Study Finance and graduate with a university degree

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma

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  • Type Full-time
  • Start date September

Joanne Fairbrother Accounting and Finance
Stirling Management School
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK
+44 (0) 1786 467297

The MSc Finance provides a thorough grounding in the theory and analytical techniques required by finance professionals. It offers students a global perspective on the process of financial decision-making and practical knowledge of the workings of financial markets and the price-setting process. Students will also learn to critically evaluate research and advanced scholarship in finance.

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Course objectives

The course provides essential understanding of the theory of finance and of the skills required in practice. You learn about corporate finance, techniques of quantitative analysis, global financial markets, analysis of financial statements, derivatives, portfolio management, investment analysis, risk management and behavioural finance. You will develop spreadsheet skills and learn econometric techniques for analysing corporate performance and identifying trends in financial markets and have access to financial databases, including DataStream. The dissertation, completed in the summer, enables development of your individual interests.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Full-time: one year

Course start date


Structure and content

This one-year, full-time course has an initial taught component of two 15-week semesters, involving lectures, practical case study work and workshops, followed by a supervised dissertation.

As soon as you arrive at Stirling you are introduced to your course, fellow students and the University. This induction enables you to develop skills to get the most out of your studies and to progress quickly in your career.

In the Semester 1 you will take the following modules:

  • Financial Reporting: Provides an appreciation of the underlying assumptions and limitations of accounting information. Measurement and reporting problems involved in financial accounting ‘solutions’ adopted by regulators are discussed. Methods for interpretation of reported accounting information are explored and applied to ‘live’ data
  • Corporate Finance: Provides an understanding of how corporations raise finance (debt and equity) and invest money (capital budgeting). Also examines other major decision areas of corporate finance and how these affect the value of the firm
  • Quantitative Methods in Finance: Provides the statistical and computing skills to fully understand modern banking and finance operations. Spreadsheets are used to manipulate statistical models and estimate linear models
  • International Finance: Covers the workings of the foreign exchange market, factors that determine exchange rates, and how corporations may manage their foreign exchange and interest rate risks using a variety of derivative products

In the Semester 2 you will select at least one of the following core modules depending on the type of dissertation that you plan to undertake:

  • Research Methods: Introduces students to generic and subject-specific research training. Also prepares for the dissertation module as well as laying the foundations for more advanced postgraduate research
  • Financial Statement Analysis: Develops skills in the interpretation and use of financial statements, focusing on company valuation and identification of companies that may become insolvent. It includes a project where a group of students work together to write and present an investment analysis report on a UK Quoted Company

You will then choose two or three from the following modules:

  • Derivatives: Focuses on the uses and the pricing of the key derivative instruments: options, futures, forwards and swaps
  • Investments and Portfolio Management: Provides an understanding of security valuation and portfolio management. Focuses on the valuation of both equities and fixed-interest securities and the management of equity and fixed-interest portfolios
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Provides an understanding of the motivation for and consequences of mergers and acquisitions against the background of corporate finance theory and practice. Focuses on the financial and economic aspects of M and A activity and other forms of corporate restructuring, such as spin-offs, carve-outs, and sell-offs

Many modules cover learning outcomes from all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) programme.

Delivery and assessment

Successful completion of the taught modules leads to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma. The Master’s degree is awarded on satisfactory completion of a dissertation, following the Diploma examinations. Dissertation topics range over all areas of relevance to finance and allow completion of a case study or research topic dissertation.

Recommended reading

Popular texts:

  • Peter L. Bernstein, P.L. (1993). Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street, The Free Press.
  • Lewis, M. (2010). The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. New York:WW Norton & Co.


  • Hillier, D., Ross, S., Westerfield, R., Jeffrey Jaffe, J. and Jordan, B. (2013). Corporate Finance, 2nd European Edition. McGraw-Hill International Edition.
  • Stolowy, H. and Lebas, M.J (2010). Financial Accounting and Reporting: A Global Perspective, South-Western, Cengage Learning.
  • Wooldridge, J (2012). Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Appoach, 5th edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning.
  • Madura, J. and Fox, R. (2011). International Financial Management, 2nd Edition. Cengage Learning.

Learning activities to prepare you for study in the UK

Prepare for Success is an interactive web learning tool for international students who are getting ready to come to the UK for study in further or higher education.

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

  Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
9-10 Lecture Lecture   Drop in Session  
10-11     Lecture

  Computer Lab

11-12   Problem Solving Lecture  
12-1     Seminar  
1-2 Lecture

Drop in Session     Lecture
2-3     Lecture

3-4 Seminar Seminar    
4-5   Lecture      

Why study Finance at Stirling?

Course Director

Professor Graeme Acheson

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Accounting and Finance was ranked 1st (equal) in Scotland and 5th in the UK, with virtually all (90 percent) research activity considered to be of international standing.

Our students

Henry Okonne (MSc in Finance 2007-2008)
“Looking back on my time at Stirling I realise that choosing Stirling was absolutely the best choice that I could have made...”

Do Quyen Nguyen (MSc Finance 2007-2008)
“Studying at the University of Stirling impressed me in many ways…”

Wenjie Fan (MSc Finance 2006-2007)
“Two years after graduating from Shanghai University I began the MSc Finance at Stirling University in 2006, continuing to study finance. I was absorbed in my studies and appreciated the dedicated modules which actively connected to the modern financial industry”

Dengyu Shen (MSc Finance 2006-2007)
“With great expectation and excitement I arrived in central Scotland and Stirling. From the first sight I fell in love with the gorgeous campus, magnificent buildings and facilities with harmony between humans and nature.”

Nikita Groshev (MSc Finance 2004 - 2005)
“ …international reputation of the teaching staff… ”

Our staff

Professor Graeme Acheson is Director of the MSc in Finance. He has taught in a number of UK universities as well as Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (China), and his teaching specialisms include Corporate Governance and Financial Institutions and Markets. Graeme's research applies contemporary econometric techniques to historical settings. Much of his work examines how the evolving legal environment in nineteenth century Great Britain impacted on investor behaviour and governance structures in early British companies. His current work focuses on establishing the determinants of corporate diffusion in Britain and he has recently published in Economic History Review, Business HistoryReview of Law and Economics, Journal of Economic History and Explorations in Economic History.

The MSc in Finance at The University of Stirling offers a coherent and current framework to understand many practical aspects of what is a vital industry within our economy. Providing comprehensive coverage of the main principles and applications of financial theory it connects the subject matter with the modern financial world. It equips students with all the necessary technical and conceptual skills to pursue a career in finance,  indeed many have secured posts with prestigious employers around the globe.  In the last number of years these have including ABC Bank of China (China), Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) and Titanium Capital (UK), demonstrating the international credentials this course offers.

Professor Graeme Acheson, Course Director


Career opportunities

Where are our graduates now?

The MSc Finance opens up a range of exciting career opportunities which include fund management, security dealing, financial market regulation, treasury management, financial engineering and corporate finance work within merchant banking firms. 

Our graduates are currently contributing to the performance of major financial organisations such as Morgan Stanley, Standard Charted Bank, ABC Bank of China, and HSBC.  They are located in countries around the globe including China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, New Zealand, Vietnam, Greece, Taiwan, India and the UK.

To provide you with an indication as to what you can do with your MSc Finance degree, the following are examples of roles secured by those graduating from the course in the last three years:

  • Business Manager, CITICs Futures (China)
  • Interest Rate Swaps Dealer, Tullett Prebon (UK)
  • Banker, ABC Bank of China
  • Assistant to Country Chief Risk Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam)

Building on that foundation, alumni who graduated between five and ten years ago have advanced into positions such as:

  • Investment Analyst, Ajeej Capital (Saudi Arabia)
  • Head, Secured Lending, Stanard Chartered Bank (Taiwan)
  • Settlements Associate, Titanium Capital (UK)
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato (New Zealand)



You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Stirling Management School Postgraduate Scholarships

Stirling Management School is committed to investing in academically talented students, enabling them to further their education with a reputable qualification from one of the many Postgraduate Degree Programmes on offer at the University of Stirling. There are various categories of funding available to support the cost of your studies at Stirling Management School.

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS. More information

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit: