1 Programme Specification Master of Science Financial Economics Valid from: September 2014 Faculty of Business
2 SECTION 1: GENERAL INFORMATION Awarding body: Teaching institution and location: Final award: Programme title: Interim exit awards and award titles: Brookes course code: UCAS/UKPASS code: JACS code: Mode of delivery: Mode/s of study: Language of study: Relevant QAA subject benchmark statement/s: External accreditation/recognition: Faculty managing the programme: Date of production (or most recent revision) of specification: Oxford Brookes University Oxford Brookes University, Oxford Master of Science (MSc) Financial Economics Postgraduate Certificate in Financial Economics Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Economics BH70 TBC TBC On Campus Full-time English Not applicable Not applicable Faculty of Business November 2013
3 SECTION 2: OVERVIEW AND PROGRAMME AIMS 2.1 Rationale for/distinctiveness of the programme The allocation and management of financial resources and the interaction of (international) financial markets with the wider economy is fundamental to the economic well-being of a modern society. This has been forcefully demonstrated by the various financial crises in the last twenty to twenty-five years, ie since the onset of the (modern) globalisation era. Consequently, the demand for highly skilled experts in financial economics has increased rapidly in the modern economy. This demand exists in the public sector (central banks, international organisations) and in the private sector (commercial banks, insurance companies). This programme offers students from around the world the opportunity to acquire an in depth understanding of the role and workings of financial markets in today s economy and analyse how international financial markets link and interact with the wider economy. The programme is built on a theoretically and empirically rigorous analysis of market mechanisms and decisions and the application of this analysis to the financial sector. While this programme equips those who wish to become professional financial economists with the technical and analytical skills prized by the profession, it also enables them to adopt a broader and critical view of the subject and to appreciate the limitations of the modelling approach and current methodology used in financial economics. It challenges students to take a critical view of the workings of financial markets, and equips them to contribute to current debates about the role of Finance in society. A Masters degree in the field of financial economics will provide students with the necessary skills and tools for a successful career as practicing financial economists in today s global knowledge economy. Graduates from this programme, equipped with strong quantitative and problem-solving competences and aware of both the strengths and weaknesses of financial economics as a subject, will be prepared to become the rounded and versatile thinkers sought by employers, whether in government, industry, consultancy or academia. 2.2 Aim/s of the programme to provide an in-depth analytical and quantitative understanding of decision making on financial markets required to pursue a career as a professional financial economist or to enter a doctoral programme in financial economics, economics, finance or related disciplines. to develop skills of critical enquiry and self-reflection to enable students to engage with current research and debates in the discipline to prepare students to undertake substantive research in financial economics with selfdirection and originality SECTION 3: PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES On Completion, students will be able to: Academic Literacy 1. demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the core models and concepts used in modern economic theory with a particular view to the functioning of (international) financial markets and their role in a modern economy.
4 2. use both deductive and inductive reasoning to devise solutions to a range of complex financial market issues and explore their relevance for the economy and society as a whole 3. synthesise and critically interpret econometric evidence 4. use economic reasoning to analyse economic decisions affecting financial markets, critically evaluate market outcomes and draw policy inferences from such evaluation Research Literacy 5. select and critically apply appropriate research methods and tools, understanding their constraints and limitations 6. demonstrate initiative, imagination and innovation in the selection and conduct of a major research project in a relevant area of financial economics 7. critically evaluate current research in the discipline and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of recent debates Critical Self-awareness and personal literacy 8. understand the long-standing controversies among specialists and non-specialists about the role and workings of financial markets and their importance for economic development, in light of the incomplete nature of knowledge in financial economics 9. demonstrate a healthy scepticism towards all assertions from whatever source and understand the importance of confronting all theoretical frameworks with evidence 10. communicate complex arguments and ideas in financial economics to both specialist and non-specialist audiences 11. work both independently and collaboratively, experiencing a range of alternative viewpoints on financial economics and its role in society and the economy Digital and information literacy 12. collect, organise, interpret and present both qualitative and quantitative data and information relevant to financial economic issues 13. use a range of information technologies and software to conduct statistical analysis of data, to confront theory with evidence and to disseminate conclusions and findings Global Citizenship 14. understand the complex linkages between developments in financial markets and the economic, social and political environment and assess the effect of globalised and rapidly changing financial markets on diverse groups both nationally and internationally 15. be aware of different viewpoints in contemporary debates on financial markets, articulate the value of alternative methodologies and engage in reasoned argument with those who hold alternative viewpoints. SECTION 4: PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND CURRICULUM 4.1 Programme structure and requirements (all Level 7 modules): Module Number Module Title Credit Value Status P5xxxx Advanced Microeconomics 20 Compulsory for MSc P58822 Financial Markets and Institutions 20 Compulsory for MSc P5xxxx Econometrics 20 Compulsory for MSc P5xxxx Topics in Economics 20 Compulsory for MSc P58827 Financial Modelling 20 Compulsory for MSc P5xxxx Economic Growth 20 Optional for MSc P5xxxx Industrial Organisation 20 Optional for MSc
5 P58823 International Finance 20 Optional for MSc P5xxxx Research Methods in Economics 10 Compulsory for MSc P58898 Dissertation 50 Compulsory for MSc P58860 Independent Study 20 Acceptable 4.2 Professional requirements Not applicable SECTION 5: PROGRAMME DELIVERY 5.1 Teaching, Learning and Assessment The structure of the MSc Financial Economics, based on a clear progression throughout the course of the programme, has allowed for a holistic approach to teaching, learning and assessment. This approach attempts to put into practice a number of the key provisions in the Brookes Assessment Compact. In particular it is intended to embody important elements of section 2.1 (by seeing `assessment as a fundamental and integral part of programme design and as `intended to shape and develop learning ) and section 2.2 (by ensuring that `assessment (is) designed at programme level and that `assessment shapes learning in a coherent and holistic fashion ). In turn assessment within each module has been aligned with teaching methods. The approach taken is based on the recognition that economics is a subject area requiring a cumulative process of learning, in which each stage of development builds on what has come before. Consequently, it is crucial for students both to appreciate the links between different stages in their learning and to be able to move from foundational studies to the application of ideas in more complex contexts, especially those relating to policy choices. As a result of this, the first semester, which provides the building blocks of the programme, is predominantly assessed by examination, which allows for a breadth of coverage in the assessment process and for the testing of the ability to link different aspects of the subject together. This is particularly the case for P5XXXX Advanced Microeconomics and P58822 Financial Markets and Institutions. These modules make extensive use of lectures which also allow for the contextualisation of the subject matter, while these lectures are supported by seminar activities. The other module in the first semester, P5XXXX Econometrics, begins the process of testing theoretical knowledge empirically and investigating concrete economic problems, while also providing basic foundational knowledge of appropriate statistical techniques. Consequently, it uses a combination of workshop and lecture activity and is assessed both by coursework and examination. The second semester of the programme develops further the application of theoretical knowledge and the critical appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches within the discipline and as this is done the emphasis in the programme as a whole moves towards coursework assessment which allows for inquiry into specific issues in depth. This mode of assessment is backed up by a learning process based on active involvement in workshop and seminar activities. The key modules in this regard are P58827 Financial Modelling and in particular P5XXXX Topics in Economics in which research-led teaching based on the expertise of the course team provides a stimulus for students to develop their own abilities as researchers and thereby leads into the dissertation which is the culminating module for the course.
6 Throughout the programme P5XXXX Research Methods aims to move in a similar direction to that discussed above; starting with developing skills related to basic investigatory techniques which are fundamental to work as a professional economist and continuing with more complex discussions of methodological controversies which provide the framework within which dissertation work can proceed. The following table relates the various modules on the MSc to the programme learning outcomes and postgraduate attributes. It is not meant to imply that the modules listed are the only ones in which the various outcomes and attributes are addressed; simply that they are the main vehicles for ensuring that outcomes and attributes are included within the programme. Academic Literacy Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the core models and concepts used Use both deductive and inductive reasoning to devise solutions to a range of complex economic, financial, business and social issues Synthesise and critically interpret econometric evidence Use economic reasoning to draw policy inferences and critically evaluate their outcomes and efficacy, in the light of stated policy objective Communicate complex arguments and ideas to both specialist and non-specialist audiences Research Literacy Select and critically apply appropriate research methods and tools, understanding their constraints and limitations Demonstrate initiative, imagination and innovation in the selection and conduct of a major research project in a relevant area of financial economics Critically evaluate current research in the discipline and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of recent debates Critical Self-Awareness and Personal Literacy Understand both the strengths and weaknesses of financial economics as a discipline and the implications of the provisional and incomplete nature of knowledge for the understanding of major economic, financial and social issues Demonstrate a healthy scepticism towards all assertion from whatever source and understand the importance of confronting all theoretical frameworks with evidence Advanced Microeconomics, Financial Markets and Institutions Topics in Economics, Financial Modelling, International Finance, Industrial Organisation, Economic Growth Econometrics, Research Methods Topics in Economics, Financial Modelling, International Finance, Industrial Organisation, Economic Growth Advanced Microeconomics, Financial Markets and Institutions, Research Methods, Dissertation, Topics in Economics, Financial Modelling, International Finance, Industrial Organisation, Economic Growth Research Methods, Dissertation Dissertation Topics in Economics Topics in Economics, Dissertation Research Methods, Econometrics, Topics in Economics, Financial Modelling, Dissertation
7 Work both independently and collaboratively, experiencing a range of alternative viewpoints on the workings of markets and financial markets in particular and the role of (financial) markets in society Digital and Information Literacy Collect, organise, interpret and present both qualitative and quantitative data and information relevant to the discipline Use a range of information technologies and software to conduct statistical analysis of data, to confront theory with evidence and to disseminate conclusions and findings Global Citizenship Understand the complex linkages between the economic, financial and social/political environments and the effects of globalised and rapidly changing financial markets for diverse groups both nationally and internationally Articulate the value of alternative methodologies to understand (financial) markets and engage in reasoned argument with those who hold alternative viewpoints. Topics in Economics, Financial Markets and Institutions, Dissertation Econometrics, Research Methods, Financial Modelling, Dissertation Econometrics, Research Methods, Financial Modelling, Dissertation Topics in Economics, International Finance, Economic Growth, Industrial Organisation Topics in Economics, International Finance, Economic Growth, Industrial Organisation, Research Methods, Dissertation 5.2 Assessment regulations The programme conforms to the University Regulations: section B4 Specific Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes The programme also embeds the principles and practices within the Brookes Assessment Compact. Assessments are carefully designed to contribute to formative developmental feedback and can incorporate peer feedback as well. All module guides include specific assessment criteria which are clearly communicated and an assessment calendar is also produced. SECTION 6: ADMISSIONS 6.1 Entry criteria The programme is designed to attract students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Admission is normally open to those with: a minimum of a good UK second-class honours degree in economics or equivalent overseas degree from a recognised institution or graduate diploma in economics from a UK or recognised overseas institution, normally average grade of 55% or better) English language requirements: IELTS minimum level 6.5 overall with at least 6.0in the reading and writing components or TOEFL score of 90 or above (internet-based), plus 4.5 in TWE. Please also see the University s requirements at
8 6.2 DBS checks Not applicable SECTION 7: STUDENT SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE Induction An induction programme commences before teaching begins in the first semester, providing the opportunity to meet fellow students and staff outside the classroom situation. It introduces the philosophy of the programme, the rationale for its design and delivery, and provides insight into what is expected of students. It also introduces students to the facilities of the wider University. Part of induction week is devoted to an intensive revision course in mathematics and quantitative methods. This course continues into week 1. Attendance on this course is mandatory. Whilst the main activities take place in the week prior to teaching, other events are scheduled for later weeks. People A number of people are available to support, guide and assist personal development during the programme. The Programme Lead and Programme Administrator work as a team to ensure the programme runs smoothly, and the Programme Lead acts as Academic Advisor to students. The Module Leaders and Module Tutors provide academic tutoring and answer subject specific queries during modules. The Student Support Coordinators can provide oneto-one support, advice and guidance on a range of issue, such as personal and family problems, disability or sickness, learning difficulties or money worries. They offer the opportunity to talk to someone who is not connected to academic studies and can refer students to other services available in the University, which include Counselling, Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, Medical Centre, International Students Advisory Service, plus specific support for mature students. Study skills support is provided by the University s Upgrade service, which provides bookable tutorials and drop-in service on all campuses plus an online directory of study skills resources. English language support is also available. Programme and Module Guides Handbooks are provided for both the programme and for each module. The Module Guide provides: Contact details of the Module Leader and Tutors Specific content and learning outcomes Week by week topics and activities Details of required class preparation Recommended and required reading Coursework assessment including the task, the learning outcomes, assessment criteria and deadlines Careers Centre Support The University Careers Service offers guidance on careers planning as well as practical advice on CV writing, mock interviews and assessment centres, tutorials and careers counselling. Its online vacancies database Talent Bank details internships and graduate job opportunities plus volunteering and project work. Students in the Faculty of Business can benefit from the services of the Work and Voluntary Experience Service (WAVES), which also supports students in identifying volunteering or internship opportunities.
9 SECTION 8: GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY The knowledge and skills gained by Masters graduates in Financial Economics will equip them for a wide range of careers. Students will be prepared for a career with potential employers such as investment and commercial banks, the asset management industry, consulting firms, public institutions such as central banks and treasury departments, international organizations, as well as regulatory agencies. The degree is further designed to provide the necessary training for entry to a PhD research degree. SECTION 9: LINKS WITH EMPLOYERS Visiting speakers from a range of organisations contribute to the programme. Links with organisations such as the Government Economic Service are actively maintained to ensure students are aware of opportunities for summer internships. We have many links to employers such as Oxford Economic Forecasting, HM Treasury, IBM and Disney through the undergraduate Work Placement Scheme. Students are strongly encouraged to register with the Placements office for advice on obtaining internships. SECTION 10: QUALITY MANAGEMENT Indicators of quality/methods for evaluating the quality of provision The reputation of the Faculty of Business is underpinned through programme accreditations received from the Association of MBAs; professional associations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the European Foundation for Management Development. The Faculty is widely regarded as one of the best within its peer group. The Faculty of Business's programmes benefit from rigorous quality assurance procedures and regularly receive excellent feedback from external examiners, employers, students and professional bodies. Quality assurance of the Programme is addressed in a number of ways:- Subject Committee meetings held once a semester to enable staff and students to feedback on the programme A rigorous annual and periodic review process to ensure the currency of the programme An external examining process that follows the university guidelines - Systematic end of module and end of programme monitoring and evaluation