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Finance and Accounting MSc

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Subject area: Economics and Finance
Mode of study

1-year full-time or 16 months full-time with a placement

PG code


Start date


Location of study

Brunel University London campus


Professional Practice option of 6-12 weeks is available after enrolment on the Full Time course.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2018 , students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2018/19 of up to £10,609. Find out more

About the course

Finance and Accounting MSc is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) as part of the CIMA Masters Gateway. Students enrolled on this degree can apply to obtain 12 of the 17 foundation modules of the CIMA Professional Qualification.

Students enrolled on the degree can sit the CIMA Masters Gateway in advance of completing their MSc (after the exam components are completed). Upon successful completion of both, students would achieve dual awards (MSc Finance and Accounting AND CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting).

This programme is also accredited by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which allows students who wish to become professional accountants to apply for exemptions or credit for prior learning once they graduate. Not only is this a fast-track way to professional qualifications after you graduate, but it is also a symbol of the quality of the courses offered at Brunel. Accreditation adds value to the degree and offers global reach and good opportunities for well-paid employment leading to leadership roles.


The Finance and Accounting MSc programme includes topics such as the theory of finance, company valuation, the assessment of corporate risk, international accounting standards, corporate governance and financial statement analysis. The professional placement option allows students to apply what you learn.

Designed for students interested in a career in business and consulting, accountancy firms, financial institutions and government, this course also provides a thorough preparation for academic research in finance and accounting.

It is also appropriate for those with professional qualifications in accounting who wish to obtain a deeper understanding of financial accountancy.


  • You will develop a sound knowledge of both accounting standards and corporate governance, as well as their role in the operation of financial markets.
  • You will be provided with a solid platform of specific subject knowledge alongside a set of highly valuable and transferable employability skills for a successful career in the financial sector.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

The full-time course comprises of four equally weighted modules in each of the first two terms, with three being compulsory and one optional.

The dissertation carries one third of the marks for the course and is undertaken after the taught modules have been completed.

The part-time option is designed with two modules in each of the four terms. The compulsory modules give an excellent coverage of the core material in finance designed in a way that is applicable to accounting.

The Finance and Accounting programme includes topics such as the theory of finance, company valuation, the assessment of corporate risk, international accounting standards, corporate governance and financial statement analysis.

All students will also be offered research training to prepare them for undertaking independent research and writing a dissertation in an accounting and/or finance related topic.

All students take a one-week introductory course in mathematics and statistics.

Taught modules are subject to change.

Compulsory Modules

Financial Theory: This module is designed to provide students with a thorough knowledge of financial theory through the study of the interaction between firms, individuals and the macro-economy. It provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of capital markets through the study of portfolio theory, equilibrium asset pricing models and efficient market theory.

Financial Reporting in Capital Markets: The main aims of this module include developing a framework for understanding and mapping between underlying economic events in the capital market and the information provided by financial statements. The module also foucuses on developing knowledge and the concept of how the mapping between financial statements and economic events affects the position and activities of firms in capital markets. Students taking this module will develop critical thinking of on-going controversies and debates related to financial reporting.

Quantitative Methods for Finance and Economics: The module is fundamental to the empirical content of most of the other modules that comprise the Master's in Finance and Accounting. It also provides the necessary tools for the dissertation to be undertaken by master's students in the summer term. The aim of the module is to enable students: to conduct their own empirical investigations of a range of financial and accounting relationships; to impart the knowledge necessary to understand empirical analysis in academic related journals; and to provide a basic foundation in the theory and practice of econometric modelling as applied in finance and economics.

International Accounting Standards and Policy: The main aims of this module are to illustrate the key aspects of international financial reporting standards which are important to investors. The module introduces students to financial statement analysis and research on accounting information in financial markets.

Company Valuation: The main aims of this module are to discuss the fundamental approach of company valuation and to apply the fundamental analysis to different contexts, such as security valuation and credit risk. The module also examines the limitations of corporate financial statements in the context of company valuation.

Investment Valuation Models: Students will have the opportunity to analyse how financial market information (corporate-, country-specific and global information) can be used to estimate the value of different investments. The module covers a range of different models that are available to an analyst performing investment valuation, while presenting the common elements in these models. The module also provides a framework that can be used to select the right model for any valuation scenario.

Dissertation: A 60-credit dissertation is mandatory for all students who graduate with an MSc degree. Students are invited to select a research question which they investigate under academic supervision. Data support is provided by the department, including Bloomberg and Bankscope.

Dissertations raise the employability of students by allowing them to choose research questions that are specific to their job market requirements. Recent examples of dissertations by students taking this course include:

  • Volatility spill-over effects from developed to emerging markets.
  • The interrelationship between banking and currency crises.

Optional Modules

International Finance: Students will have the opportunity to analyse the international financial system. In particular, this module considers the operation of foreign exchange markets, including forward, futures and option markets. Special attention is paid to the use of currency derivatives for hedging and pricing decisions, discussing issues of foreign exchange risk management and international capital budgeting. In addition, the use of such instruments in speculation is assessed, relating them to key equilibrium notions. The main theories of exchange rate determination are analysed, discussing arguments in favour of fixed exchange rates/target zones and under which conditions these result in speculative attacks and/or currency crises.

Derivative Securities: The module enumerates and describes the various securities and financial markets in a clear and concise manner that accurately blends theory and practice. This module describes the financial derivative securities that are used in modern finance, and outlines the principles behind their valuation. Students are introduced to options, futures, swaps, bonds and the yield curve. This is followed by option pricing techniques, notably the continuous time no arbitrage pricing theory of Black and Scholes, and the lattice approach of Cox, Ross and Rubinstein, applied to options on stocks.

Business Finance Workshop: This exciting module provides training in the following areas:

  • characteristics of financial data and accounting information.
  • model building methodology applied to accounting data and financial market information.
  • main estimation techniques and theories of finance as they are applied in practice.
  • methods used to diagnostically evaluate statistical models as applied in practice.

It also equips students with the ability to:

  • interpret and analyse financial methods and data.
  • determine the appropriateness of method and theory applied to different data types and practical settings.
  • select inferential procedures to appropriately assess financial problems.
  • predict financial behaviour and assess models in a practical environment.
  • evaluate empirical research in accounting and finance
  • value financial assets.
  • demonstrate generic and transferable skills.

Global Financial Markets: Development finance, one of the key areas of economics, has attracted interests of academics and practitioners alike. Only in the last five years the financial sector has gone through a number of remarkable structural changes as a result of the increasing financial integration worldwide.

The general trend towards greater global financial integration has been bolstered by the increasing harmonisation of the regulatory framework and the increasing integration of the underlying financial infrastructure.

The above mentioned financial developments create the need for economists, managers, traders and analysts to make rapid and often far-reaching decisions about their short term operations and long term strategies. The aim of this module is to provide a good grasp of both the key areas of development finance (the finance-growth relationship) and selected aspects of the applied economics of the modern financial institutions. The topics covered include financial development and economic growth. Special attention will be given to the topics of financial crisis and the need and role of regulation.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


Professional Placement

A 6-12 week placement in firms within sectors such as corporate finance, asset management, insurance, trade associations and financial media can significantly improve your job prospects upon graduating. Not only will this give you the opportunity to apply what you learn in lectures, you'll gain insight into current matters in the sector. You'll also develop your professional skills, like teamwork, communication and problem-solving, which will make you a more rounded, employable candidate when it comes to securing a job.

The Department of Economics and Finance is proud to be celebrating 20 years of taught postgraduate education in finance. Former students from our MSc programmes are now teaching themselves in the Australian Business School, EdHec Business School, Nice, Glasgow University and Oslo Business School. Other MSc students hold senior positions in financial institutions including the Bank of Cyprus, HSBC in Istanbul, Standard Life in the UK and TD Bank Financial Group in Canada.

Many of our graduates also hold positions in accountancy and professional services, finance and banking, and business and management consultancy. The programme aims to introduce the students not only to the economics of finance and accounting but more importantly to establish the links between the changing nature of financial markets, institutions and investors' decisions. Our graduates are thus highly employable in the finance sector.

The MSc in Finance and Accounting is designed to develop specific subject knowledge alongside a set of highly valuable and transferable employability skills, including:

  • understanding of business procedure and the nature and functionality of organisations, and the ability to analyse the contexts in which accounting operates.
  • the ability to understand, manipulate and interpret complex financial and numerical data and appreciate statistical concepts.
  • applying a methodical approach to analyse information critically, assessing all aspects of a situation and evaluating possible solutions.
  • developing organisational skills such as learning to think logically, pay attention to detail and organising yourtime and work efficiently.

Graduate School workshops

In addition to the college's events and training sessions, you will have the opportunity to undertake workshops and skills training provided by the university’s Graduate School, for example:

  • CV Writing for Master's Students.
  • CV Writing Drop-in Clinic for Master's Students.
  • How to Succeed in Assessment Centres (Master's Students).
  • Interview Techniques for Master's Students.
  • Transferrable Skills for Master's Students.

For further information visit the Graduate School.

Careers and your future

Graduates will have acquired a sound knowledge of both accounting standards and corporate governance, as well as their role in the operation of financial markets. As such the course provides a solid platform for a successful career in numerous areas of the financial sector.

Work placements

About the Professional Practice Placement

All students who enrol on the full-time Finance and Accounting MSc will have the opportunity to complete a placement. A placement can significantly improve your employability and expose you to real-world situations in the Banking and Finance industry, and importantly, allow you to network with industry professionals.

Students completing the work placement option will have a competitive edge in pursuing careers as high-level analysts, economists and managers in financial institutions, governments, financial regulators, business companies and central banks, as well as international organisations.

The placement option is available to full-time applicants and will last for 6-12 weeks during the summer of your course. Placements will begin at the earliest in the last week of May and will finish by the second half of September. Some employers may also provide a salary.

For students who complete the placement, their dissertation will be completed after the placement has finished and submit by the second half of January. Students who do not find a placement will do their dissertation throughout the summer and submit in September.

Securing a Placement

The placement will be dependent on students finding and obtaining a placement through Brunel’s Professional Development Centre. The PDC will help students prepare for the placement in the MSc Preplacement Module, by advising on writing applications, CVs, cover letters, interview training and assessment centre training.

Students who do not find a placement will do their dissertation throughout the summer and submit in September.

If you will hold a Tier 4 visa to study at Brunel, there will be no need to extend it, as normally Tier 4 visas to study an MSc in the UK expire in January in any case. If you are unsure, apply for a visa that covers the whole length of the course you intend to do.

During the Placement

As well as supervision from your employer, you will also have support from a Work Placement Tutor from Brunel. Your Work Placement Tutor will be there to support you throughout your placement via email, telephone and will make a visit to your placement before the end date.

After the Placement

Students who complete the placement will attend a Tutorial Day in September and will prepare a compulsory presentation. More details will be available closer to the time. After the Tutorial Day, students will write their dissertations and submit this in January.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2019/20

  • A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree in economics, finance, and mathematical subjects or an equivalent qualification from overseas. All applicants will be required to have a minimum background in mathematics or statistics; accountancy; and economics or finance.
  • Applicants with a 2.2 in a business subject should demonstrate some exposure to accountancy and mathematics/statistics

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

The modules on the Finance and Accounting Master's programme incorporate a diverse range of teaching methods which reflect the module learning outcomes and the demands of the subject material. Effective learning is achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, directed independent study, workshops, oral presentations, and varied assessment patterns.

Use of appropriate IT resources is expected (e.g. electronic resources to access data, and relevant software programmes used in research methods). Dissertation research will give you the opportunity to integrate your knowledge of important themes, frameworks and research findings in finance and accounting obtained via lectures, seminars, and workshops.

Students who successfully complete a professional placement will be invited to attend a tutorial day to give a presentation about their experience. An optional reflective journal during the placement may assist in preparation for the presentation and dissertation.

Assessment and feedback

All modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and final examinations. Students who successfully complete the taught part of the course can proceed to the dissertation stage. Students are expected to work on their dissertation in the summer and to submit the final draft in mid-September. Students who follow the Professional Practice pathway will complete their placement during the summer and work on their dissertation afterwards, submitting in January.

Special features

Finance and Accounting MSc is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) as part of the CIMA Masters Gateway. Students enrolled on this degree can apply to obtain 12 of the 17 foundation modules of the CIMA Professional Qualification.

Students enrolled on the degree can sit the CIMA Masters Gateway in advance of completing their MSc (after the exam components are completed). Upon successful completion of both, students would achieve dual awards (MSc Finance and Accounting AND CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting).

This Master's course in Finance and Accounting allows specialisation through the appropriate programme along designated pathways in Financial Reporting, International Accounting Standards, or Financial Management. It combines quantitative methods, financial theory and technical accounting, in order to provide a solid platform for a successful career in the financial sector.

The course is one of four specialist Master's programmes developed by leading experts in the Economics and Finance Department at Brunel University London. As a student here you will be part of a long standing and thriving environment for research and study with many advantages and benefits such as:

Outstanding academic expertise and research-led teaching

  • 95% of our academics are nationally and internationally recognised for their work in economics and econometrics in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (2008).
  • As a result, you will benefit from up-to-the-minute research-led teaching by academic staff who regularly publish in international peer-reviewed journals, have an impact on international regulatory design and obtain significant research grants.

Professional training facilities

  • You will have access to a variety of professional databases used in business and the finance industry which include Datastream, Bloomberg, Bank Scope, Osiris, Reuters 3000 Xtra and Thomson One Banker.
  • We hold regular training sessions and external visits with Bloomberg, which will enhance your research and expose you to real-world factors that will be important in future finance related employment.


  • Brunel offers a number of scholarships for UK, EU and international students.

Excellent links with leading organisations

  • We have excellent links with business and the finance industry, which will help you to network with organisations and get ahead in your career.

Industry talks, guest lectures and research seminars

  • A number of industry talks with professionals from the private sector who will be invited to teach part of the programme and will provide you with further practical experience.
  • There is a wide range of events on offer, such as guest lectures and research seminars to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and will help build your contacts.

Facts and Figures

We are one of the best Economics and Finance Departments in the UK to provide research-active teaching and our research is focused in the following four research centres:

Brunel Macroeconomic Research Centre (BMRC) – We are a group of experienced macroeconomists that focus on research in monetary policy, unemployment and the labour market, and financial development and growth.

Centre for Economic Development and Institutions (CEDI) – CEDI’s activities cover the emerging research field of economic development and institutions, incorporating development economics, comparative economics and transition economics.

Centre for Empirical Finance (CEF) – The main research areas covered within this centre are financial econometrics, risk modelling, micro finance, international finance and computational finance.

Centre for Accounting and Corporate Governance (CACG) – CACG’s research focus includes: What is the process of governance failure; How should it be defined and how can it be predicted; How does governance impact on managers’ incentives; How is governance affected by cultural norms and how does governance affect financial markets?

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £10,140 full-time

International students: £16,850 full-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).