Course Specification MSc Accounting (MSACT)

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1 LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY Course Specification MSc Accounting (MSACT) Our courses undergo a process of review periodically, in addition to annual review and enhancement. Course Specifications are updated on an annual basis to include modifications approved through our University s quality assurance processes. This Course Specification provides an indication of the current curriculum. If any changes are made to material information an updated Course Specification will be made available.

2 Course Specification MSc Accounting Faculty: School: Faculty of Business & Law Accounting, Finance & Economics Overview and Aims Aims The route aims to provide part qualified accountants with a programme of study which enables them to critically appraise current accounting practice in the context of contemporary theory and to evaluate the role of accounting in business. Participants are required to both significantly extend their technical accounting skills and develop high level academic skills in order to provide a robust framework for lifelong learning and professional development. The route seeks to enhance participants' personal competencies and intellectual skills through mechanisms such as problem-solving, mutual support and reflective learning. The ACCA elements of the course tie back to ACCA aims as follows: Critically evaluate accounting concepts and principles and their application in solutions to practical accounting problems. Prepare financial statements of entities, including groups of companies, using relevant financial information, accounting techniques and standards; and to analyse and interpret such financial statements. Use relevant management accounting techniques with cost information, for planning, decision-making, performance evaluation and control, within different business settings. Apply financial management techniques to issues affecting investment, financing, and dividend policy decisions of an organisation. Describe the organisational context of the accountant and of the development of accounting information systems; to understand the need for the efficient use of resources within an organisation. Understand the ethical responsibilities of professional accountants, including the principles of the ACCA code of conduct, and to reflect on ethical dilemmas and potential solutions. Evaluate and comment on the performance and financial situation of organisations using a range of interpretative techniques. Select and apply appropriate accounting and financial management techniques to organisational business planning, decision-making and control.

3 Understand the limitations of accounting techniques and the implications of such limitations. Communicate analysis of accounting and financial information and recommendations to a variety of different audiences. Course Learning Outcomes On completion of the course students will be able to: 1 Analyse and critically evaluate current practice in finance and accounting. 2 Critically evaluate modern finance and accounting issues, theories and methodologies. 3 Determine and evaluate the relationship and tensions between accounting theory and practice. 4 Develop and test appropriate hypotheses relating theory to practice. 5 Identify and review the strategic choices available to an organisation and critically evaluate these choices by applying a range of financial and non-financial measures. 6 Learn interdependently and independently and accept responsibility for subsequent career and continuing professional development. Course Structure Overall aims are to provide a programme of study which will enable students from diverse backgrounds to: achieve masters level critical and reflective thinking about current issues in finance and financial economics synthesise with other relevant discipline areas in order to critically evaluate complex financial scenarios within a business context foster their intellectual, personal and practical skills in the area of finance consistent with masters level. On completion of the Course students will be able to: a) Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make informed judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences b) Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level

4 c) Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level d) Exercise initiative and personal responsibility The course seeks to address skills in an interactive manner. They will be developed throughout the course. Students are expected to take an active part in their learning, to provide appropriate feedback and information to the university as considered appropriate, to seek advice and support when necessary and to act responsibly in the conduct of their studies. Level 7 Semester 1 Governance, Risk & Ethics (ACCA P1 linked) Business Analysis (ACCA P3 linked) Core (Y) Semester 2 Core (Y) Y Dissertation Y Y Corporate Reporting (ACCA P2 linked) Y Note: Whilst not part of the MSc Accounting programme, there is the opportunity for students who are coping well with the ACCA examinations at P level to study for the ACCA optional papers during semester 2. These papers will be offered to MSc Accounting students at a discounted rate and they will join full-time ACCA classes. Learning and Teaching Details relating to contact hours and other key information sets (KIS) are available on the course page of our Online Prospectus on our web site. Learning and Teaching Approaches The educational objective of the course is the progressive development of knowledge, understanding and skills. This implies: The identification of relevant knowledge, understanding and skills for each module. The selection of research and dissertation topics that are mutually supportive and build upon and extend the knowledge, understanding and skills developed with the core modules.

5 In addition the induction programme will ensure that students have the necessary competencies, in numeracy, team-working and IT to benefit from the course. The course is concerned with theory and the opportunity for students to think about, discuss and relate theory to practice. The teaching and learning style will be mainly studentcentred. The initial stages of this process will commence with the induction programme. The development and use of the VLE is expected to provide greater support for student learning over forthcoming years. This virtual learning environment will provide access and support continuously and enables a diverse range of students to be served more effectively. The testing of the learning outcomes is achieved through a variety of assessments aimed at developing a wide range of skills. The dissertation will be a major piece of work which will require students to demonstrate research, self-management and data management skills and also to show that they possess the interpersonal skills necessary to obtain the cooperation of others and to manage the process. The course team actively manages the assessment process to ensure that each module carries an equivalent load to provide, as far as possible, a balanced workload. Learning and Teaching Activities The teaching and learning strategy to be used by each module is given in each module specification. These illustrate that a variety of methods will be used. Typically modules will consist of a mix of lectures, seminars, group and individual activities, workshops and case study analysis. The students themselves are an important resource and will be encouraged to share their experience and knowledge. The role of staff is seen as much as facilitators as lecturers. Discussion, question analysis and presentations of student work will help develop skills of groups working, problem solving and communicating. Opportunities to develop and use these competencies will be provided through the course. Use of the Virtual Learning Environment At induction students are introduced to a VLE accessed through the university portal. Announcements are made on the portal to inform students of university-wide events, and group announcements are made to students across the course. Students individual timetables are provided through the VLE. Modules all provide a VLE site designed to meet at least the minimum VLE design expectations of the university. All module leaders on the course are expected to post learning materials and full course documentation, including assessment specifications and criteria, on the VLE, and we aim to increase the use of VLE facilities for submission of work and to provide assessment feedback, both generic and to individual students. These practices are already commonplace on the course. Turnitin is also employed extensively for the purpose of assignment submission and feedback. Use of Blended Learning

6 In recognition of different learning styles, a range of activities are employed so that students have sufficient opportunities to exhibit their abilities and meet learning outcomes. In some modules traditional classroom forms of learning are complemented by wholly online activities to facilitate better understanding. A balance is struck throughout the course in terms of students engaging with qualitative and quantitative material, and a variety of contexts are employed to give students the opportunity to develop their strengths and address weaknesses in terms of skills and the way they evidence learning. This is achieved by the use of a range of learning and teaching activities. Assessment Strategy Appropriate and effective assessment enables students to demonstrate the outcomes of learning intended for the programme. Assessment methods are based on a mixture of essay assignments, a dissertation, written examinations and reflective writing. Programmes may assess not only academic skills but also other skills and competencies. This includes both formative and summative forms of assessment. Assessment throughout the course supports the progressive problem-solving ethos of the Faculty. The assessment programme enables the development of a wide range of skills (intellectual and personal) through the use of a variety of assessment vehicles ranging across the spectrum. Due emphasis is placed on assessing the application of knowledge and skills and, where appropriate, the assessment will act as a vehicle for integration between the discipline areas. The strategy is to encourage students to utilise an independent learning approach. Assessment of ACCA linked modules is scheduled outside of standard University assessment schedules to enable those students entering for external ACCA exams to have received feedback on the internal assessment before attempting the external assessment. Timing of assessments is also carefully considered to ensure that students are able to focus their efforts on either the ACCA elements or the academic elements at different points in the course. Feedback on Assessed Coursework In line with University policy, staff utilise the VLE to disseminate assessment specifications and criteria, in addition to verbal and hard copy Module Handbook guidelines. The VLE and Turnitin are also increasingly employed for electronic submission and retrieval of student work, and for return of work with feedback and grades to students in line with the University target of a three week turnaround on student work. Students will receive written and oral feedback on their assessments with the opportunity to seek further advice and information on their performance as required through the course and module leader teams.

7 The course team are very aware of the external ACCA assessment timetables and seek to ensure that students receive prompt feedback on ACCA linked internal assessments in advance of these dates. Module Assessment Methods Level 7 Core (Y) Examination Assessed seminar preparation Presentation Dissertation Business Analysis 100 Corporate Reporting Governance, Risk & Ethics Dissertation 20/80 Employability and Professional Context Masters level study requires that students to have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; Decision making in complex and unpredictable situations; The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development. POSTGRADUATE ATTRIBUTE ACADEMIC SKILLS Research Capability Critical Thinking SPECIFIC SKILL AND COMPETENCE: STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO Conduct and document an extended piece of research into a business or management issue through literature search and review, research design, data collection, analysis, synthesis and reporting Devise valid and reliable methods and instruments for data and information collection Reflect on methods, process, outcomes Identify key points, assumptions, implicit values and evidence in academic arguments

8 Problem Solving Creativity Knowledge management Organise, analyse, synthesise and critically evaluate, ideas, theories and academic arguments Evaluate position and arguments in terms of evidence, false logic and reasoning Define terms adequately and generalise appropriately Utilise appropriate strategies and methodologies for the investigation/solution of professionally oriented research or practice problems Analyse and solve complex problems using the main theoretical perspectives of the relevant subject area Critically evaluate outcomes and relate them to existing knowledge, methodologies and practice Create, identify, evaluate and critically review decision alternatives Identify additions and modifications to the existing knowledge base Propose new areas for investigation/new problems/new approaches Adapt and apply existing ideas, concepts and practices to new situations Demonstrate an understanding of a range of subjectspecific advanced and contemporary theory Effectively utilise available information and knowledge Scan, organise and abstract meaning from a variety of information sources in order to share knowledge SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS Carry out an honest, critical and reflective self assessment/skills audit Make judgements about the quality of own work with Critical Self Awareness reference to specified standards and/or criteria Identify areas for focused personal, academic and professional development Develop a personal development plan Recognise, manage and respond to change/unfamiliar Manage change/ situations Adaptability Analyse and utilise conceptual approaches to change Adapt goals in the light of changes circumstances Ability to set, negotiate and meet own objectives and deadlines to identified standards Design and implement an action plan for a project, Organisation and prioritise tasks, identify the stages of a project and Planning organise the flow of work required for successful completion Monitor and evaluate progress against stated objectives

9 Career awareness Commitment to Lifelong Learning Identify, evaluate and prioritise career options available based on skills, qualifications and aspirations Identify, map and demonstrate specific competencies required for particular job opportunities Research, prepare for, and effectively search for jobs Continuously evaluate and reflect upon professional and personal development needs Record and evaluate professional development activities undertaken COMMUNICATION SKILLS Written communication Oral/visual presentation skills Active listening CIT skills Numeracy skills Effectively communicate complex ideas and arguments in a range of media and in an appropriate format including business reports Select appropriate styles and modes of communication to effectively communicate complex ideas and arguments for different purposes Receive, evaluate and act on critique of own work Be aware of blocks to effective communication including cultural differences, inappropriate stereotypes and prejudice Make effective use of relevant communication and information technology (CIT) Effectively apply appropriate numeracy and quantitative skills including the development and use of relevant business models INTERPERSONAL SKILLS Citizenship Team Skills Demonstrate sensitivity to diversity in people and cultural situations Recognise and address ethical dilemmas and corporate social responsibility issues Apply ethical and organisational values to situations and choices Act with personal integrity in the context of difficult and complex ethical dilemmas Perform effectively as part of a team Recognise, evaluate and utilise individual contributions to a particular team Sensitively negotiate, persuade and influence others in a team context Accept responsibility for overall team performance and for personally assigned roles/tasks

10 Leadership Networking Negotiating Select an appropriate leadership style for particular situations Motivate, manage, monitor, guide and facilitate a team so as to maximise its success and the contribution of its members Know when to lead and when to follow Collaborate with peers to facilitate learning and gaol achievement Make effective contact with relevant individuals to share information, resources and experiences Reach agreement in a way which is satisfactory to all parties recognising and making appropriate allowance for diverse perspectives The professional context is central to the course and is achieved via the link with ACCA. On completion of the Course students will be able to: Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make informed judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions to specialist and nonspecialist audiences. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level. Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility. The course seeks to address skills in an interactive manner. They will be developed throughout the course. Students are expected to take an active part in their learning, to provide appropriate feedback and information to the university as considered appropriate, to seek advice and support when necessary and to act responsibly in the conduct of their studies. Work Related Activities N/A Placement or Work Related Activity Level: Placement or Work Related Activity Length in Weeks: Type of Placement or work related activity

11 Reference Points used in course design and delivery All our courses leading to Leeds Beckett University awards have been designed and approved in accordance with UK and European quality standards. Our courses utilise the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications (FEHQ) and where relevant subject benchmarks (where these are available) and professional, statutory and regulatory body requirements (for professionally accredited courses). We review our courses annually and periodically, responding to student feedback and a range of information to enhance our courses. Our University is also subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency. Our latest report can be found on the QAA web site at We appoint External Examiners to verify that our University sets and maintains standards for awards which adhere to relevant national subject benchmark statements and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (UK), ensure standards and student achievements are comparable with other Higher Education Institutions in the UK, with which they are familiar, and ensure that assessments measure achievement of course and module learning outcomes and reach the required standard. External Examiners may also provide feedback on areas of good practice or potential enhancement.

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