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BSc Finance and Modern Languages

Why we're great

  • We’re ranked in the UK’s top 20 for finance (NSS, 2016).
  • We’re ranked in the world’s top 150 departments for linguistics.
  • Essex Business School is ranked in the UK’s top 20 (Chartered Association of Business Schools).

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: NR39
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
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

Are our financial markets working as well as they should be? What are the key issues affecting international finance?

As businesses become increasingly globalised, learning languages alongside finance can give you a career advantage. By speaking more than one language, you can communicate with co-workers, business contacts and suppliers from all over the world, increasing your opportunities to work overseas.

This course combines the study of finance with the opportunity to learn up to two languages. You examine the global financial system from the perspective of the investor, the analyst, the academic and the policy-maker. Real-life examples are used to apply financial theory to real-life business situations and you explore topics such as:

  • financial decision making in companies and banks
  • the role of investors and financial professionals
  • the nature and role of financial markets
  • how statistics inform financial decisions
  • the controversial world of derivative markets

We’re ranked in the UK’s top 20 for finance and our finance courses have 91% student satisfaction (NSS, 2016).

Essex is one of just three UK universities to have received Q-Step Affiliate status, including for our BSc Finance and Modern Languages, 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.

This course is taught at Essex Business School. More than two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, placing us in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014). By studying with us, you join an international community of students and staff from across the globe.

Language modules are taught by the Department of Language and Linguistics, ranked among the top 150 departments on the planet according to the QS World University Rankings 2016 for linguistics.

Study abroad

You spend your third year studying abroad to further develop your language skills. Your year abroad provides the opportunity to study different national business environments, legal frameworks and customs.

You do not pay tuition fees during your year abroad.

Our expert staff

You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track record. Our finance group is one of the largest and most respected in the UK.

Staff at Essex Business School specialise in areas including financial crises, behavioural finance, hedge fund performance, financial bubbles, and growth and poverty.

All of our modern language teachers are native or bilingual speakers.

Our modern languages lecturers come from around the world, including countries such as France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Cuba, China and the UK. They will help you to master practical foreign language skills and share their expertise in professional translation, interpreting, subtitling, film, art, business and culture.

Specialist facilities

Our landmark new Essex Business School building is the first zero carbon business school in the UK. Set around a lush winter garden, the Eden-style dome gives the building its own micro-climate.

Our new building provides you with excellent facilities and services:

  • a virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Terminals offering direct use of Bloomberg data, information and analytics
  • a light and spacious lecture theatre, with seating for 250 students
  • study pods and innovation booths for group working
  • a café with an adjacent sun terrace
  • study skills workshops

Our Colchester building is located on the Knowledge Gateway, the University’s research and technology park. You can take advantage of potential networking and work experience opportunities with a range of exciting businesses located on site.

You also benefit from the learning resources available within our Department of Language and Linguistics:

  • Melissi Digital Classroom software for subtitling and interpreting
  • a new 20-position Interpreting Lab
  • meet other linguists and practise your language skills at our Language Cafés
  • experience world cinema at our Modern Languages Film Club
  • our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost

Your future

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).

As a graduate of our BSc Finance and Modern Languages you are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for your career in finance. In a job market which is becoming increasingly global, having studied a foreign language places you in a very advantageous position regardless of which career path you follow. Your year abroad will have developed your confidence, independence and maturity.

From the moment you begin studying with us, we prepare you to achieve your career goals. We understand the skills and knowledge employers want and ensure you have the opportunity to acquire these through your degree studies and extra-curricular activity.

Our recent graduates work for organisations such as:

  • PWC
  • IBM
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Bank of England
  • Hiscox
  • John Lewis Partnership

The School provides you with access to a number of employability opportunities. You can also find out about further work experience, internships and voluntary opportunities from the University Employability and Careers Centre.

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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.

Language options

The language module that you will study will depend upon your level when you arrive in the department and we are happy to accept students with no previous knowledge of the language. The structure shown below is an example of the progression for a student who has an A Level or equivalent in French, but it is possible to start at an initial level with no prior knowledge of the language (unless you major in French, where a French A Level is required). Please refer to the progression pathway table to find out which modules are suitable for your linguistic profile.

You can study up to two languages on this course.

The below example structure shows a student studying French and German.

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.

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.

Want to learn German from scratch? Study the German language from basic to advanced level, so that you can communicate in complex situations and read extended texts, like newspaper articles. Learn how to give short talks or presentations in German and be able to write German coherently.

Year 2

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.

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.

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.

Want to improve your French? Can you describe people and places? Or initiate and take part in a conversation? Use a wide range of authentic materials, that depict real-life activities, to consolidate your French language skills. Improve your ability to deal with everyday situations in a natural and creative way.

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in German? Develop your university-level German language skills so that you are fairly fluent with the ability understand spoken and written work. Be able to express yourself orally and in writing on demanding topics that face modern Germany.

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.

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.

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.

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

Want Final Honours level competence in German? Wish to deal quickly and precisely with any written or spoken document? Refine your knowledge of German grammar and vocabulary to near-native level comprehension. Undertake collaborative research into topical issues, and consolidate your understanding of German culture.

Want to develop your French comprehension? Improve your spoken and written language skills? Sharpen your grammatical accuracy? Make use of a range of materials to further advance your language abilities, building coherent and cohesive skills for both speaking and writing in French.

Year abroad

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
  • Activities designed to develop your practical language skills, such as role-play and class presentations
  • Cultural and social themes are explored through film, music, the internet, theatre and literature
  • 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
  • Languages assessed through role-plays and translations

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB
GCSE: Mathematics C

A-level (or equivalent) French is required, if French is taken as the major language

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. 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 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.

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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.

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.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit 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 visit 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 so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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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.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.