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MSc Accounting and Financial Economics

Why we're great

  • Enjoy a business-focused course, which is jointly taught by our Department of Economics and Essex Business School
  • Access the learning facilities in our new Essex Business School building, including an exclusive postgraduate study space
  • Stand out from the crowd with both accountancy skills and a deeper understanding of economics within modern finance

Course options

Duration: 1 year
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Economics
Fee (Home/EU): £9,950
Fee (International): £15,500

Duration: 2 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Economics
Fee (Home/EU): £4,975
Fee (International): £7,750

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Gain both accountancy skills and a deeper understanding of economics in the context of modern finance. Split between our Department of Economics and Essex Business School, you graduate with the academic and business skills needed for a career in the financial sector.

You gain in-depth knowledge of the use of accounting information in organisational control and decision making, plus the use of financial statements and the problems of measurement and disclosure, and explore topics including:

  • Optimisation theory
  • How economic arguments work
  • The role of equilibrium
  • Notions of risk and return in equity markets
  • Asset pricing and the management of equity portfolios

We are top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% rated as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”. Much of this world-class research is related to policy, and we have particular strengths in the areas of:

  • Game theory and strategic interactions
  • Theoretical and applied econometrics
  • Labour economics

The quality of our work is reflected in our stream of publications in high-profile academic journals, including American Economic Review, Econometrica, and Review of Economic Studies.

Professional accreditation

Our University is one of only 21 ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK.

This means that our course can form part of a prestigious 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £21,575.

Our expert staff

Study and work alongside some of the most prominent economists of our time.

Our researchers are at the forefront of their field and have even received MBEs, with students coming from across the globe to study, research or work with us.

Many of our researchers also provide consultancy services to businesses in London and other major financial centres, helping us to develop research for today's society as well as informing our teaching for the future.

For a full list of research interests, see our Department’s staff pages.

Within Essex Business School, you are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track record.

Our staff specialise in areas including: accounting and economic development in the public and third sectors; regulation and corporate social responsibility; finance and banking; accounting and finance in developing economies; and contemporary financial markets and their participants.

Specialist facilities

Take advantage of our wide range of learning resources to assist you in your studies:

Our landmark new Essex Business School building on our Colchester Campus is the first zero carbon business school in the UK. Set around a lush winter garden, the Eden-style dome gives the building its own micro-climate.

Our new building provides you with a stunning new work environment, offering:

  • A virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Terminals offering direct use of Bloomberg data, information and analytics
  • A light and spacious lecture theatre, with seating for 250 students
  • Study pods and innovation booths for group working
  • Dedicated office space for student entrepreneurs
  • Networking opportunities with visiting businesses
  • A café with an adjacent sun terrace

Your future

After completing your masters, you may wish to extend your knowledge with a research degree – many Essex graduates decide to stay here for further study.

Alternatively, our course also prepares you for employment; recent surveys have shown that higher degree graduates are more likely to obtain jobs at professional or managerial level.

Graduates will be well placed for success in decision making in the interface between economics and accounting. Key skills include analytical reasoning, mathematical techniques, research and the evaluation of business accounts. One recent graduate of MSc Accounting and Financial Economics is now a finance officer for Save the Children China programme.

Our graduates find employment in roles such as business and financial analysts, management consultants, government officials, and economists for banks and other financial organisations.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

One Masters not enough for you?

We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.

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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

What interests you? Undertake a research project of your choosing, studying a specific economic issue or set of problems in depth, with supervision from our world-leading academic staff. Gain experience of original and independent work, making use of and building on skills that you have acquired during your Masters.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of major current issues in financial accounting and reporting. You develop an awareness of financial reporting theory, the problematic nature of accounting measurements and disclosures, corporate disclosure regulation, the implications of market efficiency for financial reporting, and the potential role of accounting information in social reporting and collective bargaining.

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.

What mathematical concepts are vital to understanding modern economic theory? Gain the essential mathematics skills needed to study economics at Masters-level, such as optimisation theory and the role of equilibrium. Understand how economic arguments work and improve your problem solving skills by using real-world economic problems.

Wish to conduct your own research using econometric methods? Understand econometric methods and learn to apply them to a wide variety of situations. Examine methods of linear regression and hypothesis testing. Study time series concepts of unit roots and co-integration. Explore ideas around simultaneous equation models and panel data models.

What are the distinctive features of less developed economies? How do theories around child labour or inequality explain poverty? What economic policies could alleviate such problems? Understand the issues facing developing countries, examining policies theoretically and empirically. Act as a policy advisor, undertaking research on issues of development economics.

What compensation should CEOs get? How can you motivate team performance? What impact does an altruistic manager make? Study real-world issues like policymaking, finance and management using economic models from contract theory, incentive theory, and the theory of the firm.

What are the main game theory concepts in modern economics? And how do you apply such models in the world today? Understand game theory methodology and learn how to formulate models for various socio-economic phenomena, such as industrial organisation, public goods, bargaining, and labour markets.

What are the main uncertainties for international financial markets? What causes a currency crisis? How do you deal with global imbalances? Understand the analytical tools used in the field of international macroeconomics and finance. Demonstrate how such tools can be applied by examining key policy issues of interest today.

What are the economics of international trade? And why is this important? Understand the principles that determine international trade and study a range of trade models. Learn how to carry out advanced research or work as a policy advisor on issues related to international trade.

What are the main issues facing the modern macroeconomist? How do you critically assess macroeconomic policies? Acquire the necessary tools for macroeconomic analysis, focusing on the important questions faced by macroeconomists today.

What are the concepts and methods of modern microeconomics? And how can you apply economic reasoning to this? Understand the main principles and theories of modern microeconomics, looking at topics like contract theory, equilibrium concepts in game theory, and market signalling. Learn to apply economic reasoning to these arguments.

What makes societies choose different taxation systems? What drives the selection of politician in society? And how does selection impact on the choice of policies? Study the application of economic methods to understanding the political phenomenon that impact on the choice of different economic policies.

How do you raise funds to maintain a firm’s activity? And who should control the firm? Cover a wide variety of topics in corporate finance, including asset pricing algebra, mergers, market structure, and corporate finance problems related to corporate governance.

How do firms interact? What impact does this have on products that are available to you? Or the price that you pay? Understand current thinking on industrial organisation, with a focus on competition policy, regulation and business strategy. Apply analytical models of firm behaviour and strategic interaction to real-life situations.

Teaching

  • Tailor the content of your course to more closely fit your interests and aspirations
  • Courses focus on practical applications and links with industry
  • We run an open seminar series

Assessment

  • Regular assessment is by coursework, presentations, case studies, group work, tests and examinations

Dissertation

  • You submit a 15,000 word dissertation or comprehensive business plan

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall grade of 2.2.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk 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

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

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 tours@essex.ac.uk 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.

Exhibitions

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.

Applying

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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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make 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, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.