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Programme Specification for BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance

*Please note that this programme specification is currently being revalidated and will be updated by end of July 2014

Final award

BA (Hons)

Intermediate awards available

Certificate in Higher Education
Diploma in Higher Education

UCAS code


Details of professional body accreditation

The programme is accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Chartered Institue of Management Accountants (CIMA) and CPA Australia.

Accounting and Finance single honours graduates currently receive the maximum number of NINE exemptions from ACCA Fundamentals papers (F1-F9); SEVEN exemptions from ICAEW's ACA Certificate and Professional level papers; EIGHT exemptions from CIMA Certificate and Operations level papers; TEN exemptions from CPA Australia Foundation and Professional level papers.

Relevant QAA Benchmark statements

Accounting (2007)

Date specification last up-dated

November 2013


Alternative locations for studying this programme


Which elements?

Taught by UEL staff

Taught by local staff

Method of Delivery

HELP Academy, Malaysia

Entire programme




Linton Education Group, Malaysia. This programme is no longer recruiting 

Entire programme




International School, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam

Level 3 of the programme only





The summary - UCAS programme profile


This degree programme is ideal if you want to become a qualified accountant or you wish to pursue a career in a specific area of accounting or finance. UEL is one of only two London universities which offers accreditation from four or more accountancy bodies on the BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance degree. Provided you opt for the required combination of modules at RDBS, you can therefore tak e advantage of the "fast track" route towards a professional qualification of your choice. Our teaching staff includes active academic researchers and professionally qualified accountants. They are fully dedicated to provide a specialist, rigorous and holistic grounding in accounting and finance theory and practice, designed to enhance your studies and employability skills.


280 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Pass in a recognised Access course or International Foundation programme.

In addition to the above, we require GCSE Maths grade C and English grade C or equivalents, unless competency is part of the qualification gained.

We also welcome mature student applicants and those with relevant professional and vocational qualifications. Applications will be dealt with on an individual basis and may require an interview.

Students who apply for direct entry into Year 2 or 3 of the programme may be admitted through normal Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes, or through an approved articulation agreement. Therefore such applicants must be able to demonstrate and provide evidence that they have the required learning outcomes as listed in the modules for which they are seeking exemption.

In the case of applicants whose first language is not English: for entry to Level 1, IELTS 6.0 is required: minimum 5.5 in writing and speaking; minimum 5.0 in reading and listening, or equivalent qualification. International qualifications will be checked for appropriate matriculation to UK Higher Education undergraduate programmes.


What is Accountancy?

Accounting is concerned with the analysis and provision of financial information to many different types of people: managers, investors, lenders, suppliers of goods and services, customers, and governmental agencies amongst many others. It includes the preparation and auditing of published accounts as well as providing information for managers within a company. Finance looks at the way in which funds are raised and managed.

Accounting and Finance are issues of central importance to a business: a reflection of this is that many of the senior managers in companies of all sizes started their career as accountants. In good times or bad, the expertise of accountants is always in demand.

Accounting & Finance at UEL

The BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance offers studentsspecialist and holistic knowledge and understanding of accounting and finance icnluding financial and management accounting, auditing, taxation, corporate finance and financial management. It gives the opportunity to obtain a degree which can lead to graduate level employment, while at the same time gaining exemptions from examination papers at various levels of ACCA, ACA,CIMA and CPA Australia. If they wish to become professionally qualified, they would need to, externallycomplete the remaining Professional level exam papers of the relevant accountancy bodies.

The quality of the Teaching and Learning has been judged "Commendable" the highest rating, by the government's Quality Assurance Agency.

Our graduates' employability rate has been high over the years, and recent graduates have secured places with employers in areas of professional accountancy, financial management, taxation auditing etc. Others have pursued advanced academic studies in Masters degrees or are undertaking doctoral studies.

Student feedback is consistently positive, as confirmed by the high ratings of over 80% in recent National Student Surveys for Accounting and Finance subject area. Student Satisfaction levels from UEL surveys are also high and results reveal that individual category scores for Accounting & Finance remain higher than school averages.

An optional placement year is available to students between their second and final year. This opportunity will enable them to undertake a year's paid placement and gain valuable employment experience which will enhance their CVs.

Programme structure

The BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance is a three-year full-time programme, taught during the day. Attendance is normally four hours, three days a week.

There are two 15-week semesters in each year of study with each semester consisting of 12 teaching weeks, 1 revision week and 2 weeks of assessments. In each semester a full-time student would study and be assessed in three modules. Each module carries an APEL credit value of 20.

There is no separate part-time mode of attendance but a student can decide to study on a part-time basis, by taking less than three modules in a semester. They will study modules alongside full-time students, during the day. A part-time student can take up to two modules in a semester and a maximum of four over one year. If a student wishes to take an optional placement year, the degree would take four years.

The programme is designed with option modules in Years 2 and 3. By choosing the appropriate option modules, students may obtain exemptions from the relevant accountancy bodies , as listed above. Alternatively, students may choose an option module at level 3 to carry out a Project by supervised independent study, in an accounting or finance related topic area of their choice. Students can choose an option module at level 3 from the Finance subject area - modules include Asset Pricing, International Institutions and Markets, Options, Derivatives and Risk. If they wish, they can even choose an option module from other programmes such as Business Studies, Marketing or HRM (subject to satifying the necessary pre-requisities).

Learning environment

The programme is taught at RDBS and at our collaborative partnership institutions in Malaysia and Vietnam. Our Docklands campus provides extensive state-of the-art resources including our latest addition - a Bloomberg training centre with 15 "live" terminals. Students have free access to online training and can obtain a Bloomberg certificate which will enhance their employability profile. The Library and ICT provision is described as "outstanding" with students having access to 600 computers in an open-plan environment, which is open 24 hours a day during teaching weeks. Students have access to the internet and to the university network, both of which provide an extensive range of on-line facilities including electronic databases containing thousands of journals, electronic books, and financial databases.

The university library has an extensive range of books and services for students, and includes the "Skillszone", a friendly centre which can give students opportunities to acquire many different skills in addition to their main studies. For example, they have learning materials to help students develop skills in other languages, or to develop skills to become self-employed.

Teaching takes place in classrooms which are all equipped with computers and visualisers. Students are able to access these facilities to practise their presentation skills in preparation for assessments.

The programme aims to develop student IT-related skills including word-processing, spreadsheets and PowerPoint, commercial accounting software applications, and effective searching of on-line data bases. Students have free access to the "European Computer Driving Licence", an interactive online computing course. If they choose to take the associated tests, they will gain an internationally recognised qualification accredited by the British Computer Society, which is valuable for employability.

Work experience/placement opportunities (not applicable to overseas partners)

An optional placement year is available to students between their second and final year. This is a good opportunity to undertake a year's paid placement, gain valuable employment experience, and get a head start when seeking a permanent post.

Students will be provided with information about firms offering placement opportunities, and will apply for those they are interested in. To secure a placement, a student would apply to the employer and go through a selection process. During the placement, they will be supported by a member of staff  in the RDBS Employability Centre who will liaise with the employer and visit the student during the year.


Each module is assessed during the semester in which it occurs.

In the first year, assessment is largely coursework, with examinations in the Accounting subjects. First year results do not count towards the degree classification.

In the second and third years, assessment for most modules is by a mixture of coursework and end of semester examinations, with the proportion of coursework being mostly either 40% or 50%. Coursework includes case study analysis, reports, and presentations.
Degree classifications are based on performance in the second and third level modules, with third level modules being more heavily weighted.

Project work

Many of the modules have coursework which is essentially a mini-project, often involving the use of online facilities to carry out research into a particular area, such as a particular company, a case study or a specific Accounting or Finance topic.

In the second year, students will become familiar with electronic sources of accounting and financial data, and how this can be analysed and interpreted. They will also learn about the different ways of carrying out research and will review the ways in which this has been presented in journals in the past.

In the third year, students will look at and report on current aspects of Financial Accounting and Management Accounting as coursework in two modules.

There is also an optional final year "Project" module, which allows students to carry out independent research in an accounting ofr finance related area of their own choice. Students will be supported and their progress regularly monitored by their academic supervisor, but this would be mainly self-managed study, assessed by a report.

Added value

AT RDBS the programme is fully accredited by ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA and CPA Australia. The exam paper exemptions from these accountancy bodies which are available to Accounting & Finance graduates are of considerable advantage to students who wish to obtain a professional accounting qualification. In addition, the programme also aim to prepare graduates for some of the remaining professional level exam papers of the relevant accountancy bodies.

Many modules enable students to carry out research in a variety of areas, which is good preparation for postgraduate study, and enables students to be well prepared to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers. There is a strong emphasis on the acquisition of intellectual and transferable skills, such as communication skills. Surveys show that these skills are valued by employers, and this is helpful for employability after graduation.

Stuents have the opportunity to attend guest lectures from leading academics and experienced practitioners who provide a mixture of academic theory and a forum for discussion of current issues in the workplace.

Students are also encouraged to attend events organised by the three RDBS research centres (CIME, Islamic Finance and Banking Centre and the Noon Centre for Equality and Diversity). These provide value through conceptual knowledge of theory and its practical application.

RDBS Employability Centre provides advice and assistance on employment opportunities for our current students and past graduates.

Our Bloomberg Training Centre provides free online access and training towards a Bloomberg Certificate award. Students also have free access and can gain the ECDL computing qualification. Both of these will enhance students' profiles.

Students who take a placement year will enhance their employability as work experience is valued by potential employers.


If you are interested in...

  • Acquiring knowledge and expertise in accounting and finance
  • Being able to put this knowledge to use within an organisations
  • Understanding developments and current issues in this field
  • Gaining employment-related skills in a sought-after area
  • Obtaining a post where you can make a real difference to a company
  • Carrying out research into accounting or finance

If you enjoy...

  • Analysing and interpreting numerical data
  • Using online resources to gain information
  • Communicating information effectively

If you want...

  • To study in a friendly and supportive atmosphere
  • To become knowledgeable in a range of topics in Accounting and Finance
  • To enhance your career prospects

Your future career

After graduation, a range of graduate employment opportunities will be available, and a wide variety of such posts are advertised by companies. Examples might be: Financial Accountant, Management Accountant, Budget Controller, Tax advisor, Internal or External Auditor.

If graduates wish to obtain professional qualifications, they may complete the ACCA, ACA, CIMA or CPA Australia qualification within one to two years of graduation.

Graduates can undertake teacher's training qualifications - UEL offers suitable postgraduate programmes.

Relevant postgraduate study paths could be a specialist degree such as an MSc International Accounting & Finance (offered by UEL), MSc Financial Management, MSc Project Management or MSc Risk Management.

How we support you at Docklands

Students joining the programmeat levels 1, 2 and 3 have an induction week, at which they will meet academic lecturers and their personal tutor whom they will see regularly, especially in their first year. The teaching staff are always willing to give help and advice, and will set aside specific hours each week in each semester to see students. This is useful mainly for one-to-one assessment feedback and during revision time.

Level 1 students take a skills module in their first semester designed to help them develop study skills such as IT skills, using the library, using online databases, report and essay writing, presentations and working in groups.

Talks by professional accountancy bodies are arranged to enable students to keep up to date with developments in these bodies' examination structures and registration requirements.

A second year module enables students to explore careers options, and find strategies to maximise their employability skills. The RDBS Employability Centre gives students advice on job applications, preparing CVs, interview techniques and job opportunities. They also arrange Careers Fairs and organise Assessment Centres.

Central university services include Finance advice, an IT Helpdesk, Skillzone, counselling and an additional needs advisor.


Programme aims and learning outcomes

What is this programme designed to achieve?

This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:

Aims: General

  • to contribute to the achievement of the University's vision to widen opportunity, access and provision to non-traditional students
  • to enhance students' capability to find rewarding, satisfying and productive employment
  • to obtain, for single honours graduates, recognition for their award and a high level of professional examination paper exemptions from the UK accountancy bodies
  • to provide students with a relevant, interesting and stimulating learning experience, and an element of choice in the construction of their programme of study
  • to engender a life long learning attitude by students that may help create employment opportunities, future career development and further study

Aims: Programme-specific:

  • a structure designed to provide graduates with a thorough grounding in accounting and the concepts that underlay it
  • a structure that allows students to develop a broad and detailed understanding of financial reporting requirements, including the broader regulatory, social and legal framework, and an understanding of current issues
  • a programme designed to develop students' conceptual understanding and technical competence in managerial accounting, and an understanding of current issues
  • a programme designed to promote an appropriate awareness of information technology and competence in its use

What will you learn?

Knowledge of

  • the business environment and the regulatory framework within which accounting operates
  • financial accounting, in line with current reporting standards
  • management accounting concepts and techniques, to facilitate decision-making, planning and control
  • the important influence of capital markets in risk assessment, value determination, and as a source of finance
  • financial management decision making and the context, role and significance of financial markets and institutions
  • current developments, issues and debates in the subject area at both theoretical and applied levels

'Thinking' skills

  • to demonstrate an appreciation of the intellectual skills expected at each level of study, in accordance with the QAA Subject Benchmark statement, and an acceptance of responsibility for their own learning to achieve these skills
  • the ability to evaluate different arguments and evidence critically so as to arrive at a considered view
  • the ability to investigate an issue independently
  • the intellectual skills to undertake further academic or professionally related study
  • a self-critical and reflective learning approach to personal self-development

Subject-Based Practical skills

  • ability to locate, extract and manipulate financial and non-financial data
  • ability to prepare financial reports for a variety of users
  • ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate financial information
  • ability to apply principles and techniques to formulate solutions to accounting-related problems; whether to do with resourcing, allocation, appraisal or control
  • ability to apply and evaluate techniques and practices employed in the Finance area
  • ability to use accounting-specific software, and to apply other software to accounting-related issues

Skills for life and work (general skills)

  • the ability to organise evidence and reasoning to produce a balanced conclusion
  • the ability to present information and communicate effectively in written or oral form, at an appropriate level, including the acknowledgement and referencing of sources
  • the ability to apply a range of numeracy skills, including an appreciation of statistical concepts, at an appropriate level
  • the ability to apply IT related skills in the use of word-processing, spreadsheets, software package applications, and in accessing on-line databases
  • the ability to work in small groups to investigate an issue or complete a task, and to present the group's findings
  • capacity for independent and self-managed learning and the completion of assignment tasks within deadlines


The programme structure


All programmes are credit-rated to help you to understand the amount and level of study that is needed.

One credit is equal to 10 hours of directed study time (this includes everything you do e.g. lecture, seminar and private study).

Credits are assigned to one of 5 levels:

  • 0 - equivalent in standard to GCE 'A' level and is intended to prepare students for year one of an undergraduate degree programme
  • 1 - equivalent in standard to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 2 - equivalent in standard to the second year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 3 - equivalent in standard to the third year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • M - equivalent in standard to a Masters degree

Credit rating

The overall credit-rating of this programme is 360 credits.

Typical duration

The expected duration of this programme is three years when attended in full-time mode or four and a half years in part-time mode. It is possible to move from a full-time mode of study to a part-time mode of study and vice-versa, to accommodate any external factors such as financial constraints or domestic commitments. Many of our students make use of this flexibility and this may impact on the overall duration of their study period.

How the teaching year is divided

The teaching year begins in September and ends in June but this programmes also allows students to join at the start of Semester B, in February. At some of our collaborative overseas partners a provision has been made for a May start as well.  A student, normally registering for 6 modules in one year (3 modules in each Semester) would do so in a full-time attendance mode of study and a student registering for up to 4 modules in one year (2 modules in each Semester) would do so in part-time attendance mode of study.

What you will study when

This programme is part of a modular degree scheme. A student registered in a full-time attendance mode will take six 20 credit modules per year. An honours degree student will complete six modules at level one, six at level 2 and six at level 3.

It is possible to bring together modules from one subject area with modules from another to produce a combined programme. Subjects are offered in a variety of combinations:

Single - 120 credits at levels one, two and three
Major - 80 credits at levels one, two and three
Joint - 60 credits at levels one, two and three
Minor - 40 credits at levels one, two and three.

Modules are defined as:

Core - Must be taken
Option - Select from a range of identified module within the field
University Wide Option - Select from a wide range of university wide options

The following are the core and optional requirements for this single honours programme (there are no major, joint and minor routes for this programme)







Financial Accounting 1





Cost and Management Accounting





Academic Skills for Accounting





Business and it's Legislative Foundations





Organisations, Management and People





Analysing Business





Financial Accounting 2





Management Accounting





Financial Management and Control





Accounting in a Career Context





Researching in Accounting and Finance





Taxation 1










Issues and Controversies in Accounting





Corporate Finance





Management Accounting at the Organisational Level





Taxation 2





International Financial Institutions and Markets





International Finance





Options, Derivatives and Risk





Corporate Financial Reporting














*Modules required for maximum exemptions from the professional accountancy bodies when you study at RDBS Docklands Campus only

NB - Not all option modules are available at overseas partners.

Requirements for gaining an award

In order to gain an honours degree you will need to obtain 360 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level three or higher

In order to gain an ordinary degree you will need to obtain a minimum of 300 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher
  • A minimum of 60 credits at level three or higher

In order to gain a Diploma of Higher Education you will need to obtain at least 240 credits including a minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher and 120 credits at level two or higher

In order to gain a Certificate of Higher Education you will need to obtain 120 credits at level one or higher

In order to gain an Associate Certificate you will need to obtain a minimum if 20 credits at level one or higher

Degree Classification

Where a student is eligible for an Honours degree, and has gained a minimum of 240 UEL credits at level 2 or level 3 on the programme, including a minimum of 120 UEL credits at level 3, the award classification is determined by calculating:

The arithmetic mean of the best 100 credits at level 3




The arithmetic mean of the next best 100 credits at levels 2 and/or 3



and applying the mark obtained as a percentage, with all decimals points rounded up to the nearest whole number, to the following classification

70% - 100%

First Class Honours

60% - 69%

Second Class Honours, First Division

50% - 59%

Second Class Honours, Second Division

40% - 49%

Third Class Honours

0% - 39%

Not passed


Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Knowledge is developed through

  • lectures and supporting teaching materials
  • guided reading
  • preparation for and participation in seminars and workshops
  • research and readings as preparation for coursework
  • preparations for exams

'Thinking' skills are developed through

  • completing in-course assignments requiring analysis, interpretation and evaluation
  • discussions and feedback during seminars
  • reflecting on personal development
  • carrying out research and evaluating the findings

Practical skills are developed through

  • locating and using accounting and finance data
  • application of principles and techniques to case studies
  • application of software to accounting issues

Skills for life and work (general skills) are developed through

  • adopting appropriate techniques
  • using numeracy skills
  • the application of IT in completing tasks
  • use of verbal and written communication skills
  • completing tasks within agreed deadlines
  • both Independent working and team working as appropriate
  • constructing clear and structured recommendations or conclusions


The majority of modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and end of semester examination. Coursework can take a variety of forms including case study- based questions, real company analysis, essays, reports, projects, multiple choice exercises, skills portfolio, financial modelling, or presentations. Some tasks will involve team working.

Knowledge is assessed by

  • the standard achieved in coursework assignments
  • demonstrating a knowledge of current literature
  • the appropriate application of techniques and principles to examination questions

'Thinking' skills are assessed by

  • providing evidence of analysis, interpretation and analysis in coursework and examinations

Practical skills are assessed by

  • locating and using appropriate data for assignments and seminars
  • Selecting and applying appropriate techniques to case studies
  • Appropriate use of accounting software

Skills for life and work (general skills) are assessed by

  • Ability to successfully complete tasks within given deadlines
  • The appropriate application of numeracy and IT-related skills
  • Evidence of effective team working
  • Ability to form conclusions or recommendations
  • Effectiveness of communication skills


How we assure the quality of this programme

Before this programme started

Before this programme started, the following was checked to ensure:

  • there would be enough qualified staff to teach the programme;
  • adequate resources would be in place;
  • the overall aims and objectives were appropriate;
  • the content of the programme met national benchmark requirements;
  • the programme met professional/statutory body requirements;
  • the proposal met other internal quality criteria covering a range of issues such as admissions policy, teaching, learning and assessment strategy and student support mechanisms.

This is done through a process of programme approval which involves consulting academic experts including some subject specialists from other institutions.

How we monitor the quality of this programme

The quality of this programme is monitored each year through evaluating:

  • external examiner reports (considering quality and standards)
  • statistical information (considering issues such as the pass rate)
  • student feedback

Drawing on this and other information, programme teams undertake the annual Review and Enhancement Process which is co-ordinated at School level and includes student participation. The process is monitored by the School Quality and Standards Committee.

Once every six years an in-depth review of the whole subject area is undertaken by a panel that includes at least two external subject specialists. The panel considers documents, looks at student work, speaks to current and former students and speaks to staff before drawing its conclusions. The result is a report highlighting good practice and identifying areas where action is needed.

The role of the programme committee

This programme has a programme committee comprising all relevant teaching staff, student representatives and others who make a contribution towards the effective operation of the programme (e.g. library/technician staff). The committee has responsibilities for the quality of the programme. It provides input into the operation of the Review and Enhancement Process and proposes changes to improve quality. The programme committee plays a critical role in the quality assurance procedures.

The role of external examiners

The standard this programme is monitored by at least one external examiner. External examiners have two primary responsibilities:

  • To ensure the standard of the programme
  • To ensure that justice is done to individual students

External examiners fulfil these responsibilities in a variety of ways including:

  • Approving exam papers/assignments
  • Attending assessment boards
  • Reviewing samples of student work and moderating marks
  • Ensuring that regulations are followed
  • Providing feedback through an annual report that enables us to make improvements for the future.

Listening to the views of students

The following methods for gaining student feedback are used on this programme:

  • Student representation on programme committees (meeting once per semester)
  • Student questionnaires (issued twice each semester)
  • Student representation on the Royal Docks Business School Board - Not applicable to overseas partners
  • National Student Survey (for third year students) - Not applicable to overseas partners

Students are notified of the action taken by:

  • Placing the minutes and Action Points of the programme committee, and subsequent actions taken, on UEL Plus (the UEL internal website)

Listening to the views of others

The following methods are used for gaining the views of other interested parties:

  • Feedback from external examiners
  • Links with ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA  and CPA Australia, the professional accountancy bodies
  • Employer feedback from the Royal Docks Business School Advisory Board - Not applicable to overseas partners
  • Comments from former students

Further Information

Where you can find further information

Further information about this programme is available from: