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International Accounting (MSc)

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Course overview

This is a successful and innovative course, based on the research expertise of the Accounting, Finance and Economics Research Group.  It was created in response to the increasing recognition of the need to set the theory and practice of accounting in the context of its social, political, natural and cultural environments. The course incorporates reflection on the broader setting and implications of accounting in addition to knowledge and understanding of contemporary financial and management accounting.  

This theoretical Masters is of particular relevance to those who wish to enhance their understanding of accounting, or those already working as accountants who wish to acquire more advanced knowledge.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science
Duration 1 year full-time (September to September)
Department and Faculty Management, Management, Economics and Law
Partner institution(s) --
Course director

Dr Leonardo Rinaldi
+44 (0)1784 414977

Contact for more information Helen McEwan
Postgraduate Programmes Administrator 
+44 (0)1784 276134

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Relevant professional accounting qualifications and experience in an associated area will be considered.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here

The MSc in International Accounting is suitable for you:

  • if you have an academic backgrounds in business, management or accounting and wish to advance your accounting knowledge and explore more specialized areas of accounting which are not always available at undergraduate level.
  • if you have graduated from another discipline, whether arts, sciences or social sciences, and wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification which will enhance your understanding of accounting issues within organizations. The MSc/PG Diploma aims to act as a bridge between a humanities or science degree and a career in accounting, business, or the not-for-profit sector.

Students without a Management-based first degree can take the ‘Foundations of Modern Management’ unit during Induction Week.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.


Why choose this course?

  • You will benefit from specialised teaching by academics in the Accounting, Finance and Economics Research Group at Royal Holloway who have published in a wide range of top ranking journals.
  • You will develop advanced accounting knowledge and further explore more specialized areas of accounting which are not always available at undergraduate level
  • You will obtain a postgraduate qualification recognised the world over which will enhance your understanding of accounting issues within organizations.
  • You will have the opportunity to study a wide range of exciting and innovative course units enabling you to becoming a skilled international accounting practitioner.
  • You will be constantly challenged to improve your accounting, conceptual, qualitative and people skills.

Department research and industry highlights

The Accounting, Finance and Economics Research Group at Royal Holloway has an established and growing reputation. Its accounting branch is known for distinctive research and teaching of comparative, cultural and social aspects of international accounting, drawing intellectually on the social sciences and on arts disciplines. Each accounting unit is taught by an established accounting academic who has specialist knowledge of the field.

The group includes internationally-recognised scholars, who have published in a wide range of top-ranking journals including: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; Accounting and Business Research; Accounting Horizons; Accounting, Organizations and Society; European Accounting Review; Human Relations; International Journal of Accounting; Journal of Accounting and Public Policy; Journal of Business Finance and Accounting; Journal of Public Economics; and Organization Studies.

Group members have many distinctions, including membership of high-level professional committees and the award of research grants. Members of the group have been advisors and consultants to a wide range of private and public sector organizations, and have long-standing connections with the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants); CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants); and ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales).

Course content and structure

The course has a modular structure and you will study 3 core and 2 elective units over the first two terms. In the final term you will complete a dissertation giving you the opportunity to analyse an international accounting issue in depth. 

See an example autumn timetable from 2015 here.

Core course units:

International Financial Accounting
You will develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues in the theory and practice of international financial accounting and in the context of society. Through case studies, student-led presentations and written assignments you will undertake an in-depth examination of international differences in accounting, tools of financial analysis and international conceptual frameworks.

International Management Accounting
You will gain a critical awareness of issues in management accounting together with an understanding of related social, organisational and international influences. You will cover performance management and investment appraisal in an international context, perspectives on culture, control and accountability, the transition to a knowledge and service-based business environment and empirical studies of differences in management accounting across countries.


Dissertation Preparation and Research Methods  
This unit helps prepare you for your dissertation.  You will recognise and critically evaluate approaches to management research and the assumptions upon which they are based. This will equip you to make justified choices as to appropriate quantitative/qualitative research methods for data collection and subsequent analysis. You will then be able to conduct research, and evaluate primary and secondary data sources in a systematic and critically reflective manner.

You will also evaluate potential limitations to research investigation and applications and develop a coherent and appropriate research proposal, recognising the ethical implications of research investigations and their impact upon findings.


The dissertation is an excellent opportunity to analyse an international accounting issue in depth. By the end of the dissertation, you will be able to plan and manage a project, define aims and objectives, identify appropriate data sources and collection methods be aware of and deal with potential pitfalls, execute a dissertation plan, and construct an effective argument . 


Elective course units (subject to availability):

Comparative International Accounting
You will explore the causes and nature of international differences in financial reporting; international standards in major countries, major practical issues facing multinational companies. The convergence of China, Japan and the US with International Standards will also be examined and the effects of differences on capital markets, and how companies and analysts cope with them.

Creative Accounting and Impression Management
You will consider the nature of the international reporting environment and examine the roles, needs and characteristics of lay and expert readers of financial reports. You will examine impression management and explore rhetorical, literary and cultural theory perspectives in the critical study of financial reporting documents.

Sustainability & Accounting
You will develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues in the theory and practice of sustainability accounting and accountability.

Foundations of Modern Management (Induction week course only)
You will be introduced to management in an integrative manner by identifying five elements important to the commercial success of an organisation: customers, shareholders, employees, numbers and technology.

On completion of the course you will have:

  • Knowledge & understanding of – in the context of society & organizations:
    • issues in international financial & management accounting
    • more specialised and rapidly developing issues, including communication issues, comparative international accounting or sustainability.
  • Transferable skills including the ability to:
    • critically evaluate accounting documents
    • critically evaluate relevant academic literature
    • employ different research methodologies
    • evaluate and employ a variety of accounting-based techniques
    • undertake report-writing, presentations, group work and IT.

View the full course specification for International Accounting (MSc) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation. 

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different international accounting-related areas, including:

  • Personal Relationship Manager at HSBC
  • Auditor at Deloitte
  • Data Analyst at Newedge
  • Senior Risk Analyst at Bank of Azerbaijan
  • Project Accountant at Building Design Partnership

For more information about where our graduates have gone onto, check out our Alumni Profiles here.

FanDeng(7)-croppedGraduate Profile

Fan Deng

MSc International Accounting, 2008

Associate at Deloitte

>>> Read Fan's Profile


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