MSc in Finance - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

The scope of the knowledge, skills and applications covered in this MSc aims to provide you with a masters-level educational experience in the specialist area of finance.

The key objectives of the qualification are to enable you to:

  • develop an up-to-date perspective on both theory and practice in national and international contexts
  • strengthen your ability to keep pace with future developments in financial management including the knowledge of markets, players and instruments
  • learn and apply the tools used for financial analysis and decision support in corporations, financial institutions and other organisations
  • develop appropriate information search, retrieval and analytical skills in the digital environment
  • critically evaluate the rigour and validity of published research and assess its relevance to new situations
  • demonstrate ability to apply appropriate research techniques to form their own views on the theory and its application in practice.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of :

  • scope of financial knowledge and its application within a wide range of national and multinational organisations
  • fundamentals of financial analysis and corporate finance theory
  • implications of corporate governance, agency theory and the related role of stakeholders.
  • core features of Islamic finance
  • organisational performance in terms of return on investment, investment risk and capital structure management.
  • links between corporate finance theories underpinning the cost of capital, dividend policy and efficient markets
  • quantitative finance and its practical applications to project appraisal, company valuation, methods and risk management, history of investment and investment management
  • various financial risks faced by corporations and financial institutions and ways to manage those risks and become aware of the trends in finance theory and its applications.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • critically assess alternative methods for valuing companies, prepare and evaluate financial projections of projects and carry out sensitivity analysis
  • calculate cost of capital using different methods, evaluate capital structures that may be applied by companies and the implications of these structures for cost of capital and valuation
  • construct a portfolio of assets comprising financial securities and manage portfolio risk
  • value various types of derivative securities and use financial risk management techniques and hedge risks
  • select, access and evaluate relevant published research and information across a range of areas relevant to finance theory and its application accessed digitally through the OU library and other web-based resources
  • carry out supervised research in finance areas drawing on the published empirical finance research and doing a dissertation.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • demonstrate sound understanding of financial theory and its application in strategic decision making; appreciate the governance and ethical issues encountered in the finance profession
  • identify the financial data and present the same in an analytical way, prepare financial appraisal of projects and comment and advise on the mergers and acquisition valuation
  • devise risk management strategies.
  • manage time effectively, plan a research project
  • develop as an independent and reflective learner
  • use Excel to solve problems related to investing and financial analysis, to conduct data visualisation, statistical tests, and basic regression analysis
  • practise conducting data visualisation, statistical tests and regression analysis in R.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • carry out financial calculations for use in corporate finance decisions (for example, investment analysis), including the use of computer spreadsheets, risk and return calculations for individual securities and portfolio of securities
  • analyse and interpret financial statements and carry out valuation of companies
  • carry out a review of finance literature, identify themes and apply research skills in a selected area of finance.
  • show evidence of digital scholarship by finding, using, managing and sharing information and literature using digital resources.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The qualification offers an integrated learning experience using a wide range of teaching and learning resources and assessment approaches.

This will include study materials supplied by the OU, online tuition provided by a dedicated subject specialist tutor, activities including practical exercises, literature review, critiquing and collaboration with other students and, finally, assignments and end-of-module assessments.

The study materials will include a comprehensive range of specially written module materials, case studies, original texts, video, audio and interactive software. You will have access to relevant financial databases, such as Refinitiv Eikon and statistical software such as Stata.

The tutor is your first point of contact throughout your study. They will answer questions on materials, mark assignments and run online tutorials.You will be part of an online tutor group, with whom you will undertake learning activities and explore topics as you study them.

You will be expected to engage in a range of activities including reading texts, solving numerical problems and scenarios, researching and using relevant literature on contemporary issues in finance and applying theories to practical situations. Cognitive and practical skills are developed through a range of activities within the modules including prompted and guided search and retrieval of information, literature and databases.

The materials and the tutor support will help you to develop your skills in managing workloads. You will spend a large percentage of time working under your own direction and initiative. Throughout the MSc, your progress and learning are measured by tutor-marked assignments and examinations. Assignments and examinations will demonstrate your understanding of principles and relevant theories and their application to problem-solving situations. In addition, these will demonstrate your ability to critically read and comment on academic literature in cognate areas. They will also require evidence of practical and professional skills as well as demonstrated levels of knowledge and understanding.

The final dissertation module will be an independent piece of academic or applied research that will provide you with the opportunity to learn and demonstrate research skills and to develop a deeper understanding of one or more parts of the qualification's curriculum.

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