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Accounting and Finance (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

This programme is a comprehensive and intensive investigation into key areas in accounting and finance. Designed for those with a quantitative background, it is both academically rigorous and closely in line with professional practice.

The MSc in Accounting and Finance is especially useful for those graduates with work experience in accounting looking to gain essential practical skills in finance - and, of course, vice versa. Although the compulsory core courses ensure a good balance between both accounting and finance study, the option courses give students the opportunity to specialise - tailoring their studies towards their chosen career.

Studying accounting and finance in Edinburgh gives students the opportunity to base themselves at the heart of the UK's second largest financial centre.

Many of Europe's leading financial institutions have their headquarters here, a fact that we make full use of on the MSc programme. We regularly bring guest speakers to the School to talk directly to accounting and finance students on real, current practice. The School also maintains good relationships with a number of accounting and finance professionals who will be on hand to provide advice on research and career opportunities. It is essential connections like these that characterise the dynamic nature of this strongly vocational programme.

Our strong connection to industry is exemplified by our work in the Centre for Financial Markets Research, and the Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research. Bringing together leading academics and practitioners, the centres are a keen theatre of debate, creating new thoughts, new ideas for both the theoretical study and practical application of accounting, finance and investment.

Programme structure

Learning will primarily be through lectures, set reading, class discussions, exercises, group-work assignments, problem solving in tutorials and case studies. Assessment methods include examinations, assignments, presentations or continuous assessment.

Learning outcomes

This 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 for 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.

Visit the Accounting and Finance (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK first-class or 2:1 honours degree from a good university in one of the subjects below, or an equivalent overseas qualification. 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.

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