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Master of Professional Accounting

Programme overview

In recent years, the nature of accounting in the global business workplace has moved from being principally the preparation of financial reports to now include the role of business advisor and consultant. Most students seeking graduate placements in the field of accounting will have completed a standard three-year undergraduate degree in this subject.You will undertake advanced learning in both theory and professional practice and learn to tackle accounting and business problems in innovative ways.

Otago’s Master of Professional Accounting provides an opportunity for graduates with little or no experience or qualifications in accounting to pursue professional accreditation through an intensive course of study and applied research over a period of 18 months. On completion of the degree students can gain professional accreditation and membership to industry associations such as ACCA, CAANZ and CPA Australia.

Master of Professional Accounting students will be required to gain mastery of the subject matter and skills at an accelerated rate that is considered appropriate, challenging and manageable for a graduate.

Key features

  • Designed by both academics and practitoners
  • Accredited by professional accounting bodies, ACCA, CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • Special focus on developing strong technical and professional accounting skills, including communication and analytical skills
  • Open to graduates of any discipline
  • Small class sizes
  • One to one interaction with faculty members
  • Job ready programme for international students (PDA)

Career opportunities

The MProfAcct prepares you for launching a career as an accountant either in public accounting practices or private and public sector organisations. Highly skilled accountants and business managers having accountancy and finance backgrounds are high in demand both in New Zealand and internationally. The MProfAcct qualification opens doors to a range of career opportunities, such as:

  • Chartered Accountant (CA)
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)
  • Auditor
  • Business consultant
  • Tax consultant
  • Systems accountant
  • Management accountant
  • Chief Finance Officer
  • Forensic accountant
  • Analyst

Key information

Mode On campus full-time
Duration 18 months (3 semesters)
Programme type Masters coursework
Subject area Accounting
Points 240
Intake February each year
Study semesters February and July
Level of award of the degree The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit

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Degree structure

The programme of study shall consist of 10 x 20 point taught papers together with a 40 point applied project. Papers are either taught in First Semester, Second Semester, or are full-year papers.

To be awarded the MProfAcct you must complete and pass the following papers:

Paper Code Paper Title Points Description
ACCT409 Management Accounting 20 An applied approach to the development of management accounting data
ACCT421 Financial Accounting 20 The mechanics of financial accounting, the accounting environment and professional standards. Basic accounting concepts, principles, and reporting with applications to actual business settings.
ACCT422 Management Accounting 20 Understanding, production and use of management accounting information, including cost behaviour, budgeting, variances and performance evaluation, relevant costs for decision making, pricing, product costing, treatment of overhead and allocations.
ACCT423 Finance 20 An introduction to finance by examining the theory and application of why and how financial decisions are made.
BSNS401 The Environment of Business & Economics 20 Provides exposure to multi-cultural and international influences on business and global economics, including communications, governance, accountability and ethics. Designed to develop skills for graduates working in all international environments.
BSNS580 Applied Project 40 Investigation of a problem at a critical and analytical level, backed by appropriate literature from applied and academic literature.
ACTP411 Auditing Practice 20 The nature and purpose of auditing, and the regulatory and professional environment in which it operates.
ACTP412 Taxation Practice 20 Elements of taxation, direct and indirect taxation for individuals and other entities in New Zealand.
ACCT403 Financial Accounting 20 An applied approach to the issues underlying financial accounting and reporting.
ACCT406 Accounting Information Systems 20 An advanced study of the implication of AIS design, operation and control for accountants, auditors and managers, using in-depth case studies to develop practical familiarity with the issues arising.
ACCT429 Commercial Law 20 An introduction to New Zealand’s legal framework and the law relating to commercial transactions, different forms of business and the legal requirements relating to these organisations.
  • A candidate may be exempted from some of the required papers on the basis of previous study, subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce). Alternative papers will be required to be at an equivalent level of study, and to a maximum of 20 points.
  • A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in the applied or research report, secure the approval of the Head of the Department of Accountancy and Finance for the topic, the supervisor(s) and the proposed course of the investigation. 
  • A candidate may not present a research report which has previously been accepted for another degree. o A candidate must pass both the papers and the research report components.
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Entry requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline with minimum of a B grade average
  • Applicants for whom English is not their first language must have an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with no band less than 6
  • A candidate may be exempted from some of the required papers on the basis of previous study, subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce). Alternative papers will be required to be at an equivalent level of study, and to a maximum of 20 points
  • The MProfAcct commences in first semester each year - Enrolments are due by 10 December but late enrolments may be considered. To be included in the first semester intake, apply before the end of February.  
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Fees and scholarships


Fees are set in advance of each calendar year and will be updated on this website. All fees are inclusive of 15% GST, student services fee and insurance premium, but do not include course books, or living costs. Exact fees will depend on papers selected and may exceed the figure stated. Amounts shown are indicative and only applicable to the February 2019 intake. Fees are subject to change year to year, if you are planning for beyond 2019, fees may vary from those stated.

  • International NZD$60,000
  • Local NZD$15,000


International scholarships

We are pleased to offer a limited number of School of Business Masters of Professional Accounting merit based scholarships of NZD$10,000 for international students.

Students with other University of Otago scholarship support are not eligible. Students must have been made an offer to be accepted into the programme and provide assurances they would enrol in the programme in February 2019 if they were successful.

Information about the Master of Professional Accounting scholarship for international students.

Alternate scholarships

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about other possible scholarships

Other external scholarships

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Why Otago?

Choosing the right university is a very important decision. Your choice of university may have a significant impact in your life. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university, and prides itself on its long tradition of excellence. The University of Otago graduates are highly regarded by employers.

Otago offers a rich cultural life, reflecting a diverse international student community and New Zealand’s own multicultural population. Otago has a network of over 95,000 graduates living in more than 142 countries. We provide strong administrative support for you during your study, and career planning assistance on completion of your degrees.

The Otago Business School has an international reputation for excellence and teaching, and is acknowledged as a centre of excellence in business and economics. The University of Otago’s international reputation, the Otago Business School’s close links with the business community and the strength of an Otago degree mean career opportunities for our graduates are endless. With a business qualification from Otago you will be ready, not just for work, but for the world!

For international students who intend to stay in New Zealand to work after graduation, you may be eligible for a work visa under Immigration New Zealand Study to Work category.

More information on work visas

Visit the immigration NZ website for student visa application information

See how we rate

Otago Business School accreditation

Study Accounting at Otago

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Regulations and online application for the Master of Professional Accounting

Learn about the Regulations for the Master of Professional Accounting and application details on the University of Otago website.

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Contact us

For further information about the MProfAcct please contact the Programme Director:

Dr Muhammad Nadeem
Senior Lecturer
Tel +64 3 479 5658
Office OBS 3.14
Department of Accountancy & Finance

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