Ulster University Business School
Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
A fast-track conversion qualification for non-accounting graduates who want to pursue a career in accounting or finance.
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The Graduate Diploma in Accounting at Ulster University is designed to offer you a route to become a Chartered Accountant.
The course is suitable for students with little or no previous knowledge of accounting and finance who wish to study these subjects further, or who wish to undertake postgraduate studies in accounting and finance but lack the depth of knowledge necessary to study at master’s level.
Throughout this fast-track conversion programme, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of accounting, finance and business.
The Graduate Diploma in Accounting will also help you to enhance your personal skills, as well as the subject-specific and professional skills you will need to be successful as an accountant.
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The Graduate Diploma in Accounting at Ulster University will take you a step closer towards a career as a Chartered Accountant.
The course includes both accounting and accounting-related modules which allows graduates from non-accounting degrees to obtain a general introduction to the subject, and then specialise in particular areas of accounting suited to their career aspirations.
We also work in close collaboration with employers to ensure that the course is relevant and up-to-date and that what you study meets industry needs.
Throughout the programme, you will develop a strong core knowledge and understanding of the principles, issues and applications of accounting and of the broader financial and economic environment.
You will also acquire a range of intellectual skills including critical, analytical and problem-solving skills relevant to financial law, business finance and investment decision-making.
Some of our previous graduates have progressed to postgraduate study at master’s level. Many have found employment and been successful in a variety of sectors and roles including corporate finance, equity research, fund management and management consultancy.
The programme is delivered over one academic year (late September - late June). It is a full-time course which is delivered through lectures and seminars and it is expected that students will undertake independent study.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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This module introduces the student to the conceptual and theoretical fundamentals of auditing combined with the practical application of auditing principles and the issues encountered in a financial reporting and audit environment. It identifies the skills that a professional auditor must have and how best to utilise those skills in today's challenging business environment.
Financial accounting provides the student with an understanding of the concepts underpinning financial reporting for sole traders and partnerships.
Regulations and influences on financial reporting. Preparation of published financial statements; the interpretation of financial statements; Accounting for business combinations.
To provide students with an opportunity to study for a first time the concepts and processes used to determine product and service costs and to apply these to a range of costing and accounting systems and how this contributes to the achievement of organisational objectives.
Having completed this module the student will be able to: understand the role of the management accountant and how this contributes to the achievement of organisational objectives; understand the role of modern management accounting practices which enable organisations to develop and assess performance; and apply appropriate management decision tools to a specified range of scenarios.
The nature and purpose of accounting theory; the theory of measurement of capital and income; the role of accounting regulation including the development of both international and national accounting standards; the legal framework and the stock exchange.
This module looks at the role and importance of finance and financial management within the process of managerial decision making. It will enable students to understand the principles of financial management, investment appraisal and working capital control and to provide relevant information and advice to both organisations and individuals.
A knowledge of taxation is essential to students intending to pursue a career in accounting and is an essential part of most financial and economic decision making. This module provides a fundamental undertaking of the main aspects of the UK tax system covering personal, business taxation, corporation tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax as well as an understanding of the administration of the self-assessment system.
This module develops students' quantitative skills and provides the building blocks for subsequent quantitative analysis in the economics component of the module. This module will provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts and applications of economics as they affect individuals, firms and governments, as well as the policy decisions taken in industry, commerce, and local government.
This module develops an understanding of the legal system and how it works. It gives a knowledge of and experience in applying the rules of contract, agency, employment and company law considered to be of importance to the accountant in private practice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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A second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a non-relevant discipline, or an equivalent standard in a professional qualification. Exceptionally, applicants who do not satisfy these requirements may be admitted if they can provide evidence of an ability to undertake the programme through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.
A level requirements
A good standard of English and Maths is required but specific A levels are not necessary.
Irish Leaving Certificate
A good standard of English and Maths is required but The Irish Leaving Certificate is not necessary.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Suitable choices of modules taken may lead to exemption from the nine fundamental examinations of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; some of the operational and management level examinations of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, or the CA Proficiency 1 (CAP1) examinations of the Chartered Accountants Ireland.
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Successful students can progress to the MSc Advanced Accounting.
This qualification will lead to careers in accounting, with graduates having acquired a basic knowledge of the core areas of accounting, as well as exemptions from professional examinations.
Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations through the Accredited degree accelerated route.
Accredited by Chartered Accountants Ireland for the purpose of exemption from some professional exams.
Accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for the purpose of exemptions from some professional examinations.
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Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
Northern Ireland & EU: £4,870.00
International: £9,740.00 Scholarships available
Two KPMG Scholarships are available to cover programme fees and provide an opportunity for work based learning during the duration of the programme. Details are provided from the Course Director.
PLEASE NOTE: As this is a level 6 course it is NOT eligible for Student Loan Company / Student Finance NI Postgradute Tuition Loans. Students must finance the course privately, course fees may be spread over the duration of the course.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Admissions contact regarding application process:
Course Director - Mr Stephen McNamee