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MSc in Finance

This qualification is designed to support professional development and practice in a wide range of roles in finance – whether you are developing in your career or aspiring to enter the sector. It provides a thorough grounding in areas such as the financing of companies and other organisations, finance, instruments and structures of financial markets, financial decision-making, valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and financial reporting. It develops competencies in applying statistical and econometric techniques, and equips you with knowledge of the fundamentals of Islamic finance, ethics and corporate governance. You can choose to specialise either in derivatives and financial risk management, or in investment and portfolio management, and you will develop research skills and techniques relevant to higher academic qualifications by completing a dissertation on a finance topic of your choice that is relevant to your interests or chosen career development.

Key features of the course

  • Provides an up-to-date perspective on both theory and practice in national and international contexts
  • Acquire and apply the most important tools for financial, statistical and econometric analysis and decision support
  • Develops your ability to evaluate published research, use relevant theory, and apply research methods and techniques to new situations
  • Develops your skills in data collection and modelling using databases, such as Refinitiv Eikon, and statistical software, such as Stata.
The MSc in Finance has been accepted into the CFA University Affiliation Program. This status is granted to institutions whose degree programmes incorporate at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK), which provide students with a solid grounding in the CBOK and positions them well to sit the exams to become CFA charterholders.

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2–3 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits with:

60 credits from the following:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Financial markets and the financing of organisations (B815)

This module covers the core areas of corporate finance and investments, providing a basis for developing specialist financial expertise.

See full description

30 04 Nov 2023
Financial strategy and governance  (B816) NEW
Study the theoretical and analytical knowledge required to inform financial strategy and governance decisions within an organisation.

See full description

30 06 May 2023  

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B858, B859.

plus 30 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research methods for finance  (B817) NEW

This module aims to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge relevant to understanding and planning empirical research in finance.

See full description

30 04 Nov 2023

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module B860.

plus 30 credits from the following:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Investment and portfolio management (B861)
The module covers investment strategies for bonds, equities, the use of derivatives in managing risk, measuring portfolio performance, portfolio optimisation and asset allocation.

See full description

30 06 May 2023 FINAL
Derivatives and risk management (B862)
This module introduces key tools such as derivatives and risk mapping and provides you with an understanding of how the various financial and non-financial risks faced by organisations can be managed. 

See full description

30 06 May 2023 FINAL

plus 60 credits from the following final:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Dissertation (Finance) (B805)
This is the final module in the MSc in Finance in which you will design and conduct your own research project and write a dissertation. 

See full description

60 04 Nov 2023  

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

CFA level III charterholders can obtain exemptions from the first two compulsory modules. If you have a professional qualification in a related area, such as ACCA, CIMA or ICAEW, you may also be eligible for an exemption from B815.

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Science in Finance. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MSc Fin (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.

Entry requirements

You must hold a bachelors degree awarded by a recognised UK university or equivalent. Please contact us if you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree to ensure that it meets the requirements for admission.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

This degree requires an aptitude for analytical and quantitative methods to engage with theories of finance and their applications. You should possess a good working knowledge of maths and be confident with spreadsheets. It would be advisable to self-assess your level of maths before registering for this qualification. To help you decide whether you are ready, you may want to try this diagnostic quiz.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification in three years by studying 60 credits a year. The minimum time to complete this qualification is two years. This can be achieved by studying 120 credits in your first year, which is the equivalent of full-time study, and the 60-credit dissertation module during your final year. The maximum time to complete is seven years.

Career relevance

This postgraduate qualification offers knowledge in a wide range of finance areas that include the corporate finance function, investments, banking and financial institutions and risk management. You will gain both theoretical and practical insights into the working of financial markets, valuation of securities, understanding financial statements, risk management and portfolio management. You will develop the skills and capabilities required by investment analysts, finance managers, finance directors and chief financial officers. You will be equipped with knowledge and skills to support decision making at the higher levels of organisations by exploring issues related to ethics and corporate governance, reporting and disclosure, financing and investment in uncertain and global business environments.

Prudent practice of finance is relevant across all sectors – public, private and voluntary. This qualification will therefore prepare you to work in the corporate sector, financial services, the banking industry, multinational organisations and other sectors where analytical and decision tools in treasury, investment and financing decisions are required.

The dissertation offers the chance to explore financial issues in greater depth and may enhance your prospects in a career specialism. This qualification will also provide sound training in research and academic skills for those wishing to pursue a PhD and develop academic careers in finance.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

CFA affiliation

Students aiming to become chartered financial analysts (CFA) can study a range of topics to prepare them for this qualification. The MSc in Finance has been accepted into the CFA Institute’s University Affiliation Program, which means that this degree programme incorporates at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK). This provides students with a solid grounding in the CBOK and positions them well to sit the exams to become CFA charterholders. We are also able to offer a small number of CFA student scholarships to MSc in Finance students who wish to sit a CFA exam.