MPhil in Accounting

Note: MPhil in Accounting applications will not be accepted until further notice.

The Research School of Accounting (RSA) offers suitably qualified candidates the opportunity to undertake an MPhil in Accounting within the School’s vibrant research community. The program draws on the supervision expertise of researchers within RSA. MPhil candidates become active participants in various research activities in the School.

CRICOS #: 048350D

Duration: 1 to 2 years full time (2 to 4 years part time)

Before applying

Before you submit an application for entry to the program, you should:

  • ensure you meet the admission requirements outlined below
  • identify potential supervisors – that is, one or two accounting academics at ANU who conduct research in your area of interest.

You can find information on researchers and their research areas in the ANU researchers databaseRSA staff directory or at RSA Research.

While other ANU schools may recommend contacting potential supervisors before submitting an application, this is not required or encouraged for entry into RSA’s MPhil program. Instead, you only need to list the name(s) of potential supervisors in your online application form.

Potential supervisors cannot guarantee entry into the MPhil program. Admission will depend on the strength of your application relative to others in the pool.

After you’ve completed the steps above, you can proceed with an online application.

Application deadlines

The first semester of the ANU academic year starts in February, and the second semester starts in July. While all applications for first semester entry must be submitted before 31 October, international applicants wishing to be considered for an ANU scholarship should submit their applications before 31 August.

To be considered for a scholarship, your application must be accompanied by all the supporting documents listed below, including the referee reports. Request for referee reports are triggered and sent to your nominated referees at the time of submission of program application. It is thus important that you submit your application in advance (2-3 weeks) to allow time for your referees to provide their reports prior to the scholarship deadline.

If you’re currently completing an academic degree and haven’t yet received your final results and transcript, you should still submit all available documents before the deadline, and forward remaining results once you receive them. We won’t make a final decision on your application until we’ve received all the required documents.

Commencement is possible at any time subject to coursework and supervision requirements.

Admission requirements

The admission requirements for the MPhil program in Accounting reflect the knowledge that candidates will need to undertake the coursework component of the degree, and the research experience and skills needed to successfully undertake and complete the research thesis.

The minimum qualification requirement for admission to the MPhil program in Accounting is:

  1. a Bachelor degree with an overall grade of distinction or higher in accounting (or a closely related discipline) from an Australian university, or
  2. another qualification that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in (a), or
  3. a combination of qualifications and professional experience that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in (a).

Admission to the MPhil program in Accounting is competitive and we can only admit a limited number of applicants each year. Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee you a place in the program.

English language requirements

All applicants must satisfy the University’s English language admission requirements. An international applicant who is not a native English speaker may satisfy these requirements by submitting evidence of an IELTS overall score of at least 6.5, and with no component less than 6.0, or a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 570, with at least 4.5 in the essay component.

Application and supporting documentation

You must submit your application online via the ANU Application Manager.

In addition to the standard information required in the online application, you must submit a one-page statement of purpose as part of your application.

Where applicable, you must also submit your official TOEFL or IELTS results to demonstrate that you satisfy the University’s English language requirements.

Offers of admission

The HDR (higher degree by research) convenor will review all complete applications submitted by the relevant deadline.

If your application is short-listed, you may be required to attend an interview (face to face or online).

We may send you an offer of admission if you satisfy the eligibility criteria and your area of interest matches those of RSA academics with supervisory capacity. However, since admission is competitive and supervisory capacity is limited, we won’t send any offers of admission until after the relevant application deadline, irrespective of the date when you submit your application.

Program structure

The MPhil program in Accounting consists of two components – coursework and research.

Candidates undertake the research component concurrently with the required coursework.

MPhil coursework component

The specific coursework requirements for the MPhil in Accounting will depend on each candidate’s background, and will be determined through discussion with the HDR convenor before the candidate commences.

MPhil candidates are expected to take a minimum of four, and a maximum of five, courses. These can be selected from a range of advanced RSA courses when offered:

  • BUSN8007 Analysis of Financial Reporting
  • BUSN8013 Seminar in Research Methods in Commerce
  • BUSN8200 Judgement and Decision Making Research in Accounting
  • BUSN8100 Empirical Research in Financial Accounting
  • BUSN8145 Corporate Governance: Research Preparation
  • BUSN8056 Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services
  • BUSN8111 Seminal Research in Accounting (studying financial accounting, management accounting, public sector accounting, or taxation)
  • STAT6038 Regression Modelling, or EMET 6007 Econometric Methods, or EMET 8005 Economic Models and Introductory Econometrics; or a higher-level statistics or econometrics course
  • advanced courses from other disciplines deemed to be at an appropriate level (e.g. finance, econometrics, management, psychology, statistics or sociology).

MPhil research component

MPhil candidates proceed to the research component following completion of the coursework at the required standard and the successful defence of their thesis proposals. Candidates are expected to consult widely with their supervisory panel in completing their research thesis.

Research supervisory panel

When a candidate is admitted to the program, a primary supervisor is appointed. The primary supervisor has the responsibility of overseeing the candidate’s progress until a supervisory panel is chosen. During the first year of the program, it is important that candidates start developing their research topic ideas by consulting with their primary supervisor and other academic staff within RSA.

Either in a candidate’s first year of study, or soon after completion of their coursework, a supervisory panel will be chosen. The role of the panel is to assist, advise, and provide support and encouragement to the candidate for a timely and successful completion of the research thesis. The HDR convenor will determine the composition of the supervisory panel in consultation with the candidate.

RSA research seminar program

The RSA research seminar program consists of weekly seminars presented by national and international researchers. MPhil candidates are expected to attend and participate in the seminars throughout their candidature.

Research integrity training

Within three to six months of enrolment, all MPhil candidates must complete the Research Integrity Training and pass the exam. Completion of this course and exam is a compulsory milestone for all MPhil candidates.

Thesis proposal review

In addition to the coursework component, each MPhil candidate must develop and defend a detailed thesis proposal in consultation with their supervisory panel. The purpose of the review is to assess the originality, significance, adequacy and achievability of the candidate’s thesis plan.

To proceed with the thesis, the candidate must successfully defend the proposal. The candidate defends their proposal 9 to 12 months after commencement (or 18-24 months if part-time), and a review panel formally assesses the proposal.

Transfer to PhD program

Some candidates undertake the MPhil as a pathway to PhD studies. Under some circumstances, candidates may apply to transfer to the PhD program part way through the MPhil program. For information about pathways to PhD studies, contact the RSA HDR convenor.

Annual progress review

It is University policy that each candidate’s progress be reviewed periodically. In each year of their program, MPhil candidates are required to submit an annual plan and report as a basis for periodic progress review. This document provides details on work completed by the candidate since the previous review, current progress, and any problems that may impact their research. It also outlines the coursework and research the candidate intends to undertake in the following 12 months.

Oral presentation

In their final year, candidates are required to give a final oral presentation on their research, usually three months before submitting their thesis.

Read more about research candidate milestones.

Thesis submission and examination

The culmination of the MPhil in Accounting is a written thesis which, upon completion, is submitted for examination. The thesis is examined by experts in the relevant field.

For more information on the process, visit our page on submitting a thesis.


For information about scholarships available to HDR candidates, visit our page on scholarships and fees.