Master of Professional Accounting


The Master of Professional Accounting is a conversion taught master's qualification that provides graduates with the skills, knowledge, and competencies to be a highly effective accountant in both domestic and international organisations. Through applied research, students will gain an understanding of the theoretical considerations facing the Accounting profession while developing the confidence to challenge existing practices, and develop innovative new ways to solve issues in the field.

The qualification is aligned with professional accounting bodies in the industry (such as the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, (CAANZ), Certified Practicing Accountants Australia (CPA Australia), and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), allowing graduates to gain provisional membership.

The Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) is also part of the Executive Development Programmes, providing opportunitues to pursue new career pathway options. Candidates with a background in any discipline may apply and no prior experience in Commerce or Accounting is required.

The School of Business and Economics is placed within the top five per cent of business schools worldwide through its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). UC ranks in the top 150 universities in the world for Accounting and Finance (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).

The Master of Professional Accounting graduate

  • Demonstrates in-depth knowledge and understanding of current theoretical concepts, frameworks and industry practice within the fields of accounting and business.
  • Thinks logically, analytically and critically with respect to the academic literature and professional journals within the field of accounting and business.
  • Plans and carries out independent research that demonstrates critical awareness of issues and challenges in the fields of accounting and business.
  • Synthesises academic and professional information and effectively communicates findings to a range of audiences in different ways.

Entry requirements

Normally the minimum requirement is a three-year bachelor’s degree from a New Zealand university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent. If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard.

Qualification specific requirements

A degree with at least a B grade average in 300-level courses is required. Candidates must be approved by the Dean of Commerce who will take account of the relevance and standard of previous studies and experience.

For the full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Professional Accounting or use the admission requirements checker. You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

See the 'How to apply' section below for more details.

Qualification structure and duration

The MPA programme consists of 14 courses taught over five terms, in ten-week blocks. The first 13 courses are 15 points each, and must be completed to an overall B grade average in order for the student to move on to the capstone Research Project (MBAZ680 Research Project) or Internship (MBAZ681 Internship) (45 points).

The MPA is a 240-point qualification which can be completed in 15-17 months of full-time study or up to four years part-time.

Subjects and courses

For the up-to-date schedule of courses, see the Regulations for the Master of Professional Accounting.

How to apply

The programme has intakes in February and October.

A special application is required. It is essential that all applicants discuss their application with the MPA Programme Coordinator before completing the application form. See the MPA application process for details of entry requirements, application forms and start dates.

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate study can bring many career benefits eg, specialist skills and enhanced knowledge, entry into specific occupations, higher starting salary/progression rates, research capability/achievement and evidence of high academic attainment/self-discipline. 

Useful resources:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Professional Accounting.

For study planning help contact the Executive Development Programmes team or the College of Business and Law:

College of Business and Law | Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 369 3300


Fraser Howard

Fraser Howard

'UC has high quality lecturers that provoke thought and get the best out of you as an individual...'

Richard Gray

Richard Gray

'A future with an accounting degree offers a lot of prosperity...'