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MSc Finance (Economics and Finance)


At a glance

MSc Finance (Economics and Finance)

Course Duration
1 year (full-time)
Mode of study
Full Time
Durham City
Start Date
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Our MSc Finance programmes are designed to provide you with rigorous training at the frontier of research, as well as the advanced analytical and technical skills that are highly sought after by global employers and, if you wish to continue your studies, by world-leading PhD programmes. More

Course Summary

Course Summary


Our MSc Finance programmes are designed to provide you with rigorous training at the frontier of research, as well as the advanced analytical and technical skills that are highly sought after by global employers and, if you wish to continue your studies, by world-leading PhD programmes.

Our MSc programmes have partnership status with the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA). The CFA is the world’s premier association for investment professionals and the accepted benchmark for technical excellence in financial markets. It guarantees you benefit from a curriculum of the highest standards and enables you to participate in the CFA Global Investment Research Challenge, as well as CFA employer network events and scholarships.

The programme consists of a set of core and elective modules, culminating in a practice- based business project or a research-based dissertation.

Core and elective modules

You will study:

  • Advanced Financial Theory
  • Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Advanced Microeconomics
  • Corporate Finance

Based on your prior knowledge and experience you will be streamed to study one of the following module pairings:

  • Econometrics I and Econometrics II
  • Econometric Methods and Financial Modelling and Business Forecasting

You will then choose two elective modules. The list of modules may vary from year to year, but has typically included:

  • Auditing and Assurance Services
  • Behavioural Finance and Economics
  • Derivative Markets
  • Financial Risk Management
  • Market Microstructure.

Dissertation or Business Project

In the third term, you will complete a dissertation which could be undertaken as a consultancy project within an organisation or with one of our international partner institutions. Supervised by a faculty member with relevant experience, you’ll investigate in greater detail a subject that you’ve already studied as part of your programme.

This is an opportunity for you to develop your business insight and present your analysis and ideas in a scholarly and professional manner; combine critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating evidence and the opinions of others.

Adding to your experience

International Opportunities

We’re proud of our strong international connections. Helping you get an inside perspective on global business is a key part of the programme. That’s why we offer a range of opportunities to help you immerse yourself in a country’s business and academic environment, make new contacts and stand out in a competitive job market. These include:

  • Dissertation Abroad: If your ambitions lie beyond the UK, we offer a number of places on our unique Dissertation Abroad scheme. This will involve writing a dissertation at one of our international partner institutions in the period June to August. A number of scholarships are available.
  • International Study Tour: We organise an optional International Study Tour to a European destination, typically Switzerland. This intensive programme takes place over several days, normally in March/April, and offers you a great opportunity to get an ‘inside perspective’ on international business, and to network with key staff within organisations.

Guest Speakers

As part of your programme, you have the opportunity to enjoy presentations by academics and practitioners within your chosen area of interest. Past speakers have included representatives of major global multinationals and leading academics, providing an ideal opportunity to gain practical knowledge and progressive insight.

Investment Club

Ten students are selected to manage a genuine fund and meet on a monthly basis to evaluate their research and place their trades. At the end of the year, the monetary fund and a report on its performance are passed to next year’s club. This exciting initiative gives you the chance to put your financial skills to the test and enhance your CV.

Trading Challenge

This challenge will give you the opportunity to monitor and analyse real-time financial market data movements to build a hypothetical portfolio with securities of your choice. This gives you hands on experience and the chance to improve your investment and security selection skills. It looks great on your CV, plus there is a cash prize for the winner.

Additional Resources

The School has made a significant investment in database resources to give you access to both live and historical data from providers which include Thomson Reuters, Datasteam and Orbis. These state-of-the-art databases give you the opportunity to interrogate the financial records of millions of companies worldwide and add valuable insight to your research.

Trading Room

As part of our provision of a wide range of software and databases, we offer training on our Bloomberg terminals for accessing economic and financial data.

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, and practicals. Lectures provide key contents of a particular topic. Some lectures are delivered by guest speakers who are internationally recognised academic experts or practitioners in their field. Students can also attend the Durham Speaker Series, providing the opportunity to network with senior business leaders, staff and alumni.

Seminars provide the opportunity for smaller groups of students to solve problems and discuss and debate issues based on knowledge gained through lectures and independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practicals are medium sized group sessions, where students practice computer software, applying topics from lectures and seminars.

Students study 5 core modules, and select 5 elective modules to study between January and May which enables them to undertake more in-depth study of particular topics. This is followed by a 12,000 word dissertation to allow students to carry out independent research and develop their skills in analysis and scholarly expression, using an appropriate theoretical framework. They are supported in writing their dissertation through the study of research methods, and attending individual meetings with an allocated supervisor, who monitors their progress and provides advice.

Students will typically attend 10 hours per week of lectures in Term 1 and 9 hours per week of lectures in Term 2, and undertake a 1 hour seminar every two weeks (per module).

Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, mentored by the Programme Director, such as the Investment Club, the StockTrak Trading Competition, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Investment Research Challenge, and Employer Networking Events.

They also have the opportunity to attend an International Study Week at an overseas location at the end of Term 2, which gives students the opportunity to learn about the business, economy and culture of another country, gain an ‘insider perspective’ on international businesses and network with key business staff. 

Outside of timetabled contact hours, students are expected to undertake their own independent study in preparation for seminars, assignments and other forms of assessment including exams, and general background reading to broaden their subject knowledge. All members of teaching staff are also available to provide additional support on a one-to-one basis via weekly consultation hours.

Pre-sessional modules in Accounting, Economics, and Mathematics and Statistics, are offered in September/October. The format is 5 lectures and 5 seminars per module.

Following the exam period in May/June, students have the opportunity to participate in a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Preparation Module. The module runs over two full days with emphasis on Ethics and Forensic Accounting. This is to prepare students for the CFA Level I exam.


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade


Please note: The application process opens on 1 October for entry the following academic year.

There is high demand for places on these programmes – typically we receive around 10 applications for each place the University is able to offer. To maximise your chances of being offered one of these places, we recommend that you submit your application to the University as early as possible. 

We aim to have a diverse student body and recognise that we can only offer places to a finite number of applicants. To help achieve our aim, we look to ensure we offer places to applicants from all nationalities and close applications when we receive the allocated numbers.


The University is under no obligation to make any offer of a place on the programme to any applicant, nor is the University obligated to fill all spaces available on the programme.

The Masters in Finance is designed for new or recent graduates. Certain programmes will be of interest if you are already a practitioner in the financial field. You should have a strong background in a related discipline and your first degree should have a substantial mathematics and statistics content in years 2,3 or 4.

What do I need first?

The equivalent of a UK first or upper second class honours degree with evidence on your degree transcript of strong grades in statistical modules in your second, third or fourth year. Check the full list of equivalent qualifications.

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

NB Chinese Applicants: Applications will be accepted from students who have graduated from a prestigious university in China. Entry requirements may vary depending upon the reputation of the university you have graduated from and the academic programme you have applied for. As a guide, applicants are expected to have achieved an overall average of 85%.

How do I apply?

You will need to complete an online application form.

Please note you can only apply for one Masters Finance programme.

>>Fill out the online application form 

To support your online application form, you will need to provide the following documents.

  • Two academic references using our standard form (Download the form - Word format
  • Official transcript of marks
  • Copy of degree certificate (if available)
  • Copy of English test results (if available).

You can either upload your supporting documents with your online application or email or fax them to the Postgraduate Admissions Office using the contact details below. 

Only files of type .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .rtf are permitted to be uploaded.
The maximum file size is 5MB.

Application fee

Once we receive your online application form, you’ll get an automatic email within 48 hours asking you to pay the £60 application fee* which is required to progress your application.

You’ll need to follow the link in the email to the webpage where you can confirm your details and make the payment using a debit or credit card. This is a secure website operated by Secpay, which will send you an automatic receipt of payment.

Once we receive confirmation that your application fee has been paid, we’ll be able to progress your application. If you do not pay the application fee your application will be automatically withdrawn.

*Please note you will only be able to make a payment for one programme in each suite i.e. one MSc Finance programme, one MSc Management programme, one MSc Marketing programme, one Islamic Finance programme.

College membership

If you’re applying for a full-time programme you’ll need to become a member of one of our Colleges as well as being accepted by a department. Here’s more information about how the college system works. Once you accept your programme offer, the College Postgraduate Office will get in touch with you to arrange accommodation. Please note that demand for college accommodation usually exceeds availability, so please try to arrange it as soon as possible.

Admissions process

Here are the steps in the admissions process:

  1. We will let you know when we’ve received your application.
  2. Once we’ve received all of your supporting documents, we will email you to let you know our decision.
  3. If the decision is to make you an offer of a place on the programme we will let you know by email. Please note we do not issue hard copy offer letters as these are not required to obtain a student visa.
  4. If you have requested university accommodation on your application form, the college will contact you direct. They will send you an accommodation application form, which you should complete and return direct to the college.
  5. You should confirm acceptance of your offer as soon as possible. In order to secure your place, you are required to pay a deposit within six weeks of the date of your original offer (check your offer documents for details of payment methods).
  6. International students requiring a student visa will receive a CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Studies) via email once all offer conditions are met, acceptance and deposit have been received and you are within five months of the start date of your programme. 


Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions Office, Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham, DH1 3LB, UK
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 5295
Fax: +44 (0)191 334 5136

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £14,500.00 per year
Home Student £14,500.00 per year
Island Student £14,500.00 per year
International non-EU Student £25,000.00 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Career Support

Key to your career

Whatever your specialist interests, you’ll find our careers team is one of the most useful resources to support you on your way to your target career. Now more than ever, it’s the skills you’re able to demonstrate in addition to your academic abilities that will make you shine in a fiercely competitive jobs market.

That’s why our facilities and services are designed to complement your course and help you develop essential professional and practical skills – from personal resilience and self-awareness to CV writing and interview techniques.

We work in partnership with the University's Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre to connect you with events, organisations or individuals to help kick-start your career.

One-to-one career support

As a Business School Masters student, you can take advantage of one-to-one appointments with a specialist Masters Career Consultant to help you with specific issues, from finding a route into your career to applying for your dream role.

Career development programme

Our Career Development Programme has been designed alongside our core academic programme to help you achieve your career goals and develop the skills that employers are looking for.

This starts at the beginning of Term One with our Careers Weekend. This weekend will provide insight and enable the development of essential career management skills. Covering a wide range of topics, the event will support career planning, facilitate skills development and enhance your knowledge of the full recruitment cycle. The weekend will be actively focused on identifying, preparing and securing employment opportunities throughout your studies.

Sector specific presentations

Our Career Insights sessions are delivered by external professionals with expertise and knowledge of their particular sector which provide insights into working in areas that are popular with our students.

Previous guest speakers have delivered presentations on working in banking, professional services, and management development programmes within international companies.

Business Projects and Placements

The business project or placement is a great way to gain practical work experience and develop consultancy skills. We can help you choose from a range of regional, national and international organisations of different sizes in different sectors or you can source your own project – some target an organisation they’d like to work for. However you tailor the project, it will help you to put new knowledge and skills into practice and influence real life business issues.

International opportunities

We’re proud of our strong international connections. Helping you get an inside perspective on global business is a key part of the programme. That’s why you’ll have the opportunity to go on the optional International Study Tour to a European destination in March/April. This self-funded, one-week programme is a great way to immerse yourself in the country’s business environment, providing the chance to make new contacts and helping you stand out in the competitive jobs market.

If you are interested in carrying out research or a business project in an international location for your dissertation, we may also be able to connect you with our international partner institutions.

Support for International Students

We recognise that many of our students will progress their careers outside of the UK once they finish their studies, and our career development programme is designed with this in mind. We offer events focused on career opportunities in China and are continually developing relationships with international recruiters.

If you’re an international student interested in working in the UK after your studies, the careers team works closely with Durham University's Student Immigration & Financial Support Office to provide you with information related to immigration. Their advisers are dedicated to helping our students understand the requirements and restrictions of their visas during their studies and can provide limited advice on post-study visa requirements.

You can access English language support from English Language Centre.

Online resources

Through the Career Development Programme you will have access to a huge range of career resources including an interview simulator with a bank of interview questions, a CV builder, and our international Jobs Board.

Alumni career support

You can continue to make the most of our specialist career development advice after you graduate, including on-going one-to-one support from our Masters Career Consultants, workshops in our key locations, and continued access to our online career resources.


Please note: Every programme has its own core and elective modules. Please consult this table for details.

Accounting Theory

Covers normative, positive and systems oriented accounting theories, and methodological issues in accounting research. The module examines rationales for accounting regulation and its potential economic and social impact, as well as how disclosure policies are affected by stakeholders’ perceptions.

Advanced Financial Theory

Provides a rigorous grounding and a thorough synthesis of the most important current research in finance, with an emphasis on the applications of principles. Both normative and positive aspects of financial theory are examined, together with supporting descriptive and empirical evidence.

Advanced Macroeconomics

Examines economics at the macro level. Topics may include: overlapping generations and intergenerational government policy; continuous-time growth models for government debt policy; endogenous growth and optimal growth policy; equilibrium business cycles and business cycle policy.

Advanced Microeconomics

Covers rigorous analysis in microeconomics. Topics may include consumer choice, heterogeneity and aggregation, expected utility theory, choice under uncertainty, insurance markets, and gambling, and the economics of incentives.

Auditing and Assurance Services

Covers the role of different types of auditing, the audit processes and audit reports. Among the topics covered are standards, materiality, risk, ethics, audit evidence, sampling, compliance and assurance and attestation services.

Behavioural Finance and Economics

Designed to enable a critical approach to financial decision-making and develop your understanding of how this is affected by human psychology. This will help you to evaluate behavioural and market-based evidence, and understand the implications of behavioural finance on financial theory and practice.

Corporate Finance

Aims to provide you with advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the essential components of modern corporate finance. These include: ownership structure and governance; capital structure and dividend decisions; mergers, acquisitions and restructuring company valuation. The emphasis is on the applications of the principles and the relevance of theory into practice.

Corporate Governance

Investigates corporate governance mechanisms that serve to promote transparency, responsibility and accountability in organisations. This will develop your ability to analyse systems of corporate governance in individual organisations and economic systems. Particular attention will be paid to the reasons for, and the impact of differences in systems of corporate governance at an international level.

Corporate Reporting

Of unique importance for the evaluation of investments, as well as for the transparency and accountability of corporate governance systems, this covers: techniques of financial statement analysis; the use of corporate reporting information for business analysis and corporate governance; the reasons for, and the impact of international differences in corporate reporting.

Derivative Markets

Examines the main derivative financial instruments, their uses and differences. Consideration is given to the main key roles of such instruments as arbitrage, speculation and hedging, as well as the complexities and interactions inherent in these roles.

Econometrics 1

Introduces key econometric principles and methods. You'll learn how to apply and interpret the results of these methods as a means of investigating economic and financial issues.

Econometrics 2

Seeks to extend and deepen knowledge and develop critical judgement gained in Econometrics 1. This also introduces the principles and methods of modern financial econometrics and time series forecasting.

Empirical Topics in Islamic Finance and Economics

Covers the economics of Islamic finance and its quantitative applications. Topics include credit and risk, contract theory, corporate governance, financial engineering, data sources and quantitative research.

Environmental Economics and Policy

Develops advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of: the contribution of economic analysis to the solution of complex environmental problems; the role of free markets and/or government intervention; current political strategies for the protection of the environment from an economic standpoint.

Experimental Economics and Finance

Covers theories of behavioural economics and finance, and the use of experimental economics in testing those theories. Topics include economic behaviour in markets, bargaining, auctions, game theory, public choice, and in particular choice under uncertainty and choice over time. Students will gain a critical understanding of methodological considerations including sample design and selection, design of experimental treatments, incentives, control and psychological biases.

Financial Management

Develops your understanding of the financial tools needed for business management, emphasising issues of long-term financial decision-making. You will critically evaluate the information needs of management for control and decision making purposes, and gain an understanding of the use of management accounting information and the limitations of such information.

Financial Modelling and Business Forecasting

Emphasises both the understanding of theoretical econometrics and the ability to apply it to financial data series. (Econometrics plays a central role in financial analysis in academic, governmental and financial institutions.) After developing a thorough understanding of multiple regression analysis, you'll progress to more specialised topics such as univariate modules, unit root tests, cointegration, volatility models and forecasting.

Financial Planning and Control

Develops your understanding of financial control processes through the study of everything from cost behaviour, budgeting, resource allocation and capacity planning to activity based costing systems and management, financial measures of performance, the balanced scorecard, and incentive measures and performance.

Financial Risk Management

Here you'll investigate the means by which risk can be managed, primarily through the use of financial derivatives. You'll discuss various techniques and the problems inherent in using such instruments.

Financial Statement Analysis

Developing your critical awareness of how firms create value, you'll learn more about fundamental valuation models and analysis techniques to enable you to analyse: balance sheets, income and cash flow statements; profitability, growth and sustainable earnings; forecasting, valuation and business strategy; corporate risks.

Innovation, Technology and Economic Growth

Covers theories of economic growth and innovation, their empirical applications, and growth policies. Among the topics included are different sources of growth, inequality, political economy, research and development, innovation, international technology transfers, and intellectual property rights.

International Economics

Develops your ability to analyse issues in international economics such as new trade theory, strategic trade policy, political economy of trade policy, and international fiscal policy.

International Finance

Addresses the theory and application of international finance, including exchange rate theory, models of exchange rate determination and the efficiency of international financial markets. You'll also analyse the most important current research in the theory of risk sharing across international financial markets.

International Financial Asset Management

Examines key theoretical and empirical issues in international financial asset management, including international diversification and asset pricing.

Market Microstructure

Investigates the principles and practices of the workings of stock exchanges, regulations and structures, and the implications of these for trading. You'll also analyse the role of information, market liquidity and trading costs to major players in financial markets.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Explores perspectives on mergers and acquisitions through target valuation, leveraged buyouts, value creation, organisation, bid strategies and takeover defences.

Monetary Economics

Considers the money supply process and the goals and instrument targets of central banks. You'll also study monetary policy and the inflation bias, money as a medium of exchange, and money as a store of value.

Money and Banking

Introduces money and banks (microfoundations) and the implications for allocative efficiency and regulation. You'll also look at the complex roles of asymmetric information, signalling, adverse selection, risk aversion, agency and moral hazard in banking activities.

Multinational Finance

Provides you with an up-to-date and advanced understanding of the issues that confront the financial management of multinational companies. You'll also analyse the complexities and contradictions of current academic literature in the field of financial management of multinational corporations.

Portfolio Management

Enables you to develop highly specialist and advanced technical, professional and academic skills in asset allocation and portfolio composition and management.

Public Economics

Covers theoretical and practical issues in taxation and public expenditure through the study of both the positive and normative theory of government policy.

Security Analysis

Will develop your knowledge and understanding of key issues in security investment analysis at an advanced level. This will also provide you with opportunities to become familiar with recent research in the field of financial investments.

Dissertation and Research Methods

The Masters programme culminates in a 12,000-word dissertation, which provides an opportunity for you to investigate in greater detail a subject that you've already studied as part of your Masters programme. The work will enable you to exercise critical judgement and illustrate how economic analysis has relevance to financial decision-taking. A stimulating and challenging part of the programme, the dissertation represents a major piece of independent work.

Research Methods is designed to provide the necessary training to undertake advanced level research and provides a solid foundation for undertaking the dissertation. It focuses on the nature of research in finance and social sciences in general, examining the study skills necessary to manage and undertake a research project.

Please note: Not all optional modules will run every year. The choice will depend on student demand and staff availability.

My ‘Durham experience’ was characterised by the combination of academic rigour and family atmosphere, which fulfilled me both intellectually and personally.

Anil Yumut
MSc Finance (Economics and Finance)

"The variety of teaching styles and module selection allowed me to widen my scope of study, and as such I find I have learnt and experienced more than I ever imagined possible."

Laura Stewart
MSc Economics and Finance
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