About the course
How do you make optimal investment decisions? How are stocks priced? Why do markets crash?
In rapidly changing and often unstable money markets, the global economy demands financial professionals who can act rationally and ethically when under pressure. This course further develops your analytical and critical thinking skills so you can evaluate risk and make sound financial decisions in complex environments.
You gain a detailed understanding of the key financial drivers in an increasingly complex business world. We equip you with advanced knowledge of the latest theoretical and empirical developments in the industry, using case studies to apply theory to practice, so you can excel in a career in any aspect of finance.
- asset pricing
- portfolio management
- derivative securities
- advanced mathematics
Our MSc Finance is taught at Essex Business School, ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence (REF, 2014). Our students and staff join us from all over the world and we embed the latest academic thinking in our teaching to ensure you experience the cutting-edge of your discipline.
MSc Finance can also be studied part time and you may be eligible for scholarships and discounts provided by the University of Essex. Essex Business School also offers a limited number of scholarships for the CFA level one exam and IMC level one and two exams to exceptional Masters students.
Essex Business School is an IMC Advantage Partner and a Recognised Partner of the CFA.
“I’m Head of Planning at Groupon Malaysia. I decide on the products we sell, how long we sell them for and for what price point. My Masters taught me the importance of research. Throughout my dissertation, I developed skills in planning, time management and evaluating evidence to build a business case. I use these skills on a daily basis at work.”
Nikhil Khandelwal, MSc Finance
Our expert staff
You join one of the UK’s largest finance groups, with a team of experts in wide ranging specialisms. This diversity ensures our course reflects the breadth of contemporary banking and finance issues facing organisations today.
Our lecturers have presented their work at the likes of the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve and are recognised for being at the forefront of research in:
- business ethics
- corporate social responsibility
- organisation studies
- leadership and strategy
- finance and banking
- risk management
- international management
Not only are you taught by experts with both academic and industry experience, but input from City-based industry leaders gives this course a thorough grounding in contemporary financial practice. Our school is also home to Essex Finance Centre.
Our commitment to excellence in teaching extends to our working environment, with our landmark Colchester building providing excellent facilities to learn and socialise, including:
- an Eden-style dome and winter garden, which give the building its own micro-climate
- a virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Financial Market Labs for analysing financial data
- cutting-edge lecture theatres
- study pods and innovation booths for group working
- networking opportunities with visiting businesses
- a fully-stocked café for meetings and socialising
- study skills workshops
Essex Business School is helping to create the business leaders of the future; those who are creative, innovative and ethically aware.
Many of our graduates enjoy careers in financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy at some of the world’s most well-known organisations, including:
- KMG Group
- Right Freight Pvt Ltc
- Copal Partners
Many now also run their own growing businesses.
During your time at Essex Business School, we provide plenty of help with finding and applying for work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities from our dedicated employability team and the University’s Employability and Careers Centre.
Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.
Your dissertation is the culmination of your Masters programme, where you apply the knowledge gained on your course to produce an extended independent piece of work. You generate an original idea, analyse literature and current knowledge and produce a coherent argument that shows your ability to relate theory to practice. Your dissertation will help you develop vital skills for the workplace, as well as the ability to analyse real problems through an academic lens. You are assigned a supervisor for the duration of your project.
This module equips you with the econometric tools and necessary experience to conduct empirical research in finance. You review statistical and basic econometric models and learn to apply econometric techniques in finance by considering topics such as (G)ARCH models, unit roots and cointegration.
Gain a formal introduction to asset pricing theories and empirical findings. You review the fundamental theories of the expected utility, asset pricing kernels, and risk-neutral valuation, covering the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), and linear factor models arising from the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT). You also discuss empirical asset pricing studies.
Master the pricing of financial derivatives and their use for hedging financial risks. You study the basics of futures and options, analyse the Black-Scholes and binomial option pricing models, and consider various numerical techniques for pricing financial derivatives. Futures and options are then utilised in the context of hedging financial risks, and you are introduced to the concept of volatility trading and the treatment of volatility as an asset class.
Understand the process of portfolio management. You cover the main concepts such as efficient diversification, managing risk exposures, and the valuation of financial assets that are at the core of managing investment portfolios, and pay special attention to the practicalities of the implementation of these concepts.
This module covers topics in mathematics that are required in Masters-level finance courses at the University of Essex. You focus on the basics of linear algebra, differential calculus including optimisation and dynamics.
Behavioural finance rejects crucial tenets of mainstream finance such as the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) on the basis that agents are less than fully rational, and that arbitrage fails to eliminate mispricing. Instead it identifies market anomalies or regularities such as holiday effects that are at odds with the EMH. You learn to use ideas from cognitive psychology, such as overconfidence, and aspects of imperfect arbitrage to explain these.
Taught exclusively by leading industry experts, this module offers you a unique opportunity to appreciate the latest developments and issues faced by leading practitioners in the areas of quantitative finance and risk management.
- Tailor the content of your course to more closely fit your interests and aspirations
- Courses focus on practical applications and links with industry
- We run an open seminar series
- Regular assessment is by coursework, presentations, case studies, group work, tests and examinations
- You submit a 15,000 word dissertation
UK entry requirements
A 1st, 2:1 or good 2:2 degree, or equivalent, in finance, economics or business. We also welcome applications from candidates with any science or engineering degree.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
IELTS entry requirements
If English isn’t your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.