About the course
How can we improve financial markets? What influences how a business funds its operations?
Across the globe, financial markets are facing dramatic regulatory and technological change. Against a backdrop of increasing market volatility, financial professionals must be adaptable, responsible and remain calm under pressure.
This professionally accredited course will prepare you for a fast-paced career in finance. You have access to our virtual trading floor, where you can practise trading stocks and securities on our industry standard Bloomberg Financial Market Labs.
You gain a firm understanding of the financial drivers of business and learn how these shape leadership, strategy and planning. You examine finance in an international context, using real-life examples to apply theory to practice and develop your capacity to analyse statistics. By exploring issues surrounding governance and ethics, you graduate with the ability to make sound, responsible financial decisions for the benefit of organisations and their stakeholders.
- the pricing of securities in financial markets
- business economics
- quantitative methods
- financial modelling
- portfolio analysis
Your first year ensures you receive a fully-rounded business education by introducing you to topics such as marketing, economics, management and accounting.
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 Finance, to support the way we develop the quantitative skills of our students.
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.
We’re ranked in the UK’s top 20 for finance and our finance courses have 91% student satisfaction (NSS, 2016).
BSc Finance is taught at Essex Business School, ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence (REF, 2014). We have one of the largest finance groups in the country and you learn amongst students and staff from all over the world.
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 placement or study abroad year.
“My assignments involve using financial concepts, models and software to solve business challenges. I like that I get to apply my quantitative skills to real-life problems, but also improve my knowledge of IT ready for the workplace. I’ve joined the Trading and Investment Society, volunteered for Enactus Essex and gained work experience with Santander on campus. One of my proudest achievements so far has been securing a summer internship at Lloyds Banking Group; they’ve offered me a place on their graduate scheme after I finish my degree.”
Alina Boboc, BSc Finance (to be awarded 2017)
Completion of BSc Finance provides you with accreditations and exemptions from the following professional bodies:
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
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.
Why not develop your international education by studying abroad at one of our exchange partners? You can study abroad in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.
With the four-year version of our BSc Finance, you spend your third year studying in another country and do not pay tuition fees during this time. In all other regards, your course content will remain the same as the traditional three-year degree. By opting for this variant, you develop your language skills and demonstrate a range of employability skills, including a willingness to learn and take on new challenges.
Like our study abroad option, our placement year variant also extends your degree by a year at no extra tuition fee cost. You gain valuable business contacts and work experience that can make your CV stand out from the crowd.
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. Our students have gained placements with organisations such as BMW, Samsung and Cummins.
Our expert staff
You learn from a mixture of industry practitioners and academics, all with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track records. Their research informs your lectures and seminars, so you learn about the latest issues impacting the finance sector.
Our staff specialise in areas including:
- financial crises
- behavioural finance
- hedge fund performance
- financial bubbles
- growth and poverty
Our BSc Finance is based at our Colchester Campus.
You learn in the first zero carbon business school building in the UK. Not only is our building environmentally friendly, it provides superb facilities:
- our winter garden and Eden-style dome maintains the building’s own micro-climate
- gain in-depth knowledge in our cutting-edge lecture theatres
- take advantage of our study pods and innovation booths for group working
- grab a coffee or a bite to eat in our café with an adjacent sun terrace
- maximise your academic performance with study skills workshops
Our students develop rewarding careers at some of the most recognised brands in the world:
- Bank of England
- John Lewis Partnership
Our recent graduates have entered employment in a range of areas from financial analysis to management, public administration and accountancy.
Alongside the University’s Employability and Careers Centre, we work hard to support you on your path to your chosen career, offering you access to employability opportunities such as work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities. As a result, 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).
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 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.
Extend your knowledge of financial accounting by mastering the preparation and analysis of the published financial statements of limited companies operating on their own, or within group structures. You investigate the regulation of financial reporting, the function and content of the main published statements, and problems connected with the treatment of taxation, depreciation, and specific aspects of the asset-expense distinction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Master the necessary skills to conduct econometric research. You consider the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) method and time series analysis, the conditions under which OLS is employable, the pitfalls and caveats when using OLS and performing analyses on time series data using any estimation method, and prediction and forecasting.
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.
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.
Discover how allowing for common human traits such as overconfidence, fear of regret, pride, loss aversion, anchoring, framing, mental accounting, and representativeness can enable a better understanding of financial markets and the trading strategies of investors
What does accounting do and why, and what is done in the name of accounting but might not be accounting? Does accounting enable us to talk or does it erect barriers around issues so that the debate is silenced or limited? Who should make accounting standards? Should it be the state, professional bodies or some private interests? These are some of the key issues facing producers, consumers, and regulators of corporate financial reports.
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.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
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.
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.
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.