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ACCT40815: Accounting Theory

It is possible that changes to modules or programmes might need to be made during the academic year, in response to the impact of Covid-19 and/or any further changes in public health advice.

Type Tied
Level 4
Credits 15
Availability Available in 2023/24
Module Cap None.
Location Durham
Department Accounting


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combinations of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with:
  • a theoretical framework for understanding the nature of accounting;
  • specialist knowledge and understanding of different theories of accounting;
  • theoretically informed critical appreciation of accounting practices.


  • The scope of accounting theory means that exact module content may vary. Examples of potential topic areas include the following:
  • Accountability and accounting;
  • Accounting as an information system;
  • The nature of accounting information in the context of conventions and standards;
  • Positive accounting theories;
  • Normative accounting theories;
  • Systems oriented theories;
  • Critical theories in Accounting
  • Critical perspectives on accounting;
  • Methodological issues in experimental and market-based accounting research.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

  • By the end of the module students should have a specialist knowledge and critical understanding of:
  • the nature and importance of theory for developing accounting knowledge and application of that knowledge to the provision of information for decision making;
  • moral values that are implicit in accountability particularly where accounting methods have to do with trust, care, and transparency;
  • different theories of accounting and their application to accounting practices.

Subject-specific Skills:

  • By the end of this module students should have the ability to critically appreciate different accounting theories and take a theoretically informed view of accounting practices.

Key Skills:

  • written communication
  • planning, organising and time management
  • problem-solving and analytical skills
  • computer literacy
  • summarising and critically assessing professional reports, statements and academic articles

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A combination of lectures, seminars, small group work and guided reading will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module.
  • The summative assignment will test students' knowledge and understanding of the material covered in the module, their critical evaluation and analytical skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Lectures101 per week2 hours20 
Seminars41 per fortnight1 hour4Yes
Preparation & Reading126 

Summative Assessment

Component: Written AssignmentComponent Weighting: 100%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Written assignment2500 words max100Same

Formative Assessment

Small group presentations during seminars. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail.

More information

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Current Students: Please contact your department.