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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Postgraduate > Finance 2-year programme
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Finance 2-year programme MSc 2-year

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
2 years full time
Department Economics »


Studying Finance at Royal Holloway, University of London means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts at one of the UK’s top ten teaching and research centres. This programme provides you with an opportunity to study a portfolio of courses in the first year designed to bring you up to the entry standard for the Masters degree;  ideal if you have graduated from disciplines other than Economics, Finance, and a highly quantitative discipline. You will learn how to analyse issues in finance and corporate policy and build your analytical and technical expertise. On graduation you will be ready to start a career in the financial services, business and banking sectors; we have an impressive employment record, 90% of our economics students have jobs in six months.

In the first year you will study undergraduate level courses and in the second year, subject to progression, you will progress to the year-long Masters in Finance.  Through your studies you will gain a strong grounding in core areas of finance and have the flexibility to specialise in areas such as fixed income securities and derivatives, investment and portfolio management or decision theory and behaviour. On graduation you will be skilled in investment analysis, mathematical statistics  financial econometrics and you will have the tools to analyse how investment decisions.

Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from subject leaders, cutting edge materials and intellectually challenging debates. You will be taught by people who have worked and are still working in the finance industry in the broad areas of asset allocation and risk, as well as algorithmic trading. 

  • Excellent career prospects; economics has an impressive employment record and graduates’ starting salaries are amongst the highest in the country.
  • Small groups with individual support; being part of a small group means you’ll feel part of a team and have close contact with the academic staff. You will also receive individual support from the course director.
  • Quality research and teaching; one of only economics departments in the country placed in the top ten for both research and student satisfaction (Research Assessment Exercise, 2014 and National Student Survey 2015).

Pre-course preparation

Mathematical Methods

In this two week module you will revisit the mathematical tools and methods which are neccessary for studying and working in economics, covering the basic analytical methods, with particular emphasis on optimisation and basic matrix analysis.

Core modules

Year 1

Microeconomics

This module will develop your understanding of the basics of modern microeconomic analysis. You will become familiar with the tools that economists use to analyse problems of resource allocation in market settings, beginning with a formal analysis of the optimising behavior of consumers and producers. You will be introduced to markets and the notion of competitive equilibrium, in both partial and general equilibrium settings. You will then look at how individual market participants can affect prices, analysing the problem of a monopolist. Finally you will consider static game theory to analyse markets where a small number of firms compete with each other (oligopolies).

Macroeconomics

This module will provide you with an introduction to modern intertemporal macroeconomics. You will learn about the tools used for dynamic economic analysis and apply them to topics such as economic fluctuations, unemployment, long-run growth, consumption decisions by households and investment decisions by firms. You will develop an understanding of dynamic macroeconomic models of economic behaviour, the main theories of economic fluctuations, the modern theory of unemployment, the principal determinants of consumption and investment decisions, and look at the process of economic growth.

Quantitative Methods in Economics

In this module you will develop an understanding of, and gain practical experience in, the essentials of empirical research techniques used by applied economists. You will look at standard econometric techniques and how these can be used to formally test economic hypotheses, and how to manipulate and analyse data sets in order to conduct your own econometric investigations, both in writing and using computer software.

Year 2

Corporate Finance

In this module you will develop an understanding of the techniques used in financial decision making in the modern corporation. You will look at how corporations appraise investment opportunities, raise finance to fund such projects, and increase shareholder wealth via sound management and planning. You will examine the discounting methods used to value financial assets, the processes firms go through to raise funds from share issue, and the factors that affect the optimal capital structure of the firm.

Foundations of Finance

In this module you will develop an understanding of the technical, analytical and quantitative methods used for analysing financial and equity markets. You will look at the theory of choice under uncertainty, and the modern theories of asset pricing and asset valuation, with consideration for the concepts of arbitrage pricing and the notion of market completeness. You will also learn avout market microstructure, gaining practical experience in trading using simulation software.

Quantitative Methods for Finance

This module will develop your understanding of the basic tools of quantitative analysis used in both economics and finance. You will cover the linear regression model and non-linar regression functions, focussing on estimation by ordinary least squares (OLS). You will indentify potential sources of bias and inconsistency, and become familar with methods for testing hypotheses by examining restrictions placed on models by econometric theory. You also will consider the advantages and limitations of the procedures and methods that you apply when completing problem sets.

Financial Economics

This module will provide you with an insight into the nature of financial markets and how they are used by investors and corporations. You will start by looking at the equity market, considering issues of optimal asset allocation, asset pricing theory, market efficiency and market microstructure. You will then concentrates on fixed income securities and the uses and applications of derivative financial instruments, covering pricing of fixed-income securities, futures, options and swaps and hedging.

Mathematical Methods

This module will provide you with an introduction to the basic mathematical and statistical methods used in Economics and Finance, with a particular emphasis on optimisation and basic matrix analysis. You will develop your ability to carry out differentiation and integration of standard functions, manipulate vectors and matrices, and understand and solve various optimisation problems, both constrained and unconstrained with equality or inequality constraints. You will look at probability and distribution theory, becoming familiar with estimation and inference, and be able to use the main theorems of the large sample distribution theory.

Dissertation

You will attend a set of preparatory classes to equip you with the necessary skills required for research, including a hands-on approach to using statistical packages and reading peer-reviewed articles. You will be expected to use either econometric or statistical techniques, and apply your knowledge and skills from the other quantitative methods and theory modules taken during your studies, to produce your own piece of research around 10,000 words in length.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Game Theory

In this module you will develop an understanding of the mathematical models used to study and analyse strategic interactions between agents. You will look at the fundamental concepts in game theory as applied to economics in general and microeconomics in particular. You will become familiar with basic equilibrium concepts such as Nash equilibrium and subgame perfect equilibrium, and be able to find equilibrium outcomes of simple games including the use of backward induction. 

Financial Econometrics

In his module you will develop an understanding of the methods used in the analysis of macro and financial time series data. You will analyse and critically evaluate empirical research in finance and macroeconomics, looking at linear and non-linear time series. You will consider the methodologies for large sample modelling of financial and economic data, and undertake a quantitative research project applying testing procedures on time-series data.

Financial Economics

This module will provide you with an insight into the nature of financial markets and how they are used by investors and corporations. You will start by looking at the equity market, considering issues of optimal asset allocation, asset pricing theory, market efficiency and market microstructure. You will then concentrates on fixed income securities and the uses and applications of derivative financial instruments, covering pricing of fixed-income securities, futures, options and swaps and hedging.

Year 2

Decision Theory and Behaviour

In this module you will develop an understanding of the rational decision making paradigm in economics, as well as its shortcomings over the past few decades. You will explore behavioural models, their formalisation and scope, including applications to finance, becming familiar with both theoretical and experimental methods for research in decision theory and behavioural economics.

Fixed Income Securities and Derivatives

In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important elements of the default-free fixed income securities market, and the derivatives market. You will look at the analytical tools used in portfolio management and risk management. For bond portfolios these will include yield curve construction, duration, convexity and formal term structure models. For derivatives, you will focus on valuation, trading mechanisms and management of credit risk.

Investment and Portfolio Management

In this module you will be introduced to the underlying theory and empirical evidence in portfolio management and its practice in the financial sector. Portfolio theory is blended with practical issues encountered in the investment process, and you will cover topics which include identifying investor objectives and constraints, recognizing risk and return characteristics of investment vehicles, developing strategic asset allocations among equity, managing portfolio risk, increasing portfolio return, and evaluating portfolio and manager performance relative to investment objectives and other appropriate benchmarks. You will develop an understanding of how funds are allocated in portfolio construction, and look at security analysis, optimal portfolio selection and delegated portfolio management.

Private Equity

In this module you will develop an understanding of corporate finance issues related to company evaluation, and the main users of those evaluations, such private equity firms and venture capitalists (VCs). You will look at the key aspects of corporate valuation, for example leveraging, and how valuations differ according to the maturity of the company, from start up, to making an Initial Public Offering (IPO), to established business engaging in mergers and acquisitions. You will become familiar with leverage buyout and private equity technics, and be able to analyse and critically evaluate the motivation for mergers and acquisitions.

The Economics of Banking

In this module you will develop an understanding of the economic meaning of the terms liquidity and solvency in the context of financial intermediaries. You will look at simiplified frameworks for analysing the fragility of the financial system and consider its revelance to financial crisisesincluding models of bank runs and the theory of optimal financial regulation. You will examine the implications of asset price bubbles for financial stability, and the implications of imposing capital structure controls and liqudity controls on financial intermediaries.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2.1) or overseas equivalent in non-Economics focused and non-quantitative degrees.

Applicants must show that they have taken or be taking a year long Mathematics or Statistics module and achieve 2.2 level or equivalent.

Applicants with a good Second Class Honours degree (2.2), or overseas equivalent, will be considered on an individual basis.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • team player
  • good communicator
  • willing to learn new quantitative methods
  • willing to integrate and have a thirst for knowledge and new challenges

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other sub-scores.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 

A Finance masters degree at Royal Holloway will equip you with an enviable range of transferable skills and can lead into a variety of career paths as well as the knowledge and a solid foundation for continued PhD studies. Employers recognise and reward the real knowledge and skills developed in a Finance degree.

We will help students to recognise their own strengths, skills and abilities so that they can make strong applications for their chosen job or further study.  We also provide careers support including application and interview coaching, career strategy discussions and the opportunity to network with major employes.

  • Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many areas within the financial sector, including careers as economists, financial analysts, accountants, bankers, journalists and business analysts. 
  • Our graduates are currently working for firms such as Accenture, TNS, Bloomberg, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Baker and Mackenzie.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: Year 1 - £5,535, Year 2 - £8,300

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: Year 1 - £11,335; Year 2 - £17,000

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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