MSc in Accounting and Finance


Program Description

Our MSc in Accounting and Finance provides theoretical understanding and key skills to further your career in a range of finance-related professions. We aim to equip you with essential accounting and finance capabilities, including critical analysis, research and advanced numeracy.

Programme overview

Our MSc is designed to give students a specialist education in accounting and finance, suitable for a range of careers in the finance sector. It will provide you with an understanding of international accounting standards, global financial markets and the factors behind success and failure in different organisations. The programme will also help you to develop practical skills, such as the ability to evaluate financial statements, estimate fair values and compare different investments.

Programme structure

You will take four core courses in the first term (Sep-Dec) and two more in the second term (Jan-May). In the second term, you will also be able to choose two specialised option courses. The final dissertation is written over the summer term (June-Aug) and is overseen by an academic supervisor. The course is structured to allow you to gain a strong foundation in accounting and finance, whilst allowing you to specialise and tailor your studies towards your chosen career path.

Knowledge exchange

The School's location in the UK's second largest financial centre allows students on the MSc to learn from visiting speakers with extensive experience in accounting and finance, such as the Head of Finance at AEGON and the Managing Director of Citigroup Scotland. The programme also maintains strong relationships with accounting and finance professionals who will be able to advise you on your research and career progression.

Industry links

Our strong connection to the industry is exemplified by our work with the Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research, which identifies and develops practices for accounting in the public sector. The Institute provides students with a site for debate and the creation of new ideas for the practical application of accounting, finance and investment. Programme graduates have gone on to have careers in globally recognised firms such as J.P. Morgan, Standard Life and UBS.

Entry requirements

Entrance to our MSc programmes is strongly competitive. You can increase your chances of a successful application by exceeding the minimum programme requirements. Academic requirements You will need a UK first-class or 2:1 honours degree in one of the subjects below, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

Academic background

  • An undergraduate degree in accounting, finance or a related discipline is normally required.
  • Degrees in quantitative disciplines (e.g. economics or mathematics) or business studies will be considered if you can demonstrate a strong background in accounting and finance throughout your degree.

Supporting your application

  • You should be able to demonstrate some evidence of mathematical ability.
  • Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.
  • Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

Applications from current undergraduates Final year undergraduate students are welcome to apply, so long as your studies will be completed prior to the MSc programme commencement date.

Learning outcomes

The programme enables students to analyse financial statements and to show the links between accounting statements, valuation methods and investment analysis. Knowledge and understanding Students will gain knowledge of global financial markets and the finance and investment industry – how different organisations interact, their roles, and factors behind success or failure. Students will learn how to estimate the fair value of an investment, to test assumptions and sensitivities, and to compare different investments. Students will gain an understanding of the role of different asset classes, their behaviour in isolation and in relation to other asset classes, and an understanding of how portfolios of investments can be constructed and analysed. Intellectual skills Students will develop:

  • Critical analysis skills – an ability to assimilate new knowledge in the field of accounting and finance as well as the capacity to provide critical analysis of the field.
  • Research skills – an ability to identify and define pertinent research questions, to review the relevant literature, to define a proper methodology and to conduct research in the context of data analysis or experiments.
  • Discipline - a major difficulty in investment is removing emotion from the decision-making process. Study into behavioural finance shows that the desire of investors to follow consensus, and the ease with which they can misinterpret data, are obstacles to sound decision making. The programme will seek to imbue students with the discipline required to make good investment decisions.
  • Analytical and numerical skills - an ability to analyse and solve valuation and investment problems, to handle large volumes of numerical data and extract and manipulate relevant data in a meaningful manner.

Professional/subject-specific/practical skills Students will develop:

  • An understanding of accounting, investment and risk management tools and databases such as Datastream, Reuters 3000Xtra, ThomsonOne Banker, CRSP, COMPUSTAT, London Share Price Database and WRDS.
  • An ability to: analyse and interpret financial data (such as financial statements), and to evaluate earnings quality and firm performance through individual and collaborative projects.
  • An understanding of analytical and problem-solving methods through the use of techniques such as discounted cash flow analysis.

Transferable skills These include enhanced numerical skills and fluency in spreadsheet use and the ability to communicate challenging material both orally and in writing.

Your career

Graduates from the MSc in Accounting and Finance will typically pursue a career in the accounting profession or in regulating bodies requiring an in-depth understanding of accounting and finance. The programme is as much academic as it is vocational. That means it is also good preparation for further research at PhD level. This MSc could lead to a multitude of roles, including:

  • Academic accounting
  • Investment and security analysis
  • Portfolio management
  • Corporate finance
  • Corporate restructuring
Last updated Aug 2019

About the School

At the heart of a university with a 400 year heritage that is consistently rated one of the world's best, and centrally located in one of Europe's most stunning business and cultural capitals the Univ ... Read More

At the heart of a university with a 400 year heritage that is consistently rated one of the world's best, and centrally located in one of Europe's most stunning business and cultural capitals the University of Edinburgh Business School offers an experience that few can rival. Read less