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Durham University

Postgraduate Modules 2019/2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box. Please be aware that modules may change from year to year, and may be amended to take account of, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

No such Code for pgprog: L1K209
No such Code for pgprog: L1K309
No such Code for pgprog: L1K709
No such Code for pgprog: L1K509
No such Code for pgprog: N3K807

Department: Economics and Finance


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20
Tied to L1K209
Tied to L1K309
Tied to L1K709
Tied to L1K509
Tied to N3K109 Finance
Tied to N3K209 Finance (Accounting and Finance)
Tied to N3K309 Finance (Corporate and International Finance)
Tied to N3K409 Finance (Finance and Investment)
Tied to N3K609 Finance (International Banking and Finance)
Tied to N3K807
Tied to N3K809 Islamic Finance
Tied to L1T509 Accounting


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module aims to provide students with:
  • a specialist knowledge and understanding of the different elements of systems of corporate governance and their interdependencies;
  • skills in the application of economic theories to aid the analysis of systems of corporate governance, both at the level of individual organisations and economic systems;
  • a critical understanding of reasons for and the impact of differences in systems of corporate governance at international level.


  • Corporate Governance and the Theory of the Firm;
  • The Board of Directors;
  • The rationale for, and impact of, Best Practice Codes for corporate governance;
  • Information asymmetry and corporate governance;
  • Investors and corporate governance;
  • Insider ownership and corporate performance;
  • Executive and Board remuneration decisions;
  • The market for corporate control: theory and evidence;
  • Corporate governance and corporate finance: capital structure and investment decisions;
  • Corporate social responsibility reporting and corporate governance;
  • International aspects of corporate governance.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module students should:
  • have a specialist knowledge and understanding of:
  • economic theories used in the analysis of systems of corporate governance (e.g. principal-agent, transaction cost and property rights theory);
  • the different elements of systems of corporate governance both in private and public organisations;
  • the interdependencies between internal and external institutions of corporate governance (with particular reference to the financial aspects of corporate governance);
  • international differences in systems of corporate governance;
  • the development and the impact of codes of best practice in corporate governance.
  • be able to appreciate the highly complex nature of systems of corporate governance in both public and private sector organizations.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should:
  • be able to apply their understanding of corporate governance to analyse principal-agent problems in organizations and to develop and evaluate solutions to limit agency problems.
Key Skills:
  • written communication;
  • planning, organising and time management;
  • problem solving and analysis;
  • using initiative;
  • computer literacy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A combination of lectures, seminars and guided reading will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module. Investigation of cases which underpin the seminars will encourage students to develop awareness of the potential effects of various corporate governance mechanisms and apply these to the development of their skills in managing themselves and others in such contexts.
  • The formative presentation will enhance students' ability to analyse corporate governance issues, as well as their communication and presentation skills. Feedback will be provided to students regarding their understanding of the main concepts, their analytical and presentation skills.
  • The summative written assignment will be in the form of a case study analysis based on corporate governance issues in real world organisations to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter, their critical judgement and problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 1 hour 4
Preparation & Reading 126
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment 2500 words (max) 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Group poster presentation. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

    If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our User Guide. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the User Guide, or a query about the Postgraduate Module Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.