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Course overview

(MRes) Master of Research
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Full-time or part-time
You should have a good 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent, in accounting or related discipline.
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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners

Dr Chandana Gnanapriya Alawattage
University of Aberdeen Business School
Dr Mohamed Karim Sorour
Northumbria University
Associate Professor of Accounting/ Head of Accounting Subject

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 BE981-7-FY MSc/MA Dissertation Core 60 Compulsory
02 BE150-7-AU or BE151-7-SP Compulsory with Options 20 Compulsory with Options Compulsory with Options
03 BE959-7-SP Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: Empirical Explorations of the Contemporary Workplace Compulsory 20 Compulsory Compulsory
04 BE950-7-AU Research Evaluation Core 20 Compulsory Compulsory
05 BE951-7-AU Research Methods in Accounting Core 20 Compulsory Compulsory
06 BE968-7-SP Philosophies of Research and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods Compulsory 20 Compulsory Compulsory
07 EBS (Colchester Campus) option from list Optional 20 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

The MRes has been designed for students who wish to undertake education, training and development in the area of social science research, with a specific intention of undertaking doctoral studies in the field of Accounting. The degree aims to develop knowledge and understanding of:

General research skills, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches
Different theoretical stances which underpin positivistic and interpretivist approaches to research
Design of a research proposal, including construction of research questions and/or hypotheses
Implementation and management of a research programme, including data management
The relationship between different research approaches and subject-specific knowledge in the field of Accounting

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A101 Distinguish between different epistemological positions which provide the context for research
A102 Understand the rationale underpinning selection of quantitative and qualitative approaches to research
A103 Understand the relationship between empirical research and generation and testing of theory
A104 Understand the principles of research design and implementaiton of a research programme
A105 Understand different approaches to data collection, analysis and interpretation
A106 Develop understanding of the principles of knowledge in the field of either Management or Accounting
A107 Detailed understanding of a selected topic within the field of either Accounting or Management
Learning Methods: Outcomes A1-A7 are acquired through lectures, seminars, group and individual tasks, and directed independent study. The development of the dissertation in consultation with a supervisor provides an additional opportunity for achieving learning outcomes A1-A7.

Lectures and seminars introduce the required theories and understandings to facilitate students' exploration, the character, contexts, practices and interpretations of management and organisations, while demonstrating and encouraging a critical and reflexive approach.

Directed independent study and reading, along with individual and group tasks, enable the further exploration of the relevant areas.

Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from lectures and classes by regularly consulting library materials relating to the course.

Assessment Methods: Informal assessment:
Outcomes A1-A7 are informally assessed via group work and oral presentations. The associated informal feedback provided enables students to explore and enhance their understandings, and develop presentation skills.

Outcomes A1-A7 are formally assessed via coursework assignments, which may take a number of forms, including essays, case studies, theoretical and empirical studies.

Outcome A6 is further assessed by examination.

Outcomes A1-A7 will be assessed in the dissertation.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Capacity to appraise theoretical ideas.
B2 Assimilate and synthesise advanced theories and concepts from a variety of relevant frameworks.
B3 Formulate logical and coherent arguments
B4 Interpret and critically evaluate empirical evidence
B5 Plan and undertake a substantial piece of independent research
Learning Methods: Skills B1-B4 are acquired and enhanced primarily through directed independent study, reading, group and individual tasks given for their courses, although lectures and seminars provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through examples.

Students’‘ independent study and preparation for tasks involves the reading, interpretation and critical evaluation of relevant accounting theories and the analysis of empirical evidence.

Lecturers provide necessary feedback on student work.

Lecturers also engage students outside the classroom through office hours, appointments and emails.

Skill B5 is acquired through the work that students do for the dissertation.

The dissertation further provides an opportunity for students to acquire skills B1-B4
Assessment Methods: Informal: Skills B1-B4 are informally assessed via group work and oral presentations.

The associated informal feedback provided enable students to explore and enhance their understandings, and develop presentation skills Formal: Skills B1-B4 are formally assessed via unseen written examinations and coursework assignments.

Msc Dissertation provides a further opportunity to assess skills B1-B4 Skills B5 is assessed through dissertation

C: Practical skills

C101 Plan and undertake a substantial piece of independent research
C102 Analyse and evaluate empirical data
C103 Hypothesise about issues and events in the context of either Accounting or Management Hypothesise about issues and events in the context of either Accounting or Management
C104 Research presentation and written presentation skills.
C105 Undertake independent research
C106 Access and retrieve information and data from a variety of primary and secondary sources
Learning Methods: Skills C2-C6 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their courses, although lectures provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through examples.

Research skills will be taught and assessed throughout the course.

Skill C7 is further acquired through the work that students do for the dissertation. The dissertation further provides an opportunity for students to acquire skills C2-C6

Assessment Methods: Informal assessment:
Skills C2-C6 are informally assessed through group work and oral presentations along with the associated informal feedback. This further enables students to explore and enhance their understanding, and develop research and presentation skills

Skills C2-C6 are formally assessed via coursework assignments. This enables the demonstration of the relevant theories and empirical evidence and facilitates the demonstration of a critical and reflexive approach to empirical evidence.

Skill C7 is assessed through the dissertation and course work.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicate ideas and arguments in a coherent and effective manner.
D2 Use information technology, such as word processing, databases, the web and econometric packages, to download and analyse financial and economic data.
D3 Manipulate numerical data and apply appropriate statistical or econometric techniques
D4 Problem-solving and analytical skills
D5 Time management, task prioritisation and working to deadlines
Learning Methods: Verbal communication skills (D1) are developed primarily through group tasks involving oral presentation and group discussion in the lecture.

Written communication skills (D1) are developed primarily through small group project reports and individual tasks.

Problem solving and Numeracy skills (D3-D4) are developed principally through specific problem based exercise and project given to the students.

IT skills (D2) are developed as individual tasks require extensive research involving web-based material, internet and various electronic medias.

Planning and organisation, enterprise and resourcefulness (D5) are essential to any learning process dependent on independent study and to some extent individual advice from teachers.

These skills are further developed as students pursue the learning activities associated with their courses
Assessment Methods: The assessment of the majority of key transferable skills forms an integral part of the overall assessment of the accounting degree schemes; however the approach to assessment varies.

Written communication skills, problem solving, numeracy and IT skills are assessed directly throughout the degree programme.

Personal skills are assessed through coursework.

Verbal communication skills are not formally assessed although feedback on communication skills forms part of the formative feedback provided on small group tutorial presentations


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification 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 students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: