Course overview

A masters programme designed for those who are currently non-specialists in the field but wish to gain a robust understanding of the fundamentals of accountancy and business finance, to learn the practical skills needed for graduate roles in the financial sector. This course bridges the gap, allowing you to up-skill and transfer your skills into a different career pathway.

The programme aims to develop and increase understanding of the field so you can think critically, beyond the traditional role of a finance professional. You will learn how these skills can be effectively applied in a dynamic business environment, which requires a finance professional with a digital mindset who is sustainability conscious.

The degree is recognised by professional accounting bodies and has been developed to ensure that it is relevant to the changing world of business, as well as preparing students to enter the job market with skills that are needed for a successful career.

Alex Chantrell Strategic Marketing Management graduate

"Perhaps most special of all was how committed Aston University was to ensuring every single students’ employment after university. I made extensive use of the careers service for interview prep, CV advice, job applications, cover letters, and competency up-skilling."

Alex Chantrell

Why Accounting and Finance at Aston University?

ACCA accredited programme logo
Professionally accredited
Accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Triple accredited icon
Recognised for quality
Aston Business School is proud to be among 1% of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation
Cerficate
Gain the advantage
Get ahead of the competition with the Aston Global Advantage professional development module
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)

Course description

MSc Accounting and Finance

Our MSc Accounting and Finance programme will bring you up to speed with the fundamentals of accountancy and business finance and develop an advanced understanding of the practical skills needed for graduate roles in the financial sector. 

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. On this stimulating and varied course, you’ll learn about the practical and strategic application of financial and management accounting information, business finance, as well as how corporations report on and engage with sustainability issues.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
As well as financial accounting concepts, case studies and theories, you’ll also develop key skills in management accounting to help you construct and interpret financial statements, critically assess tools, and use real-world data in modules such as sustainability accounting and accountability. As well as gaining a strong grounding in accounting and finance, we will also provide you with an extended academic outlook on the subject. 

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Career prospects
You’ll be taught by our exceptional teaching staff. They have a range of experience and expertise, with qualified accountants who have worked for prestigious global companies as well as leading academics who are at the forefront of research in the field of accounting and finance. This means you will benefit from various perspectives and insights that will help you develop a solid understanding of accounting and financial theories and practice.

How you will learn

We use an innovative and engaging range of teaching methods. Lectures, tutorials, group work and debates, case studies and simulations will introduce you to the latest thinking in this field and give you the opportunity to critically consider its application in real-life business situations. This is enhanced by leading industry experts delivering guest lectures. These opportunities will enable you to learn about current practices and challenges in accounting and business finance.

Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience through things such as, consultancy projects and entrepreneurial opportunities. Aston University's virtual learning environment supports your journey, providing resources like lecture slides, e-books and online journals.

In the Aston Global Advantage module, you will enhance your employability and global citizenship through experiential learning and reflective practice. Dedicated employability support, skill-building workshops and diverse learning streams will prepare you for both academic and professional success.

At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals.

Student holding laptop in student study space

Gain the advantage

Our flagship professional development module provides a range of opportunities to apply your learning and increase your employability.

What you will learn

Our programme will enable you to become highly skilled at providing information to business leaders, improving commercial decision-making and business performance through key management accounting skills, as well as learning important financial accounting concepts, case studies and theories.  

In the taught stage you will learn about topics such as financial analysis and financial reporting, as well as business finance and strategic management. This stage will also allow you to choose to specialise in an area such as sustainability accounting or data mining and visualisation. This stage hones essential transferable skills, preparing you for a dynamic career in accounting and finance.

The course concludes with a Business Project or Dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course to outline your recommendations. This will also help to show prospective employers how you are able to impact their business.

This course offers an Exchange Partnership Second Degree Pathway, meaning you can spend an additional year at one of our international partner institutions. If successful, you will graduate with two masters degrees.

Exchange Partnership Second Degree Pathway

Lan Xu MSc Finance graduate

Well balanced

Reflecting on her time at Aston University, Lan Xu described her course as “well balanced in terms of theory and practice” with lecturers who were “very helpful”.  

Postgraduate courses

Learn business, do business

Our classroom goes beyond traditional lectures, focusing instead on real-life projects and hands-on experiences.

Course objectives

  1. Gives you an understanding of the financial, economic and accounting settings within which firms, financial institutions and public sector organisations operate.
  2. Increases your understanding of the various theoretical and empirical works in the area and how to interpret and apply them to particular situations.
  3. Provides a programme of study that meets the needs of local, national and international candidates, enabling you to learn by the exchange of experience as well as formal academic study.
  4. Meets the needs of recent graduates and those already in employment who wish to acquire specialist skills and knowledge in accounting and finance.
  5. Provides you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research and consultancy of Aston academic staff, utilising the University’s links with business, professional and public sector organisations.
  6. Provides you with opportunities to enhance your employability by developing lifelong learning and personal development skills.
  7. Produces well qualified graduates who are equipped for and aspire to assume senior positions.
  8. Allows you to reflect upon and develop your own positions in relation to corporate responsibility, sustainability and ethics.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Business Finance
This module teaches you the key principles and challenges of financial management decisions. You will develop an understanding of the characteristics, influencing factors and the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of financing. You'll also apply mathematical techniques to support a range of business decisions such as the valuation of shares and the evaluation of investment opportunities.
15
Management Accounting
Using a range of case studies this module will look at traditional and innovative ways of measuring and managing costs and recent developments in performance planning, measurement and management. You will also learn key techniques in cost and management accounting as well as context appropriate practices.
15
Financial Accounting and Reporting 
This module covers a range of financial accounting concepts and provides a challenging and interesting introduction to the theory and practice of financial accounting. The module is designed to help you construct and interpret financial statements and to develop a theoretical and analytical grasp on financial accounting issues.
15
Financial Analysis
This module will focus on providing you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to analyse published financial statements. It will develop your ability to critically assess the current stock market valuation of major public companies and make impartial financial recommendations.
15
Strategic Management Accounting
Strategic Management Accounting (SMA) is a controversial subject and as such is treated practically and theoretically to reflect the state of the art.  Critical assessment of SMA concepts and tools is undertaken in the light of the latest research and using practical contexts to allow you to appreciate the potential pitfalls of this high level concept.
15
Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting
This module aims to equip you with more advanced knowledge of financial reporting in the global business environment. By considering the more current or contemporary issues in financial reporting, the module is designed to inspire critical evaluation of the concepts underlying and effectiveness of financial reporting regulations and accepted practice applied within published financial statements of international organisations. The module will challenge you to derive and communicate meaning to make or influence economic decisions.
15
The Aston Global Advantage
The Aston Global Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year.
15
Ethics in Academic Practice
This module provides an introduction to the Academic Offence framework. By completing the resources you will understand the key principles underpinning the submission of academic assignments.
0
Total105

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Sustainability Accounting and Accountability
This module examines a range of theories and practical methods that underpin sustainability accounting and accountability studies and applications. We go beyond the traditional accounting model to explore and challenge new ways of thinking, using real-world data. This allows you to acquire conceptual and practical experiences within the growing field of sustainability accounting and accountability.
15
Current Issues in Global Audit and Assurance
This module attends to complex issues in auditing and assurance in a global context. Such issues are discussed and evaluated in relation to a wider range of theoretical and regulatory standpoint. In doing so you are equipped and contribute to advanced understanding and critique of the role of auditing and assurance in an ever changing global platform.
15
Data Mining and Visualisation15
Corporate Governance, Regulation and Compliance
This module has an interdisciplinary focus, and its main objective is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the UK corporate governance framework. The influence of the UK framework in other countries is considered and comparisons with the frameworks in other jurisdictions is also made.
15
International Business Finance
This module considers the concepts and techniques related to the key decision making areas of financial management, focusing on investment appraisal and financing decision making. The concept of risk underpins financial management and it will be explicitly examined within the topic of foreign exchange risk and its mitigation.
15
International Business Strategy 
This module aims to broaden your understanding of the international strategic options available to organisations. The theoretical approach to strategic decision-making is examined in an international context following onto application of strategic concepts and tools to make appropriate strategy recommendations.
15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules. 

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Research Project Design Practice and Ethics
The module introduces students to various concepts and viewpoints on social science and business research - particularly in accounting and finance. These concepts and perspectives relate to so-called ontological, epistemological, and methodological choices that need to be made during the research process and in every research project. These choices infuse, for instance, what may count as an appropriate research question and methods of data collection and analysis, and they pertain equally to qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies. The module examines the implications of the choices that researchers (can) viably make, considering the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn from different types of evidence produced by different research project designs. Discussions about valuation techniques, research quality, publishing research accounts, and knowledge synthesis through policy or practice are also facilitated.
15

You will choose one of the following optional modules: 

Module TitleCredits
MSc Accounting & Finance Business Project
The business project/dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.
45
MSc Accounting & Finance Dissertation
The business project/dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.
45

Programme outcomes

On successful completion of both the taught and dissertation stage, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the major theories, principles and empirical works in accounting and finance and their relevance in an organisational context
  • Understand the role of accounting for the provision of information to both internal and external parties for the assessment of performance and decision making in an organisational context
  • Demonstrate knowledge of both internal and regulatory procedures for presenting accounting and financial information to appropriate parties
  • Identify and apply appropriate theories and research methodologies in accounting and finance to investigate a particular research problem
  • Demonstrate competence in critical reasoning and the application of key accounting and financial tools to aid decision-making within firms 
  • Demonstrate a high level of intellectual and analytical skills in their understanding of the accounting and financial problems facing organisations within their environments
  • Promote social responsibility, sustainability, accountability and ethical practice in their working lives
  • Demonstrate a range of transferable skills that are necessary for a successful career in accounting and finance and enhance their employability. These may include: IT and computing skills, presentation and report writing skills, communication and team working (collaboration) skills, self-confidence, reflective practice; and problem solving, leadership and decision-making skills. 

Entry requirements

If you have already specialised in accounting and finance or a related subject at undergraduate level, visit our MSc International Accounting and Finance course page.

One of the following:

  • 2:2 (lower second-class honours) degree or equivalent
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University (see international students tab below for more information)

Subject specific requirements

Applicants must also provide evidence of Mathematics - C/4 or above at GCSE (or equivalent).
Please be aware if you have already specialised in Accounting and Finance or a related subject, we will consider your application instead for our MSc International Accounting and Finance programme.  

You will also need to provide:

  • A professional reference
    • If you are a current student or recent graduate (within the last 2-3 years), we will ask for an academic reference
    • If you are currently employed and not a recent graduate, we will ask for a professional reference
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study but also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications.

Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

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Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09:30-16:30)

Frances_Rosairo

Meet your programme director

Frances Rosairo
Programme Director, MSc Accounting and Finance 

If you have any questions about the course or modules you will be studying, you can get in touch via email and I will be happy to answer your queries.

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£12,000

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£23,500

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods as part of this course. There are a mix of exams, coursework, presentations and group work. For our assessments we use real business scenarios. These practical assessments help you to develop the skills and competencies required for future job roles.

Career prospects

This course will prepare you to enter a wide range of professional and management careers in accountancy, business services, banking, investment and insurance.

The transferable skills that our accounting and finance programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

•    Investment associate 
•    Investment analyst
•    Auditor
•    Risk consultant
•    Stock market observer
•    Accounting analyst
•    Financial analyst

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as HSBC, Credit Agricole (France), BEA (China), IBM, Bank of New York, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, TISCO Bank (Thailand), Deloitte, Ernst and Young, PwC and KPMG.

Paras Khistriya MSc Finance graduate

Persistence pays

Paras Khistriya proves that hard work pays off, advising others to “keep going until you hit the jackpot and always have positive people around you”.

Our graduates achieve amazing things all over the world – whether it’s setting up their own businesses, landing jobs with high profile organisations, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates

 

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Accounting and Finance at Aston University?

Not only will you have a high-quality taught course but our focus on practical skills means that you will be able to put everything you learn into practice and prepare yourself for your career. Whether you are just starting off in accounting, or work in business and would like more advanced knowledge of the topic, this course provides a range of modules to prepare and advance your next career move.

What is the ‘Aston Global Advantage’?

Embedded in all our masters degrees, this assessed, year-long credit-bearing module aims to develop professional and personal transferrable skills relevant to any workplace and create a bridge between the degree and the world of work.

The Aston Global Advantage

Why should I study my postgraduate degree at Aston University?

There are lots of benefits of studying a postgraduate degree at Aston University.

Watch this video from MBA student, Monique, who talks about just a few of them:

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

What will my timetable look like?

We understand how important it is to know your timetable in advance for planning around work, childcare, or other responsibilities. Here's some basic guidance on what to expect regarding your student timetable.

Full-time programmes
As a rough estimate, full-time postgraduate students in the College of Business and Social Sciences should expect to spend about 12-15 hours per week in lectures and on-campus seminars. This is in addition to independent study, and there may be additional guided learning activities during certain weeks. The exact distribution of these hours will vary depending on your course and module choices.
Part-time programmes
Part-time students will have fewer weekly on-campus hours compared to full-time students. This reduction is proportional to the number of modules you're enrolled in.
Timetable availability
Complete timetables are usually released shortly before the start of your programme. This timing is necessary to ensure that we accommodate all course requirements and that rooms are allocated based on the number of students likely to enrol on each programme. We aim to provide these timetables as early as possible, to assist you in your planning.

As your induction week approaches, you will be sent more information about your timetable via email, and you will be able to access your timetable by logging into MyAstonPortal. For any further queries or information regarding your timetable, you can reach out to your programme director or the Student Support team.

Online/distance learning programmes
The above information also applies to students enrolled in online/distance learning programmes. Please note that both full-time and part-time distance learning students are still required to attend scheduled synchronous learning sessions.

MyAstonPortal

What can I get involved in at Aston Business School?

At Aston Business School, you will dive into a dynamic blend of innovative learning and hands-on experiences. With our acclaimed triple-crown accreditation, we offer you academic excellence and a track record of producing successful graduates.

Located in Birmingham, the UK's vibrant second city, Aston Business School provides you with a culturally rich environment and superb connectivity. You will benefit from real-world business engagements, international study opportunities and entrepreneur support programmes like BSEEN and Pitchfest.

You can also engage in practical consultancy at the Aston Business Clinic and collaborate with global peers in events such as the Maastricht Case Competition or the Universities Business Challenge. Our partnership with The Prince’s Trust, alongside a range of student clubs including TEDx and Enactus further enriches your learning experience.

Discover more

Say Hello to students at Aston University

Hello, what would you like to ask us?

Hello! We are a team of current Aston University students from various parts of the world, studying a wide range of postgraduate subjects.

Feel free to ask us anything about studying at Aston University.

Chat to our students

 

Register your interest