Programme Specification May 2012

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1 Faculty of Business Computing and Law Programme Specification May 2012 MSc Accounting and Finance Valid from September 2012 JACS code N400/N300 Programme code Valid for delivery at University of Derby (Kedleston Road) 1

2 Table of Contents 1. GENERAL INFORMATION PROGRAMME TITLE AWARD TITLE AND INTERIM AWARDS MODE OF STUDY PROGRAMME START DATE/REVIEW DATE AWARDING INSTITUTION FACULTY MANAGING THE PROGRAMME INSTITUTION(S) DELIVERING THE PROGRAMME EXTERNAL ACCREDITATION/RECOGNITION JACS CODE PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION LAST UPDATED OVERVIEW AND PROGRAMME AIMS OVERVIEW PROGRAMME AIMS PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES SUBJECT SPECIFIC SKILLS TRANSFERABLE SKILLS PROGRAMME STRUCTURE STRUCTURE AND CURRICULUM... 5 MSC ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING (PDP) PROGRAMME DELIVERY LEARNING AND TEACHING METHODS ASSESSMENT ADMISSIONS PROCESS ENTRY REQUIREMENTS STUDENT SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE POST PROGRAMME OPPORTUNITIES EMPLOYER LINKS APPENDIX ONE: LEARNING OUTCOMES AND CURRICULUM MATRIX APPENDIX TWO: MAPPING OF PRIOR QUALIFICATIONS AND ADVANCED STANDING... 18

3 PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION 1. GENERAL INFORMATION 1.1. Programme Title Master of Science in Accounting and Finance Award title and interim awards Final Award Master of Science in Accounting and Finance Intermediate Awards Postgraduate Certificate in Accounting and Finance Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance 1.3. Mode of Study Full time, Part time 1.4. Programme start date/review date Start Date: September 2012 Period of Validation: Indefinite 1.5. Awarding Institution University of Derby 1.6. Faculty Managing the Programme Business, Computing and Law will have overall responsibility for the management, administration and quality assurance of the programme Institution(s) Delivering the Programme The programme is delivered by the University of Derby.. 1

4 Relevant external subject benchmark statement(s) There is no subject specific benchmark for Masters Programmes in Accounting. Due notice has therefore been taken of the QAA benchmarks for Masters Programmes in Business and Management and Undergraduate Programmes in Accounting External Accreditation/Recognition On completion of the MSc, students will have studied content relevant to the professional examinations for the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) JACS Code N400/N300 MSc Accounting and Finance Programme specification last updated June

5 2. OVERVIEW AND PROGRAMME AIMS 2.1. Overview MSc Accounting and Finance The MSc Accounting and Finance is a Masters programme designed for students seeking to pursue a career in accounting and finance. The programme aims to build on existing accounting and finance knowledge to prepare individuals to be operationally and strategically effective in a finance role. This programme is distinctive in that it offers a combination of technical subject matter and its applicability in a workplace. It prepares the student for study at professional level and at Masters level. This is achieved by offering a set of core modules that lend themselves to a Masters level qualification but equally equip the student with the knowledge base to independently undertake the professional level ACCA examinations. The dual nature of the programme enables students to attain the knowledge and content necessary to achieve ACCA professional level papers, at the same time providing the student with the skills to critically apply this knowledge in a business context. The combination of rigorous and relevant course content with application and analysis is essential for a successful career in accounting and finance. On successful completion of this programme, the student will therefore achieve an MSc in Accounting and Finance and will also be prepared for the final level professional ACCA examinations.. The programme can be completed over a period of 12 months on a full time basis and 24 months on a part time basis. There is also the opportunity to exit the programme with a postgraduate Certificate/Diploma in Accounting and Finance. The programme aims to attract both UK and overseas students to a postgraduate course of study designed to aid career progression and or entry to employment in the accounting, finance & business sector PROGRAMME AIMS The MSc programme aims to provide students with: The opportunity to explore practice in the context of relevant contemporary theory and research. A framework for developing their management skills in a globalised world by concentrating on the analysis of issues in an international context The systematic acquisition of advanced academic knowledge. The opportunity to achieve a globally recognised qualification which will contribute to the student s personal development. A foundation for future advanced professional development, in a rapidly changing business environment. The skills to critically evaluate and present both opportunities and challenges for allocation and investment of resources. The knowledge to meet requirements for the ACCA professional level examinations. Develop high-level skills in the field of Accounting and Finance. 3 PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES 2

6 The Learning Outcomes are split into four main categories: knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, subject specific skills and personal skills. On completion, you will have/be able to: 3.1 Knowledge and Understanding 1 Advanced knowledge of the general frameworks & standards within which accounting practice takes place. 2 Integrate knowledge and understanding from across the major areas of a business, acknowledging all the stakeholders of a business. 3 Knowledge and understanding of the organisations ethical framework and the external context within which it operates. 4 Knowledge of Financial Reporting Principles and Practices in a range of business contexts and situations. 5 Understand the need and use of financial & non financial information to inform decision making at a strategic level. 6 Demonstrate a deep understanding of principles and practices of a specialist area selected from Financial & Performance Management, Audit or Taxation 7 An advanced level of knowledge and understanding of current issues in Accounting and Finance Intellectual Skills 1 Apply relevant financial tools and techniques in order to financially evaluate the strategic viability of a range of alternative scenarios. 2 Critically analyse and assess financial & non financial information to inform decision making at a strategic level. 3 Ability to confidently apply relevant theory to analyse financial activity and inform decision making.. 4 Critical awareness and critical evaluation skills relevant to business decision making in a business context. 5 Ability to evaluate and recognise the relevance and impact of the external business environment. 6 Effectively evaluate, control, manage and lead key resources within the organisation to achieve success. 7 Recognise, extract, utilise and link relevant information to inform the Finance, function. 3.3 Subject Specific Skills 1 Skills to select and apply appropriate models and theories to inform tactical decisions 3

7 2 Demonstrate an intensive and critical appreciation of relevant literature and theory 3 Identify and apply key concepts and relevant models in the area of Accounting and or Business with a view to decision making at a strategic level. 4 Think internationally whilst assessing investment and financing decisions 5 Construct and interpret complex group financial statements so that you can explain the performance and position of a company.. 6 Demonstrate the application of Accounting and Finance, practice in a range of culturally diverse business contexts and situations. 7 Critically analyse evidence using contemporary theoretical perspectives of Accounting. 8 Design, investigate, execute and report on contemporary professional practice in the area of Accounting and Finance. 9 Employ a theoretical framework for the selection and analysis of key Accounting, themes in research 3.4 Transferable Skills 1 Work collaboratively and cooperatively for mutual support and learning 2 Promote the value of working in inclusive and socially-just ways to support full participation and equal opportunity policies and practices. 3 Demonstrate confidence and self direction when problem-solving and making decisions in and about practice. 4 Demonstrate the ability to work effectively independently and as part of a group 6 Communicate ideas, opinions and arguments with some sophistication and originality, in a variety of contexts, demonstrating conformance with academic conventions and professional values. 4

8 4 PROGRAMME STRUCTURE 4.1 Structure and Curriculum MSc Accounting and Finance Governance, Risk and Ethics (core) 20 credits Business Analysis (core) 20 credits Corporate Reporting (core) 20 credits Option 20 credits Option 20 credits Option 20 credits Independent Study (core) 60 credits Compulsory (Semester 1) Governance, Risk and Ethics (20 credits) Business Analysis (20 credits) Corporate Reporting (20 credits) Options (Semester 2) two from*: Advanced Financial Management(20 credits) Advanced Performance Management (20 credits) Advanced Taxation (20 credits) Advanced Audit and Assurance (20 credits) one from*: Mergers and Acquisitions (20 credits) Financial Market Analysis (20 credits) Followed by an Independent Study (60 credits). *subject to numbers 5

9 A student taking this program part time, may typically follow the below route: Year 1 - Sept to Dec, Governance, Risk and Ethics (20 credits) Corporate Reporting (20 credits) Year 1 Jan to May, one from*: Mergers and Acquisitions (20 credits) Financial Market Analysis (20 credits) *subject to numbers Commence work on independent study Year 2 - Sept to Dec, Business Analysis (20 credits) Year 2 Jan to May, two from*: Advanced Financial Management(20 credits) Advanced Performance Management (20 credits) Advanced Taxation (20 credits) Advanced Audit and Assurance (20 credits) *subject to numbers Independent Study. 6

10 The MSc programme will be taught full-time over a 12 month period and part-time over a 24 month period, delivered in three stages: Certificate Diploma Masters In order to obtain the Masters Award learners must obtain 180 Postgraduate Credits, 60 credits at Certificate, 60 credits at Diploma and 60 at Masters. Standard modules are 20 credits each, which are equivalent to 200 learning hours. The QAA subject benchmarks identify Organisations (O), External Environment (E) and Management (M) as the three main areas which a Masters Programme needs to address. Below is a list of MSc programme modules, indicating relevance to O, E and or M, the number of credits and the module status. Postgraduate Certificate in Accounting and Finance Module title Governance, Risk and Ethics Business Analysis Corporate Reporting Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance Module title * Choose two out of the four below Advanced Financial Performance Advanced Performance Management Advanced Taxation Advanced Audit and Assurance Indicator Credits Status E, M, O 20 Core E, M, O 20 Core O, M 20 Core Indicator Credits Status E, M 20 Option E, M, O 20 Option E, O 20 Option E, M,O 20 Option Module title * Choose one out of the two below Financial Markets or E, M 20 Option Mergers and Acquisitions E, M,O 20 Option Master of Science in Accounting and Finance Module title Indicator Credits Status Independent Study E, M, O 60 Core *subject to numbers The topic of Independent Study must be approved by the programme leader as being in line with the target award, and be approved by the Faculty as meeting the University Code of Practice on Research Ethics 7

11 4.2 Personal Development Planning (PDP) The programme introduces the importance of PDP at the outset of the course. A session on PDP will be included as part of the induction programme, so that students can make PDP work for them and begin to think about how they wish to progress from the Certificate stage and what skills set they have developed and wish to develop further. At induction students will be assigned personal tutors. The personal tutor will develop a schedule of meetings with the student. These will be spread across the duration of the semester, the student wll be encouraged to attend these meetings wlth a PDP log which can be discussed, this will form an integral part of the student, personal tutor relationship. This relationship will facilitate the personal development of the student, which will already begin to take form through some of the modules. Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a key skill for employees in any managerial role. To prepare students for a career in the areas of Accounting and Finance, the programme integrates PDP within a series of core / option modules. At the Certificate and Diploma level, learners will be encouraged to reflect on their general development and needs, document their progress and provide evidence of their progress. This will create a useful log that students can add to when they have to complete a 3 year log of experience to date to attain ACCA member status The modules at the Certificate stage are common to all three MSc Programmes. These modules introduce specific transferable skills, such as communication, team working, ethical awareness and confidence, which are further developed and applied at the Diploma stage. These skills also help prepare the student for the independent study at the masters stage. The table below provides a brief illustration of how the programme team have incorporated PDP into the programme delivery. Module title PDP element Capturing PDP Governnace, risk and Ethical awareness Reflection on practice in ethics coursework Business Analysis Planning a financial /business case Written plan that informs objectives and outlines methodology Corporate Reporting Numerical skills Class exercises Advanced Tax Evaluation eg: making Evaluation and sense of a complex tax reflection in coursework document Advanced Performance Management Advanced Management Financial Communication Reflection on oral presentation performance Risk analysis Written plan that informs objectives and outlines methodology and Class debate formative feedback 8

12 The students are also provided with an opportunity to apply for a business mentor through the university Employer Mentoring Scheme. The Employer Mentoring Scheme pairs students with Mentors from industry. Over a series of six meetings, the mentors help their student mentees to gain the knowledge, skills and awareness to take the next steps in planning their careers or to successfully apply for jobs. Students from any stage may apply to be mentored. This will enable students to make more informed career choices and may also open up the opportunity to undertake an internship with local business. This opportunity will be open to all post graduate students and will require students to formally apply for the internship. International students As a team we recognise that it is important to fully engage the student from the very first day of the student being at the University. This may be even more crucial in the case of international students. The Program Leader and Program Manager will ensure there is proactive provision of academic and administrative support. In addition the international students journey will be supported from the outset by embedding a co-hort identity at the certificate stage of the programme. All students will attend the three core modules, these will follow an intense pattern of block delivery. This pattern of delivery serves students on this programme in a positive way on several fronts: Regular contact for a block period with peers Regular contact for a block period with tutors An intense and structured approach will help embed, time management, focus, communication and organisational skills. January starts I If the program recruits January starts it is likely that these students will be part time students. To ensure parity of experience, January start students will have a January induction during which existing students will be invited to operate a buddying system.. 9

13 5 PROGRAMME DELIVERY 5.1 Learning and Teaching Methods Throughout the programme you will encounter a diverse range of learning and teaching methods designed to meet the programme aims. At the Certificate stage the following learning and teaching methods will be relied upon: Lectures will be used for the dissemination of subject knowledge and where appropriate the introduction of guest speakers to connect the subject content to the real world. Seminars will be used to enhance the understanding of subject knowledge, these sessions will utilise relevant case studies to encourage recognition, analysis and application skills. Seminar sessions will also be used to stimulate class discussion and inform the student of current developments in the subject area. Both lecture and seminar time will be effectively and appropriately utilised to develop the students technical grasp of the subject content. In addition to the use of case study material, examination style questions will be practised and used to fine tune technical aspects of module content. Guidance and support will be available from the tutor in class and through the use of blended learning. The tutor will use contact time to provide formative feedback throughout the course of the module. At the Diploma stage the learning and teaching methods will be as for the Certificate stage, and in addition the following will be relied upon: A greater emphasis on independent learning will be introduced, through the introduction of library based preparatory work to inform literature review skills, research skills and discursive seminar sessions. Opportunities to discuss, present and debate case study material will enable the student to progress intellectual, subject specific and transferable skills PDP skills will be more focused on subject specific skills in analysis and decision making. Formal sessions introducing essential research skills and approaches towards and independent study will be available for students to attend. The mix of assessment strategies will enable students to exercise skills that will aid them with their independent study. For example the Governance, Risk and Ethics module requires a review of current issues. The teaching & learning strategies will also enhance PDP skills and as discussed earlier these skills also lend themselves to Independent study. At the Masters stage the following learning and teaching methods will be relied upon: A greater emphasis on self-directed study and self-regulated learning with guidance from the teaching team. The learning will be centred around a chosen dissertation topic. Tutor guidance will be more tailored to the individual learner through mentoring rather than formal lectures and workshops The student has the option to benefit and develop by being paired up with an external mentor from industry, this may prove immensely useful for the students PDP. 10

14 Learners are required to comply with research governance and ethics principles whilst undertaking their programme of study. This is of particular importance when conducting research involving other people e.g. for module assessments or Independent Studies. Students will be required to complete an ethics form where required for all elements of independent study. Information on these principles can be found on the University web site at 5.2 Assessment This programme operates within the University s Regulatory Framework and conforms to University regulations on assessment. At the Certificate stage one or a combination of the following assessment methods may be relied upon to meet the module learning outcomes: Coursework:: A written report based on a case study, this may be an individual and or group submission. The case study approach enables the accumulation, analysis and integration of knowledge relating to the organisation, its environment and its managerial techniques and practices. It provides a forum within which students can evaluate and critically analyse a scenario. The use of a case study is also a typical approach used in the external ACCA papers, thus students can transfer these skills if they decide to take the external professional ACCA papers. Group presentation with peer group assessment. This approach lends itself to the development of subject specific and transferable skills. Live debate session with peer group assessment. This can provide a useful means to deliver formative and or summative feedback to the student. It engages the student and encourages utilisation of transferable and intellectual skills. Examination: This approach serves to develop the students ability to appropriately select relevant methods, accurately apply and thus make relevant recommendations. It introduces softer skills of time management and prioritisation. This method also prepares students for the rigour of external professional exams. At the Diploma stage the above assessment methods may be relied upon to meet the module learning outcomes, in addition the following may be relied upon: A combination of exam and time constrained coursework. The latter may include, evaluation reports, construction of a business case, presentation of a business plan, writing up a development plan or financial appraisal. Formative assessment will be on going via group and individual learning opportunities, these may include, quizzes, debates, case study evaluation, role play group work and or presentations. At the Masters stage the assessment takes the form of an independent dissertation, this will amalgamate a range of skills that the student will have acquired over the Certificate and Diploma stages of the programme. The focus will be on critical analysis, review and development of theoretical concepts and frameworks, the skill to challenge and formally articulate a point of view, in relation to existing methods and or proposed new ones. 11

15 Feedback from assessment activities both formative and summative will normally be used to promote further personal learning and development, including that beyond the learning outcomes identified. 6 ADMISSIONS 6.1 Process The primary function of the admissions process is to ensure that there are grounds for believing that learners are adequately prepared and will successfully complete the programme of study leading to the intended award. Non-standard entrants may be interviewed and counselled before being offered a place to ensure that they have the necessary capacity for critical awareness and reflection. 6.2 Entry Requirements These are in line with the University of Derby standard entry requirements MSc Accounting and Finance Full time students wishing to obtain the Masters award only will: Hold a 2.2 bachelors in any Accounting & Finance related degree, or Be part qualified/associates of ACCA and or other professional accounting bodies e.g. CIMA/CIPFA/ICAEW/ICAS and ICS. Be fully qualified accountants, in which case they can join the programme at the Diploma stage and complete an independent study plus two additional modules. (please refer to appendix two for a mapping exercise of prior qualifications and advanced standing) MSc Accounting and Finance masters students wishing to sit the external ACCA professional exams and thus take advantage of the dual nature of the programme will: Have to have either passed or received exemptions from the first nine ACCA papers. Be registered with ACCA. This will be the students own responsibility. In addition, applicants who are applying to study on the programme who do not have English as their first language will need to hold at least one of the following qualifications: IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill area TOEFL 580 paper based (237 computer based or 92 internet based) Cambridge Advanced Certificate pass London Tests of English level 5 International GCE O level English Language grade C International GCSE English or English as a second Language grade C Any international GCSE s or O levels will need to have been taken within the last two years prior to submission of application. If not then we would ask for an IELTS from an overseas applicant. ASE Proficiency pass Students who can demonstrate that they have already successfully studied in a country with English as the first language such as the UK, USA, Canada or Australia may not need a 12

16 formal English language qualification. Where this is the case requirements will be assessed on an individual basis by interview with the Programme Leader as detailed above. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all ages as long as they can be considered adequately prepared to be successful on the programme. Where appropriate qualifications have been obtained by the candidate at other learning situations, or where management experience shows significant indicators of expertise in a particular field, the student may be offered APL (either certificated or experiential). This will be assessed on an individual basis, provided the candidate is able to evidence the knowledge, skill or certificated award. 7 STUDENT SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE The programme team will provide personal support and guidance to students and advice on access to the university s student support services. An Induction programme is provided before study begins where you will receive a programme handbook that contains essential information about study and support. This is also available online via UDO (University of Derby Online). At induction, you will also receive information about the electronic library services, data resources such as access to Data Stream/Amadeus and/or other International Business and Trade Data sets. Module support information will be available online as well as other University support services and issues relating to University regulations. The programme team consists of the programme leader, programme manager and the module leaders at each stage and all the team will provide you with appropriate support and guidance related to their activities. In addition, you will be allocated a personal tutor who will monitor your progress and help you with individual issues. Details are provided in the Programme Handbook. The Faculty also provides a student liaison officer who can provide additional support and advice and postgraduate administrative support as detailed in your Programme Handbook. The University central Student Support Services offer a wide range of general, specialist and professional support services for students as detailed in your Programme Handbook. Students with special needs can register with the Student Support Services who can design a personalised Student Support Plan. The University also offers facilities for religious observance in the Multi-Faith Centre. 8 POST PROGRAMME OPPORTUNITIES The programme is designed to provide you with the academic and practical skills to start a career in Accounting and Finance and or enhance your prospects for promotion if you are already employed. On successful graduation you will be well qualified to apply for jobs in both the domestic and the international business sectors. ACCA is a qualification that is recognized worldwide. The ACCA affiliate status can be progressed to ACCA member status once you have established a log of managerial experience. The masters will enable you to be more marketable in the workplace. 13

17 The alternative MSc award provides a qualification which will enable you to exercise an essential Financial and Management or Leadership combination. This will enhance your employability for more generic roles at senior management levels across the public and private sector. 9 EMPLOYER LINKS The programme links with the professional accountancy bodies will be utilised to ensure current issues are reflected throughout the modules. The external links across the teaching team will also prove essential in the delivery of relevant content. Such links, where relevant will facilitate guest speakers to provide students with exposure to real life roles in the business world. Students will also benefit from employer links provided through the wider MBA and MA Management programmes. A number of employers have responded positively to the MSc Accounting and Finance program. They are keen to work with our potential post graduate students and have expressed a keen interest in offering short internships. This level of external employer support and interest, adds further confidence as to the commercial viability of a post graduate program of this discipline. The Program team will work pro-actively with these external links and the student employment agency to put into place viable and relevant internships for the post graduate students. 14

18 Governance, Risk and ethics Corporate Reporting Business Analysis Mergers & Acquisition Financial Market Analysis Advanced Financial Management Advanced Performance Management Advanced Taxation Advanced audit & Assurance Independent Study APPENDIX ONE: LEARNING OUTCOMES AND CURRICULUM MATRIX Core / Prescribed / Option C C C O O O O O O C Knowledge and Understanding Knowledge of the general frameworks & standards within which accounting practice takes place Integrate knowledge and Understanding from across the major areas of a business, acknowledging all the stakeholders of a business. Knowledge and Understanding of the organisations ethical framework and the external context within which it operates Knowledge of Financial Reporting principles and practices in a range of business contexts and situations. Understand the need and use of financial & non financial information to inform decision making at a strategic level. Demonstrate a deep understanding of principles and practices of a specialist area selected from Financial &Performance Management, Audit, Taxation, Management or Leadership An advanced level of knowledge and understanding of current issues in Accounting and Finance, Leadership or Management Intellectual Skills Apply relevant financial tools and techniques in order to financially evaluate the strategic 15

19 Governance, Risk and ethics Corporate Reporting Business Analysis Mergers & Acquisition Financial Market Analysis Advanced Financial Management Advanced Performance Management Advanced Taxation Advanced audit & Assurance Independent Study Core / Prescribed / Option C C C O O O O O O C viability of a range of alternative scenarios. Critically analyse and assess financial & non financial information to inform decision making at a strategic level Ability to confidently apply relevant theory to analyse financial activity and inform decision making Critical awareness and critical Evaluation skills relevant to business decision making in a business context Ability to evaluate and recognise The relevance and impact of the External business environment. Effectively evaluate, control, manage and lead key resources within the organisation to achieve success. Recognise, extract, utilise and link Relevant information to inform the finance, management or leadership function. Subject Specific Skills Identify and apply key concepts and relevant finance and or Business models with a view to decision making at a strategic level. Demonstrate an intensive and critical appreciation of relevant literature and theory. Employ a theoretical framework for the selection and analysis of key accounting/management/leadership themes in research. Think internationally whilst assessing investment and financing decisions. Construct and interpret complex 16

20 Governance, Risk and ethics Corporate Reporting Business Analysis Mergers & Acquisition Financial Market Analysis Advanced Financial Management Advanced Performance Management Advanced Taxation Advanced audit & Assurance Independent Study Core / Prescribed / Option C C C O O O O O O C Group financial statements so that You can explain the performance and position of a company. Design, investigate, execute and report on contemporary professional practice in the area of accounting /management /leadership Critically analyse evidence using contemporary theoretical perspectives of accounting Demonstrate the application of accounting practice in a range of business contexts and situations Transferable Skills Communicate ideas, opinions and arguments with some sophistication and originality, in a variety of contexts, demonstrating conformance with academic conventions and professional values Work collaboratively and cooperatively for mutual support and learning Promote the value of working in inclusive and socially-just ways to support full participation and equal opportunity policies and practices. Demonstrate confidence and self direction when problemsolving and making decisions in and about practice 17

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