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Professional Diploma in Accounting Apply Online Now

  Course Director:  Anne Tynan 
  e: anne.tynan@ul.ie
  t:   +353 61 234658

Course Fees 2019/20                                        Click to view the Programme Brochure
Full Time: 
EU €5,195  Non-EU: €5,195
(including UL Student Centre levy, €90)

The Professional Diploma in Accounting is a one year full-time "conversion" programme of study designed to equip non-accounting graduates with a thorough grounding in accounting theory and practice. Students will gain a high level of competence in the accounting discipline through a challenging learning environment, thus allowing them the opportunity to progress to study for a professional accounting qualification.

Why should you consider a Professional Diploma in Accounting?
  • Acountants play a key role in Irish and international business and industry.
  • A Professional Diploma in Accounting offers exceptional employment prospects.
  • A number of exemptions from professional accounting examinations may be available to graduates from the programme;
    • Graduates from the programme will be entitled to exemptions in full from the CAP1 examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland, subject to minimum grade requirements.
    • Graduates from the programme will be entitled to exemptions from the ACCA Fundamentals papers as follows: F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F7, F9.
    • Graduates will also be exempted from a number of CIMA exams
  • Students will be exposed to a self-learning environment that will expand their critical-thinking, analytical skills and ethical values.
  • Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of the key disciplines of accounting, finance, taxation and business law.

The programme maintains close ties with the accountancy profession and lecturers on the programme are experienced and qualified accountants

Course Structure

Autumn Semester Spring Semester
Financial Management Corporate Finance
Management and Cost Accounting Performance Management
Financial Accounting Financial Reporting
Taxation Company and Partnership Law
Legal Environment of Business  

Financial Management
The purpose of the module is to provide students with a knowledge and appreciation of basic financial management for business. The module will develop students' understanding of key topics in financial theory and it will enable students to understand the principles of investment appraisal. The syllabus includes: the financial & economic environment; capital investment appraisal methodologies such as payback, discounted payback, accounting rate of return, net present value and internal rate of return; capital rationing decisions; the elements of working capital management; personal financial planning.

Financial Accounting
The purpose of the module is to equip students with an understanding of the context of financial accounting in the business environment, and to provide fundamental accounting capabilities. The syllabus includes: basic accounting principles/definitions; fundamental concepts and valuation bases; regulatory framework of accounting; the accountant’s role and ethical dimension; books of prime entry and the nominal ledger; control accounts and trial balance; cash book and bank reconciliation; elements of financial statements; sole trader accounts and partnership accounts, introduction to company accounts.

Management and Cost Accounting
The purpose of the module is to equip students with an understanding of management accounting as a basis for developing the tools and knowledge required to meet management information needs. The syllabus covers: the organisational context of management accounting; the role of the management accountant; ethical issues facing the management accountant; cost behaviour patterns; the cost accounting system (including absorption and variable costing and overhead accounting); traditional and modern costing techniques.

The purpose of the module is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to deal with routine issues in personal income tax and VAT and also to provide students with an understanding of the legislation governing these taxes. The module includes the following: income tax administration; residence, domicile and ordinary residence; income tax computation including the tax treatment of various items such as trade and professional income, interest, foreign income, rental income, employment income and dividends; general principles of VAT and VAT treatment of various business transactions.

Legal Environment of Business
The purpose of the module is to provide students with an understanding of the legal environment in which business operates and of the legal principles central to commercial life. The syllabus includes: common law systems; the civil law systems; the European Union legal system; Sources of Law; the role of law in the business environment, its function and methods, legal philosophy in business law; contractual transactions; formation; formalities; capacity; contractual terms and obligations; standard form contracts; statutory regulation; discharge.

Corporate Finance
The purpose of the module is to provide students with an understanding of the financial environment set within the context of the small developing company. It will enable students to provide relevant financial information and advice to organisations. The syllabus includes: capital structure decisions; the cost of capital (risk V return; portfolio theory); sources of finance; the role of banks in providing finance; the nature and role of capital markets; dividend policy; risk management.

Financial Reporting
The purpose of the module is to equip students with the ability to prepare a set of financial statements in accordance with applicable reporting standards for a range of business structures. The topics covered in the module include: company financial statements, accounting policies; events after the reporting period; construction contracts; income taxes; property, plant and equipment; leases; financial instruments; inventories; group financial statements.

Performance Management
The purpose of the module is to provide students with an understanding of various management accounting tools that enable organisations to develop and assess performance. The syllabus includes: the role of budgets and budgetary control; budgetary techniques to prepare financial plans; the behavioural aspects of budgeting; standard costing and variance analysis techniques; cost volume profit (CVP) analysis and breakeven analysis; decision making scenarios; limiting factor decisions; decision making and uncertainty.

Company and Partnership Law
The module will provide students with an understanding of the legal regulation of the primary forms of business organisation: the corporate entity and the partnership unit. The topics covered include: corporate formation; corporate governance; role of shareholders, directors and employees; directors duties, AGM, accounts and audits; minority shareholder protection; protection of parties dealing with corporations; capital integrity; minimum requirements, distributions out of profits, repayments of capital; corporate termination: liquidation, receivership, winding up, examinership, partnerships; joint and several liability; formation of partnerships; dissolution of partnerships; limited partnerships.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will possess a minimum of a 2.2 honours primary degree in any field other than accounting related fields. An interview may form part of the application process. Applicants who cannot satisfy the minimum 2.2 honours primary degree requirement may be accepted on the basis of relevant professional experience.

In the case of international students, applicants must hold a qualification that is equivalent to an Irish or UK honours bachelor's degree (NQAI level 8). Where candidates are non-native English language speakers, the candidate should meet the University's English Language Requirements.



The programme is delivered on a full-time basis only with contact hours of approximately 15 hours per week.  Lectures and tutorials are normally scheduled between 9am and 6pm, Monday-Friday.

A variety of educational approaches will be employed in the delivery of the programme, including interactive lectures and tutorials, guided reading, small group team work, seminars and workshops, e-learning and guest speakers from industry. Approximately a quarter of the student workload will be taken up by formal contact hours. The remainder of the student workload will be divided between independent and private study and the preparation of projects and examinations

Graduates and Careers

The Professional Diploma in Accounting will prepare graduates to pursue careers in accountancy firms, financial institutions, and manufacturing and service companies in Ireland and abroad. Graduates are exempt, in full, from the CAP1 examinations of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Graduates are exempt from the ACCA Fundamentals papers as follows: F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F7, F9.  The course provides the perfect foundation for a career as a professional accountant by focusing on the core areas of accounting knowledge that will prepare students to excel in the workplace and in their future professional exams.
Student testimonials

"I would highly recommend this course to any graduates interested in pursuing a career in accountancy, taxation or business.  Both the lectures and material provided in this PDA is of the highest standard providing students with a first class understanding of the material.  All lecturers are extremely approachable and helpful, with a great deal of experience in their respective careers.  The professional exemptions provided within this course are highly sought after by all prospective employers and, while the workload is intensive, the rewards and opportunities received make it all worthwhile.  When it came to applying for jobs, I found this PDA highly regarded across the accounting sector.  Thankfully, I was in a fortunate position of being offered training contracts with two of the Big 4 accounting firms, deciding to go with EY.  This high level of interest was down to attaining a full exemption from the CAP1 exams and the fact that the mix of lectures, tutorials and practical assignments involved prepares us for the professional exams."
Catherine Hayes, EY

"Having come from a non-business undergraduate programme, this Professional Diploma in Accounting provided me with the perfect platform from which to launch a career in accountancy.  The PDA was highly recommended to me and it has certainly lived up to its expectations. The manner of delivery of the course has led to a first class learning experience from the quality of the lecture and tutorial material to the professionalism and teaching skills of the lecturers.   The challenging and practical nature of the course makes it highly regarded across the accounting sector. Thankfully I secured a training contract with KPMG and a huge factor in securing this contract was attaining an exemption from the CAP1 exams which is offered by this PDA.  This exemption is highly sought after by all prospective employers and, while the workload on the course is intensive, the rewards make the effort worthwhile."
Eanna Quish, KPMG

“The Professional Diploma in Accounting (PDA) is an intensive and rewarding course which provides an excellent foundation for a career in accountancy. The mix of lectures, tutorials and practical assignments prepares students for professional exams and for further career development. I found both the teaching staff and the course material to be of an exceptionally high standard. The lecturers are extremely approachable and helpful and have a great deal of experience which is reflected in the excellent delivery of the course. I believe the PDA programme differentiates students from other graduates in a competitive job market and since commencing the course I am delighted to have secured a three year training contract with PwC. Choosing the PDA course has been a wonderful decision for me and I would highly recommend this programme to graduates from any discipline interested in pursuing a career in accountancy, taxation or business.”  
Sarah Gillman, PwC
“Coming from a sport and exercise science background with no prior experience in accountancy or business, I was not sure what to expect from the course in terms of difficulty or whether or not it would put me in a strong position for future employment. Any concern I had going into the course was quickly put to rest in the first few weeks and having just completed the PDA, I cannot speak highly enough about it. For any non-business undergraduate considering a career in the accounting and finance sector, I would consider this course to be essential. The quality of the teaching and delivery of the course material is second to none and every member of the teaching staff is more than approachable with any concerns you may have, be it regarding the course itself or future career paths. PDA graduates are becoming increasingly sought after in a highly competitive job market and this was evident from the very beginning. Completing the course provides full exemption from the CAP1 exams and also a number of exemptions from the ACCA exams, which when coupled with graduate’s prior experience, sets them out from a very large crowd. Completing the PDA enabled me to secure a three year training contract with PwC, while also putting me in a very strong position for future professional exams. Having come from a position of uncertainty as many undergraduate students may experience, I could not be happier with my decision in choosing the PDA.”
Darrin Hanrahan, BSc Sports Science, PDA

“I thoroughly enjoyed my year on the PDA course in UL. Coming from a completely different background [BSc Sports Science] a worry was how different and stressful the year would be but the course is so well structured and the lecturers are so helpful that there were no worries at all once we got started. The fact that the whole class is starting at the same stage and coming from different backgrounds also makes things easier and you easily work together and the environment is really good. The class size also helps with learning as you really feel the lecturers are directing things toward you. Always having the aim of the chartered accountants Ireland or ACCA exemptions in mind when working really helps to focus you throughout the year also. The course work being aimed at this content I'm sure will benefit us going forward in our careers and professional exams. The added bonus of this course is having lecturers who are involved in the professional bodies and understand the real life application of what you are studying. The job prospects from the course are outstanding also. A number of us in the class have secured contracts at 'Big 4' and mid-size firms. This is something that really drew me to the course and it certainly didn't disappoint in that regard. I would recommend this course to anyone and I really feel that it has put me on the same footing as people who have completed full undergraduate degrees in business or accounting and I don't feel I will be out of place when I begin my training contract in October.”

Eoin O’Callaghan, BSc Sports Science, PDA 

Industry endorsement
“Chartered Accountants Ireland welcomes the launch of the Professional Diploma in Accounting.  This Diploma provides a fast track into the chartered accountancy profession for graduates from non-business degrees.  The demand for trainees from Diploma programmes remains strong from our member firms.”
Ronan O’Loughlin, Director of Education and Training, Chartered Accountants Ireland

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
"The Professional Diploma in Accounting is an ACCA Accredited Programme."
Alan Hatfield, Director of Learning


Professional Diploma in Accounting Graduation 2014