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MRes Accounting

Why we're great

  • Our MRes is a direct response to ESRC research training requirements
  • We’re ranked in the UK’s top 25 for research excellence and intensity (REF, 2014)
  • 75% of our research is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF, 2014)

Course options2017-18

MRes Accounting Full-time

Duration: 1 year
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £10,200
Fee (International): £15,950
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information


Duration: 2 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £5,100
Fee (International): £7,975
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719

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About the course

Our MRes Accounting is designed for those wishing to follow a career in research and/or academia. It is the ideal first step if you hope to progress to doctoral studies, such as PhD.

We equip you with the skills and knowledge to appreciate the depth and breadth of accounting theories and techniques and apply these within a social science context. The content of our course is a direct response to requirements for, and suggested improvements in, research training laid down by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

You deepen your thinking about accounting and develop a broader understanding of the changing roles and perception of accounting within an ever-changing social context.

You develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • research skills, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches
  • theoretical stances underpinning different approaches to research
  • how to design a research proposal, including construction of research questions and/or hypotheses
  • launching and managing a research project, including data collection, analysis and interpretation

You study at Essex Business School, ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence and research intensity (REF, 2014). In addition, 75% of our research was deemed world leading or internationally excellent (REF, 2014).

Our MRes Accounting is also available to study part-time.

“I chose this course because I wanted to develop my research skills before continuing to a PhD. Essex Business School takes a philosophical and social science approach to research and that appealed to me. I’ve found the staff to be professional and friendly.”

Mohammad Ali Al-Tamimi, MRes Accounting 2016

Our expert staff

Our expert staff are a combination of leading academics and practitioners at the forefront of accounting research. For example, Professor of Accounting Prem Sikka is a world-renowned critic of tax avoidance and has been quoted in The Guardian, The Huffington Post and The Independent. He is the only living academic to have been recognised for his achievements in the accounting field by both the UK and US academies.

We’re home to three internationally respected accounting research centres:

You benefit from the very latest thinking in:

  • corporate governance
  • corporate social responsibility
  • accounting in the public and third sector
  • accounting in emerging economies
  • corporate reporting and regulations

We address the important issues faced by commercial businesses, public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations using social science theories and concepts.

Specialist facilities

We’re proud of our stunning Essex Business School building, which uses a sustainable design. As well as being the first zero carbon business school in the UK, the building provides a superb working environment for our community of students and staff.

You benefit from facilities such as:

  • a virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Financial Market terminals
  • a fully staffed student services helpdesk
  • a lush winter garden, which contributes to the building’s own micro-climate
  • group working and networking areas
  • Bonds café
  • study skills workshops for postgraduate students

Your future

Our MRes puts you in a particularly strong position to progress to doctoral studies in the field of accounting, for example by studying for a PhD.

The School’s employability team and the University’s Employability and Careers Centre are here to support you in your career decisions and provide information on further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

Your dissertation is the culmination of your Masters programme, where you apply the knowledge gained on your course to produce an extended independent piece of work. You generate an original idea, analyse literature and current knowledge and produce a coherent argument that shows your ability to relate theory to practice. Your dissertation will help you develop vital skills for the workplace, as well as the ability to analyse real problems through an academic lens. You are assigned a supervisor for the duration of your project.

Management accounting provides information required for decision-making, planning and control and cost management. You examine a range of contemporary issues in management accounting such as activity-based costing, strategic management accounting and other management accounting issues. You also evaluate contemporary approaches of management control theories to understand the current practices of management accounting locally and globally.

This module develops your skills in undertaking organisational research. Through a series of workshops, you learn about, and practice using, different methods of data collection and analysis.

Explore a range of theoretical, philosophical and methodological approaches to the conduct of doctoral research with a focus on the literature phase of a research project. You scrutinise the process of writing an academic literature review, develop a literature-based research plan for your dissertation, integrating subject-specific learning with insights on research methodology and epistemology.

This module equips you with a critical understanding of research methods and methodologies in the field of accounting. You develop the skills needed to explore issues in accounting and identify, choose and implement research designs and strategies.

This module examines how social scientific knowledge is created and how our understanding of business and cultural phenomena can be shaped by differences in perspective and interpretation. We explore how knowledge is acquired and evaluated and address topics you will encounter as part of your academic research.

This module gives you a critical understanding of current issues in corporate governance theory, regulation and practice at both national and international levels. You undertake a critical review of agency, stakeholder and other corporate governance related theories and explore the codes and regulations governing corporate and board behaviour. Examples include the UK’s Combined Code, Operating and Financial Review and the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act. You examine real-world case studies and develop a deeper understanding of the meaning of ‘good’ governance.


  • You learn via a combination of lectures, seminars, group and individual tasks and directed independent study.


  • You will be assessed through a combination of examinations and coursework assignments, which may take a number of forms, such as essays, case studies, theoretical and empirical studies.


  • You undertake a 15,000 word dissertation

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UK entry requirements

You should have a 1st, 2:1 or good 2:2 degree, or equivalent, in accounting or related discipline.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

If English isn’t your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing. If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.


You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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