Course Overview

UK/EU Fees £14,500 *
International Fees £15,000 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 1 year

* Price per academic year

Course summary

Responsive to trends and issues in global financial services industries, our MSc Finance (Banking pathway) degree aims to equip you with the advanced skills to pursue careers in retail, commercial and private banking as a loan officer, private banker, private wealth consultant or to work within the back and middle offices of an investment bank, in risk management, administrative or support services. It combines a broad range of topics, including finance, economics, quantitative methods and big data analysis.

You'll study a common first semester providing a solid introduction to financial markets, institutions and intermediaries, and the function of banks in relation to these. This allows you to make a more informed choice about your specialist pathway (in Banking or International Finance) for the second semester, where you delve more into retail and investment banking, choosing options according to your interests, for example, in banking technology, compliance or behavioural finance.

In our state-of-the-art Financial Markets Suite (FMS), you'll receive hands-on training and have access to live and historical news and data, experiencing the same Bloomberg platform used by leading global investment banks. You’ll gain a real-world understanding of assets, indices, currencies, derivatives, stocks, shares and interest rates, better preparing you for the business and finance world that awaits.

Our graduates have gone on to work for large banks, including Standard Chartered, Citibank, Société Générale and Paribas.

Top reasons to study with us

  • 100% overall student satisfaction in the 2019 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES).
  • One of the top 5 institutions in London for Accounting & Finance (Complete University Guide 2020).
  • Courses are delivered by a multicultural and international teaching body, who come from professional practice and/or regularly publish in top international journals.
  • Flexibility to choose your specialist pathway after the first semester.
  • Access to one of the largest financial databases in our state-of-the-art Bloomberg virtual trading room.
  • Opportunity to undertake an internship – one student spent a summer at Santander in Madrid.
  • Guest lectures from industry practitioners – recent talks featured a senior business manager from Barclays and seasoned entrepreneur.
  • Field trips to financial institutions – students recently had a guided tour of the new Bloomberg HQ in London.
  • Structured orientation programme to meet students and staff and find your way around campus
  • Free online subscription to The Financial Times.

Programme recognition

Our course was designed with input from a range of industry professionals with expertise in financial markets, institutions and financial regulation.

To retain currency and relevance, we receive ongoing feedback from the School of Finance and Accounting’s Employability Advisory Board, whose members include practitioner representatives from Vanguard, JPMorgan and Global Structured Finance, as well as former students now working in the finance industry who provide suggestions on how to improve future employability for students.

Course structure

The innovative structure of our MSc Finance degree, with its shared first semester curriculum of core financial knowledge, is intended to provide you with a deep and systematic understanding of general financial markets.

You’ll be introduced to the latest financial theories, learn how to analyse financial matters, and consider the current challenges and issues facing financial institutions, markets and multinational corporations, such as the changing ethical and corporate responsibility issues or need for continuous improvement in a digital age, where omni-channel service and operational strategies are now essential. 

Depending on your area of interest, you will then choose whether to pursue a Banking or International Finance pathway specialisation for Semester 2.

Semester 1

The first semester is designed to build a strong foundation of knowledge of financial modelling, decision-making and risk management in contemporary business enterprises. You will start by taking part in an orientation programme with sessions including introductions to Bloomberg and Excel for Finance, postgraduate research skills, current issues in finance, financial markets, a revision of statistics and probability.

Essential finance topics covered in the first semester include: capital structure; investment appraisal methods; dividend policy; modern portfolio theory; valuation of financial securities; foreign exchange, interest rate and credit risk; and the existing regulatory framework.

You'll learn to use mathematical and statistical analytical methods, such as matrix algebra, differential calculus, probability theory, descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, forecasting and modelling volatility.

Semester 2

The Banking pathway will deepen your understanding of the structure and operations of both domestic and global banks, focusing on the challenges and risks they face – from regulation, political interference and changing technology, for example. Through study of wealth management, you'll learn to provide advice on financial planning, portfolio management, taxation, pensions and other aggregated financial services for individuals.

Depending on your career aspirations, you can choose from options in corporate financial strategy or investment banking, for example.

Your studies culminate with the final Project, an intensive piece of research and 8,000-10,000-word dissertation. Previous students on this course have covered topics as diverse as efficient sovereign credit risk measures and algorithmic trading and portfolio management.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules (Both Banking and International Finance Pathways)

This module provides an overview of the essential topics in the field of Finance. In doing so, it provides you with the base of knowledge required for specialisation in the second semester.

This module provides you with an understanding of the mathematics and statistics required to work within the financial markets. The module assumes that you have a basic understanding of mathematics and statistics and builds on this to enable you to implement models and interpret the results of these.

This module introduces you to the roles of financial markets and financial institutions before enabling you to develop a comprehensive understanding of the principles of managing financial risks. In doing this, specific risk exposures in each institution will then be identified and assessed and the application of risk management techniques will then be assessed to gauge their effectiveness.

This module involves preparing an 8,000-10,000-word dissertation in the area of either banking or international finance (depending on the chosen specialisation). You will design research on your own topic of interest and then conduct desk research around this research topic.

This module develops your knowledge and competence of the research process and the application of research methods in the area of banking and international finance. It covers the structure and techniques that you will follow and employ when completing their project.

Core modules (Banking Pathway)

This module will give you a detailed understanding and practical skills of the main operations used in commercial banking. You will evaluate business creditworthiness in bank lending by identifying a range of financial and non-financial information. You will also assess different types of instruments used by banks and their effectiveness in mitigating banking risks. Financial theory is combined with practical exercises, case studies, and linked to tools needed for the students to understand and appraise banking business strategies. These tools cover how to assess the performance and creditworthiness of a business, how to critically evaluate the robustness of cash flow and how to undertake sensitivity analysis to quantify sustainable debt repayment capacity. This module also covers customer segmentation, portfolio management, commercial banking regulations, lending products and alternative sources of funding.

This module evaluates the role and function of domestic and global banks; their structure and operations, together with a thorough examination of the risks that they are exposed to; and the various ways to manage them.

This module develops your ability to provide advice on financial planning, portfolio management, taxation, pensions and other aggregated financial services for individuals. This will enable you to develop the skills required to work as a private banker for high net worth individuals.

Optional modules (Banking Pathway)

This module provides you with a detailed understanding of the technological developments in the banking sector, why these came about, and the opportunities and challenges created by these. In the module, you will cover topics such as crypto-currencies, block chain technology and the role of artificial intelligence.

This module looks at providing explanations for people’s economic decisions by combining behavioural and cognitive psychology theories with conventional economics and finance. Behavioural finance explains how people make financial decisions and also enriches existing models and theories by offering new insights on the behaviour of investors.

This module offers a detailed examination of the legal principles, regulation, compliance and supervision that applies to domestic and international banks. The module focuses on relevant reforms to the banking sector, such as Basel III and Mifid ii, and provides you with an understanding of the importance of these.

This module introduces you to the methods used by companies to develop long-term growth strategies in a value-based management system, and implications of these for investment and financing decisions. The module also develops your understanding of the risk incurred when corporate finance decisions are taken in uncertain and dynamic environments.

This module provides you with a thorough understanding of the functions in investment banks. In particular, it examines investment banks’ business lines, behaviours and strategies, as well as the growing role of technology in the provision of financial services. The module also examines some of the current issues and challenges facing investment banks and examines some potential solutions for these.

Programme Specification

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

Careers

This degree can lead to a global career in equity, bond and foreign currency markets, banking, investment management, hedge fund management, corporate treasury or risk management. You may even decide to start your own business venture as a private wealth consultant.

Previous graduates in this area have gone to work for for commercial and central banks here in the UK and throughout the world. You'll also have the knowledge and skills to study an MPhil/PhD degree or seek further professional qualifications.

With a growing global network of 3,000 employers, our Careers and Employability Service is here to support you to achieve your full potential.

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Develop your cultural intelligence – or ‘CQ’ – studying alongside students and staff representing more than 100 nationalities

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Careers support

Postgraduate students have access to the University’s Careers and Employability Service for up to three years after graduation

Industry links

We have excellent industry links with the Chartered Banker Institute, some of the top firms in the financial services, along with leading financial technology and data vendor services providers such as Bloomberg.

Staff who currently teach on this course also have extensive professional experience, having worked in a range of roles and areas including: 

  • Credit risk analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Financial consultant
  • Global entrepreneur
  • Lending specialist in the banking sector
  • Research consultant
  • Risk management
  • Software development and management

Job roles

This course will prepare you for roles such as:

  • Banker
  • Financial consultant
  • Government consultant
  • Investment advisor
  • Market analyst
  • Middle and back office positions
  • Private wealth consultant
  • Regulatory officer
  • Venture capitalist

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have found employment at organisations including:

  • Amazon
  • Citibank
  • Financial Conduct Authority
  • Paribas  
  • Santander
  • Sberbank
  • Société Générale
  • Standard Chartered
  • World Economic Forum

Westminster Employability Award

Employers value graduates who have invested in their personal and professional development – and our Westminster Employability Award gives you the chance to formally document and demonstrate these activities and achievements.

The award is flexible and can be completed in your own time, comprising a set of core and optional extracurricular activities. 

Activities might include gaining experience through a part-time job or placement, signing up to a University-run scheme – such as mentoring or teaching in a school – or completing online exercises.

Westminster Employability Award

Teaching and assessment

Your learning experience is designed to provide both a practical and theoretical understanding of the structure, function and management of international finance.

You’ll be encouraged to keep up to date with market trends and regularly review current events, using trade publications such as the Financial Times and the live news streams available in the FMS. Where possible, we also take you to visit and learn first-hand from various financial institutions and businesses – most recently, students enjoyed a guided tour of the new Bloomberg Headquarters in London.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to gain valuable insight from current practitioners, which in the past have included guest lectures about current topics in finance and opportunities in the entrepreneurial finance landscape.

To assist the learning experience, we provide reading lists, and lecture and seminar materials in advance via Blackboard, our virtual learning environment. Lectures are recorded using specialist software and tools to make sure you can really listen to what is said in class and don’t miss a thing.

How you'll be taught

Teaching methods across all our postgraduate courses focus on active student learning through seminars, workshops, problem-based and blended learning, as well as group work. Teaching will be informed by our research, giving you the benefit of the knowledge of current theories and, where appropriate, their practical application.

In our Finance (Banking) MSc, we aim to bring study to life by incorporating real-world experience through a variety of teaching methods – from traditional lectures and seminars to case study analysis, project work and pop quizzes. When studying financial risk management, in weekly seminars and computer sessions, you'll apply the risk measurement approach and techniques you learn, including historical simulation for market risk and stress tests, using real data such as stock returns and company financial ratios.

We use case studies and real data in many of our modules. For example, in wealth management, you'll examine the performance of various investment instruments with real data, designing tailored wealth management plans to high net worth individuals. When considering market risk analysis, you'll apply a market risk measurement approach, carrying out regression and historical data simulation in our computer labs.

How you'll be assessed

Assessment methods across our postgraduate courses may include essays, reports, presentations, case studies, videos, podcasts and posters, as well as time-constrained in-class tests and exams.

In our Finance (Banking) MSc, we use a wide range of techniques, including time-constrained examinations, and individual and team-based coursework and presentations.

We try to make assessments as practical and relevant as possible, incorporating the type of work required by future employers, for example, writing strategic reports or collecting, analysing and presenting financial data.

Why study this course?

Building

Fantastic facilities

State-of-the-art Bloomberg-powered Financial Markets Suite (FMS) featuring industry-leading technology and software

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Combine theory and practice

Link theory to global practice through real-life case studies, guest lectures, field trips and insight from one of the world’s largest financial databases

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Professional software

Free access to professional software including Bloomberg, Datastream, Fame, Factiva, EViews, Matlab, Nvivo, SPSS, Sage, Statista, EIU Viewswire, Mintel, Passport (Euromonitor), and LinkedIn Learning

Open evenings and online sessions

Find out more about the University by visiting us at one of our open evenings or joining us for an online session.

 

Visit our open days page

Open Day - student helping prospective student

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Relevant degree disciplines include finance, economics, business studies or management. In exceptional cases, applicants may be accepted based on their professional qualifications or extensive work experience in the global financial services sector. 

If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element.

Applicants are required to submit one reference.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Relevant degree disciplines include finance, economics, business studies or management. In exceptional cases, applicants may be accepted based on their professional qualifications or extensive work experience in the global financial services sector. 

If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element.

Applicants are required to submit one reference.

More information

Student work

Applying security analysis and performance evaluation approaches with real financial market data, you will evaluate the performance and risk of proposed investment strategies. Preparing you for a financial analyst role, as part of assessment, you’ll write a professional report intended for current and potential investors.

 

Business finance report with graphs

Many of our modules use real data from Bloomberg. If you choose the Banking Technology module, you will undertake programming and coding in our Computer Labs to enable you to conduct big data analysis.

 

Stock market graphs

Learn new skills

Line graph

Build analytical and statistical skills

Develop the strong analytical and statistical skills needed in the world of finance and banking 

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Enhance your digital literacy

Enhance your digital literacy, learning how to collect and use data from Bloomberg, Datastream and Fame

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Improve your problem-solving skills

Improve your problem-solving skills to better understand and tackle issues facing the global financial markets

 

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Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £14,500 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £15,000 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Facilities

Bloomberg Suite

Our purpose-built Financial Markets Suite uses the Bloomberg platform to provide a state-of-the-art teaching and research resource.

You'll get firsthand exposure to the technology used by leading investment banks across the world – from the City of London to New York's Wall Street and Tokyo's Citibanks.

Read more about our Bloomberg Suite.

Bloomberg Financial Markets Suite

Supporting you

Our Student Hub is where you’ll find out about the services and support we offer, helping you get the best out of your time with us.

  • Study support — workshops, 1-2-1 support and online resources to help improve your academic and research skills
  • Personal tutors — support you in fulfilling your academic and personal potential
  • Student advice team — provide specialist advice on a range of issues including funding, benefits and visas
  • Extra-curricular activities — volunteering opportunities, sports and fitness activities, student events and more

visit our student hub

Illustration for the Student Hub

Course Location

Our Marylebone Campus has benefitted from a multi-million-pound refurbishment resulting in new workshops, digital studios and development of the Marylebone Library. The campus is home to Westminster Business School and our award-winning Architecture, Planning and Tourism courses. For more details, visit our Marylebone Campus page.

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