Financial Decision Analysis
Centre on financial decision-making and analysis in a management context
Why take this course?
If you are from a non-financial background, this course provides a viable route to financial management roles in a variety of organisations.
It is a practically orientated course based on financial, computational and modelling studies related to financial decision making and analysis. You’ll apply your improved decision-making ability in a range of areas including investment, risk management, budgeting, planning and forecasting.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offer exemption for their five Certificate level papers on successful completion of this course.
Postgraduate applicants will be interested to know that each year Portsmouth Business School offers a number of scholarships for self-funding students.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Use the University’s Bloomberg terminals to monitor and analyse real-time financial market data movements and trade
- Receive guided support and mentoring from staff through formal meetings and via our use of social media
- Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, which can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection
What opportunities might it lead to?
The University is recognised as a centre of excellence for finance teaching by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI). You will have the opportunity to enrol as a student member of the CISI, allowing you access to a range of professional networking and career development opportunities. On graduating you will be qualified to apply for associate membership of the CISI (ACSI).
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- commercial banking
- corporate finance
- financial planning
- investment banking
- money management
- real estate
The specific modules have given me an excellent grounding for ACCA and I have used the knowledge I gained from the course in my everyday dealings with client’s businesses.
Nicki Burridge, MSc Financial Decision Analysis student
- 1 year full time, 3 years part time
A second-class honours degree, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man full-time students: £6,000, part time students: £2,000 in year 1 and £2,000* per year in years 2 and 3
International full-time students: £11,600, part-time students: £3,870 in year 1 and £3,870* per year in years 2 and 3.
* Fees are for 2014/15 entry and are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0) 23 9284 2991
- Accounting and Financial Management
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
You will study a total of five units which incorporate a range of topics covering decision and risk analysis, strategic management accounting, investment strategies and business valuation. We will also guide you in applying sophisticated forecasting techniques to help you understand and anticipate business trends, and with our guidance you will learn how to design and deliver research to the highest standards. The course then concludes with your dissertation where you’ll engage in research on a topic of your choice.
Here are the units you will study:
- Financial Analysis and Modelling: This will enable you to gain a critical awareness of the financial environment from both an accounting and finance perspective. You will learn to understand, analyse and interpret company reports, examine the role of the regulatory framework for corporate reporting and the stock market, and explore the pricing of securities. You will also cover the key areas of decision and risk analysis, alongside the process of decision making, key statistical concepts, and selecting and using appropriate analytical software tools as aids to decision making.
- Strategic Business Planning and Control: You will start on this unit starts by considering the internal perspectives of the firm in areas such as business planning and control including issues such as budgeting, the design of management control systems and the development of spreadsheet-based decision support systems. You will then build on this foundation by developing a more strategic corporate perspective. You will explore the relationships between strategy, strategic management and strategic management accounting and set the latter in the context of the historical development of management accounting in general.
- Managerial Finance and Financial Markets: You will be introduced to key theoretical issues relating to financial markets and institutions, investments and corporate financial management and their practical applications and limitations. The areas covered will encompass shareholder value and the goals of the firm and the process of shareholder value creation, project evaluation and the discounted cash flow model, capital market theories including the efficient markets hypotheses and the ideas of modern portfolio theory. From this core understanding you will move on to look at the psychological, institutional and agency theory factors that impact upon financial markets. You will consider key empirical research on the explanatory and predictive power of models in the context of implementing investment strategies. This will be assisted by guided critical analysis of research and analysis of live data.
- Corporate Finance and Valuation: This unit will give you the opportunity to consider the primary financial decisions of the firm focussing on advanced capital budgeting techniques and the strategic analysis of capital investment decisions, capital structure theories and financing policy, and dividend policy. You will appraise theories in the context of empirical research to facilitate critical understanding of the issues. Advanced study in business valuation will give you a practical understanding and further enable you to apply key professional techniques, which is particularly relevant for mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and private equity transactions.
- Research Methods and Dissertation: This is a scheme of independent research. We offer comprehensive training via lectures and workshops throughout the year to develop skills commensurate with standards of good research practice. On completing this programme you will be ideally placed to develop your own research projects and work within professional research teams.
Teaching and Assessment
We use a combination of teaching methods from lectures, seminars and tutorials to student presentations, case studies and practical sessions in our Bloomberg Suite. We are committed to best practice in learning and encourage group participation promoting discussion and debate in a friendly, yet challenging class environment.
How are you assessed?
You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics. Our approaches to learning, assessment and feedback are varied and constructive, to help you build the personal management and employability skills that are essential for a fulfilling career.
Facilities & Features
You can use this essential business research tool and gain real-life financial experience. Created by the Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, the system is used by over a quarter of million finance professionals globally. You too can virtually access the same data, analytics and software used by city traders via one of our Bloomberg terminals.
We have invested heavily in open access computer suites across campus. Great working spaces with high-spec PCs (multimedia and CAD), Macs and printing facilities. More specialised software and equipment is also available, such as large format printing, audio-visual equipment and language laboratories. Should you need any assistance, there are specialist technicians on hand to support you in using the facilities.
For our international students we have a dedicated team of advisers to support you as you settle into life in Portsmouth and at the University. The role of the International Office is to provide you with extensive support to make your time here as stress-free and enjoyable as possible, enabling you to focus on your studies. One of the team almost certainly has direct experience of your culture and may even speak your language.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Careers & Opportunities
This course is designed to provide you with powerful analytical tools and methods to understand the complexities of modern financial markets. These skills are in high demand and you’ll be strongly placed to enter industry in the finance and industrial sectors. Previous graduates have gone on to secure roles in accountancy and general management as well as investment analysis, financial consultancy and project management in financial institutions. Alternatively, this course is also beneficial if you are aiming for careers in corporate financial management in non-financial companies or consultancy firms, government departments and international agencies.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- commercial finance analyst
- bid pricing executive
- finance internship
- graduate econometrician
- hedge fund manager
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree. We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.
Postgraduate Information Days are held twice a year and give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with subject tutors. The next events are:
- Tuesday 4 March 2014
- Tuesday 29 April 2014
Department specific visiting opportunities
We also offer some Department specific events aimed at postgraduate and part-time students, which are listed below:
- School of Earth and Environmental Science open days
Wednesday 18 June 2014
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.