Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


Accounting & Information Systems

First Advisor

Ms. Sylvia Dempsey


The benefits of work experience in accounting education have been examined extensively in the academic literature. Extant literature cites skills development, putting knowledge into action, improved academic results, increased focus on study and career path and enhanced employability as the main benefits to students. Other than research on the impact on academic results, there is a dearth of research on the impact of work experience on students’ view of learning. In research conducted in Ireland, Byrne and Flood (2004) concluded that the majority of third-level accounting students only have a surface-level view of learning and that this will not be of benefit to them when they enter the work force. This study seeks to examine if relevant work experience has an impact on third-level accounting students ’ view of learning. In this study content analysis was carried out on fifty-four student participation sheets completed by final year Accounting degree students in Cork Institute of Technology. This explored their view of learning to ascertain if student with relevant work experience have a higher view of learning than those who had not. A hierarchical framework of learning, developed by Saljo (1979) and Marton et al. (1993), was used to measure the students ’ conception of learning. The main finding of this study is that relevant work experience during third-level Accounting education has a positive impact on students ’ view of learning. It appears to elevate the accounting students ’ view of learning from the more simplistic concepts of acquisition and memorising of knowledge to the use and understanding of that knowledge in practice. This suggests that relevant work experience begins to encourage a deeper approach to learning. This would support the growing call for relevant work placement as part of the formal curriculum of a third-level accountancy degree programme.

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