All you need to know about the OBU degree

Welcome to a transcript of this podcast. Please be aware that this podcast was recorded ahead of the programme closure announcement. The programme will close in May 2026.

Jane Towers Clark: Hi, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us on this podcast for the BSc in applied accounting. My name is Dr Jane Towers Clark. I'm head of academic partnerships at ACCA and I'd like to welcome my colleague from Oxford Brookes University, Dr Kate Ringham.

Kate Ringham: Hi everybody. So as Jane said, my name is Dr Kate Ringham and I'm the programme lead which is the course director for the BSc Applied Accounting at Oxford Brookes Business School, which is part of Oxford Brookes University.

Jane: Thanks very much, Kate. So let's kick off the questions and start with Can you explain to those listening what the BSc Applied Accounting actually is?

Kate: So the BSc in Applied Accounting is a unique opportunity available to ACCA students to gain a UK degree awarded by Oxford Brookes University, by the combination of their ACCA examinations alongside some work for Oxford Brookes University.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. And in terms of the value that having a degree adds to a CV, can you give some insights into that?

Kate: Yes. So the university degree gives you an opportunity to develop other skills and attributes that are highly valued by employers. You build on the technical skills that you've developed through your examinations. But you've also got an opportunity to develop higher thinking skills, interpersonal skills, time management skills, all of which we know employers really value.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. Yes, I agree that employees are absolutely crucial to this and what they need from students. So do students need to actually go to Oxford?

Kate: No, not at all. This is a degree that is available online. So it is a combination of the ACCA examinations, the Ethics and Professional Skills module, and a piece of coursework for Oxford Brookes. The coursework is completed wherever you are in the world, and then is submitted electronically to Oxford Brookes. Oxford Brookes does all the marking and the moderating and the quality assurance processes and then makes an award of a degree based on the combination of your ACCA examination results, and the piece of coursework for Oxford Brookes.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. Just thinking about when students, or indeed affiliates and members, can actually do the degree? Can you let us know when they can do this?

Kate: In order to be eligible to do the degree, you must have completed your Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams, and we'll come on and talk a little bit more about what exactly that means. But you need to complete those exams and the Ethics and Professional Skills module. So the earliest opportunity to do your piece of coursework for Oxford Brookes is after Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills and before you start Strategic Professional, and indeed, when you look at the skills that you develop through doing the coursework for Oxford Brookes, they are skills that are really relevant for Strategic Business Leader, and other Strategic Professional level exams.

But if you want to carry on with your ACCA journey, and complete your Strategic Professional exams, you can obviously then do the work for OBU after these, perhaps while you're doing your professional experience requirements. Or I have heard of some students who've completed a couple of the Strategic Professional exams, taking some time out to do the Oxford Brookes coursework, the research and analysis project, and then carried on with their strategic professional papers. And so it's very flexible in terms of when you can actually do the overview work.

Jane: Great. Thanks, Kate, that's really good to hear about that flexibility for students or affiliates and members. What about if a student is actually studying at a university and perhaps doing ACCA at the university, maybe getting exemptions for example?

Kate: So in terms of eligibility, as I said, you need to complete Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills, exams you need to have sat are Financial Reporting, Financial Management and Audit and Assurance as ACCA examinations, but you can have exemptions from the other papers in the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills. So you do need to have done FR, FM and AA. The reason for this is that Oxford Brookes is involved in quality assurance of those examinations. And so from the university's perspective, the credit that we award on the basis of those examinations is effectively Oxford Brookes University credit. So that's why it's necessary to do those as examinations

Jane: Ok thanks, Kate. And so let's say the students have done all of that. And they've met those eligibility criteria. What happens next? What do they need to do in terms of for Oxford Brookes University to gain the degree?

Kate: The Oxford Brookes element of the degree is, as I said, a piece of coursework. And this is known as the Research and Analysis Project (RAP). And it's that opportunity to develop skills that you haven't developed through examinations. The RAP is a piece of independent extended work. So that's how you develop time management and project management skills. You're working through your RAP, guided by a mentor. And so that's the opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills. And the RAP is, in fact, divided into two elements, the research report, and the skills and learning statement. And it's through the skills and learning statement, that you're developing the skill of self-reflection, and you're really helping yourself, think about how you've learned one of the other skills that you'll develop that might be of interest in terms of your future career, your future trajectory is the academic skill of referencing. So if you were interested in perhaps a Master's, or you saw yourself maybe later in your career, doing an MBA, then having had the opportunity to do a piece of research and learn that skill of referencing would be really helpful.

Jane: Thanks, Kate, for explaining about the RAP. In terms of students and when they can actually do this. Could you let me know when they're able to do this?

Kate: So we have two submission periods each year - in May and in November. So there are two opportunities to submit your RAP. There's no requirement to register with Oxford Brookes University in advance of submitting, you do need to make sure you are eligible to submit your project at the point in time you actually choose to submit.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. Moving on to the support that students can get. What support does Oxford Brookes University offer to students of this programme?

Kate: Well, the most important element of the support is what we call the information pack. The information pack is a document that explains exactly what you need to do to complete your RAP including the assignment brief, explains how we assess how we mark your work, and then have lots of really helpful information in terms of how you might approach your project.

Alongside the information pack, we have a series of webinars. So Jane, yourself and I we offer four webinars that cover different elements of your journey as you move through completing the research and analysis project. If you are able to join those webinars live, there's the opportunity to ask us questions, but they are available on demand as well. We've also recently launched a dedicated BSc Applied Accounting YouTube channel. So we've got some shorter videos on the YouTube channel, no more than 10 minutes in different areas relating to the RAP, and that is currently being developed. So please, if you are thinking about doing a RAP, keep coming back to the YouTube channel and think about subscribing, so that you know when new videos get posted up there. We also write articles for the SA app. And those articles are obviously always available in SA, but they're also available on the Oxford Brookes web pages. So all this information, the information pack, how to register for webinars is all available via some dedicated pages on the Oxford Brookes website that are specific for ACCA students.

Kate: Great. Thanks, Kate. And in terms of mentoring, I understand that students need to work with a mentor. Could you explain a little bit about what the mentor might be what a registered mentor is, and also why students would need to work with a mentor?

Jane: That's another form of support through your RAP journey. We ask that students work with a registered mentor. Now the mentor is a guide They're not expected to be a teacher or an expert in the area that you are researching. But they are a guide on your journey. And they are particularly useful and helpful in developing those interpersonal skills.

A registered mentor is someone that has completed the Oxford Brookes online mentoring course. So we require that you work with a registered mentor, so that we know that the mentor you're working with has actually completed the training that is available via Oxford Brookes.

In terms of who can be a mentor, it can be an ACCA member, or an employer or line manager. Or it can be a tutor at a learning provider. And we require that the mentor meets with a student three times. So the first meeting that you have with a mentor is where you might be discussing, you know, your plans, what you're thinking of researching and the project plan, in terms of how you're going to achieve what you want to do. The second meeting might be looking at how you're getting on what information you found. And that's the point at which the mentor will be asking questions, possibly getting you as a student to think about what you've done. As I said, they're not the teacher, they're not going to provide you with the answers directly, they're going to help you think the third meeting is where a student presents the results of their research to their mentor. This is another opportunity to develop a skill, because you do actually develop that skill of presenting.

In terms of who you work with as a mentor, I would really recommend talking to other students, asking people who they've used, looking at what different mentors offer. Mentoring is available and can be conducted online. So you might choose to work with a learning provider that's based in another country. For example, in the UK, Kaplan - a Platinum Approved Learning Partner - offers a course to support the BSc in Applied Accounting that involves online mentoring.

But please remember, a mentor can make a charge for their services. And it's really important that you establish what a mentor might charge and what you expect from the support that they're going to provide you. In terms of just a word of warning. A mentor is not a writing service. So please do not expect or accept an offer from a mentor to write the research and analysis project for you. It's really important that the work that you submit to Oxford Brookes is your own work. That's a really core element of acting with integrity. What we in Oxford Brookes call academic integrity aligns with ACCA’s principles of integrity and ethical behaviour.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. Just going back to that point of cost. What does it cost overall to do the degree?

Kate: The cost of the degree overall is made up of two elements. First is the submission fee that you pay to Oxford Brookes University, when you submit your RAP. So the fee for the next academic year is £445 and that will then increase in the in future academic years. Information is available in the information pack and on the Oxford Brookes website. If you are thinking a few years down the line of doing this, have a look at the website to check what the Oxford Brookes fee is. And then as I said, there may be a fee associated with your mentor and the mentor service that they provide. If you were working with your line manager or your employer, they might be prepared to act as your mentor for no charge. So please do look around and talk to different people.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. That's all very clear about the cost. And in terms of global recognition of the degree, can you give us a little bit of information about that as well?

Kate: The degree is the equivalent of a UK undergraduate degree. The quality assurance process that I need to adhere to is the same as any of the Oxford Brookes courses that are taught in Oxford, on our campus in Oxford. So it is recognised in the UK, and obviously through Europe, in terms of recognition in local jurisdictions, that is very much dependent on what the local regulatory authorities rules are. Some countries recognition may be less clear at a local level but will be recognised globally. I think the other thing to bear in mind is what's the recognition amongst employers. So we have over 33000 graduates of the BSc applied accounting. Now, I'm not suggesting all of those people are currently working within the accountancy profession, but a lot of people are. So there's a lot of people who are working globally, either within the large accounting firms or within private or public sector that have worked through this route, and therefore know the degree. So it is recognised as a UK degree, and should be accepted as a UK degree by, for example, institutions if you were thinking of doing a Master's, and certainly would be recognised by Oxford Brookes for any of their master's programmes, recognised globally by employers, because there's lots of alumni with this degree. But in some territories, local recognition may be problematic because of the nature of it being an online programme.

Jane: Thanks, Kate. So and my final question to you is, if the student managed to do all of this and pass what happens then?

Kate: If you're successful in your RAP, you are then awarded the BSc in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University. And we also offer a graduation ceremony for students as a celebration. You do not need to attend the graduation ceremony but it is a really great opportunity to celebrate your success. When global health conditions allow, and the pandemic has eased, we will be offering graduation ceremonies in Oxford, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. And for me, this is one of the best days of my year, being able to celebrate with students and their families and the friends the success that is a result of the hard work that's involved in both the ACCA elements. And the Oxford Brookes elements of the degree is such a joy and pleasure. So we will hold graduation ceremonies and everybody has a chance to have a little bit of a party.

Jane: Well, I think we'll leave it on that party feeling. And thanks ever so much for your time in the podcast today. And thank you everyone for listening.

Kate: Jane, thank you very much. It's been a fascinating conversation and students it's been a delight to be able to talk to you. There's lots of information about the BSc in Applied Accounting on the ACCA website and the Oxford Brookes website. And if you have any specific questions email us at