Master's in Economics and Finance

MSc Economics and Finance is designed to prepare graduates to work as economists in the investment banking industry and other international or government organisations or in research related roles.

Find out what it's like to experience finance in action

At a glance

  • Specialise in empirical and practical applications of economics and finance
  • Boost your employability within a wide variety of industries by developing strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Benefit from the combined expertise of both the ICMA Centre and the Department of Economics
  • Gain access to a range of specialist modules offered by both departments
  • Utilise the ICMA Centre’s finance-oriented in-house careers development programme
Level Master's
Award MSc
Duration 9 months / 12 months
Attendance Full-time
Location Whiteknights campus (Reading)
Programme Director

The MSc Economics and Finance is delivered jointly by the ICMA Centre and the Department of Economics. Students admitted to the programme will therefore benefit from rigorous training in both economics and finance and benefit from range of specialist modules offered by both departments.

The programme is structured with a strong emphasis on the combination of theory and practice. It gives students both breadth and depth of understanding of economics and finance in a systematic way, combining theoretical, methodological and practical issues. Participants learn how to apply and use models but also the theoretical foundations behind the models. They also study micro and macroeconomics and acquire solid understanding of financial theories, corporate finance and financial economics, which will equip them with strong practical and analytical skills for financial services, investment analysis and research.

Part 1 Modules

Compulsory modules Credits

This module aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of the factors that influence the decision-making processes of individuals and firms, and how these decisions interact with economic policies at the national and international level. This module is intended to form a basic master’s level understanding of the core theories necessary to understand microeconomic policy, and a theoretical basis to understanding economic issues and policies.

Full details for this module can be found on the University of Reading website.

Teaching Staff
Dr Vivien Burrows Dr Vivien Burrows

20

The module covers the building blocks of econometrics and analytical techniques used in finance. Via case studies and computer modelling exercises, students learn how to apply these techniques to real data. Emphasis is placed on practical applications of the techniques in the global financial markets.

Teaching Staff

20

This module provides an overview of the key building blocks in modern finance theory and introduces techniques for analysing and valuing different classes of risky assets such as equities and derivatives contracts. It also develops ways of optimally selecting portfolios of such assets and develops models of how these portfolios can be priced in financial markets. The techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme. The module includes simulated trading sessions in our state of the art dealing rooms, where participants are introduced to real world pricing and trading strategies (INVEST sessions).

Teaching Staff

20

Fixed Income and Equity Investments deals with the valuation of fixed income and equity securities. The module focuses on the basic characteristics of these securities and the strategies used for estimating their fundamental value and assessing their risk. Its primary aim is to discuss how certain characteristics and relationships can affect the value of fixed income and equity securities and how can they be exploited to form optimal investment strategies or for the purpose of conducting financial analysis. The analytical techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme.

Teaching Staff
Christos Mavis Christos Mavis

20

Part 2 Modules

Compulsory modules Credits

This module is intended to form a basic master’s level understanding of the core theories necessary to understand macroeconomic policy. This module provides a theoretical basis to understanding economic issues and policies. In particular, it is concerned with how economic policies at the national and international level impact growth, employment, inflation, and recessions.

Teaching Staff
Dr Fang Xu Dr Fang Xu

20

The primary focus of this module is on understanding the underlying economics behind how asset prices are determined and how portfolio allocation decisions are made. This includes having an understanding of 1) the theory of choice and the objects of choice faced by an investor; 2) the optimal portfolio decision; 3) equilibrium asset prices; 4) equilibrium portfolio allocations given price and risk preference.

Teaching Staff
Dr Fang Xu Dr Fang Xu

20

Students on the 9-month (12-month) programme will select 60 credits (40 credit) of elective modules from the list below in the spring term:

Optional modules Credits

The module is intended to be the next step beyond what is traditionally taught in an undergraduate intermediate course in international finance or international macroeconomics. It will introduce students to the concepts and techniques that are used in modern analysis of the global economy.

20

The aim of the research project is to allow students to define and execute a piece of research in finance on a topic of their choice, with direction from an academic supervisor and with assistance from a doctoral student support supervisor.

Teaching Staff

20

Building on the material introduced in Quantitative Methods for Finance, this module covers a number of more advanced techniques that are relevant for financial applications, and in particular for modelling and forecasting financial time series. These include an introduction to maximum likelihood estimation and two-stage least squares, models of volatility, simulation techniques, and multivariate models. Case studies from the academic finance literature are employed to demonstrate potential uses of each approach. Extensive use is also made of financial econometrics software to demonstrate how the techniques are applied in practice.

Teaching Staff

20

The main aim of the module is to provide a rigorous grounding of the theory and practice of corporate finance and more specifically the long-term financial management decisions of the firm pertaining to investments, financing and payout and how they affect its value. It deals with how corporations are governed, their financing structures, payout policies, the processes involved in the issuance of public and private equity, as well growing through inorganic investment (mergers and acquisitions). The module also extensively deals with advanced financial analysis and enterprise valuation methods employed by financial advisors/investment banks as part of advising corporations. Students on this module take part in a bespoke investment banking pitch-book simulation challenge whereby they have to work with their team and produce a real life pitch-book including financial analysis on a real transaction as part of assessing the company’s strategic alternatives.

Teaching Staff

20

The module seeks to provide a foundation to the economic analysis of competition policy and regulation. It explores the understanding of why governments need competition policy and regulation, how governments intervene in practice and the consequences of such intervention on economic welfare

20

This module provides an advanced treatment of individual decision making. The stating point will be the standard theories of decision making under risk (expected utility theory), uncertainty (subjective expected utility theory), and over time (discounted utility), as well as for the combination of risk/uncertainty and time (discounted expected utility theory). Subsequently, these theories will be probed for their descriptive accuracy based actually observed decisions. Building on those, the course will introduce descriptively accurate models of decision making from behavioural economics, and compare them to the standard models.

10

This module focuses on both microeconomic and macroeconomic issues of development. It will provide a theoretical and empirical foundation to the economics of developing countries.

20

This master’s module in advanced macroeconomics introduces students to a set of modern computational topics and methods in macroeconomic theory and policy and the corresponding programming techniques and software, namely Dynare/Matlab. Some knowledge of econometrics and statistics would be an advantage, but it is not required. The module consists of five 2-hour slots: an hour of lecture followed immediately by – or often merged with – an hour of lab class, where Dynare/Matlab codes will be circulated and studied in detail

10

This module is intended to cover the most important social economic policy issues of the day. Consequently, the topics may vary from year-to-year in order to reflect contemporary relevance. But, in each case, the emphasis will be on how economic analysis can contribute to the solution of domestic and international social problems. Indicative topics are: poverty, segregation and social exclusion; the economics of crime; education. It should be noted that Housing Economics, Social Policy of Health and Ageing and Climate Change – which are all important social issues – have separate modules available.

Teaching Staff
Professor Giovanni Razzu Professor Giovanni Razzu

20

Many developed countries are characterised by changing demographic trends. In particular, the domestic population is ageing, but they are also facing increased flows of international, relatively young, migrants in a globalised economy. By contrast, some developing countries are characterised by high proportions of the young. These changes to the demographics give rise to major economic and social issues, some of which are considered in other modules. However, ECM186 concentrates on (i) the effects of ageing on the demands for health care, including appropriate policies to cope with the burgeoning demands and (ii) health care in developing economies.

Teaching Staff
Dr Samantha Benvinda Rawlings Dr Samantha Benvinda Rawlings

20

This module presents a number of lessons from theoretical industrial economics for our understanding of corporate decision-making – such as price-setting, output-setting, investment in productive capacity, advertising and collusive behaviour. In this context, the role of industrial competition is emphasised and both the determinants of market structure and the imperatives for competition policy intervention are discussed.

20

The objective is to introduce the students to programming and its usage for data processing and finance. It deals with how to write programming code, process files, receive input and provide output. Students who complete this course will be able to write programming code in Python, process files, input, output and manage data. Furthermore, students will be able to read and write to Excel and CSV files, connect to databases, obtain and process data from the Web, as well as use Python for Finance and Econometrics applications.

10

Part 3 Modules (12-month only)

Students on the 12-months programme should take 20 credits from the following:

Optional modules Credits

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of financial decision making in the context of the energy industry. The course will combine theoretical models with practical applications. It focuses on energy markets (products, companies, production and consumption), capital budgeting in energy companies, financing of energy companies, energy derivatives and trading in energy markets. A number of case studies in energy finances are utilised.

Teaching Staff

20

This module is designed for advanced Master’s students and doctoral students. It has a very high technical content. It aims to equip the students with the foundations of theoretical asset pricing and with the relevant skills for performing empirical tests. Additionally, a few important corporate finance topics will be covered in the format of student presentations. The objective of the module is to prepare students to become independent and quality researchers.

Teaching Staff

20

The module is less quantitative option open to all MSc students that builds on the coverage of futures contracts from term 1. By the end of the module it is expected that students will be aware of the different ways of constructing stock market indices and the implications of these differences, how futures contracts are traded and the identity of some of the close substitutes for trading index futures, how futures can be priced using an arbitrage relationship, how futures can be used for hedging the price risk of the underlying, and the various uses that fund managers make of these instruments.

Teaching Staff

20

This module gives students the opportunity to pursue a work placement with an external organisation broadly related to the general sphere of their degree studies. The aim of the module is to allow participants to gain work experience in a career path of interest, develop a wide range of employability skills, build their network and enhance market awareness. The maximum duration of the placement is 3 months and it takes place during the summer vacation period (June-August). Placements should be secured by students independently. The Centre’s career development office can support students in their search and application process. Placements secured by students are subject to the approval of the module convenor. The module is assessed by a 3,000-word project based on the work experience gained.

Teaching Staff

20

The MSc Economics and Finance will provide you with subject-specific skills enabling you to apply economic principles and models, whilst also understanding the larger driving forces shaping social policy as well as financial markets and skills in statistical analysis.

The programme will help you develop specialized analytical skills, enabling you to successfully enter multiple industries as a professional economist, or in a number of professional roles with an eye for economics. Graduates are well placed to work as economists in the investment banking industry and other international or government organisations or in research related roles.

This course will boost your employability in several other areas due to the strong demand for highly numerate graduates and the widely transferable analytical and problem solving skills developed by students who have both an economics and finance background. The programme will also enable you to embark upon further education and particularly a research degree (PhD) in the areas of Economics and Finance.

Find out more about graduate destinations and career opportunities on our Henley Careers page

Our master's in finance courses are available only on a full-time basis with the option of studying for 9 or 12 months.

Learning options

Full-time: 9 months
Full-time: 12 months
Students will be resident and undertake full-time study in the UK. Under both, the 9 and 12-month programmes students take compulsory and/or elective modules in Part 2.
The 12 month option involves taking an elective 20 credit module between July and August, which would also mean a 20 credit reduction in the number of taught modules taken in the spring term.

Course structure

October – December:Part 1 Autumn Term
January:Part 1 Exams
January-April:Part 2 Spring Term
May – June:Part 2 Exams
June – August (12 month programme only):Part 3
August/Sep (12 month programme only):Part 3 Coursework deadlines

Speak to a current student

Contact us

For any questions of academic nature about this programme you are welcome to contact directly the Programme Director, Dr Andrew Urquhart at a.j.urquhart@icmacentre.ac.uk

Admissions

If you have any questions about admissions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Email: admissions@icmacentre.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 6497

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