About the course
How does financial theory aid corporate decision making? How do banks manage risk across global markets?
The past 20 years have seen banks and financial markets become increasingly globalised. Deregulation and advances in technology have empowered banks to expand their offerings, making them an integral component of all financial sectors.
This professionally accredited course combines academic rigor with practical financial skills to meet the needs of demanding careers in banking and finance. You have access to Bloomberg Financial Market Labs in our virtual trading floor, where you can practise trading and analysing financial data.
You explore topics including:
- why banks exist and how they operate in the modern economy
- current issues in modern banking
- banking sector regulation
- the global financial system
- the role of the investor, analyst, academic and policy maker
Your first year ensures you experience a fully-rounded business education by introducing you to topics such as accounting, management, marketing and economics.
In your final year, you have the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice by completing an in-depth, independent research project or dissertation (subject to approval). This will give you the chance to further develop vital employability skills in areas of research, time management and critical thinking.
Essex is one of just three UK universities to have received Q-Step Affiliate status, including for our BSc Banking and Finance, to support the way we develop the quantitative skills of our graduates.
This means we can provide work placement bursaries to develop your skills in evaluating numerical evidence, analysing data and designing research. We also offer the opportunity to follow a specialised degree path, where you graduate with enhanced quantitative skills. These are evidenced on your degree transcript to help give you the competitive edge in the graduate job market.
BSc Banking and Finance is taught at Essex Business School, ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence (REF, 2014). We’re ranked in the UK’s top 20 for finance and our finance courses have 91% student satisfaction (NSS, 2016).
Our finance group is one of the largest in the UK and our focus on ethical management means you graduate with the ability to make sound, responsible financial decisions.
Our students and staff join us from all over the world, so you join an international business community.
Essex Business School is an IMC Advantage Partner and this course is aligned to the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) syllabus, the industry’s benchmark entry-level qualification.
This course can also be taken with an optional study abroad or placement year.
With the continued help of the Social Sciences placements team, I am fortunate to have received a one year internship with BMW working in the financial services department. Essex has helped me develop my confidence and assertiveness in telephone interviews and assessment centres."
Nishan Balasingham, BSc Banking and Finance
Completion of our course provides you with accreditations and exemptions from the following professional bodies:
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
Upon graduating, you’ll be able to gain a professional qualification by taking fewer exams, giving you the edge over the competition in the job market.
The four-year version of this course enables you to study abroad for a year, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course. You will not pay tuition fees during your year abroad.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
We have exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.
Alternatively, you may choose to take on a placement year to gain relevant work experience within an external business. You will not pay tuition fees during this year.
The Essex Business School Placements Manager can offer bespoke support throughout the process of researching, applying and interviewing for placements. However, it is your responsibility to apply, prepare for and secure your own role. In recent years, our students have gained placements with organisations such as BMW, Samsung and Cummins.
Our expert staff
You’re taught by a group of highly qualified and enthusiastic academics and practitioners with diverse research interests. Their work has been discussed in the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve.
Our staff specialise in areas including:
- bank risk and regulation
- foreign bank ownership
- finance of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
- bank mergers
- acquisitions and financial econometrics
Our BSc Banking and Finance is based at our Colchester Campus, in the first zero carbon business school building in the UK.
The building provides a great place to study and socialise, with excellent facilities and services:
- access to X_TRADER, industry-leading software for trading multiple markets from a single screen
- use our freely available study pods for group work
- enjoy our café and adjacent sun terrace
- maximise your academic potential with study skills workshops
Essex Business School is located on the Knowledge Gateway, the University’s research and technology park. Parkside Office Village is situated on the site, providing potential networking and work experience opportunities with a range of exciting businesses.
Our course enables you to take control of your career in banking and finance by demonstrating a deep understanding of the business world. That’s why in 2015, 84% of Essex Business School undergraduates and 98.6% of our international (non-UK/EU) undergraduates were in graduate level work or study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2015 leavers).
Our graduates enjoy careers in financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy, working for high-profile organisations and exciting SMEs, including:
- Bank of England
- John Lewis Partnership
- WeFarm, a social enterprise helping farmers out of poverty
- Footprint Digital, a fast-growing digital marketing agency
Many have also started their own successful businesses. Recent examples include:
In addition to employability opportunities provided by the School, such as access to employer talks, we also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore 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 and optional 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 just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
Discover the nature and role of accounting, discussing who uses accounting information and for what purposes. You learn about the processes used to record, summarise and present accounting data, using the computerised accounting package MyAccountingLab. You also investigate the development and role of regulation in governing accounting practice.
Discover the applications of quantitative techniques in accounting, finance and management. You explore maths revision, the time value of money, rates of change, probability and statistics, making extensive use of Excel for applying statistical techniques. You also study the financial system, instruments and markets and ideas about finance concepts and problems. The topics covered include investment companies, return and risk, and behavioural finance.
Explore the most significant issues in management theory and practice. You draw out some of the connections and disjunctures between management theory and management practice. You also consider the ethics of managing, and how to balance a business’s priorities with the organisation's wider responsibilities to society and other stakeholders.
How are firms organised? What are the economic implications of this? And how does it affect the markets in which they operate? Develop an understanding of the central concepts of economics, then learn how to apply these principles to economic problems.
This module encourages you to become an active, independent learner, with the ability to reflect on business situations and form your own opinions. We cover areas designed to help you adjust to a university business education so you can perform to your full academic and professional potential. We explore the importance of referencing, constructing a coherent argument and developing writing skills for a variety of purposes, such as academic essays, exams and reports. We develop your analytical skills, critical thinking, presentation and communication skills to help you get the most from your time at university.
This compulsory module aims to help you excel in your academic studies by introducing you to effective study techniques and tools, including the study skills support and resources available to you within Essex Business School. You receive guidance on your academic progress, as well as your personal and professional development. These sessions offer you the opportunity to meet and develop networks and connections within the School and provide key support throughout your first year by helping you to develop the skills and learning strategies needed throughout your degree.
Explore how financial theory can aid financial decision-making in corporations. You discover how to apply the value maximization principle to corporate decisions, such as investment decision, borrowing decisions, and dividend decisions.
What is the appropriate measure of risk for a particular security? How might an investor decide on the weightings of different assets in his/her portfolio? How can we identify mispriced stocks? Should you invest your savings in an actively managed fund or in a passive fund? You consider the main theories of risk and return and explore the implications of these theories for investors' decisions.
Explore both theoretical and practical issues related to the modern banking business. You consider the main characteristics and types of banks (e.g. commercial and mutual; retail and wholesale) and analyses recent trends and developments in relation to both domestic and international banking markets. You also explore the main items contained in banks' financial statements and discuss the main risks of banking, with particular reference to elementary risk management techniques.
Making extensive use of Excel spreadsheets, you use real data to analyse different financial models. Applications will include models of portfolio selection, asset pricing and risk management, as you learn to use basic statistical concepts to test hypotheses relating to financial models.
Want to know more about the IMF or the Federal Reserve? Interested in the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism? Examine these international financial institutions to evaluate their existence, policies and effects on the international monetary system. Understand the institutional framework within which international financial relations are organised.
At the heart of all modern economies lies a sophisticated network of financial intermediaries whose primary function is the collection of savings from households and their subsequent allocation to organizations that need this financing. About these financial intermediaries we ask (1) who are they? (2) what do they do? (3) why do they exist?
Would you play the lottery? Should you buy smartphone insurance? When are car insurance premiums too expensive? This module further examines key concepts in modern finance theory and explores how they help to make better investment decisions. You explore probability concepts and learn how they are used to describe the risks and consequences of financial decisions. You explore how individuals decide whether risks are worth taking and how investment companies use software to minimise financial risks and maximise rewards. You explore important concepts used by investment banks and fund managers, including mean-variance analysis, net present value and pricing models.
This module links subject understanding to employability, ensuring you’re prepared to take advantage of graduate opportunities at the point they’re advertised. You gain an understanding of the graduate labour market and recruitment processes, as well as timelines for recruitment and interview and assessment centre techniques. You also learn about options for postgraduate study.
This module explores the nature, functions and strategic drivers of international banking institutions and markets. You examine the different types of global banking institutions, including commercial, investment, retail, private and offshore financial centres. Topics include international banking activities and services (such as trade finance, loans sales and securitisation), international banking regulation, failures and crises and comparative banking. You also explore current trends and risks affecting international banks.
In this module you study the derivative market, in particular, futures and options markets. You explore various futures markets including the stock index, FX, commodities and interest rate contracts, how they are priced and hedged, and different trading strategies; as well as considering different option positions, the relationship between call and put option prices, and trading strategies.
The (mis)use of financial derivatives can potentially have catastrophic consequences for those who acquire them. And yet in recent years derivatives have become increasingly important, both for the financial sector and for the wider economy. On this course you discover how risk can be managed with the use of derivative instruments.
Explore the links between money, financial intermediaries, financial markets and the policies that affect them. In particular, you examine the effects of monetary policy on financial markets and on the economy as a whole. Gain an understanding of how interest rates, money supply and central bank actions affect the decisions of economic agents, financial markets and prices.
This module develops your understanding of how modern financial management techniques work in practice and how they can be used to support corporate decision making. We explore the nature and purpose of financial management, the role of financial institutions and the money market and how stakeholders affect corporate objectives. You explore the technical aspects of financial management and explore techniques used for business and asset valuation, investment appraisal and managing capital.
Investigate the theoretical foundations of some widely used pricing models for securities traded in financial markets – equities, options and bonds. You gain an understanding of the theoretical foundations of these models so that you can appreciate both the usefulness and/or the weakness of these models.
Gain a thorough understanding of the basic international arbitrage relationships of some basic models of exchange rate determination. You then explore topics in economics such as models of currency crisis, and the South American and East Asian Crisis, and investigate international markets from the perspective of a multinational firm, where topics such as the international cost of capital and foreign direct investment are covered.
Discover the importance of microfinance for emerging and developing countries. You cover topics including financial liberalisation, a review of the process of financial institution building in developing and emerging market economies and an analysis of their interactions with the global financial system.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Teaching includes a combination of lectures, seminars and computer-based lab sessions
- Modules delivered by experts in the field as well as guest speakers
- Contribute and interact in lectures through the use of smart technology
- Lecture presentations and notes are uploaded online beforehand to help you prepare in advance
- Complete your final-year project in consultation with a personal supervisor
- Assessed through traditional methods of end-of-year exams and multiple choice questions in class tests and essays
- Plus more innovative and creative assessments include laboratory work, poster presentations, real-business case problems and group presentations
- Your first year marks do not count towards your final degree
UK entry requirements
GCSE: Mathematics C
IB: 30 points, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.
Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.
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
high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
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.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.
Applicant Days and interviews
Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.
Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.
If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you plan a visit to the University.
Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have 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
Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com 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.