Advanced Accounting


2022/23 Full-time Postgraduate course


Master of Science


Ulster University Business School


Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2022


A popular postgrad programme for high calibre accounting graduates which provides full CAP 2 exemptions from CAI with excellent employment prospects.


This popular vocational programme is designed to meet the needs of accounting graduates who wish to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant. It is an academically challenging programme which attracts high calibre accounting graduates. It allows students to combine a postgraduate master's qualification with study towards the professional examinations with Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).

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About this course


This well established and popular 'dual award' programme is designed to meet the needs of accounting graduates who wish to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant. It is an academically challenging one-year taught programme which encompasses both professional and conceptual material, enabling accounting graduates to study for a master's award and at the same time gain exemptions from professional examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI). It is one of the leading programmes of its kind in Ireland and is the result of close collaboration with CAI, and the in-depth experience and expertise of the course team.

It is an aim of the programme to develop the high level of skills, understanding and leadership capability considered necessary for embarking on a career as a Chartered Accountant, and to obtain a deeper understanding of the contemporary problems and issues faced by accounting and business professionals. The master's dissertation element of the programme will enable students to develop their research and analytical skills further by completing a piece of primary research.

A highly desirable feature of the programme is the level of sponsorship provided by employers. Students being sponsored on the programme receive payment of tuition fees, generous book allowances and in some instances loans and laptops.

Recent employers and sponsors of graduates include ASM, BDO, Deloitte, EY, FPM, KPMG, Moore Stephens, PwC, RSM McClure Watters.


Over the course of one academic year, lectures and seminars are scheduled during the University working day, and typically spread over three/four days per week during each semester. Typically 15-18 contact hours per week with the remainder of the time allocated to independent study.

Start dates

  • September 2022

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Learning and Teaching Methods include: lectures, tutorials, seminars, case studies, experiential learning, guest speakers, practitioner master classes, workshops, directed and independent study, computer assisted learning including contemporary interactive learning technology to help enhance your learning.

Assessment Methods include:examinations, class tests, completion of worksheets, reflective logs, portfolios, critiques, reports, subject-specific essays and oral presentations, using both individual and group projects, and interactive technology.

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:

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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Academic profile

Over 85% of our teaching staff hold Fellowship of Advance HE (previously Higher Education Academy).

The majority of our accounting lecturers have professional qualifications and previous experience in professional practice and/or commercial business.

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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.

Belfast campus


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast Campus Location

Campus Address

Ulster University,
York St,
BT15 1ED

T: 02870 123 456


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.

In this section

Year one

International Corporate Reporting

Year: 1

This module aims to equip students with the competence to prepare financial statements for individual companies in accordance with IFRS and relevant legislation. It provides students with the opportunity to evaluate key conceptual issues surrounding financial reporting and further develop their appreciation of financial accounting concepts and application of the theory and practice of financial reporting, in the construction and interpretation of financial statements.

Audit, Assurance and Professional Ethics

Year: 1

This module provides students with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of audit and assurance services. It combines audit and assurance concepts with their application to professional practice. It also highlights the responsibilities and ethical dilemmas faced by auditors and assurance providers.

Strategic Financial Management

Year: 1

The module seeks to explain, illustrate and evaluate the principles of the finance, investment and dividend decisions and their practical application to a range of contemporary management concerns and challenges within large companies. Topics include financial strategy formulation, investment decisions, financing decisions and distribution decisions. A particular focus is dealing with risk in decision-making. Finally, underpinning each topic is the need to behave ethically in all business dealings.

Advanced Tax Planning

Year: 1

This module provides students with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of common tax planning areas for businesses and limited companies. It also provides students with the opportunity to evaluate key ethical issues surrounding corporate and business taxation.

International Group Reporting

Year: 1

This module aims to equip students with the competence to prepare financial statements for groups in accordance with IFRS and relevant legislation. It provides students with the opportunity to evaluate key conceptual issues surrounding financial reporting and further develop their appreciation of financial accounting concepts and application of the theory and practice of financial reporting, in the construction and interpretation of financial statements.

Advanced Taxation

Year: 1

Corporation Tax; Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Interaction of Taxes

Strategic Management Accounting

Year: 1

The module will develop students' appreciation of strategic management accounting in the context of organisational strategy, business planning and development. Through extensive use of case studies and academic journal articles, the module will enable students to critically appraise advanced practices and theories of the discipline.

Research Methods

Year: 1

The research methods module will provide students with an understanding of the research process when conducting research in the broad area of accounting. This will involve consideration of the development of appropriate research questions, undertaking a literature review, identification and justification of an appropriate research methodology, data collection and analysis, reporting findings in an effective manner, drawing appropriate conclusions and identifying the limitations of the research process.


Year: 1

This module is optional

In today's increasingly networked digital age, a knowledge of cybercrime and its impact on the operations of businesses is important. This module provides insights from both a theoretical perspective including the professional and ethical issues relating to cybercrime and a technical perspective such as legislating for cybercrime and the importance of creating cyber risk management systems.


Year: 1

This module is optional

The dissertation will enable students to gain a deep understanding of a research area within the broad area of accounting. The dissertation also provides students with an in-depth understanding of the process of conducting research, including the range of research methodologies available. Moreover, the dissertation aims to build upon and enhance the research skills acquired by the student on the research methods module, thereby developing and enhancing the student as an independent learner.

Standard entry conditions

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.

Entry Requirements

Entrants will normally possess a good second class Honours degree (currently 2.1) in an accounting discipline and must also be exempt from all CAP 1 subjects of Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).

Students who have successfully completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (currently with commendation) and gained full CAP 1 exemptions are also invited to apply. English language competence: minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.

Prior to admission to this course, students must provide the University with a certificate of exemption from Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI). Exemption Application Forms are available at and the deadline for applications is 31 July.

English Language Requirements

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.

Exemptions and transferability

This programme grants successful graduates exemptions from all CAP 2 level subjects of Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) and permits students to progress directly to the final admitting examinations (FAE) of Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Career Options

Employment prospects for students completing this programme are excellent, with typically close to 100% of students securing training contracts with Professional Accounting firms.

The programme is highly regarded by employers, with many of the large and medium sized chartered accountancy firms sponsoring students on the programme. See Fees & Funding.

On successful completion of the programme, students not only gain a postgraduate qualification but also full CAP2 exemptions from CAI. With pass rates typically at 100%, students only have to complete the final FAE examinations in order to qualify as a Chartered Accountant.

The goal of the programme is to produce high-calibre graduates who will progress quickly through their professional training and advance to senior management positions within the accountancy profession.

Career opportunities for Chartered Accountants have never been better. Currently, two thirds of CAI members are working in industry, business or finance. Many leading companies in Ireland have a Chartered Accountant as their Financial Director or Chief Executive. A third of members are currently working in practice. International recognition brings global mobility for qualified members with many working outside Ireland (e.g. Australia, USA, Canada, Caribbean).

Professional recognition

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Accredited by Chartered Accountants Ireland for the purpose of exemption from some professional exams.


Start dates

  • September 2022

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees


International Fees


Scholarships, awards and prizes


Current sponsors include ASM, BDO, Deloitte, EY, PKF-FPM, KPMG, Moore Stephens, PwC, and RSM McClure Watters. Sponsorship can include payment of tuition fees and book allowances, with some sponsors providing living allowances and laptops.

Many of the sponsors have set up mentoring groups for ‘sponsored’ students on the programme. Current students meet with past-students who have already commenced their training contracts, and share study tips.


Three prizes are awarded each year on the programme.

Chartered Accountants Ulster Society award a prize to the highest performing student overall (excluding the dissertation). Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) award a prize for the best dissertation. PwC award a prize for the highest mark in the Research Methods module.

These prizes are presented at our annual Prize-Giving Event, when students and their guests attend along with teaching staff, sponsors and other key employers.

Normally all students on the programme graduate at our Winter Graduation Ceremony in December. It is a wonderful event for students and their families.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


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This post-graduate programme attracts high calibre accounting graduates every year. The programme offers full CAP 2 exemptions from Chartered Accountants Ireland, and is highly regarded by employers.

Typically all students completing the programme secure training contracts with Chartered Accountancy firms in Ireland which is testament to the quality of the programme and the calibre of the students.

Helen McGuffin, Course Director


I would definitely say ‘do the course’. I’ve just started my new job and I am in such a good position with no exams this year or any weekend classes - it’s hard enough settling into a new job.

Complete the course. It's far easier that trying to work at the same time as study.

You're much more likely to get a job if you haven't already got one.

Really enjoyed the course. I learned a lot, made good friends and am extremely glad that I did it. Couldn't recommend it more.

An extremely enjoyable and rewarding year.

Really enjoyed the year and very pleased with my results.

Very glad to be have completed the programme.


This programme is a key accountancy programme in Northern Ireland for those wishing to gain maximum exemptions from the Institute’s examinations. The Institute acknowledges the efforts of students, lecturers and sponsoring firms in securing training contracts for the programme’s students. The excellent results achieved each year reflect the high calibre of students completing the programme.

Ronan O’Loughlin, Director of Training & Education, Chartered Accountants Ireland


EY is delighted with the success of its students who have completed the Masters in Advanced Accounting. Over the years, this course has provided our firm with a succession of exceptionally bright, highly motivated trainee Chartered Accountants, many of whom have gone on to have successful careers in EY.

Keith Jess, Partner, EY

We have always been a supporter of the Masters in Advanced Accounting. This is reflective of the quality of graduates which the University attracts to the programme. Our continuing commitment is demonstrated by the number of students from the programme who join the firm.

John Poole, Partner, KPMG

FPM is fully supportive of the course, having recruited many students of a very high calibre over the years.

Feargal McCormack, Managing Partner, FPM