UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION COURSE TITLE: MSc Advanced Accounting PLEASE NOTE. This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the course and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he or she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities provided. More detailed information on the specific learning outcomes, content and the learning, teaching and assessment methods of each module can be found in the student handbook and core modules at www.ulst.ac.uk/faculty/modules. 1 AWARDING INSTITUTION UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER 2 TEACHING INSTITUTION UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER 3 LOCATION Jordanstown 4 ACCREDITED BY Chartered Accountants Ireland 5 FINAL AWARD MSc (PgDiploma – EXIT AWARD) 6 MODE OF ATTENDANCE Full time 7 SPECIALISMS None 8 COURSE CODE 2606 9 DATE REVISED November 2007 10. EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE COURSE The overall aim of the course is to enable students to enhance their knowledge of accounting, and further develop skills acquired during undergraduate study, in preparation for a career in the accounting profession. In addition to this primary aim the course seeks to enable students to: • Gain maximum exemptions from the professional examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland; • Consolidate and extend the skills and techniques appropriate to the practice of accounting and apply them within an economic, legal and social environment; • Critically evaluate the application of accounting theories to practical accounting regulation and finance problems; • Use diagnostic and creative skills in the exercise of professional judgement in a variety of situations; • Apply and critically evaluate professional ethical standards and conduct; • Demonstrate skills of logical reasoning, creative thinking, effective communication and the ability to critically evaluate contemporary issues; • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving and decision making; • Acquire the skills necessary to undertake a substantial research project; • Demonstrate the ability to conceive, design and implement a substantial research project. 11. MAIN LEARNING OUTCOMES The following reference points were used to inform the development of the programme and its learning outcomes: • the University’s Vision and core strategic aims, teaching and learning strategy and policies; • current research and/or other advanced scholarship carried out by academic staff; • QAA subject benchmark statement for Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Accounting; • requirements of Chartered Accountants Ireland; • national and University qualifications and credit frameworks. This course provides opportunities for students to achieve and demonstrate the following learning. Successful students will be able to: 11K KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF SUBJECT K1 Demonstrate expertise in current and evolving concepts and theories of accounting within a broad economic, legal, social and professional environment. K2 Display mastery of the regulatory framework of accounting and the advanced principles of auditing, investment, finance and taxation, and their implications for individuals, organisations, markets, societies and other disciplines. K3 Demonstrate expertise in management and creative thinking techniques and their application to the planning, control and appraisal of organisations, and the development of new processes. K4 Appreciate the ethical code of professional conduct and its implications for the accounting profession. K5 Display mastery of regulatory standards and their application to practice. K6 Appreciate the effect of external influences on accounting. K7 Recognise an extensive range of research methods and tools. Learning and Teaching Methods: Lectures, tutorials, seminars, directed and independent study. Assessment Methods: Coursework, written unseen examinations, open book examinations, presentations, and dissertation. In accordance with SENDO (NI) 2005 and the University’s ethos of inclusion, the facilitation of alternative arrangements for students with disabilities will be applied in relation to assessment schemes. A flexible approach will always be taken using the guidelines from both the Examinations Office and/ or Student Support to ensure that disabled students have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes. 11I INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES I1 Critically evaluate new concepts and evidence from a range of sources; I2 Formulate responses to well defined and abstract accounting problems and identify, analyse and draw reasoned conclusions from structured and unstructured data; I3 Integrate and evaluate information and data from a variety of sources, and acknowledge appropriate references; I4 Take an holistic approach in solving accounting problems, and exercise significant judgement in the planning, selecting and presentation of information. Learning and Teaching Methods: Lectures, tutor directed tutorials, student led seminars, and self-directed learning employing study packs and research based materials. Assessment Methods: Coursework related to case studies and projects, written unseen examinations, open book examinations, project reports and presentations, dissertation. In accordance with SENDO (NI) 2005 and the University’s ethos of inclusion, the facilitation of alternative arrangements for students with disabilities will be applied in relation to assessment schemes. A flexible approach will always be taken using the guidelines from both the Examinations Office and/ or Student Support to ensure that disabled students have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes. 11P PROFESSIONAL/PRACTICAL SKILLS P1 Apply professional standards and practices in solving accounting, auditing, financial, and taxation problems. P2 Exercise appropriate judgement in situations of possible ethical conflict faced by accountants in practice and in industry. P3 Prepare and critically analyse financial and management reports and accounts, taxation computations and other financial data in relation to existing projects/businesses and also in relation to new ventures. P4 Retrieve, evaluate and select information from a variety of sources. Learning and Teaching Methods: Lectures, tutorials, problem based seminars, project preparation and implementation. Assessment Methods: Problem based coursework, unseen examinations, open book examinations, presentations, case studies and dissertation. In accordance with SENDO (NI) 2005 and the University’s ethos of inclusion, the facilitation of alternative arrangements for students with disabilities will be applied in relation to assessment schemes. A flexible approach will always be taken using the guidelines from both the Examinations Office and/ or Student Support to ensure that disabled students have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes. 11T TRANSFERABLE/KEY SKILLS T1 Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing; T2 Participate constructively in groups; T3 Manage time and work to deadlines; T4 Learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development and in a wider context throughout their career; T5 Learn independently in the spirit of critical enquiry. Learning and Teaching Methods: Lectures, tutorials, and seminars. Assessment Methods: Unseen examinations, group projects, presentations, case studies and dissertation. In accordance with SENDO (NI) 2005 and the University’s ethos of inclusion, the facilitation of alternative arrangements for students with disabilities will be applied in relation to assessment schemes. A flexible approach will always be taken using the guidelines from both the Examinations Office and/ or Student Support to ensure that disabled students have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes. 11 PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOME MAP X= Assessed K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 I1 I2 I3 I4 P1 P2 P3 P4 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 Module Code Financial Accounting 1 ACF701 17090 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Financial Accounting 2 ACF707 17099 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Strategic Financial ACF704 17096 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Management Audit & Professional Ethics ACF703 17095 X X X X X X X X X X X X X Management Accounting ACF702 17094 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Corporate & Business Tax ACF706 17098 X X X X X X X X X X X Personal Tax Planning ACF708 17100 X X X X X X X X X X X Business Strategy ACF705 17097 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Research Methods & ACF709 17101 X X X X X X X X X X X X Dissertation 12. STRUCTURE AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD. The full-time Masters degree programme is offered over 3 semesters. The course design is compatible with the University Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). It allocates 15 credit points to each module. For satisfactory completion of the Masters degree, students are required to accumulate passes in modules totalling 180 CATS points, including a dissertation 60 CATS points. For satisfactory completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (exit award), students are required to accumulate passes in modules totalling 120 CATS points. The course consists of eight modules spread over Semester 1 and 2. These modules have been selected to ensure coverage as required by Chartered Accountants Ireland as foundation for the Final Admitting Examination and for a career in professional accounting. Students then complete a research project in Semester 3, leading to the award of Masters degree in Advanced Accounting. Module Title Credit Level Credit Points Compulsory / Option Financial Accounting 1 7 15 C Financial Accounting 2 7 15 C Strategic Financial Management 7 15 C Auditing & Professional Ethics 7 15 C Management Accounting 7 15 C Corporate & Business Tax 7 15 C Tax Planning 7 15 C Business Strategy 7 15 C Research Methods & Dissertation 7 60 C 13. SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING Students and their learning are supported in a number of ways: • Induction programme and process. • Course Director/Studies Advisor. • Student handbook and module guides. • IT User Services. • Library induction and guidance by library staff. • Extensive library and other learning resources. • 5 computer laboratories with a wide range of software. • Intranet with a wide range of learning support material. • Student e-mail accounts and full access to the Internet. • Dissertation supervisor. • Guest speakers from the accounting profession. • Opportunities to attend research presentations and workshops, delivered by both external and internal speakers. • Career Development Centre with service geared to advising students on career opportunities in accountancy practices and assisting students find training contracts. • Student Support Department. • Sport and Recreation Department. • Students’ Union. • Chaplaincy. • International Office. 14. CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION Candidates must be able to satisfy the University’s general admissions requirements in one of the following ways: a) A second class honours degree or better in a relevant discipline (i.e. with exemptions from CAP 1 examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland) from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards or from another institution which has been recognised by the Senate for this purpose; or b) A first or second class honours in any subject and a relevant Graduate Diploma in Accounting with a mark of 50% or better in each module; or c) An equivalent standard in a professional or other qualification recognised by the Senate for this purpose; or d) A qualification that would entitle them to exemptions from CAP 1 examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Admission with exemptions (Accreditation of prior learning) The Senate may accept studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institutions as exempting candidates from part of an approved course, provided that candidates for the award of a Masters degree shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level, and meet such other conditions as shall be specified in course regulations. For the purpose of this regulation of the University, only those applicants whose prior learning has been recognised and approved by Chartered Accountants Ireland will be considered for exemptions or accreditation. 15. EVALUATING AND IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND STANDARD OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Quality and standards are evaluated and improved through consideration of the following: • Module reviews (student questionnaires and teaching team report) • Course accreditation by Chartered Accountants Ireland • Peer teaching observations and feedback (currently being replaced by Peer Review) • Annual staff reviews • Periodic review involving Employers’ Liaison Group • Course Directors’ Forum In addition, there are University/Faculty/Department strategies for teaching and learning which include: Committees with responsibility for monitoring and evaluating quality • Joint Advisory Board – with representatives from Chartered Accountants Ireland • Student/Staff Consultative Committee • Course Committee (includes student members) • Board of Examiners • Department Board • Faculty Board • Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee • University Teaching and Learning Committee Mechanisms for gaining student feedback on the quality of their learning experience • Student/Staff Consultative Committee • Student representatives on Course Committee and Faculty Board • Module evaluation questionnaires / module forum / module freeform responses Staff development • Updating in the subject through research and scholarship • Membership of the Higher Education Academy • Membership of professional accountancy bodies • Participation in staff development workshops 16. REGULATION OF STANDARDS General Requirements • Programme regulations are in accordance with the University of Ulster Charter, Statutes, Ordinance and Regulations and are updated annually in the Course Handbook. Specific Requirements Assessment rules – Master of Science • The Masters degree consists of 180 credit points at level 7, including 60 credit points for the dissertation. • The pass mark for course, modules and individual assessments is 50% • Full details of module assessment is set out in each module specification • Condonement in the dissertation is not allowed • The Board of Examiners may award a Pass with Distinction to candidates who achieve an overall average of 70% or more, provided that a module mark of at least 70% has been achieved in modules which constitute at least 50% of the credit points for the award (90 credit points), including the dissertation Assessment rules – Postgraduate Diploma • The Postgraduate Diploma consists of 120 credit points at level 7 • The pass mark for course, modules and individual assessments is 50% • Full details of module assessment is set out in each module specification • The Board of Examiners may award a Pass with Distinction to candidates who achieve an overall average of 70% or more, provided that a module mark of at least 70% has been achieved in modules which constitute at least 50% of the credit points for the award (60 credit points) External Examiners • External examiners are academic subject or professional experts appointed from outside the University. Their key functions are to contribute to the assurance of the standards of the award and the fair treatment of students. They are involved in the moderation and approval of assessments and the moderation of the marking undertaken by internal examiners. • External Examiners are nominated by the Joint Advisory Board, approved by the Faculty Board and appointed by the Senate of the University. • The full roles and responsibilities are set out in the University's External Examiners’ Handbook. 17. INDICATORS OF QUALITY RELATING TO TEACHING AND LEARNING • This course has been accredited by Chartered Accountants Ireland gaining full exemption from CAP 2 examinations of the Institute. The last review by ICAI took place in 2004 with a recommendation that full exemption remain for a further four (or five) year period. • The PgDip Exit Award attracts the same level of exemptions from CAI as the MSc. • Courses in Business and Management within the Faculty were given a rating of 24 out of a total of 24 by the QAA subject review process in 2001. • This postgraduate provision within the Department of Accounting was included in the QAA Developmental Engagement in Accountancy in 2003/04. The conclusions of this external review confirmed that the DE team had ‘confidence in the academic standards set and achieved’ on the programmes. The DE also confirmed that the team had ‘confidence in the quality of the learning opportunities that support students in achieving the academic standards of the awards’. • The University has participated in quality control schemes set up by both the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and is now the approved tuition centre for Northern Ireland for all parts of the examinations for these two professional bodies. • Faculty members are encouraged to become members of the Higher Education Academy.
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