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Master of Professional Accounting

Advance your accounting career with profound knowledge and professional accreditation from CPA Australia from the UNSW Master of Professional Accounting.

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Entry requirements
  • How to apply
  • Career opportunities
  • FAQs
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Ambitious professional accountants, start here: The Master of Professional Accounting, UNSW Sydney. Immerse yourself in essential accounting knowledge and skills and initiate your global professional recognition. Within one and a half years, you will understand critical topics including management accounting and business analysis; develop advanced skills in financial reporting; and gain a deep appreciation of the legal environment that surrounds your industry.

Master of Professional Accounting students are exposed to a depth and breadth of industry knowledge and build the expertise required to excel in their careers. Graduates hit the ground running with comprehensive skills stemming from real-world work experiences, international professional accreditation and workplace connections.

Why choose this master’s degree?

The Master of Professional Accounting meets the educational requirements of peak professional accounting bodies, enabling students to meet global standards for professional accreditation. These leading international industry organisations include:

  • CPA Australia
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA – recognised worldwide)
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA – recognised worldwide)
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)

The degree builds a comprehensive understanding of professional accounting based on industry, methodology and legislative requirements.

You will master professional accounting as the program encompasses financial, strategic and management fields. You will build skills in auditing, assurance, advanced financial reporting, statistics and data analysis.

The program offers a deep understanding of the structures that set rules and hold organisations responsible – study essential legal foundations, and laws related to corporations, business and taxation. See the program structure for detailed information.

For further specialisation, consider the Master of Professional Accounting (Extension), which offers more electives.

UNSW Business School students have exclusive access to Career Accelerator, a portfolio of professional development opportunities that include:

The course has defined my professional career in full. It gave me the tools I needed to be industry-ready. It was important to me that the course helped fulfil the prerequisites for a professional qualification and gave me professional accreditation

Subhro Bhattacharya
Master of Professional Accounting
Read more about Subhro’s experience of the Master of Professional Accounting
 

UNSW Business School degrees are shaped by industry leaders and world-class academics who recognise the future will present career opportunities that don’t exist today. The skills and insights gained from your Master of Professional Accounting can have an immediate positive effect on your career.

Who is this degree for?

  • Graduates with limited or no exposure to accounting who are seeking a career as an accountant
  • Recent graduates interested in achieving professional accreditation, or building a career in financial management

Job and career prospects

This program will open up many career opportunities including:

  • Business risk manager
  • Chief financial officer
  • External auditor and assurance specialist
  • Financial accountant
  • Financial analyst
  • Insolvency and reconstruction specialist
  • Internal auditor
  • Management accountant
  • Management consultant
  • Taxation specialist
  • Treasurer

Find out how we prepare our graduates for career success

Why the Business School?

UNSW Business School is a leading business school in the Asia-Pacific. We rank 1st for Accounting and Finance in Australia, and within the top 50 worldwide. We are rated “Well above world standard” for Banking and Finance by the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) government assessment. Read more about our rankings and reputation.

Our students build professional networks among more than 90,000 Business School alumni worldwide and begin their new career before graduation. This postgraduate degree incorporates a suite of professional development opportunities offered by Career Accelerator, that are exclusive to UNSW’s Business School students. Career Accelerator helps you build industry connections through networking and mentoring, and you can undertake internships and global business practicums for credit towards your degree.


The Master of Professional Accounting is a 1.5 year degree program consisting of 13 courses (72 UOC).

Core courses

ACCT5908 Auditing and Assurance Services

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT3708 or ACCT3718 in the last three years.

This course examines the practice of auditing and the underlying concepts. Although the focus of attention is on audits carried out under the provisions of the Australian Corporations and Securities Legislation, reference is also made to other forms of audit. The course is intended to provide an overview of the audit process as it exists in Australia.

Topics include:

  • Risk analysis approach
  • Assessment of risk
  • Development of audit strategy
  • Internal control evaluation and compliance testing
  • Substantive testing
  • Analytical review
  • Auditing in an EDP environment
  • Audit sampling
  • Audit reporting
  • Contractual and common law duties
  • The role of ethics
  • An introduction to internal & public sector auditing

ACCT5930 Financial Accounting

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT2542 in the last three years.

This course examines:

  • The fundamentals of financial accounting for entities of simple organisational design
  • Financial recording processes, systems design and internal control
  • Preparation of general purpose statements of financial position, operating performance and cash flow statements
  • Responsibilities in financial reporting
  • Financial reporting constraints
  • Recognition and measurement of specific financial statement elements
  • Analysis and interpretation of financial reports

ACCT5931 Strategic Management Accounting

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT3583 or ACCT3593 in the last three years.

This course examines links between strategy and resource management as it considers the effective use of an organisation’s financial and other resources in creating value for a range of organisational stakeholders. The course provides students with a management accounting toolkit for analysing the value created for and by various stakeholders, both currently and for a sustainable future.

ACCT5942 Corporate Accounting and Regulation

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT2542 in the last three years.

Overview of the external financial reporting environment - Australian and international aspects; arrangements for the regulation of external reporting; the preparation of general purpose financial reports including the treatment of income taxes and the acquisition of other entities.

The preparation of consolidated financial statements for reporting entities with more complex structures including subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures.

ACCT5943 Advanced Financial Reporting

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT3563 or ACCT3573 in the last three years

The analysis of contemporary accounting issues within theoretical frameworks such as agency theory and the context of the conceptual frameworks used in setting accounting standards.

Reporting problems in particular industries and with particular types of assets and liabilities (such as complex financial instruments); cutting edge accounting issues and the deliberations of local and overseas accounting rule-making bodies; and proposals for the strengthening of external financial reporting.

ACCT5996 Management Accounting and Business Analysis

Note: Not available to students who have completed ACCT2522 in the last three years.

This course examines the use of financial and non-financial information for the purpose of analysing business processes to achieve superior organisational performance. The course introduces a number of management accounting tools and quantitative techniques that can be used to analyse how business processes consume resources, create value for a firm and its customers, and how this value may be enhanced through business process improvement. The course draws on textbook explanations and research-based insights of contemporary business practice in this area.

ECON5103 Business Economics

An introduction to economic analysis and policy, with particular application to decision-making in business. The course provides students with the tools to use economic principles in decision-making and an understanding of the broader economic environment in which business decisions must be made.

ECON5257 Introductory Statistics and Data Analysis

The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to basic statistical tools and quantitative methods that are useful in understanding the type of data encountered in business. Importantly, it will provide a framework for approaching economics and business problems, and experience in learning from associated data.

Topics covered include: understanding data, examining relationships, randomness and sampling distributions, introduction to inference, and probability. The course also aims to provide familiarity with the use of computer spreadsheet software for data analysis and problem solving.

FINS5511 Corporate Finance

Essential aspects of financial decision-making in business. Designed to enable the student to usefully employ the following concepts in a business environment: investment decisions under uncertainty; capital structure; dividend distribution; applications of option pricing analysis to corporate finance. Note: Does not meet disciplinary requirements for Finance.

INFS5978 Accounting Information Systems

Accounting Information Systems aims to provide an introduction to the use and management of information systems used within the realm of accounting. Students will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the role of accounting information systems in organisations, examine the information technology components of information systems and review the means by which organisations acquire and deploy accounting information systems.
 
The course will include hands-on usage of accounting information systems and tools germane to the area. The course also includes a study of contemporary issues confronting accounting information systems, and a consideration of the ethical practices related to the development and use of these systems.
 
Note: Only offered to students in the Accounting Program (ACCTAS8404), the Professional Accounting Program (ACCTDS8404) and the Master of Accounting and Business Information Technology (MAccBIT8425).

TABL5512 Legal Foundations for Accountants

In presenting and analysis financial data and in the financial management of enterprises accountants need to be aware of the legal responsibilities and risks that arise in business. This course begins by outlining the framework of the Australian legal system and the sources and nature of Australian law. It then introduces the student to areas of law particularly relevant to accountants including: the law of contract; consumer protection law; real and personal property; intellectual property; securities over property interests; torts (such as negligent misstatement); crimes (such as fraud and other 'white collar' crimes); payment systems; and competition law.
 
This course is offered only for students in the Master of Professional Accounting program.

TABL5541 Corporations and Business Associations Law

The course begins by comparing the key legal features of different forms of business organisation (such as companies, partnerships and trusts) in relation to considerations such as liability, ownership of assets, transfer of ownership and termination. It then examines corporations law in detail. Topics dealt with include: the process and legal effects of incorporation; dealings between the corporation and outsiders; the raising of corporate finance; corporate distributions; legal aspects of corporate governance (including director's duties, members' remedies, and accounts and audit provisions); and the external administration of corporations.

TABL5551 Taxation Law

The complexity and comprehensiveness of the Australian tax system mean that tax considerations are now of major importance in most business decisions. After outlining tax policy, tax mix and tax reform considerations, this subject concentrates on income taxation in Australia. Topics include: concepts of income; allowable deductions; tax accounting; taxation of partnerships; trusts and corporations; anti-avoidance provisions; tax administration; capital gains tax; and fringe benefits tax.

To be eligible for the program, you need to have:

The UNSW English Language requirements also apply to this program.

Note: No other requirement (such as GMAT, GRE, personal statement, academic referee) is considered unless otherwise specified.

Alternative entry

Applicants who do not have a credit average within their bachelor degree may be assessed on other performance indicators. For example, an applicant with an above average mark obtained in a Bachelor degree (for Australian qualifications this would be in the range of 60-64%) may result, on a case by case basis, in an offer being made based on the following performance indicators:

  • GMAT score of 600 or above.  The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an exam created to measure the academic abilities needed to succeed in graduate management education. Further information can be obtained from www.gmac.com
  • Completion of other undergraduate, postgraduate or research qualifications
  • Professional qualifications completed through relevant professional bodies, for example the Institute of Chartered Accountants or CPA Australia
  • Relevant work experience is not a requirement but may be taken into consideration as an indicator of performance to support the application

Recognition of Prior Learning

Up to 4 courses (24 UOC) may be awarded based on your previous business studies (bachelor or higher). You will be notified of the credits in your official letter of offer.

Students who are not graduates of Australian or NZ universities

For students who have studied at overseas universities, the normal minimum academic requirement is the equivalent of a credit average grade (65%) from an Australian university, as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator. Details on assessment will be determined by your grading system so it is important that this is attached with your transcript when you apply.

Note: Applicants from non-211 universities in China wishing to study Postgraduate Coursework in the UNSW Business School, must achieve a minimum overall average of 88 in their current university’s grading system. This is equivalent to an 85% Australian scaled average using the calculator.

We will use the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR). They are the government body that provides official information on the comparability of overseas qualifications with Australian qualifications using the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) as our benchmark.

In those countries where an equivalent grade has not been established, the following will be taken into consideration:

  • The standard and content of the undergraduate program completed, and
  • The standard of the institution from which the qualifications were obtained
  • Indian universities award different types of bachelor and master degrees, with different requirements in terms of length of study. At a minimum, applicants would be required to have a 3-year bachelor degree or professional bachelor degree and provide all individual marksheets.
  • Iranian universities award different types of bachelor degrees, with different requirements in terms of length of study. At a minimum, applicants would be required to have a 4-year bachelor degree.

Application checklist

Before you apply, ensure that you:

  1. Choose the right program that matches your interests and career aspirations
  2. Meet the entry requirements of the program
  3. Check if you are eligible to apply for credits or advanced standing based on recognition of prior learning (RPL) for this program
  4. Note: You can apply for credits during the online application process

  5. Have the various supporting documentation for your application. E.g.

   a. Official academic transcripts
   b. Proof of completion of qualification
   c. Proof of identity and citizenship
   d. Proof of relevant work experience (if required)

    You can upload the above documentation during the online application process

How to apply

You can apply for this program online:

There are three intakes per year:

  • Term 1 (February): 30 November
  • Term 2 (June)*: 31 March
  • Term 3 (September): 31 July

*Please note that not all programs have a Term 2 intake.

Late applications may be accepted after the closing dates subject to the availability of places.

Need help?

Still need help finding the right postgraduate business program for you? Contact us now.

UNSW Business School students are Australia’s best and brightest, with a reputation for drive and innovation. Our graduates have exceptional employability rates, performing well above the national average. In the 2018 QILT survey, 93% of our postgraduate students were employed full-time within four months of graduating and were earning a median wage of $120k.

Our degrees include up to two for-credit industry experiences, such as internships or global business practicums. The experiences are part of a suite of opportunities that is exclusive to UNSW’s Business School students and organised through Career Accelerator. The professional development opportunities complement your studies, build connections to industry and give you a clear advantage after graduation.

The opportunities are grouped within the Networking, Mentoring, Internships, and Global sections of Career Accelerator.

Networking

The people you meet during your time at university can play a profound role in positively shaping your career. Connect with like-minded and influential people through:

  • Industry Insights – workshop sessions delivered by industry partners
  • Industry Events – invitation-only events hosted by industry partners
  • Business Case Competitions – impress future employers with your problem-solving skills

Mentoring

Participating in a mentoring program will boost your confidence, help grow your professional network, develop your communication, teamwork and leadership skills as well as building upon your business acumen.

  • Career Mentoring Program – a 10-week program of career mentoring and coaching
  • Australian Business Essentials – mentoring for international students with no previous Australian work experience

Internships

UNSW Business School’s for-credit and not-for-credit opportunities such as traditional internships, consultancy projects, social entrepreneurship practicums, virtual internships and extra-curricular experiences.

  • Internships & Consulting Projects – for-credit projects available in person and online
  • Social Entrepreneurship Practicum – for-credit practicum to develop professional team skills in a real project
  • Business Experience – online and in-person projects for professional development

Global

The personal and professional benefits of living, studying or working in a different culture are immense and recognised by employers.

  • Global Business Practicum - work in small cross-disciplinary student consulting team on a genuine business issue, usually in Asia
  • Social Entrepreneurship Practicum - build entrepreneurial, workplace and leadership capabilities in Bali
  • Student Exchange – live and study overseas at one of our 200 partner universities

View the full suite of Career Accelerator opportunities.



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Quick facts for students

Program code
8409
Award
Masters Degree (Coursework)
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
72
Study Mode
Face to face
Duration
1.5 years full-time, 3 years part-time
Commencing terms
Term 1 - February
Term 2 - June
Term 3 - September
Course fee*
$4,260
Program fee (total)*
$53,400
* Fees are indicative only

​​​​​​​Area of Study

Browse the list of study areas available for postgraduate study

 



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