MSc Finance

Course Details

Seven compulsory modules cover key areas in modern finance while optional modules allow you to focus on your preferences. Please note that availability and delivery modes of modules may vary.

Modules are taught through a combination of lectures, classes, and computer lab sessions.

Assessment is a mix of exams and coursework with your dissertation bringing all your learning together at the end.

Lectures and classes
Lectures introduce key theories, concepts, and economic models. In classes you will solve financial problems and numerical exercises, analyse case studies, and make presentations of research published in academic journals.

Global experience
As part of a recent review of the MSc Finance, WBS has launched an exciting new compulsory module on Ethics, Financial Regulation and Corporate Governance. This module will be run in conjunction with at least one of WBS’ key European business school partners, and as such will offer the opportunity to study overseas, providing you with access to contextualised content and a global voice on the concepts of ethics and financial market regulation.

Lab work
Lab work will give you hands-on experience of using software to perform finance-related calculations and conduct realistic simulations. Econometric methods are also taught in the lab, so you will learn to apply econometric software to empirical research and financial market estimations.

Your dissertation
An 8,000 word dissertation gives you the opportunity to develop, test, practise, and apply the techniques and theories you have gained through your studies. You will be supervised and supported throughout by one of our academic staff or teaching associates and will usually submit your dissertation in early September. 

Compulsory Modules

Quantitative Methods for Finance

Gain an in-depth understanding of basic probability and distribution theory, statistical estimation and inference, and econometric models with applications to finance. 

Asset Pricing

Explore the fundamental relationships between investors’ decision-making in the presence of uncertainty (“risk”) and the cross-sectional and inter-temporal properties of prices and returns of financial assets. This module lays down the theoretical and methodological foundations on which the more specialised finance modules are built.

Corporate Finance

Gain an introduction to the principles of corporate finance. You will explore how the basic tools and techniques of modern finance theory can be applied to analyse and improve the investment and financing decisions of the firm.

Investment Management

This module is closely linked with the parallel core module “Asset Pricing”. While the latter develops the theoretical framework to understand and analyse the trade-off between risk and return, this module focuses on the operationalization of this framework.

Empirical Finance

Gain an understanding of the theory and practice of financial econometrics and the tools for the empirical analysis of financial time series and their application.

Ethics, Financial Regulation & Corporate Governance

Multiple scandals reported in the press over the past decade have highlighted the ever-increasing role of professional ethics and ethical management practices in everyday business life. Whether it is decisions about tax policy, community engagement, social reporting or compliance with regulations and best practice – ethics is now firmly embedded in every aspect of professional work. Increased levels of accountability, even on the personal liability level as documented in many recent scandals (for example, the Volkswagen emissions scandal), highlight the need for awareness of and reflection on ethical and social responsibility issues of business professionals. 

This module has been designed to give you a deep and comprehensive understanding of ethics in everyday life, in business life, and in the working life of a financial professional.  

The module will contain three main parts:  

  • ethical issues (doing the right thing) 

  • financial regulation of markets and corporate activities (market integrity, competition and consumer satisfaction) 

  • environmental, social and governance performance of investments and their impact on companies.

This module will be run in conjunction with at least one of WBS’ key European business school partners, and as such will offer the opportunity to study overseas, providing you with access to contextualised content and a global voice on the concepts of ethics and financial market regulation.


The module aims to allow you to synthesise, apply and extend the knowledge you have gained in the taught component of the course. The identification and investigation of a current research topic will help develop your theoretical and practical understanding of current problems in your chosen area, as well as your research and communication skills.  

Research Methodology

The module aims to equip you with cutting-edge research methods alongside other programming skills and access to relevant data sources. You will be provided with training in programming and data handling from the very beginning of the course, to ensure that you have the required skills when needed for workshops and assignments in the core modules. In addition, in term 3 the module will provide a selection of intensive workshops, run by specialists in different (dissertation) subject areas, on methodology typically used in academic research in this area. You will be required to attend two of these sessions whilst starting to work on your dissertation topic. The module will assess programming skills through two small individual assessments and a combination of programming and research methodology skills in an empirical project in one chosen subject area. 

Syllabus outline: 

Computer programming skills: 

  • Logic of programming 

  • Use of matrices, arrays, data types, structures and manipulation. 

  • Good practices with computer programming. 

  • Algorithmic principles in applied research. 

  • Data storage and retrieval. 

Sub-field specific research methodology - students will be required to select 2 out of several sub-field specific research methodology lecture sets, which will cover for example: 

  • Asset pricing: Fama-Macbeth regressions, Constructing and optimizing portfolios. 

  • Corporate finance: Instrumental variables, Quasi-experimental methods (Matching using propensity scores) and event studies. 

Example Optional Modules

Behavioural Finance

Psychologists working in the area of behavioural decision-making have evidenced the inadequacies of neoclassical economics. In this module you will study financial markets using models that are less narrow than those based on von Neumann-Morgenstern expected utility theory and arbitrage assumptions.

Derivative Securities

Develop an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of different classes of derivative securities such as forwards and futures, swaps and options; the markets in which these securities are traded; their potential use as instruments for managing risk; methods for valuing these securities; and the application of these methods in other areas of finance.

Financial Reporting & Statement Analysis

You will learn to interpret financial statements in context and apply appropriate models and techniques for company valuation and related business issues. You will also gain an understanding of how accounting provides data for corporate finance analysis.

Judgement & Decision-making

Explore the psychology of human judgement and decision making. This field provides the foundation for understanding the decision-making processes involved in financial markets. You will improve your own financial decision-making, judgements and predictions, and gain a broader understanding of decision-making throughout the finance industry, including strategic and managerial decision-making.

Financial Risk Management

Gain an understanding of the need for financial risk management, the techniques to measure financial risks according to the regulatory framework, and the tools for the management of risk exposure. You will be introduced to quantitative methods of risk measurement and risk management.

Fixed Income & Credit Risk
Get to grips with the tools for the assessment and management of fixed income and credit risk.
International Financial Management

Extend your knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of international finance, with emphasis on the operation of the spot and forward foreign exchange markets. You will gain first-hand experience with forex markets via empirical data and trading contest, and develop your critical reasoning skills in the context of international financial risk management.

Big Data Analytics

Gain an understanding of key principles and concepts in big data analytics in a computational social science context. You will cover a range of examples based on big data including detection of societal events, such as elections, riots, disease outbreaks, economic and financial instability, resource shortages, and responses to natural disasters. See our press release here.

Alternative Investments

Explore today’s complex investment management environment and gain the insights needed to make well-informed decisions.

Practice of Investment Management

Gain realistic experience of the responsibilities involved in managing money for clients and an introduction to practical investment management techniques.

Mergers and Acquisitions & Corporate Control

Explore the basic issues in mergers and acquisitions from a corporate finance point of view. The module will be based on the main research papers in the field.

Forecasting Economic & Financial Time Series

In this module we develop the skills required in order to produce and evaluate forecasts of economic and financial time series which can be used for decision making in government, financial markets, hedge funds and economics more generally.

See indicative compulsory and optional modules for this course More Less

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