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BSc Finance (4 Years Including Foundation Year)

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  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Our international students benefit from a single visa for all four years of study.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: N301
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £11,750

Subsequent years will be charged at the standard undergraduate degree fee for international students

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: N301
Duration: 4 years
Start month: January
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £11,750

Subsequent years will be charged at the standard undergraduate degree fee for international students

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666

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About the course

Our BSc Finance (including foundation year) is open to Home, EU and international students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our International Academy, you progress to complete your course with Essex Business School. This 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.

Topics include:

  • 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.

Essex Business School is 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.

Professional accreditation

Essex Business School courses provide you with accreditations and exemptions from a range of professional bodies including:

  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

This means that you are able to gain a professional qualification by taking fewer exams when you graduate, giving your career a head start.

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

Specialist facilities

By studying within our International Academy for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our Academy to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

This course is based at our Colchester Campus, where you can 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

Your future

Our students develop rewarding careers at some of the most recognised brands in the world:

  • PWC
  • IBM
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Bank of England
  • Hiscox
  • 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, 80% of our graduates enter work or further study after graduating.

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Example structure

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.

Year 0

What are the key concepts in business management today? Explore core elements within the field of business management, covering topics in banking, finance, management and accounting. Apply theoretical concepts to key organisations, companies and institutions. Develop your analytical skills and practical knowledge of this dynamic sector.

What is economics? And what are the main economic theories and principles? Build your understanding, studying topics in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Develop your knowledge of economic implications and build your analytic skills in using simple mathematical techniques and economic diagrams.

Want to use mathematical techniques to solve problems? And to calculate basic statistical measures? Develop mathematical skills like number work, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics that can be used on any course requiring mathematics above Higher GCSE standard. Learn to solve relevant problems and know how to present data clearly.

Academic Skills covers the key areas that you will experience during your degree, preparing you for aspects of academic study at undergraduate level. The module enables you to develop and enhance your existing abilities by focusing on the core skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in an academic context. It does this with both generic texts and also, crucially, those related to your subject area. Academic Skills provides strategies for successful communication and interaction through independent and collaborative learning offering opportunity to further enhance your research skills. The content is designed to ensure that you acquire a range of transferable employability and life skills.

Year 1

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.

Year 2

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.

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.

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.

Management accounting enables you to provide three key areas of information to any business: costing, decision-making, and planning and control. In this module you focus on costing, but also see how this area overlaps with the other two, as all three areas always interact. You also develop your knowledge and understanding of management accounting and the context in which it operates.

This module aims to give you an insight into UK and EU law. You explore the criminal and civil court structures, contract law, how to apply Legal Method and conduct legal research. You acquire essential information needed to ensure that your business operates within the law and satisfies professional accounting body requirements.

Final year

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.

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.

This module aims to give you an insight into UK and EU law. You explore the criminal and civil court structures, contract law, how to apply Legal Method and conduct legal research. You acquire essential information needed to ensure that your business operates within the law and satisfies professional accounting body requirements.

Develop your legal knowledge by studying Partnership Law, followed by various aspects of Company Law (including professional negligence), together with the rules of Agency, Insolvency principles, the offence of Insider Dealing and Employment Law.

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.

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.


  • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
  • You can contribute and interact in lectures through the use of smart technology
  • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention


  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: DDD, or equivalent in UCAS tariff points, to include 2 full A-levels.
GCSE: Mathematics C

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email 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 5.5 overall.

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.

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Visit us

Open days

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 and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

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.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

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) 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.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder 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 prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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