Specialisation in Singapore Management University Accountancy – Explained Simply

One of the selling points that the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Accountancy makes to prospective students is the idea of Specialisation. Pursuing a Specialisation track is for learners who wants to attain a degree of mastery in a specific area of expertise.

Listed below are the three Specialisation Tracks offered by the Degree Pathway:
  1. Financial Management Track
  2. Risk Management and Assurance Track
  3. Taxation Track

But what does this actually mean? Is it something added on to what is already needed for the curriculum? Or is it something already a part of the curriculum?

Fret not, a look into the handbook for students considering a degree course in SMU’s Bachelor of Accountancy explains this pretty neatly.

A student wishing to pursue a track must first declare it within his first 4 regular terms of study, which includes terms where you take a Leave of Absence (if you want to pursue an internship) or you go overseas for a University exchange programme. Keep in mind as well that you can only start taking these modules in the second year, so if you want to make a decision, consider consulting seniors, pick up some of their notes and make a decision either at the later stages of your 1st year or any time during your 2nd year (Provided you don’t take extra terms and you are aiming for 4 years)

This declaration will influence the amount of choice you have for a select number of modules that fall under the segment of Accounting Options. Under Accounting Options, students will get select 3 courses out of a possible 12, leading to a staggering 220 possible combinations a student can make. (More research needed if this possible number changes) One can choose to not declare a Specialisation and go for any of the 220 combinations.

combi course

A student who chooses a Specialisation, on the other hand, is given a few of the combinations to pursue for this bunch of modules based on that specialisation in this format.

  1. 2 Specific Modules Students of that Track must take
  2. 1 Module out of a selected few Students can choose from.
As an example, I use the Financial Management Track to illustrate:

If a student wants to attain this specialisation track, he/she needs to complete the following:

Must complete:

  1. Strategic Management Accounting
  2. Corporate Financial Management

And then choose from a list for his/her 3rd subject:

  1. Governance and Risk Management
  2. Advanced Taxation
  3. Valuation
  4. Enterprise Accounting System

Hence, the student will complete the Accounting Options segment of his/her degree requirement and attain the specialisation of Financial Management.

I will list the other 2 tracks below, as per what is provided inside the manual:

 Risk Management and Assurance Track

Must complete:

  1. Governance and Risk Management
  2. Internal Audit

From the following, Choose 1:

  1. Corporate Advisory
  2. Auditing for the Public Sector
 Taxation Track

Must complete:

  1. Advanced Taxation
  2. Tax Treaties

From the following, Choose 1:

  1. Multinational Corporation Business Models and Tax in Asia Pacific
  2. Goods and Service Tax

This brings about the question, what are the takeaway lessons from this?

  1. You don’t have to take extra modules for a specialisation, just that you need to subscribe to a very specific trio.
  2. If you want to apply for the Bachelor of Accountancy with the notion of Specialisation as one of your reasons, it is preferable if you love all of the topics given to you in question, because 2 out of the 3 topics are something you have to work with, whether you like them or not, and the third one’s choice is from a limited pool of topics. It wouldn’t be called specialisation if you are allowed to choose anything else otherwise, would it?
  3. Specialisation does not affect the rest of your course bunches, only Accounting Options. So if you have that course which you wanted to take that is not under Accounting Options, you can take it and still be able to pursue the Specialisation of Your Choice.

Ultimately, the choice of Specialisation is in your hands. If you feel that you have an undying interest in a particular financial area, proceed and pursue a Specialisation to your heart’s content, and watch as you secure the grand grades and fun from that particular class you always wanted to be in.



 SMU Bachelor of Accountancy latest handbook (As of 21 February 2015)


SMU Bachelor of Accountancy Brochure


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Jia Hong is a student in SMU's Bachelor of Accountancy, attracted by the technicalities and insights that the field of Accountancy provides. Energised by anything related to expression, he is spending time as an active member of Toastmasters International, speaking to diverse audiences, learning the mastery of the speaking trade, and learning new stories together with equally ambitious people, one person at a time. While he is not speaking or working, he is also pursuing his art hobby, sketching his way into the hearts and minds of friends and viewers alike.


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