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Master of Professional Accounting
(MPA). Available online

About this course

Interpreting the language of business is no mean feat. It takes an accountant with commercial know-how and lateral thinking skills, who can exercise professional judgement and communicate complex financial information with clarity. Even in times of economic downturn professional accountants are hot property - expert accountants with broad skills in managing business finances, regulatory compliance, spotting anomalies and opportunities, are vital in helping a business flourish and grow.

Southern Cross University’s Master of Professional Accounting can help you get there. It’s CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA) accredited, satisfies all CPA foundation units, and provides a clear path to becoming a Certified Practising Accountant - a professional title that will open doors all over the world. You’ll also qualify for entry into the CA Chartered Accountants Program.

But this degree isn’t only for accountants or those wanting to become a CPA or CA. Accounting is universally applicable - every organisation, no matter how big or small, needs one. So whether you already work in accounting or finance, or come from other fields like health, business, communications or IT, our MPA can help you meet the challenges and grab the opportunities in this global growth sector - from Tweed Heads to Hong Kong, and anywhere in between.

Career opportunities

The career outcomes of a Master of Professional Accounting are as diverse as the businesses that need accountants. Where will your MPA take you?

  • Advisor/Consultant - Provide advice as an all-round expert in accounting, auditing, tax, finance and risk assessment as a consultant for local, state and federal government, publicly listed companies, private firms and the not-for-profit sector.
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) - Highly regarded internationally, and with 150,000 peers working in 120 countries around the world, you’ll help guide policy, analyse and interpret financial and non-financial information, and advise companies on where they stand and where they’re headed.
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - Manage the financial risk, recordkeeping and reporting of large, local and global enterprises while supporting your CEO by leading the execution of change and growth strategies developed by your management team.
  • Environmental Accountant - Identify, measure and report on resource use and company impact on the environment. Forecast financial risk associated with breaches, and create and communicate mitigation plans (like the purchase of carbon credits).
  • Forensic Accountant - As a forensic accountant you’ll prepare accounting material suitable for use in a court of law. You might specialise in insurance or personal injury claims, fraud, construction, or royalty audits.
  • Financial Journalist - Broaden community understanding by explaining or examining policy, technology, trends and key players relating to global business, economic and financial issues, news and events.
  • Management Accountant - Your strategic approach to reporting, revenue recognition and processing, forecasting and system control will assist in creating and delivering business strategies.

Professional recognition

With an MPA and some professional experience under your belt you could apply for professional memberships and licences recognised the world over:

Major areas of study

Our Master of Professional Accounting consists of compulsory core units and elective units.

Depending on the units you choose, your electives could further broaden your understanding of accounting theory and practice, or hone your skills in a particular area - for example business and finance in the Asia Pacific.

A key feature of the MPA program is the opportunity to undertake a double-weighted industry research project that can be applied to your own company or organisation.

Assessment methods

Units typically include written and/or oral assignments that match typical work tasks: business reports, case studies, presentations, research studies and plans. We support your performance via weekly activities that scaffold learning and act as a ‘rehearsal space’ for the assessments.

A practical examination ensures you graduate with key industry skills and knowledge and is a requirement of CPA Australia and CA. With almost 100 examination centres located around Australia, there’s sure to be a place to sit your exams nearby. To find out more about the examination process please call us on 1300 589 882.

Teaching methods

Our flexible course fits around you. It’s designed to meet the demands of busy, mobile people – people who travel frequently, work abroad, or juggle multiple work, life and family commitments. You can enter at one of six points throughout the year, and organise your study program to take advantage of the peaks and troughs in your own life.

We employ clever, intuitive and interactive learning software that enables you to collaborate with peers and lecturers. Our multi-modal approach delivers content as video, audio, hands-on, practical exercises, and other media to suit all kinds of learners. Discuss and debate ideas with your peers and lecturer in dedicated forums and with other networking technology.

Each unit has its own website to keep you focused. Every week, you’ll find activities, readings and case studies laid out with step-by-step instructions. As the weeks progress and your knowledge deepens, you’ll tackle increasingly sophisticated concepts, and employ critical analysis.

Make no mistake, this is a rigorous degree. Each unit is presented in a seven-week block, and demands up to 150 hours of study – which translates into around 20 hours a week. The benefits, though, will last a lifetime. 

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

You’ll find our learning resources technologically sophisticated but intuitive and very easy to use. The four virtual spaces you’ll use most frequently are MySCU, Blackboard Learn, the course and unit websites, and the library.

MySCU is your portal to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. It will link off to your specific learning and information sites, where you can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to your work.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn is where you, your peers and your lecturers communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. You can share files, presentations and applications. All recorded material is produced specifically for the course and addresses key learning points.

The course website houses all your learning materials – study resources, assessment information, quizzes, readings and other information. You may need to buy or access textbooks, but for the most part everything you need will be online.

SCU library's wide range of services include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. As an online student, you have access to the same resources as an on campus student. You can even borrow library books – the library will express post them to you free of charge. For more about library resources, see the Library Toolbox.

Equipment and facilities

Because learning in the Master of Professional Accounting is 100% online, you’ll need the technology to ensure you have a seamless study experience. You’ll need:

  • a fast, reliable computer – either a PC or a Mac – with the latest operating system
  • a fast, reliable internet connection
  • the latest version of Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox
  • the Blackboard app, which is available as a free download. We can help you with that.

Occasionally, your lecturer may suggest specific software or textbooks for a specific unit. The library will usually have multiple copies of frequently used textbooks.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

  1. Applicants for admission to candidature in the Master of Professional Accounting may be selected where they can demonstrate professional standing approved by the School Board to be equivalent to the requirements of Rule 2, Section 3.
  2. With reference to Schedule B in Rule 2, Section 1 the level of attainment should be at least equivalent to IELTS 6.5.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the Master of Professional Accounting a candidate must successfully complete not less than sixteen (16) units (192 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units in Part A and Part B; and
    2. two (2) units (24 credit points) from Part C
  2. To be eligible for the award of Graduate Diploma in Accounting a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units (96 credit points) from Part A.
  3. To be eligible for the award of Graduate Certificate in Accounting a candidate shall successfully complete not less than four (4) units (48 credit points) from Part A.
  4. A candidate in the Master of Professional Accounting who has completed (8) units (96 credit points) and met the requirements for the Graduate Diploma in Accounting may elect to be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Accounting following withdrawal from candidature for the Master of Professional Accounting.
  5. A candidate in the Master of Professional Accounting who has completed four (4) units (48 credit points) and met the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Accounting may elect to be awarded the Graduate Certificate in Accounting following withdrawal from candidature for the Master of Professional Accounting


Advanced standing



Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

Our enrolment advisors can help you move easily through the application process, including advance standing. Please call us on 1300 854 556 or apply now.

International students

The following international applicants are welcome to apply:

  • Applicants residing overseas from Australia, or
  • holders of a visitor, work or bridging visa with study entitlements or no limitations of study, apply now.

This course is not CRICOS registered and therefore Education Services for Overseas Students Commonwealth legislation (ESOS) and National Code regulations preclude international applicants who are holders of a Student Visa.

Those who would prefer to study in Australia as an International student and holder of a student visa, please refer to SCU International Study Options for onshore students for further information.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'