How to choose a university with accounting programmes

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The university you attend can affect your career in accounting and many other fields. It determines what skills you develop, the opportunities you get and the people you meet. Learning how to choose the right accountancy programme may help you understand the options available, so you can make the right decision for your career. In this article, we explain how to choose a university with accounting programmes.

How to choose a university with accounting programmes

If you're wondering how to choose a university with accounting programmes, there are some factors to consider carefully. You want a university that meets your requirements and the professionally required standards. Here are 10 factors to help you decide:

1. Type of accounting course

The primary criteria for choosing a university often focus on the course you want to do and the career you wish to pursue after graduation. Not every university provides the same accounting courses. So, ensure you check that the university offers the accounting degree you want to study.

Examine the details of each course a university provides to understand what the modules include. Ensure they comprise the modules you find interesting and wish to specialise in and apply to your desired career. Also, consider the lecturers and professors who teach at the university. Look for individuals who initiate innovative research in accounting and inspire you to explore your discipline.

Related: 12 types of accountants and different areas of accountancy

2. Various global and national university rankings

To verify the quality of the courses you've shortlisted, you can learn about them beyond what they provide in the university brochure. Contact current students on these courses to learn about their experiences and get feedback. You can do this during university open days, where you can explore your prospective department and campus experience.

You can also get insight from looking at university rankings. Check the position the university and course hold in these and decide based on how they perform. Not all of these rankings are reliable, so check a few different ones before deciding. The Times Higher Education is one that's well known and may be worth checking.

3. Connection with industries and career service

Some universities advertise the connections they have within the industry in their course curriculum. These connections may allow you to secure a position with a reputable accounting firm or similar working prospects. It's also a good idea to look at employment rates after graduation from each university. Many universities also publish this information.

If they don't advertise this information, contact the course leader by email to find out more. Also, consider other students' experiences with the university's career service. Learn how easily they help students find internships and part-time positions during their studies. Getting this information from current students confirms the quality of service you can expect to receive.

Related: How to get an accounting degree and succeed as an accountant

4. Remote learning options

University courses often provide a remote learning option, which can take the form of a Blackboard or online learning system. These platforms typically provide course notes, recordings of lectures and announcements. Today, universities often take a more blended learning approach, where students can rely on learning materials available online.

If accessible, you can listen to lecture recordings to check how effective they are and which ones you prefer. Also, consider the teaching and learning methods they use. Some courses focus on research, while others focus on lectures, seminars and independent study. Others offer work experience opportunities to improve professional skills and earn practical credentials through internships, industry exposure or integrated work placements.

5. Location and its advantages

City universities typically offer better transportation links, a multicultural experience, a vibrant nightlife and more job opportunities, which can allow you to integrate into the locality. Meanwhile, a campus university provides a richer student community experience, with housing, amenities and school buildings within close reach. In choosing a university, consider how each situation affords these opportunities and which ones you prefer.

You may consider these factors as you decide:

  • how far away it is from home

  • how close it is to a weekend job

  • whether there's a vibrant social scene and nightlife

  • what the general community atmosphere is like

  • how expensive it is to live in the area

  • whether the campus location is close to the university's primary location

Related: A beginner's guide to earning your undergraduate degree

6. Size and social scene

A university's size can range from less than 5,000 to over 20,000 students. Smaller universities often have tighter communities and a more selective course catalogue, while large universities may offer a vast range of courses, more extensive facilities and classes. The student-to-staff ratio also affects the quality of teaching. The fewer students there are per lecturer, the more direction and assistance they can give. Consider which features are preferable to your study needs.

In considering size, you may also want to look into the university's social scene. Social scenes allow you to meet people, make friends and connect with those who can assist in your career. You may also prefer a university in a vibrant community with pubs, cinemas, festivals and exciting events throughout the year. You want to ensure that where you spend the next four years or more has a social scene that suits your personality.

7. Cost of living

Universities can be expensive, costing up to around £9,000 per year. You can save money by choosing a university that reduces your living expenses. Consider schooling in a city with cheaper rent or living on a campus with a low accommodation cost. Check for cities and towns known for accommodating students, like Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham or Carlisle.

You can also reduce the cost of fees by planning to finish your degree outside of the country. University tuition fees are cheaper in many European destinations. Some offer bachelor's accounting degree programmes taught in English to attract international students. Their master's degrees are often inexpensive and are also widely conducted in English.

Related: How to become an accountant

8. Student support services

Some students often need additional support for their learning. These help students manage deadlines or assist with learning challenges. Most universities provide these services to help students with special needs, offering them the assistance they require to complete their degree programmes. Such services vary from university to university, with some offering more advanced support than others.

If you need additional support, investigate what each university offers. They may provide this information in their brochures, but you can also contact them directly to get more detail and make an informed choice. Ask about the specific assistance you may need and how the school provides for students with such requirements.

9. Opportunities for overseas placement

Many universities offer accounting courses with exciting overseas placements that allow you to travel around Europe and other parts of the world. There, you gain valuable experience that you can add to your professional CV. This factor may not be crucial to deciding where to study, but you can still consider it, especially if studying abroad is something you want to do.

The Erasmus programme exists for this reason. It provides for easy movement and educational exchange between registered universities and institutions for eligible students. Check with the universities you're considering to see if they're part of the programme and how you can take advantage of it.

Related: How to become a financial accountant (with certifications)

10. Extra-curricular activities

Attending a university allows you to take part in social activities outside of academic work, which can enhance your learning experience. You can explore other passions, make friends, work with NGOs and build interpersonal skills for your career. So, check out the various extra-curricular activities available in university fraternities, sororities, clubs and societies.

If you're athletic, consider the sports teams at the university and the competitions they play in. Most universities have sports facilities for students, which you can consider if you like to stay fit as you study. These avenues allow you to build a network of professionals and future colleagues and release academic stress.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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