Beginning September 2017, UTM will have what’s considered to be one of the first online programs at U of T, a new Master’s program in forensic accounting that will feature nine online courses and one in-residence course over a duration of two years.
In an interview with The Medium, Len Brooks, director of the program, said that the program will not only offer online lectures, but will be an interchange between the instructor and the students over a computer interface.
“There’s, like, a virtual classroom,” said Brooks. “The instructor’s talking and [there’s the] ability for students to ask questions. There’s an ability for the instructor and students to post questions [online] and give answers that they worked on during the week.”
Brooks added that the program takes a case-learning approach, where students are assigned small cases or problems a week ahead. “They work on solutions, and as part of the sessions, they post their answers and the instructor critiques it and provides frameworks for understanding the material,” he said.
The program is offered to students anywhere in the world, since all they would need to do is to go online at the scheduled time of their course, where there will be a session with a live instructor.
Each course will have an individual assignment and a proper invigilated examination. Students who are taking the course abroad will also be required to take an invigilated exam.
According to Brooks, there are no restrictions on the background of study of the applicants, as long as they have an experience in the field of accounting or business.
“Normally, we have people who have taken business or accounting. Occasionally, we have a police person or a lawyer, and we ask them to take certain courses in preparation before they enrol in the program,” he said.
The new Master’s program comes as an upgrade to an existing diploma in investigative and forensic accounting. Previously, the program had eight online and two in-residence courses.
Applications for the program opened on December 15, and according to program officer Debby Keown in an interview with The Medium, 16 applications have already been received, although the deadline is in May. Brooks stated that the target number of students to join the program is 24.
“We expect our MFAcc graduates to become recognized as the foremost forensic professionals in their chosen fields, whether those are in forensic accounting practice or in compliance functions in banks, insurance companies, and brokerages; business valuation; fraud investigation in law enforcement; securities enforcement; or in international forensic roles for the World Bank, The United Nations and its programs, and others,” wrote Brooks in a letter on the program’s website.
As reported by U of T News in the article, “U of T launches graduate program in forensic accounting,” the program is expected to wrap up with a week-long, in-residence course, where students would work on cases with professional volunteers, like lawyers and judges, as a way to learn how to give evidence in a courtroom setting.