Taught course

Forensic Accounting (Distance Learning) (3 Year)

University of Portsmouth · Department of Accounting and Financial Management

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification and/or equivalent professional experience. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

Why take this course?

As one of the fastest growing areas of accounting, there is an increasing global demand for specialists with forensic accounting knowledge and skills. This course therefore aims to provide a progressive, challenging and stimulating framework of study that will equip you to work in this field.

Through the application of professional forensic accounting tools, models, techniques and knowledge, you will gain a comprehensive range of skills covering the core areas of forensic accounting:

  • Dispute and litigation
  • Expert witnessing
  • Fraud examination
  • Financial crime and regulatory investigations

Depending on how much time you are able to commit to your study, we offer a two-year or a 30-month duration, and our recommended study time per week would be around 12 and 18 hours respectively. We would strongly recommend that those students with full-time jobs or other commitments opt for the longer 30 month programme of study.

This programme is also offered as a campus-based taught programme for both full-time and part-time students.

What will I experience?

On this course you will:

  • Investigate real-life case studies and learn the processes involved in compiling your own case.
  • Be assigned a personal tutor.
  • Participate in Web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students.
  • Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, which can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course will allow you to develop your accounting skills for use in litigation – civil, criminal and corporate (including business valuation, assessment of economic damages, proceeds of crime, fraud and money laundering). Alongside processes and procedures, you will learn how to investigate a variety of financial crime and regulatory compliance cases, gather evidence, prepare expert reports and evidence. In this context you will also consider areas such as corporate integrity and management control, fraud and forensic analysis, cyber-crime, corporate social responsibility, and interviewing and testimony.

Benefits to employers, financial and legal professionals, and organisations also include:

  • The development of accounting skills for use in disputes and litigation
  • Knowledge of evidence – gathering and investigative techniques, ADR (alternative dispute resolution) and litigation processes and procedures, preparation of expert reports and evidence).

Module Details

You will study a total of four units which consider a range of exciting topics such as corporate integrity and management control, fraud and forensic analysis, cybercrime and interviewing and testimony. You will learn how to investigate a case, gather evidence, prepare expert reports and provide evidence. The course then concludes with your research dissertation where you’ll have the flexibility to specialise in an area of your choice such as fraud examination, litigation consulting or expert witnessing to name a few.

In the 30-month programme you will study two units in each of year one and year two, followed by the dissertation in the final year.

In the two-year programme, you will study three units in year one followed by one unit and the dissertation in year two.

Here are the units you will study:

Financial Analysis and Modelling enables you togain a critical awareness of the financial environment from both an accounting and finance perspective. You will learn to understand, analyse and interpret company reports, examine the role of the regulatory framework for corporate reporting and the stock market, and explore the pricing of securities. You will also cover the key areas of decision and risk analysis, alongside the process of decision making, key statistical concepts, and selecting and using appropriate analytical software tools as aids to decision making.

Expert Witnessing and Dispute Resolution enables you to examine the full range of formal and informal methods for dispute resolution within common law, and civil and criminal legal systems, whilst also developing an understanding of the legal and practical protocols alongside the procedural knowledge and etiquette governing the appointment and testimony of expert witnesses. You will also develop a clear understanding of the legal basis and critical elements required to construct an expert report for submission in civil and criminal proceedings, as well as how to practically deal with the pressures and issues arising in cross-examination.

Financial Forensics and Investigation develops an understanding of financial crime and regulatory investigatory models so that you can develop a critical, questioning and evaluative approach in assessing financial and other relevant hardcopy and digital data. There will be an emphasis on gathering information from paper and digital sources, as well as interviews and examining key issues and practical innovative approaches to overcoming them. You will also consider the changing investigative landscape.

Financial Crime and the Law focuses on an appreciation and understanding of principles of law and how the current regulatory framework and crime control statutes have developed to deal with them, covering the wide variety of financial crime cases and theory. You will also develop an understanding of the development and importance of corporate governance, including such features as corporate integrity and management control systems.

Dissertation: This is a 15,000-word research project that combines a review of previous research undertaken in your chosen topic with your own data collection and analysis. This provides a unique opportunity for you to demonstrate the subject knowledge you have acquired, as well as your analytical abilities and problem-solving skills which are highly regarded by potential employers. During this phase, your research will be supervised by an experienced academic with expertise in your chosen topic area.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Programme Assessment

We use a combination of teaching methods from lectures, seminars and tutorials to student presentations and activity-based case studies. We are committed to best practice in learning and encourage group participation promoting discussion and debate in a friendly yet, challenging class environment.

You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics. Our approaches to learning, assessment and feedback are varied and constructive, to help you build the personal management and employability skills that are essential for a fulfilling career.

Student Destinations

This course is an ideal route into a wide range of professional careers in dispute litigation support, fraud examination, and forensic accounting and regulatory investigations The qualification will be suitable for a number of roles in financial regulatory authorities, law firms, accountancy practices and law enforcement agencies. Our Careers and Recruitment team will support you in developing the skills needed to pursue employment opportunities in your chosen career area.

Fees and funding

UK students
30 month programme: £2,570* per year in years 1, 2 and 3 24 month programme: £3,850* per year in years 1 and 2 *Fees are subject to annual increase.
International students
30 month programme: £2,570* per year in years 1, 2 and 3 24 month programme: £3,850* per year in years 1 and 2 *Fees are subject to annual increase.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
30 months

Course contact details

Admissions Team
+44 (0)23 9284 2991