A fast-track qualification for non-accounting graduates who want to pursue a career in accounting or finance.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting at Ulster University is designed to offer you a route to become a Chartered/Chartered Certified 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 programme, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of accounting, finance and business.
The Postgraduate 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 Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting at Ulster University will take you a step closer towards a career as a Chartered/Chartered Certified 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, workshops and seminars and it is expected that students will undertake independent study.
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.
Teaching, learning and assessment
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 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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.
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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.
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.
Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance 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 2022-2023.
Belfast Campus Location
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
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.
Financial accounting provides the student with an understanding of the concepts underpinning financial reporting for sole traders and partnerships.
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.
Audit and Assurance
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 Reporting builds on the concepts and principles relating to sole traders and partnerships set out in Financial Accounting by broadening the area of financial reporting to include limited companies and the preparation of group financial statements.
Management Accounting in Practice
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.
Corporate Financial Reporting
Corporate Financial Reporting provides the student with an understanding of both accounting theory and the practical application of international financial reporting standards.
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, techniques and theories of financial management, investment appraisal and working capital control and to provide relevant information and advice to both organisations and individuals. It will cover subjects such as:
The Financial Environment.
Working Capital Management
Finance and the individual.
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 detailed study of the main aspects of the UK tax system, including Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Tax and Ethics, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Value Added Tax.
The module also requires a critical evaluation of modern issues/ethical dilemmas.
Governance, Risk and Ethics
The module informs and equips students to effectively respond to the corporate governance, risk management and ethical challenges organisations face today. The module aims to investigate the key components for securing the highest standards of effective corporate governance.
Law for Accountants
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.
A second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a non-relevant discipline, or an equivalent standard in a professional qualification. Plus a good standard of GCSE English Language and Mathematics.
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.
Success in modules undertaken may lead to exemption from the nine knowledge papers of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); some of the operational and management level examinations of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), or the CA Proficiency 1 (CAP1) examinations of the Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).
On successful completion of the programme, sudents can undertake an MSc Advanced Accounting or an MSc Strategic Accounting to gain further professional exemptions from CAI and ACCA.
Successful students can progress onto the MSc Advanced Accounting or MSc Strategic Accounting to gain further professional exemptions, or directly into an accounting training contract to become a professionally qualified accountant. The programme has excellent post-graduation employment rates and through the University's Employability & Careers Service, we facilitate linkages with prospective employers during the programme.
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.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
“I had a great year, and the course has been amazing. Definitely tough at times but rewarding. You run a great programme”
“Our lecturers were highly instrumental in informing us of employment opportunities and we attended a number of careers events where we had the opportunity to chat to employers, learn about the culture of different firms and apply for job offers and internships”.
“I now work in PwC, I am glad I had exemptions from CAP1 as this helped starting my job- The diploma was intense - but I got used to studying large amounts of information quickly - something needed for exams while working full time. I really enjoyed the Diploma and would definitely recommend it.”
“I am passionate about the programme, PwC have had a long affinity with it and had some fantastic students through it. We are part of the Student Liaison Committee with the University feeding into course content, so the course is always very relevant and reflects current best practice.”