice, policy and regulatory debates and the role of corporate governance as a means of accountability in organisations and in society.

The MSc Accounting Dissertation is an in-depth investigation of a specific subject you've already studied as part of your programme, theoretically underpinned and normally supported by undertaking empirical research, but may also be a critical essay that draws upon academic literature. Supervised by a faculty member, this is an opportunity for you to develop your business insight and present your analysis and ideas in a scholarly and professional manner. There is also the opportunity to undertake your dissertation abroad at a partner university.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Accounting Theory
  • Accounting: An Information Content Perspective
  • Designing and Marketing Services
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Human Resource Development
  • New Venture Creation
  • Project Management (MSc)
  • Retail Marketing Management
  • Strategic Marketing Management
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management
  • Language module offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Studies

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Durham University Business School