Accounting & Control

Serious games need good scorekeeping
Control the finer points of financial management and financial statements, master the world of accountancy and corporate governance.

To survive and to succeed, all organizations need reliable systems for generating financial information that is relevant to managers, investors and other stakeholders. Even if accounting and control are not the most glamorous aspects of business, they are indispensable. Designing, operating and auditing financial reporting systems for complex organizations is a challenge for the finest minds, and requires a much broader range of skills than the ability to add and subtract.

The Accounting and Control programme draws on the strengths of VU University Amsterdam both as an established research university and as one of the major providers of postgraduate professional education in accountancy. With a strong academic core, an openness to the world of practice, and an international outlook, the programme is an effective starting point in your development as a professional preparer, user, or auditor of financial information, and a gateway to further specialized training.

The programme will give you a solid basis for pursuing a career in accounting and control. The programme is designed in particular for students aiming for positions as financial manager or controller in major organizations, as well as for those who seek to work as an internal or public auditor.

Faculty of Economics & Business Administration

The Master in Accounting and Control is a one-year programme consisting of a minimum of seven courses and a thesis. The programme sets a quick pace, with short, focused teaching periods of six weeks, followed by exams. The core of the programme consists of required courses in financial reporting, management accounting, corporate law, corporate governance and empirical research in accounting. In addition, you will have the opportunity to take a range of electives on subjects such as auditing, accounting information systems, management control, corporate finance and accounting theory. Courses typically consist of a mixture of lectures and active teaching methods, involving both individual and group work.

Finally, you will write a Master's thesis worth 18 credits. Your thesis will demonstrate that you possess both the knowledge of the discipline expected of an aspiring professional, and the research, analytical and reporting skills required of a competent researcher.

Accounting & Control courses in study guide.

Once you have successfully completed the Master’s programme in Accounting and Control, you will possess solid knowledge of the production chain within the financial and administrative operations of major organizations. You will have mastered the various aspects of these processes, from the initial recording of transactions through internal reporting and its implications for decision-making, to external presentation and the auditing of reported figures.

The direction you decide to take will depend partly on your specialization. Management Control and Accounting trains you to become a financial manager and controller. The specialization in Financial Accounting and Auditing will allow you to embark on a career as an internal or public auditor. The Information Management specialization will prepare you for a career in the field of management accountancy and consultancy, with an emphasis on aspects related to designing, running and securing information systems.

Programme graduates will be equipped for entry-level positions as assistant controllers or assistant auditors, for example. The programme is an excellent springboard for the kind of further professional training that is normally expected for such positions.

VU Amsterdam itself offers a range of postgraduate programmes leading to qualifications such as Certified Controller, Registered Auditor (Netherlands), EDP Auditor, Financial Analyst (CFA), Management Consultant, Change Manager or Public Sector Controller. In addition, the university offers PhD programmes for those students who wish to pursue an academic career, or who wish to deepen their knowledge even further prior to embarking on a professional career.

The Master's programme in Accounting and Control provides you with a clear overview of current developments in both theory and practice. The programme will give you a solid basis for further specialization in a wide range of careers. You can choose your own electives and the topic for your thesis. This means that you can give an individual flavour to your studies according to your own interests. Common specializations include:

Controlling
Remaining in control of operational and financial processes is one of the major challenges facing the management of all eterprises. In large corporations, the control function is now a vital part of the organization, and the chief financial officer is frequently a key member of the management team. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this area, either in the private or public sector, you will find the core courses in management accounting and corporate governance of interest. In addition, you can choose electives relating to corporate finance and management control.

Accountancy
In a globalizing economy, companies are under increasing pressure to provide high-quality public accountability in the form of reliable and transparent financial information. In response, the accountancy profession has developed into one of the major and most internationalised professional service industries. The legal audit of published financial statements remains the core of the auditor's work, and it is also central to the curriculum of the Master's programme. If you are thinking about taking this specialization, you will appreciate the thorough grounding in International Financial Reporting Standards, which is a standard course in this programme. Additional electives will help you to deepen your understanding of the economics of accounting and auditing, and you can also gain exposure to professional standards and practices in auditing.

Rooted in research
VU Amsterdam is actively involved in research in the area of Accounting, Control and Auditing via ARCA, the Amsterdam Research Centre in Accounting. Almost all of the department's teaching staff are connected with ARCA and are therefore closely involved in the Center's specialized research.

Seamless postgraduate transition
VU Amsterdam offers a range of renowned postgraduate programmes which follow on seamlessly from the Master's programme in Accounting and Control. These programmes lead to qualifications such as Certified Controller, Registered Accountant (Netherlands), EDP Auditor, Financial Analyst, Management Consultant, Change Manager or Controller in the non-profit and government sector. The programme's optional component gives you plenty of scope to acquire a broad perspective on areas relating to your chosen field.

Understanding a vital business process
The Master’s programme in Accounting and Control deals with all aspects of generating, reporting and using financial data in organizations. The subjects covered include the internal use of financial information, financial planning, financial operations management, preparing published financial statements and financial auditing, as well as the general context of corporate governance of which accounting is a crucial component. The Master’s programme at VU Amsterdam will deepen your academic knowledge of the practice of accounting and control, and introduce you to the latest rules and regulations in the field, with subjects including Management Control, Management Accounting, Financial Reporting, Auditing and Corporate Law.

Carlijn Schneiders

Student

Testimonial Carlijn Schneiders

"This master’s programme really gave me a feeling for the accounting profession. Lecturers with much working experience in accounting and auditing brought many real-life examples, which made classes lively. My original enthusiasm for the accounting profession has only increased during this master’s programme."

Overview Accounting & Control

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year

Application deadline

1 June via www.vu.studielink.nl (students with direct admission) / International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students)

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

Management Control and Accounting/Financial Accounting and Auditing/Information Management

Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law

Jolanda Slof

Thomas van Rosmalen

Alumnus

Thomas van Rosmalen - MSc Accounting & Control

"For me this Master's programme was the year I needed to achieve a professional level. The lectures that are offered were a great help in my preparation for the accounting and audit profession. This study also stimulates you to go out and meet the employers and to get hands-on experience. There are a lot of events throughout the year to help you to get in contact with these future employers and to help develop skills needed besides your academic level. For me this combination was a great success, this study helped me to find the job I wanted at the company of my choice."

VU Amsterdam also offers the MSc Accounting & Control in a parttime programme. The parttime programme is taught mainly in Dutch, using the same English-language teaching materials as used in the fulltime programme. The parttime programme is offered in combination with the postgraduate programmes for Accountancy (Registeraccountant)  For more information on the parttime study Master Accounting & Control and postgraduate Accountancy we refer to: www.hetbetereweten.nl

As a one-year programme, the Masters’s programme in Accounting & Control does not formally include an internship. In practice, many students do spend some time with companies and other organizations in various arrangements.  While this will not by itself earn you study credits, we are open to consider whether and how such an experience can be made part of your thesis.

I want to send my application form to apply for a Master's programme before the first of April. I expect to graduate before the end of this academic year. Is it possible to apply without having my Bachelor's diploma yet?
Yes, that is possible. Your eligibility can be assessed without the actual diploma. After (conditional) admission to one of our MSc programmes, we will contact you and ask for the original and official documents for registration at the university. One of these documents is the official diploma (or certified copy of it).

I have graduated from a Dutch HBO. Is it possible for me to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
Unfortunately, if you hold a HBO BSc diploma you cannot get direct admission to one of our Master's programmes. We have a specific Premaster’s programme for some of our Master’s programmes. The Premaster’s programmes are entirely Dutch taught, you need a NT2-2 certificate to get admission and your GMAT score has to be at least 550. Some Master’s programmes have other entry requirements if you hold a Dutch HBO. Please check ‘admission and application’ on the Master’s page to see if there is a specific Premaster’s programme available.

Is it possible to study one of the Master's programmes part-time?
All Master's programmes open to international students are full time programmes, which means that you are expected to spend at least 4 days a week at the university. There are two part-time Master's programmes both taught in Dutch.

Can I apply for a MSc programme starting in February?
No, all our Master's programmes start in September.

Can I apply online?
International students can apply online. See the webpage "Admission and application" of your respective master's programme for more information.

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: Admission request before 1 May, application in Studielink before 1 June.

Do you require work experience to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
No, we do not require work experience. Sometimes it might help to have some work experience to get admission if your Bachelor's diploma does not cover all the academic requirements (see admission requirements in the left menu).

Do you require GMAT or GRE to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?       
In some cases we might require a GRE or GMAT. For the Master’s programmes in Economics and Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics a GRE might be required. The admission board will let you know if a GRE is required. At other Master’s programmes a GMAT or GRE is not required. This does not mean that we do not pay any attention to your grades. If you have obtained a good GMAT or GRE score it is recommended to mention this in your application and to enclose a copy of the results. 
 
Please note: To be admitted to one of our specific Dutch taught pre-master's programmes you have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. 

Is it possible to pay the tuition fee in installments?
Yes, that is possible. The registration period is in August after your arrival in the Netherlands. You can pay the tuition fee either at once before 1 September or you can choose to sign a contract that you will pay it in installments during the academic year.

Suzan Vink

Graduate 2016

Suzan Vink MSc Accounting & Control

"The master’s programme Accounting & Control at VU Amsterdam is a challenging and internationally oriented course that focuses on theoretical concepts and technical standards within the accounting discipline. Furthermore, current developments in both academic research and the profession are interactively discussed. You are taught to adopt a critical academic attitude in order to conduct research and review existing literature. Learning material, lectures and supervision is of high standards. Moreover, the master’s degree in Accounting & Control at VU Amsterdam provides you with a solid foundation of knowledge and competences for practice and offers excellent career prospects."

Dutch students

Admission
Besides the Master's specific requirements you also have to meet the faculty's general requirements. These requirements and the corresponding application procedure differ for different categories of students.

For the Master's specific requirements find the Master's programme of your choice at www.feweb.vu.nl/graduateschool and choose 'Admission requirements and application'.

If you did not take your Economic or (international) Business Administration Bachelor's degree (IBA students, see paragraph for IBA students below) at VU University Amsterdam you must submit a request for admission to the admission board. You have to fill out the Form Evaluation admission Master and add to it the following documents: a description of the subjects you passed, your transcript, the study load and a list of the literature studied.

You could send your request per email until 1 May.

The Admission board will then decide whether you can be admitted directly to the Master's or whether you first need to compensate for any mismatches between your qualification and our admission requirements. Possible outcomes of your application are direct admission to the Master's programme, admission under the condition that you must also pass one or more Bachelor's courses, admission to one of the pre-Master's programmes or admission to one of our Bachelor's programmes.

Application
More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Students with direct admission from VU University Amsterdam
If you have direct admission to the Master's programme of your choice you need a new enrollment in Studielink.

Depending on your higher vocational qualifications (Dutch HBO or equivalent) you can gain admission to one of our Pre-master's programmes. In order to do so, you also have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. These Pre-master’s programmes are designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university level.

Please note: these Pre-master's programmes are taught in Dutch only. For more information about the Pre-master's programmes see 'Master na HBO'.

Deadline for an admission request is 1 May.

International students

In order to gain admission, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc programme Accounting and Control

Applicants need to have successfully completed the following courses and studied the corresponding literature (or its equivalent):

  • Financial Accounting 
    Elliott & Elliott, Financial Accounting and Reporting (Pearson Education), 16th or more recent edition,
  • Management Accounting 
    Rajan, Dater & Horngren, Cost Accounting, Global Edition (Pearson Education), 15th or more recent edition.
  • Statistics 
    Doane & Seward, Applied Statistics in Business & Economics (McGraw-Hill), 4th or more recent edition,
  • Financial Statement Analysis 
    Healy & Palepu, Business Analysis Valuation: Using Financial Statements (Cengage Learning), 5th or more recent edition.
  • VU University Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores:
IELTS (academic):
  • Minimum general score 6,5
  • Minimum score speaking 6,0
  • Minimum score listening 6,0
  • Minimum score writing 6,5
  • Minimum score reading 6,5 

TOEFL:

  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93
Cambridge English:
  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English. 
Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email. 

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!  

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam!

Further information about: 
Accommodation 
Visa 
Tuition fees       




As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisors at the International Office: 

Floris Korbee, Paul Steeman and Leanne Schrijver
E Admissionsfeba@vu.nl

Master's evening 6 December

Paul van der Weijden

Student

Testimonial Paul van der Weijden

"This master is very dynamic and it covers all the fields of interest in the area of accounting and control. I gained a very good understanding of the related professions and I perceived this study as a good preparation before starting to work. The master challenges the student to think about and to debate new developments in the field."