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Course overview

(MSc) Master of Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Full-time or part-time
MSC N30012

A 2:2 degree containing core modules relating to Economics or Finance (see also key modules) and (ideally) in the final two years of study. Mathematics (calculus), quantitative finance/methods or Econometrics (probability, statistics)

    Key modules

    Asset valuation/pricing, Introduction to banking, Behavioural finance, Corporate Finance, Derivative instruments / Futures / Options, Econometrics, Economics/Macroeconomics/Microeconomics, Empirical Finance, Exchange rates and FX markets, Finance (NOT Financial Reporting), Financial Econometrics, Financial Economics, Financial Intermediaries, Instruments and Markets, Financial Markets and Monetary Policy, Financial Modelling, Foundations of Finance, International Banking, International Trade/Finance, Investment and Securities, Mathematics, Pricing of Securities in Financial Markets, Operational Research, Political Economy, Portfolio Analysis, Risk Management, Statistics

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners

Dr Nikolaos Papanikolaou
Bournemouth University
Senior Lecturer in Accounting & Finance

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 BE981-7-FY MSc/MA Dissertation Core 60 Optional
02 BE351-7-SP Derivative Securities Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
03 BE352-7-AU Asset Pricing Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
04 BE354-7-AU Portfolio Management Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
05 BE953-7-AU Research Methods in Finance: Empirical Methods in Finance Core 20 Optional Optional
06 EBS (Colchester Campus) option from list Optional 20 Optional Optional
07 EBS (Colchester Campus) option from list Optional 20 Optional Optional
08 BE399-7-AU Postgraduate Mathematics Preparation Compulsory 0 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide students with the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of advanced concepts in finance.

To provide students with the opportunity to analyse the role of financial information and data.

To equip students with a knowledge of advanced research methodologies covering quantitative approaches to empirical research.

To provide students with the advanced knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to independent, self-directed research.

To develop students critical and analytical skills which will prepare them for employment in the financial or business sector or an education environment.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Role and nature of advanced concepts and theoretical models in finance
A2 Competing perspectives and associated empirical evidence relating to finance and data analytic issues
A3 Epistemological and social scientific influences and interpretations of finance and data analytics
A4 An in-depth understanding of the various research methodologies available to investigate finance and data analytics issues and the influences of these methods on the understandings generated.
A5 In-depth understanding of particular areas in which the student has chosen to specialize
Learning Methods: Outcomes A1-A5 are acquired through lectures, seminars, individual tasks, and directed independent study.

The development of the dissertation in consultation with a supervisor provides an additional opportunity for achieving learning outcomes A1-A5.

Lectures and seminars introduce the required theories and understanding to facilitate exploration of the character, contexts, practices and interpretations of finance related issues while demonstrating and encouraging a critical and reflexive approach.

Directed independent study and reading, along with individual tasks, facilitate further exploration of the relevant areas.

Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from lectures and classes by regularly consulting library and journal materials relating to course.
Assessment Methods: Informal: Outcomes A1-A5 are informally assessed via oral presentations.

The associated informal feedback provided enable students to explore and enhance their understandings and develop presentation skills.

Formal outcomes A1-A5 are formally assessed via unseen written examinations and coursework assignments.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B3 Capacity to appraise theoretical idea
B4 Assimilate and synthesise theories and concepts from a variety of relevant frameworks
B5 Formulate logical and coherent arguments
B6 Interpret and critically evaluate empirical evidence
B7 Plan and undertake a substantial piece of independent research
Learning Methods: Skills B1-B4 are acquired and enhanced primarily through directed independent study, reading, and individual tasks given for the courses, although lectures and seminars provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through examples.

Students’‘ independent study and preparation for tasks involves the reading, interpretation and critical evaluation of relevant finance theories and the analysis of empirical evidence.

Lecturers provide necessary feedback on student work.

Lecturers also engage students outside the classroom through office hours, appointments and e-mail communication.

Skill B5 is acquired through the work that students do for the dissertation and econometric project.

The dissertation further provides an opportunity for students to acquire and enhance skills B1-B4 also.
Assessment Methods: Informal: Skills B1-B4 are informally assessed via oral presentations.

The associated informal feedback provided enables students to explore and enhance their understandings, and develop presentation skills Formal: Skills B1-B4 are formally assessed via unseen written examinations and coursework assignments.

The MSc dissertation provides a further opportunity to assess skills B1-B4.

Skill B5 is assessed through the dissertation and econometrics project.

C: Practical skills

C1 Analyse and evaluate financial ratios and information
C2 Evaluate the strengths and limitations of different approaches to analysing financial data and information
C3 Analyse and evaluate financial data
C4 Access and retrieve information and data from a variety of primary and secondary sources
C5 Research and written presentation skills
C6 Plan and undertake independent research
Learning Methods: Skills C1-C5 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their courses, although lectures provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through examples.

Skill C6 is acquired through the work that students do for their dissertation.

The dissertation further provides ample opportunity for students to acquire and develop skills C1-C5.
Assessment Methods: Informal: Skills C1-C5 are informally assessed through presentations along with the associated informal feedback.

This further enables students to explore and enhance their understandings, and develop research and presentation skills.

Formal: Skills C1-C5 are formally assessed via unseen written examinations and coursework assignments.

These facilitate demonstration of knowledge of the relevant financial theories and of a critical and reflexive approach to empirical evidence.

Skill C6 is assessed through the dissertation.

D: Key skills

D2 Communicate ideas and arguments in a coherent and effective manner.
D3 Use information technology, such as word processing, databases, the web and econometric packages, to download and analyse financial and economic data.
D4 Manipulate numerical data and apply appropriate statistical or econometric techniques
D5 Problem-solving and analytical skills
D6 Time management, task prioritisation and working to deadlines
Learning Methods: Verbal communication skills (D1) are developed primarily through group discussion in the lectures and classes.

Written communication skills (D1) are developed primarily through the AC953 project and individual tasks.

IT skills (D2) are developed as individual tasks require extensive research involving web-based material, internet and various electronic media.

Numeracy and problem solving skills (D3-D4) are developed principally through specific problem based exercises and tasks given to the students.

Planning and organisation, enterprise and resourcefulness (D5) are essential to any learning process dependent on independent study and to some extent individual advice from teachers.

These skills are further developed as students pursue the learning activities associated with their courses.
Assessment Methods: The assessment of the majority of key transferable skills forms an integral part of the overall assessment of the finance degree schemes.

However the approach to assessment varies.

Written communication skills, problem solving, numeracy and IT skills are assessed directly throughout the degree programme.

Personal skills are assessed through coursework.

Verbal communication skills are not formally assessed although feedback on communication skills forms part of the formative feedback provided in tutorial sessions.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: