Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module ACCT1117: Ethics in Accounting

Department: Accounting

ACCT1117: Ethics in Accounting

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to N408
Tied to N409


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to the social and ethical contexts in which accountants operate including examples of issues from the world of work.
  • To ensure students demonstrate an awareness of professional codes of ethics for accountants.
  • To ensure that students can differentiate between the various ethical approaches, identify when an ethical issue arises and propose alternative solutions.


  • Normative ethical theories
  • Ethical concepts of duty and justice
  • Ethical decision making
  • Working in the public interest
  • Professional codes of ethics
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Moral development

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module students should be able to:
  • Describe and compare ethical frameworks including consequentialist and non-consequentialist approaches.
  • Apply this knowledge to scenarios from the business and accounting contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module students should be able to:
  • Identify and evaluate an ethical dilemma in an accounting context and propose a solution (s).
  • Assess professional codes of ethics for accountants and identify when the fundamental principles are being challenged.
Key Skills:
  • Communication - development of academic writing and digital communication skills
  • Digital Literacy - using online discussion and developing internet etiquette
  • Ethical development - awareness of own level of development

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

  • Learning will be based on knowledge transfer and application of knowledge from workshops, directed study and independent study. Investigation of cases and real world organisations will underpin the workshops to encourage students to develop awareness of cultural and contextual differences.
  • Workshop activities, discussion boards, portfolio building and assessment will ensure students can apply their knowledge within the accounting context.
  • The formative assessment will provide feedback to students regarding their understanding of ethical frameworks and allow them to reflect on their own ethical development.
  • The summative assignment is a portfolio of small tasks which will give students the opportunity to propose alternative solutions to an ethical dilemma whilst encouraging the development of the reflective practitioner. This will include work in the discussion fora allowing students to address a number of different ethical issues.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops 9 Weekly 2 hours 18
Preparation, Reading, Directed and Independent Study 82
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Portfolio 2500 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Contributions to the discussion forum

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University