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Finance (Graduate Diploma)

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  • Objectives
    This programme offers an introduction to financial economics and preparation for advanced work in the field, through lectures and classes with staff working at the cutting edge of research. If you have not studied finance before, or if you graduated in a related discipline like economics some time ago, this is the ideal conversion programme. No prior knowledge of finance or economics is assumed, and the programme offers an intensive introduction to the essentials of the subject. It can be studied either as a stand-alone programme or as preparation for entry onto an MSc programme in finance. The programme will teach you the basic principles of financial economics and the ability to understand and apply quantitative and statistical techniques to financial problems of a practical nature. You will also be provided with the necessary mathematical and statistical toolkit for studying this subject – with pre-sessional courses beginning in late September – and will be introduced to the interpretation and analysis of data. Economics and finance at Birkbeck has acquired an excellent reputation, not only for the quality of its research but also for the quality of its training. The Treasury, the Bank of England and many other employers hire us to train their staff. Employers recognise the quality of Birkbeck graduates in economics and finance. We take students who are determined to succeed and are prepared to undergo the rigours of a first-class training. We aim to produce world-class graduates who have a proven record of success in a tough learning environment.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements A degree in any discipline. Evidence of aptitude for mathematical and statistical analysis is advantageous. Demonstrable qualities, such as good time management and the ability to cope under pressure, are vital.
  • Academic Title
    Finance (Graduate Diploma)
  • Course description
    The Graduate Diploma in Finance aims to provide an introduction to Finance at the postgraduate level to students who have a degree (or equivalent qualification) in another subject, or those who have taken a degree in Economics some time ago. As a GDF student, you will typically be looking to improve your job prospects where knowledge of finance is important. Your academic background will not permit you to do this straight away. By taking the GDF programme you can, either with an intensive one-year or less intensive two-year investment in part-time study, improve your CV and gain entry into postgraduate programmes in finance.A major objective is to prepare students for the entry into the MSc Finance programme at Birkbeck, or similar Masters programmes elsewhere. Students who take the GDF should expect to gain an understanding of the basic principles of financial economics at the undergraduate level and to understand and apply quantitative techniques and statistics to financial problems of a practical nature.

    Finance is an area of economics that may seem simple – almost every aspect of finance is an application of the value maximisation principle. However, in order to understand and apply this principle well in practice, a thorough understanding of economics and markets is needed. Students who have an economics background will, therefore, often find it easier to grasp the fundamental principles of finance than students who have not got such a background. In addition, finance is an area of economics that is quantitative in nature, which implies that for students with a weak mathematical and statistical background the attention to the quantitative aspects of finance often takes precedence over the more conceptual issues. Whereas the GDF programme aims primarily to cover the basics in finance, it aims secondarily to inject enough base material to allow students to start their own learning process in finance.

    The pre-sessional Mathematics course commences in September, for a series of five lectures starting at 6pm. It is highly recommended that students who have only a basic knowledge of mathematics, or have not used their mathematical skills for sometime, attend the entire course. However, it is essential that all students attend the first lecture of this course.
    Students taking two-years follow the Quantitative Techniques and the Applied Statistics & Econometrics modules in the first year, and the other three modules in the second year.

    Students who do not achieve a sufficient standard to continue to the second year, or those students who find they are unable or unwilling to proceed for other reasons, may be award a Graduate Certificate in Quantitative Methods for Economics and Finance.

    Students who wish to enter MSc Finance must obtain a Merit in the programme overall.

    Course Assessment
    For most course units, you will do coursework and sit exams. The relative weights of these components toward your mark for the course unit will vary from unit to unit and you will be given this information on the individual unit syllabus/reading list. You should also take care to note the deadlines for submission of coursework and realise that there are penalties for late submission.

    There are several types of coursework that you will be asked to produce in your degree. The particular type of coursework assignments will vary from unit to unit, so you will need to pay close attention to the instructions given by the lecturer. Some examples of the types of coursework assignments that you will be expected to produce are given below.

    Essays: You may be asked to write brief essays on particular questions.
    Problem Solving: Course units involving quantitative techniques are likely to involve exercises designed to test your ability to apply these techniques to solve problems.
    In-Class and Mid-Term Tests: these are like mini-exams.


    -Financial Markets
    -Applied Statistics and Econometrics
    -Quantitative Techniques
    -Introduction to Mathematical Finance.

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