MSc Financial Management
- Online learning
- Course award
- Entry date
- Open enrolment
Designed to impart specialist knowledge of the foundations and dynamic nature of finance, the MSc programme helps students make a vital contribution to the financial strength of their business.
Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University’s online MSc Financial Management programme has been designed to give financial professionals the ability to make a crucial contribution where it matters most in business, at the bottom line. It provides a wide-ranging understanding of financial techniques and their application – but does not require a high-level mathematical understanding of finance theories.
You will engage in a specialist study of the key areas of: corporate finance, mergers, investments, derivatives, credit risk and risk management. The knowledge you gain can be applied in practical ways. Careers in the sector depend upon a strong understanding of the foundations and dynamic nature of finance and investment behaviour. The MSc will give you that, preparing the way for a career in a wide variety of positions within the finance profession.
It takes approximately 200 study hours per course. On average, it takes four years to complete a full MSc, but it can be completed faster or over a longer period. You can choose your own pace by picking up or setting aside your studies whenever it suits you best. Your schedule always takes priority.
Online learning delivery
Our progressive course materials are made available online through our virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE links you with our expert academics and course materials through videos, webinars, articles, journals, assessments and discussion boards. With us, it’s completely up to you when and where you sit your exams and you need only pay for one at a time. You can choose when to sit your exams and if you need to rearrange, that’s no problem either. To find out more about the programme structure, resources and support please visit our Online learning delivery and support pages.
Even the most gifted and most confident of students need a little help from time to time. Whether you study online at home or with a learning partner you’re never far from the support of our faculty and your fellow learners. Additional support is available through optional online tuition and revision sessions and other online resources such as tests, practice essays, collaborative discussion forums where you can engage with your fellow students around the world and tools to help you track your progress through the course materials.
The MSc Financial Management covers a wide ranging understanding of financial techniques, which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to progress in your career.
The programme comprises of five mandatory courses, and four optional. Courses are assessed by a written examination and/or written coursework. Pass these and join our global network of Edinburgh Business School graduates and business professionals.
- Advanced Financial Decision Making
- Credit Risk Management
- Financial Decision Making
- Financial Risk Management
- Corporate Governance
- Developing and Executing Strategy
- Economics for Business
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Quantitative Methods
- Research Methods for Business and Management (Available for selection until 31st July 2022)
See full details of optional courses below.
Advanced Financial Decision Making
The Advanced Financial Decision Making course aims to enable students to analyse complex financial choices, both external and internal, facing a company and propose courses of action that are consistent with the organisation’s goals.
The course begins with a refresher of key topics covered on Financial Decision Making before moving on to financial reporting. Here, the course covers the consolidation process for a group of companies, examines the information available in annual corporate reports and looks at current reporting trends.
Management accounting then looks at tools to solve problems of resource allocation and moves on to other key tools currently used in practice including target and lifecycle costing, total quality management, six sigma and kaizen costing.
Planning and budgeting are the next topics where there is extensive coverage of compiling budgets, divisional performance management, transfer pricing issues and non-financial performance metrics.
We then move into the major area of financial management and the course covers tools to manage elements of working capital, complex capital investment appraisal, corporate valuations, and M&A (mergers and acquisition). Risk management is then examined, concentrating on exchange rate and interest rate risk exposures and how these are managed by companies.
The penultimate topics are corporate failure and business reconstruction. The course concludes with a discussion on current trends in finance and accounting.
Advanced Financial Decision Making syllabus
Detailed topics include:
• International accounting and basic group accounting (consolidation)
• Annual corporate reports and interpreting information
• Earnings management and accounting scandals
• Corporate reporting and disclosure trends
• Alternative management accounting tools and techniques
• Planning and performance evaluation
• Working capital management
• Advanced capital investment appraisal
• Corporate share and bond valuation
• Mergers and acquisitions
• Exchange rate risk management
• Interest rate risk management
• Corporate failure and business restructuring
• Current issues in finance and accounting
Credit Risk Management
Providing an understanding of the credit process and the management of financial distress. The course will examine credit risk modelling, the assessment and management of credit risk and the problems that companies face during financial distress and bankruptcy.
- Introduction to credit risk management
- Understanding financial statements
- Ratio analysis
- Expert and ratio systems
- Credit scoring and modelling default
- Market-based credit models
- Market default models
- Managing credit risk in a corporate environment
- Financial distress
In order to transfer and mitigate risk, a company will often turn to financial instruments such as derivatives, including forward contracts, futures, options and swaps. This course will give financial executives an understanding of what derivatives can achieve and how they are priced.
- The derivatives building blocks.
- Terminal instruments.
- Forward contracts.
- The basics of options.
- Option pricing.
- The Black–Scholes option-pricing model.
- 'The Greeks of option pricing'.
- Extensions to the basic option-pricing model.
- Using derivatives and hedging.
- Hedging and insurance.
- Using the derivatives product set.
Financial Decision Making
Financial decision making aims to provide students with a set of accounting and financial tools that enables them to interpret and critique financial information from a variety of sources, and to make informed and effective financial decisions that directly impact company operations.
The course begins with a closer look at the current financial landscape. It then examines the application of financial and management accounting tools relevant to critical financial decisions, including key performance indicators, breakeven analysis, working capital management techniques and the budgeting process.
This is followed by a consideration of financial management and the decisions faced by organisations on investment (what projects), finance (what type of finance) and dividend (pay or retain) and how an organisation analyses takes action on each of those decisions.
- The financial landscape
- Financial accounting
- Working capital management
- Management accounting
- Financial tools
- Capital budgeting and investment appraisal
- Financing, payout policy and management.
- The course concludes with an introduction to exchange rate and interest rate risk management.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Financial Decision Making, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Financial Risk Management
The rationale for this course is straightforward: to provide executives with the tools they need to analyse, control and reduce business risk in volatile financial and commodity markets.
- Risk and the management of the firm.
- The markets.
- Market mechanisms and efficiency.
- Interest-rate risk.
- Currency risk.
- Equity and commodity price risk.
- The behaviour of asset prices.
- Risk assessment.
- Controlling risk.
- Quantifying financial risks.
- Financial methods for measuring risk.
- Qualitative approaches to risk assessment.
Choose any four of the following optional courses:
- Corporate governance issues, concepts and domain.
- External governance – law and regulation.
- Codes of 'best practice' and norms of behaviour.
- Boards of directors: the lynchpin.
- Internal controls and accountability.
- Risk management.
- Financial market supervision and control.
- Governance and financial market economics.
- External reporting need vs. delivery.
- Definition inconsistency and system improvement.
- Reality in the face of prescription.
Developing and Executing Strategy
This course covers the core areas of strategic management and uses the general management setting to integrate ideas across the core disciplines covered in other MBA core courses. Developing and Executing Strategy begins by examining the evolution of management and academic thinking around strategy and strategic management over the past 50 years, reviews the diversity of contemporary strategy theory and practice and examines the role of strategy in the management of different types of organisations.
The course then examines a variety of aspects of strategy, such as strategic intent, analysis, strategic options and implementation. At each stage the links with other management disciplines, such as leadership, organisational behaviour, economics, marketing and finance are considered. Finally an integrative framework for strategic decision-making is presented, which facilitates a holistic approach to complex business and management issues.
- Introduction to Strategy and Strategists
- Strategic Intent
- Strategic Issue Diagnosis
- Interpreting and Analysing the Environment
- Analysing the Organisation
- Generating, Selecting and Evaluating Strategic Options
- Strategy Implementation and Practice
The course encourages students to think and operate at the strategic level in a range of dynamic settings through integration of ideas across core business disciplines.
Economics for Business
The course starts by outlining fundamental economic concepts and examining the workings of the market system. Different market structures and their impact on organisations are reviewed and the role of government in the economy is examined.
Relevant aspects of the macroeconomy are introduced with a focus on business impact and decision-making. This is followed by an exposition of international economic issues.
- The Role of Economics in Business
- The Market Mechanism
- Market Structure
- Factor Markets
- The Role of Government
- The Macroeconomic Environment
- Macroeconomic Policy
- International Trade and Globalisation
- Research Activity
The course ends with a research activity that will pull all the strands of the course together, and prepare students fully for the assessment.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions rarely create shareholder value. Which begs the obvious question: why not? In examining real case studies, as well as innovative theoretical approaches, Mergers and Acquisitions will help executives to make better M&A decisions in the future.
- Strategic focus.
- Why mergers fail.
- Bid tactics.
- Due diligence.
- The concept of implementation.
- Project management of implementation.
- Developing the implementation plan.
- Executing the implementation plan.
- Simple uses and misuses of statistics.
- School mathematics applied to management.
- Data communication.
- Data analysis.
- Summary measures.
- Sampling methods.
- Statistical inference.
- More distributions.
- Analysis of variance.
- Regression and correlation.
- Advanced regression analysis.
- The context of forecasting.
- Time series techniques.
- Managing forecasts.
Research Methods for Business and Management (Available for selection until 31st July 2022)
A thorough understanding of the methods and processes of business research is the key component of this course. It looks at the concept of research, both original and applied, and examines how information can provide a greater understanding of your business and its successful management.
- Research methods and your dissertation.
- The project process.
- The research process.
- Using what's already known.
- Semi-structured primary data techniques.
- Fully structured primary data techniques.
- Writing the dissertation.
Why Heriot-Watt Online?
Study towards the same high-quality qualification as if you were studying in-person, with no difference in degree certificate or transcript, including an Edinburgh campus graduation ceremony.
Flexibility and affordability
Study at a time and pace that suits you, and even while you work. HW Online offers pay-as-you-study courses and fees inclusive of exams and study materials, meaning you can focus on success, not extra costs.
Online community and help
Studying with us means you join an online community of over X students, allowing you to chat and learn from your fellow students through our virtual learning environment.
Employability and careers
Heriot-Watt produces more CEOs than any other University in Scotland, and 95% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduation.
Upon completing your studies you will automatically join the UK’s oldest alumni association The Watt Club, with 147k members worldwide.
We’ve been providing high quality online and distance learning across the world for over 25 years.
Be part of a Business & STEM renowned University with over 200 years of heritage. We’re proud to be ranked #1 by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 for a number of our Engineering subjects, including Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Typically you will hold a recognised first or second class honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification. Students whose native language is not English and who have not been educated previously in the English language must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. Alternatively, formal entry can still be gained by passing three MSc courses, Financial Decision Making and two other mandatory courses.
Rewarding previous study
If you have gained a qualification in a relevant subject prior to the start of your online Edinburgh Business School programme, we may be able to reward this hard work with an exemption from certain courses.
These exemptions are only ever at our discretion and are considered on the basis of qualifications gained through formal examination - whether at degree level or through a professional body. The qualification being presented for consideration should have been gained within the last five years. Qualifications gained over five years ago may be considered if additional supporting evidence shows that you have keep abreast of current developments in the subject area through CPD.
Exemption from core courses may be granted on the basis of bachelor level and professional qualifications. Exemption from core and elective courses may be granted on the basis of postgraduate level qualifications (except fully completed degrees) and professional qualifications.
Exemptions will not be awarded on the basis of courses which have been used towards the award of another degree at Masters level, whether this was awarded by Heriot-Watt University or any other institution. For example, a student who has gained an MSc in Accounting will not be given an exemption in Accounting from Edinburgh Business School’s MBA or MSc degree programmes.
If you would like to enquire about your eligibility, please complete an Exemption Application Form.
To proceed with an application, visit our Apply pages.
Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.
Additional fees information
You can study on a course-by-course basis and pay as you learn, or sign up for two or three courses at once. Our fees are flexible.
Additional scholarship information
Each year Edinburgh Business School makes available a number of scholarships and discounts to help students to achieve one of our awards.