MSc Finance

The Masters in Finance is an ideal preparation for careers in finance, financial management or higher education. The programme provides specialist study in financial markets, investments, financial instruments and risk management.

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About the course

Organisations in the financial management sector require industry professionals with specialist knowledge of financial markets and expertise in investments, financial instruments and risk management. This one-year MSc is tailored to these industry requirements, and is designed to give you the crucial skills you will need to launch a successful career in finance.

Our graduates come from a wide range of disciplines, including quantitative subjects. If you meet minimum performance criteria during your first term, you will have the chance to sit the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Level 1 professional exam during this course. On successful completion of your course, you will also automatically secure Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exemptions from most of the Fundamental level papers depending on your module choices during the second term. 

For a list of modules you will study, please take a look at our course content section.


Key Facts

Course Content

Discover the topics you will study on the MSc Finance course, and the ACCA Academic Professional Partnership Programme by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). If you wish to gain the prestigious CFA qualification, we offer extensive support and a specialist dissertation module to help you achieve this.

The Finance MSc and the Accounting and Financial Management MSc are very flexible, so you can switch between them at an early stage if you find your interests changing. Some of the MSc modules contribute to CFA qualifications at various levels. For details, please see the individual module descriptions.

In the first term, from October to December, you will take four introductory modules plus four assessed modules and a non-assessed two-week module one Financial Databases.

  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods

    This module provides a review of basic concepts from mathematics, namely calculus, matrix algebra and probability, that need to be understood by all students of accounting and finance. The emphasis is on helping you to understand these concepts and how to apply them to a wide variety of mathematical problems.

    Topics include:

    • Functions of one variable, including exponential functions and logarithms

    • Rules of differentiation

    • Rules of integration

    • Functions of two or more variables

    • Partial differentiation and stationary points

    • Matrix algebra and simultaneous equations

    • Rules of probability

    • Conditional probability and Bayes's theorem

    • Discrete random variables, including the binomial and Poisson distributions

    • Continuous random variables, including the exponential and normal distributions

    • Expectation, variance and standard deviation

    • The normal approximation to the binomial distribution

  • Introduction to Finance

    This short module acts as a primer for the Foundations of Finance module. It starts by introducing you to finance and corporate governance, and then applies time value of money to value perpetuities and annuities. It also looks at the concepts of net present value and internal rate of return and builds on these to address capital-budgeting aspects of investment decisions. Although the module seeks to do this with a minimum of financial maths, to understand these topics properly you will need to invest some time in learning a few relevant formulae.

  • Introduction to Accounting

    The objective of this module is to ensure that you have grounding in basic accounting concepts before progressing to the programme’s main assessed modules.

    It provides an overview of the context within which financial reporting occurs, the main components of a set of financial statements, concepts commonly accepted as underlying the production of financial statements and an introduction to basic techniques for analysing financial statements and valuing businesses.

  • Introduction to Financial Markets

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to basic concepts related to financial markets, including key categories of market participants as well as main types of securities traded in these markets.

  • Quantitative Methods for Finance

    To enable students to understand key concepts and methods from applied statistics that are used in several more advanced modules in accounting and finance.

  • Foundations of Finance

    In this module you will cover the basic building-blocks of finance that are of primary concern to corporate managers, and look at all the considerations needed to make financial decisions, both inside and outside the firm. The time value of money is applied to value financial securities, and the module considers in depth the relationship between risk and return. The second part of the module introduces you to the theory and practice of financing and dividend decisions.

    Through this module you will gain a good understanding of the following areas: valuation of financial securities, portfolio selection and diversification, capital asset pricing model, financing decisions and efficient capital markets, capital structure and valuation for the levered firm and dividend policy.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Corporate Finance (CFA levels I and II)

    • Portfolio Management (CFA levels I, II and III)

    • Basic Valuation Concepts (CFA level II)

  • Principles of Financial Reporting

    This module is designed to give you a better understanding of how professional accountants, working in a variety of environments in various countries, have attempted to use aspects of accounting theory to resolve major reporting issues. It also furthers your understanding of how academics have conceptualised and explained accounting choices.

    Topics covered include the regulatory environment of financial reporting, international harmonisation of accounting standards, and contemporary issues in financial accounting.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    Financial Statement Analysis (CFA levels I and II)

  • Financial Markets

    Providing you with a strong foundation for understanding both the economics of financial markets and the main types of securities traded in these markets, this module focuses on bonds, futures, swaps and options. It strikes a balance between the theory and practice as well as making important links between models and the real world. The emphasis is on both principles and problem solving.

    Topics covered include bonds, the economics of derivatives markets, futures and forwards, swaps, and options.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Securities Markets (CFA level I)

    • Derivative Investments (CFA levels I and II)

    • Debt Investments (CFA levels I, II and III)

During your second term from January to March, you will take four assessed modules, comprising at least two from the first five listed below, and the other two from the remainder.

  • Advanced Corporate Finance

    This module builds on and extends the concepts covered in the core financial management module in the first term. The major topics covered include capital budgeting, capital structure, corporate valuation, corporate restructuring, merger and acquisitions, dividend policies, and application of real options in corporate finance. The analytical tools and financial theories discussed in the module are brought together through in an assessed report for which you work in groups to undertake comprehensive corporate finance analyses on a real company.

    In lectures we will use cases based on real companies to demonstrate the links between the various areas of corporate finance. A key objective of the module is to help you explore how the financing and investment policies of firms interact with each other and how the decisions have implications for corporate valuation.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Corporate Finance (CFA levels I and II)

  • Advanced Investment Management

    The aim of this course is to equip students with the tools necessary to enable them to make the core investment management decisions that managers face on a daily basis as well as the knowledge as to where they can find the information necessary to apply those tools. This course covers fundamental concepts and key issues in asset pricing; modern portfolio theory and its applications; equilibrium theories of asset pricing; portfolio performance evaluation; mutual funds and hedge funds.

    By the end of the course you should be able to:

    • Discuss the theory and applications of the modern portfolio analysis and understand their strengths and limitations.
    • Trace the efficient frontier under different conditions.
    • Construct the optimal portfolio for an individual or for funds with specific goals.
    • Solve real-world problems with asset pricing models.
    • Develop techniques to evaluate the performance of money managers.
    • Understand the debate questioning the efficient market hypothesis.
    • Comprehend the structure and objectives of mutual funds, closed-end funds and ETFs and identify when they are appropriate.
    • Understand the characteristics of hedge funds, and the variety of hedge fund strategies and styles.

  • Financial Statement Analysis

    In this module you will acquire the tools needed to analyse financial statement information, in particular for the purpose of valuing businesses. This module is heavily based on cases.

    After introducing you to the basic framework of fundamental analysis, the module focuses on the form and content of financial statements, operating and financial activities in the reformulation of financial statements, and the analysis of profitability. We will also consider issues that arise in the forecasting of financial statements.

    We will then look at common valuation techniques, with the attention to each technique’s advantages and disadvantages and the connections between them.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Equity Investments (CFA levels I and II)

    • Financial Statement Analysis (CFA levels I and II)

  • Financial Econometrics

    This module explains how econometric methods can be used to learn about the future behaviour of the prices of financial assets by using the information in the history of asset prices and in the prices of derivative securities. It also gives you practical experience of analysing market prices.

    It will help you to understand the important features of time series of market prices, appreciate the relevance of efficient market theory to predicting prices, and make you familiar with appropriate methods for forecasting price volatility. You will also learn how to use option prices to make statements about the distributions of future asset prices, gain experience of applying computational methods in Excel to stock market and currency prices, and develop your knowledge of a broad range of econometric methods that are applied in finance research.

  • Fixed Income Markets

    Designed to develop your understanding of the principles governing the valuation of fixed income securities and their derivatives, this module examines the main problems and selected issues relevant in the management of interest rate risk, and the organisations and structure of debt markets. Topics covered include debt securities and markets, the measurement of interest rate risk, and embedded options and interest rate derivatives.

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Debt Investments (CFA levels I, II and III)

  • Financial Reporting for Complex Entities

    This module examines the financial accounting issues that arise – from both conceptual and technical angles – for complex business entities operating within the context of International Accounting Standards, US and UK GAAP. It also assesses the impact of accounting theory in understanding and suggesting solutions to major reporting issues and examines the importance of relevant academic research to this area.

    After introducing you to the nature and environment of complex entities, the module focuses on the following areas:

    • Reporting financial performance: calculating earnings per share, defining income and comprehensive income, using reported income for analysis purposes

    • Owner’s equity: accounting for share-based payments, reporting changes in owner’s equity

    • Assets and liabilities: for example, intangible assets (including research and development), accounting for financial instruments, hedging

    • Accounting for groups: business combinations, goodwill, non-controlling interests, different types of strategic relationships (associates and joint ventures), foreign currency translation

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Financial Statement Analysis (CFA levels I and II)

  • Derivatives Pricing

    This module provides extensive coverage of methods used for valuing derivative securities in the investment banking industry, and includes an introduction to stochastic calculus.

    Topics covered include:

    • Discrete-time vs. continuous-time finance

    • Arbitrage pricing

    • Continuous processes

    • Stochastic calculus and Itô’s lemma

    • Hedging issues

    • Investment in derivatives

    • Continuous dividends

    • Black and Scholes model

    • Interest rate derivatives

    • Exotic derivatives

    This module contributes to the following CFA syllabus areas:

    • Derivative Investments (CFA levels I and II)

  • Corporate Governance


    This module gives you a framework for analysing the governance of organisations. It covers a selection of contemporary issues in corporate governance, using accompanying cases and readings. The teaching style is very interactive, so you will be expected to contribute to class discussions.

    Topics covered include the goals of the firm and corporate governance theory, boards of directors, executive compensation, internal control and review, identifying, assessing and controlling risk, and financial reporting and external audit.

  • Advanced Management Accounting

    Designed to develop your appreciation of the main approaches to measuring, analysing and reporting information to support management decisions, this module provides insights into planning, decision-making, performance evaluation and control. The decision-making part focuses on the techniques that enable a firm to find solutions for management accounting problems; the control part provides the insights and techniques that enable a firm to bring these solutions to fruition.

    The module deals with techniques that facilitate planning and decision-making such as multi-stage cost allocation and activity-based costing. But it also deals with the effects of these techniques on managerial behaviour, and how to control these behavioural effects. The module is consistent with modern micro-economic theory, but any maths content is presented in an intuitive way. Since the module brings together management accounting and modern microeconomics it will be particularly valuable for those interested in pursuing a career in consulting.

  • Behavioural Finance

    This module looks at what can happen to the asset pricing in situations where market imperfections coincide with imperfections in investor rationality. It therefore explores the boundary between mispricing which can be exploited and that which cannot be exploited profitably.

    The module lays foundations for arbitrage, investment and wealth management, investment banking, and corporate finance. The material covered is at the frontier of academic and industry research, forming a conceptually advanced body of knowledge (CFA level III) which is of relevance for theory, research and practice.

    Topics covered include:

    • The efficient markets hypothesis and competing theories

    • Limits to arbitrage

    • Heuristics, biases and prospect theory: mental accounts and evidence in market prices

    • Myopic loss aversion, disposition effect and overtrading

    • Professional investors and analysts: over- and under-reaction

    • Bubbles: observational and experimental, rational and non-rational

    • Closed-end fund discounts, co-movement and sentiment

    • The equity premium puzzle and the volatility puzzle

    • Herding

    • Behavioural portfolio theory

From May to July you work solely on your Masters dissertation and progress report, with guidance from your academic supervisor. You will continue this work throughout the remainder of the summer, submitting your dissertation in September, at the end of the Masters programme.

There is a wide choice of dissertation topics.

This course has been designated an ACCA Academic Professional Partnership Programme by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).The globally-recognised ACCA qualification has been developed with employers, and provides you with the skills and knowledge to be work-ready, wherever you are in the world.

Provided you have the right qualifications on entry to the MSc, you can follow an ACCA pathway through the programme which provides a recognised level of tuition for two of the ACCA’s Professional-level papers: P2 (Strategic Business Reporting) and P4 (Advanced Financial Management).

Who is eligible?

To be accepted on to this ACCA pathway, you will need to have already passed ACCA’s Fundamentals exams F1–F9, or to have exemptions from the Fundamentals level. This is in addition to meeting the entry requirements for this course.

Pathway modules

On this pathway you have the same module choice as all other Finance MSc students, except that in the second term you must take the following modules. In the summer term you have a free choice of dissertation topic.

  • Advanced Corporate Finance
  • Financial Reporting for Complex Entities

For more details on  information about this Partnership Programme, please contact the Finance MSc Director, Dr Sandra Nolte.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is the leading professional qualification in the global investment industry. As a CFA Affiliated University, our MSc Finance and MSc Accounting and Financial Management programmes are recognised for their strong connection to professional practice and ability to prepare students for the CFA exams. Only a handful of UK business schools have been granted this status by the CFA.

These Masters programmes include a special CFA dissertation aimed at suitably qualified students wishing to sit the June CFA Level I exam and gain this prestigious qualification. You will benefit from five weeks of professional teaching by specialist CFA tutors from Fitch Learning covering the entire CFA Level I syllabus, supplemented by online support, key resources and real-time feedback via the Fitch Learning CFA training portal. 

On completion of the module, you will sit a 3-hour mock Level I examination and the results contribute 42% to your overall dissertation mark. The CFA dissertation is available at no charge to all MSc Finance and MSc Accounting and Financial Management students who meet minimum performance criteria during the first term. CFA scholarships are also available to help you gain CFA Level I, and details are automatically sent to eligible students during Summer term.

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This programme is accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Some modules also provide exemptions from ACCA examinations at Fundamentals level to fast-track your progression.

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If you are interested in studying to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, many of our modules contribute widely to CFA study sessions at Levels I, II and III


Our programme-specific scholarships for 2020 entry are aimed at high-achieving students with a strong academic or personal profile. We'll automatically consider you for these scholarships when you apply and if you are shortlisted we'll be in touch with the next steps, so it's best to apply as soon as possible. We also offer LUMS Alumni scholarships - visit our Apply For Masters page to find out more.

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For many students, the desire to boost their career prospects and move more quickly into senior roles is a key reason for acquiring a Masters degree. That's why we integrate careers support into our MSc programmes, and offer a range of facilities to help you in your career development and job search process.

Like all of the School’s Masters students, you will have access to guidance and support from the LUMS careers team. But to give you extra industry-specific job-hunting skills, we have partnered up with a financial markets specialist who has worked for several leading investment banks and also financial technology institutions. 

As a financial careers coach still working in the financial markets, his role is to make you aware of many different opportunities that exist within the sector, giving you a clear picture of the particular skills required – and, crucially, an insider view on what employers will be looking for.

To help you differentiate yourself in a fiercely competitive market, he provides guidance on writing CVs and cover letters for the financial market, interview skills, and performing well at assessment centres.

Employer Events

You will also be able to take part in the many workshops and other employer events provided throughout the year by the careers team at LUMS. Many of the workshops are run by major companies, allowing you to find out what companies look for when recruiting at this level, and to improve skills which employers regard as essential in good candidates.  

Where do our graduates go?

Our MSc graduates go on to work for many different kinds of organisations, in roles such as financial analysts, investment managers, regulators and policymakers, treasury managers, or consultants, etc. Some have used their finance expertise to set up their own companies, and other have gone on to accounting- or finance-related academic careers. 

Companies that have recruited our Masters graduates in recent years include: Bangkok Bank, Bank of China, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, EY, Grant Thornton, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, PwC, Standard Chartered and UBS.


Student Profiles

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