The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date



Edinburgh is a major centre for investment management with a long and proud history. The MSc in Investment Management provides key investment knowledge with a specific industry focus. A unique feature of the programme is the Current Topics in Investment Management course, where senior investment practitioners give weekly guest lectures, providing insight into the investment industry and allowing students to gain a real-life perspective on the knowledge and theories they are studying.

Discussion of academic theories and their limitations is combined with an emphasis on practical application. Staff teaching on the programme are at the forefront of research and practice in finance and investment management and most are also members of the Centre for Finance & Investment (CFI) which brings Heriot-Watt academics with an interest in finance and investment together with senior practitioners from the local financial community.


We have links with several professional bodies, in particular the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of the UK, the Actuarial Profession and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute

Heriot-Watt is a Member of CFA® Institute University Recognition Program

The MSc in Investment Management has been accepted into the CFA Institute University Recognition programme. This status is granted to institutions whose degree program incorporate at least 70% of the CFA Programme Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK), which provide students with a solid grounding in the CBOK and positions them well to sit for the CFA exams.

About the CFA Program

The CFA Program sets a standard for developing the skills, standards, competence, and integrity of financial analysts, portfolio managers, investment advisers, and other investment professionals worldwide. It is considered the investment professions' most rigorous credentialling program. Administered in English, the CFA curriculum and examinations are identical worldwide.

Course content

   Detailed course guide
Semester 1 (Sept - Dec) Semester 2 (Jan - April)

Captial Markets

Current Topics in Investment Management

Portfolio Management

Research Methods

One from:

  • Corporate Finance *
  • Corporate Governance

Two from:

  • Comparative Financial Reporting *
  • Derivatives *
  • Emerging Financial Markets
  • Research in Finance

One from:

  • Financial Analysis
  • International Accounting Standards *

Over the summer months students undertake a dissertation.

* Students who intend to sit the CFA examinations are advised to study Corporate Finance, International Accounting Standards, Comparative Financial Reporting, and Derivatives as their optional courses.

Captial Markets

Semester 1 (mandatory)

Examines the way capital markets and institutions function in practice, with particular emphasis on equities and bonds.

Portfolio Management

Semester 1 (mandatory)

Introduces portfolio management as a logical process, providing organisation and structure to what is a complex set of procedures.

Corporate Finance

Semester 1 (optional)

The aim of this course is to introduce you to contemporary topics in corporate finance and look at the major decisions facing a firm in this area.

Corporate Governance

Semester 1 (optional)

Develops understanding of issues relating to corporate governance and the financial research methods used to approach them including principal-agent theory, ownership structure and control, board of directors, CEO turnover, mergers and acquisitions and state versus private ownership.

Financial Analysis

Semester 1 (optional)

Looks at how to analyse the financial performance of an organisation through the use of published financial information.

International Accounting Standards

Semester 1 (optional)

Evaluate theories and empirical studies in the areas covered by international standards of accounting, analyse the outcome of the standard setting process from different theoretical perspectives, and assess observed practices in terms of regulatory and cultural frameworks.

Current Topics in Investment Management

Semester 2 (mandatory)

This is specialised course that sees senior investment practitioners come in each week to give guest lectures, which not only provide insights into the investment industry but also allow you to gain a real world understanding of the knowledge and theories you are studying.

Research Methods

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Looking at both qualitative and quantitative techniques this course will equip students with the means to develop and carry out their own research projects and to evaluate the contributions of others.

Comparative Financial Reporting

Semester 2 (optional)

Provides an international perspective to the study of accounting by looking at the reasons for national differences, the tendencies towards harmonisation, the problems of multinational companies, as well as analysis and evaluation of financial reports prepared in other countries.


Semester 2 (optional)

Develops a thorough understanding of financial derivative instruments, and be able to appraise their application in risk management.

Emerging Financial Markets

Semester 2 (optional)

Supplements understanding of mainstream finance during the year, and applies it to the specific circumstances of emerging financial markets. This exposure is also designed to assist you with identifying possible dissertation topics and data sources.

Research in Finance

Semester 2 (optional)

Covers quantitative methods used in research in the area of finance and financial markets. It will extend knowledge from the main Research Methods course by equipping students with modern methodology applied for the time series analysis. The first part of the course is focused on the theory and the second one on practical applications in the computer lab.

Students will build models of stock and currency prices, evaluate them using different criteria and use them for the forecasts and formulation of trading strategies. They should perform their own work using real data from financial markets. By applying modern econometric methods, students will prepare themselves for their dissertation as well as for further research, either in academia or in the non-academic world.


Programme leader

The MSc Investment Management is delivered by a dedicated team of lecturers from the Accountancy, Economics and Finance subject disciplines within the School of Social Sciences who all have specialist knowledge in their respective subject areas.

Staff teaching on the programme are at the forefront of research and practice in finance and investment management and most are also members of the School’s Centre for Finance & Investment (CFI) which brings Heriot-Watt academics with an interest in finance and investment together with senior practitioners from the local financial community, to explore areas of mutual interest and thereby increase the practical relevance of our teaching and research. The results of this feed directly into the teaching on MSc Investment Management, allowing you to benefit from the latest thinking and developments within the field.

Additional information

Guest lectures, given by investment practitioners, are an integral part of the programme and provide insights into some of the key issues facing the investment management industry today.

The MSc Investment Management programme includes the course Current Topics in Investment Management for which senior investment practitioners give guest lectures each week. This will allow you to gain a real world understanding of the material you are studying.

MSc Investment Management students and alumni are also invited to attend the Centre for Finance & Investment Annual Debate each October.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (first or second class), or its non-UK equivalent, in a relevant subject from a recognised British or overseas university.

No investment management experience is required but some prior knowledge of finance and/or accounting would be an advantage.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum 5.5 in all skills)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time Part-time Per course
Scotland / Non-UK EU £6770 £3385 £850
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £6770 £3385 £850
Overseas £14690 £7345 £1836.25

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships.