MSc Forensic Accounting (DL) - University of Portsmouth

Forensic Accounting (DL)

Part Time2yr

Gain highly developed skills for forensic accounting in a distance learning format

Course Overview

Why take this course?

As one of the fastest growing areas of accounting, there is an increasing global demand for specialists with forensic accounting knowledge and skills. This course therefore aims to provide a progressive, challenging and stimulating framework of study that will equip you to work in this field.

Through the application of professional forensic accounting tools, models, techniques and knowledge, you will gain a comprehensive range of skills covering the core areas of forensic accounting:

  • Dispute and litigation
  • Expert witnessing
  • Fraud examination
  • Financial crime and regulatory investigations

Depending on how much time you are able to commit to your study, we offer a two-year or a 30-month duration, and our recommended study time per week would be around 12 and 18 hours respectively. We would strongly recommend that those students with full-time jobs or other commitments opt for the longer 30 month programme of study.

This programme is also offered as a campus-based taught programme for both full-time and part-time students.

Find out more about this course and our facilities by attending one of our regular open evenings where you can meet teaching staff and current students.

What will I experience?

On this course you will:

  • Investigate real-life case studies and learn the processes involved in compiling your own case.
  • Be assigned a personal tutor.
  • Participate in Web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students.
  • Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, which can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.


What opportunities might it lead to?

The course will allow you to develop your accounting skills for use in litigation – civil, criminal and corporate (including business valuation, assessment of economic damages, proceeds of crime, fraud and money laundering). Alongside processes and procedures, you will learn how to investigate a variety of financial crime and regulatory compliance cases, gather evidence, prepare expert reports and evidence. In this context you will also consider areas such as corporate integrity and management control, fraud and forensic analysis, cyber-crime, corporate social responsibility, and interviewing and testimony.

Benefits to employers, financial and legal professionals, and organisations also include:

  • The development of accounting skills for use in disputes and litigation
  • Knowledge of evidence – gathering and investigative techniques, ADR (alternative dispute resolution) and litigation processes and procedures, preparation of expert reports and evidence).


Adiodun Odunowo, forensic accounting student

The University encourages the use of technology to improve and support students' learning, and the lecturers are always ready to help us.

Adiodun Odunowo, forensic accounting student

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Structure & Teaching

You will study a total of four units which consider a range of exciting topics such as corporate integrity and management control, fraud and forensic analysis, cybercrime and interviewing and testimony. You will learn how to investigate a case, gather evidence, prepare expert reports and provide evidence. The course then concludes with your research dissertation where you’ll have the flexibility to specialise in an area of your choice such as fraud examination, litigation consulting or expert witnessing to name a few.

In the 30-month programme you will study two units in each of year one and year two, followed by the dissertation in the final year.

In the two-year programme, you will study three units in year one followed by one unit and the dissertation in year two.

Here are the units you will study:

Financial Analysis and Modelling enables you togain a critical awareness of the financial environment from both an accounting and finance perspective. You will learn to understand, analyse and interpret company reports, examine the role of the regulatory framework for corporate reporting and the stock market, and explore the pricing of securities. You will also cover the key areas of decision and risk analysis, alongside the process of decision making, key statistical concepts, and selecting and using appropriate analytical software tools as aids to decision making.

Expert Witnessing and Dispute Resolution enables you to examine the full range of formal and informal methods for dispute resolution within common law, and civil and criminal legal systems, whilst also developing an understanding of the legal and practical protocols alongside the procedural knowledge and etiquette governing the appointment and testimony of expert witnesses. You will also develop a clear understanding of the legal basis and critical elements required to construct an expert report for submission in civil and criminal proceedings, as well as how to practically deal with the pressures and issues arising in cross-examination.

Financial Forensics and Investigation develops an understanding of financial crime and regulatory investigatory models so that you can develop a critical, questioning and evaluative approach in assessing financial and other relevant hardcopy and digital data. There will be an emphasis on gathering information from paper and digital sources, as well as interviews and examining key issues and practical innovative approaches to overcoming them. You will also consider the changing investigative landscape.

Financial Crime and the Law focuses on an appreciation and understanding of principles of law and how the current regulatory framework and crime control statutes have developed to deal with them, covering the wide variety of financial crime cases and theory. You will also develop an understanding of the development and importance of corporate governance, including such features as  corporate integrity and management control systems.

Dissertation: This is a 15,000-word research project that combines a review of previous research undertaken in your chosen topic with your own data collection and analysis. This provides a unique opportunity for you to demonstrate the subject knowledge you have acquired, as well as your analytical abilities and problem-solving skills which are highly regarded by potential employers. During this phase, your research will be supervised by an experienced academic with expertise in your chosen topic area.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Teaching and Assessment

This course is heavily student focused. You will be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability. Using our virtual learning environment you can participate in group discussions with other students in a friendly, yet challenging online class environment. Plus real-time, text-based 'chat sessions' with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need throughout the course.

In order to participate in the cross-examination assessment, you will need access to Skype.

How are you assessed?

You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics, although for the Distance Learning mode of delivery there are no examinations to sit. Our approaches to learning, assessment and feedback are varied and constructive, to help you build the personal management and employability skills that are essential for a fulfilling career.

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Facilities & Features

Academic Skills Unit (ASK)

ASK will help you become a successful university student. Our workshops are designed to improve a number of essential academic skills from essay writing and understanding plagiarism to revision and exam techniques. This is a great way to enhance your academic performance.



We have invested heavily in open access computer suites across campus. Great working spaces with high-spec PCs (multimedia and CAD), Macs and printing facilities. More specialised software and equipment is also available, such as large format printing, audio-visual equipment and language laboratories. Should you need any assistance, there are specialist technicians on hand to support you in using the facilities.

International Office

For our international students we have a dedicated team of advisers to support you as you settle into life in Portsmouth and at the University. The role of the International Office is to provide you with extensive support to make your time here as stress-free and enjoyable as possible, enabling you to focus on your studies. One of the team almost certainly has direct experience of your culture and may even speak your language.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

This course is an ideal route into a wide range of professional careers in dispute litigation support, fraud examination, and forensic accounting and regulatory investigations The qualification will be suitable for a number of roles in financial regulatory authorities, law firms, accountancy practices and law enforcement agencies. Our Careers and Recruitment team will support you in developing the skills needed to pursue employment opportunities in your chosen career area.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Visit us or apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Postgraduate Open Evenings

Our Postgraduate Open Evenings are taking place between February and April. Lecturers and support staff will be available to discuss your options. You'll also find out more about your chosen course and subjects that interest you.

Booking will open soon but in the meantime, watch our Postgrad Live series to hear from our staff and students about what it's like studying at Portsmouth. 

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK or contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details..

Staff from our International Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Further information

If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan entry, plus scholarships and bursaries available, visit our postgraduate pages.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484