Key Facts

Course Title: Financial Risk Management (MSc)
Course type: MSc
Mode of Study:Full Time
Contact Details:Dr Panos Sousounis
Website: Go to Course homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Area: Business and Management


Welcome to the MSc in Financial Risk Management programme at Keele Management School.

The recent financial crisis has shown that risk management is central to the successful performance of any organisation and market. The MSc in Financial Risk Management is a specialist programme that provides the analytical and technical skills associated with analysing financial risks alongside practical tools in financial risk management.  The programme builds competency in analysing various risk-metrics and also examines how risk should be priced for effective financial management. This competency is supported by the use of Bloomberg Professional Services Platform and other industry-standard software throughout the programme, including the students’ hands-on access to this software.

The programme is designed for students who wish to follow a wide-range of future careers in financial risk management and finance, including analytical and risk management roles in financial institutions and financial risk management related functions in firms and public organisations. The programme also provides foundations for an academic career in finance and financial risk management.

Please use this page to find out about our course, teaching methods and application procedure, and if you have further questions feel free to come back to us and ask.

We welcome applications from both home and overseas students.  We have a range of support services available for all students and further information specifically for international students can be found by clicking on the International Applications Information link above.

Aims of the Course

At its core the MSc in Financial Risk Management is designed to provide a strong theoretical background and also the analytical and technical skills for analysing financial risks, pricing and hedging of financial instruments and portfolio management.

The programme also builds competency in using various risk-metrics and examines how risk should be priced for effective management. The subject draws upon a number of well-established disciplines that include economics, finance, mathematics and statistics to provide a framework and also develop quantitative tools for understanding and implementing effective decision-making in real world risky environments.

Successful students will gain:

  • A systematic understanding of financial risks and effective strategies for financial risk management.
  • A command of analytical techniques, computing and statistical software in the relevant areas of finance and financial risk management.
  • Practical skills in applying relevant analytical tools and portfolio management strategies using Bloomberg Professional Services Platform.  
  • Increased confidence in the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of financial decision-making problems under risk and their solutions.
  • Improved employability through enhanced professional and practical skills.

Career Destination Information

The course provides students with career related skills and competencies that find application in a wide variety of financial contexts. Typical career destinations may include employment in the investment management industry, as a financial risk analyst within a commercial or public organisation, or as a researcher in the area of financial risk management.

Entry Requirements

All applicants must hold at least a good Second-Class Honours degree (2.1 or 2.2) or overseas equivalent in finance, economics or other business-related subject areas demonstrating quantitative content, or in an alternative quantitative subject. Students who have appropriate professional qualifications or relevant work experience may also be considered. Outstanding students (2.1 and above or overseas equivalent) with backgrounds outside of these areas may also be considered and are encouraged to contact the course director.

The University uses a range of relevant selection criteria including academic qualifications, professional experience, evidence of likely commitment to academic study, and an estimate of a candidate’s future potential.

Students applying with a 2.1 and higher degree or overseas equivalent will be automatically considered for a scholarship of £1,500, subject to continual good performance throughout the year.

Anyone applying from a country where English is not the first language is required to take one of the internationally recognised English language tests such as Academic IELTS or equivalent English language qualification. The minimum entry level is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each subtest or equivalent English language test scores.

For overseas students who do not meet all direct entry requirements, the opportunity to take an intensive pre-MSc programme leading to MSc entry may be offered.

Course Content

The MSc programme starts in September and lasts 12 months. During the first semester (September to January) students take the following four core modules:

Semester 1

  • Financial Markets
  • Financial Derivatives
  • Quantitative Methods in Finance
  • Fixed Income Securities and Credit Risk

In the second semester (January to May) students take the following modules:

Semester 2

  • Applied Finance
  • Portfolio Risk Management
Plus up to two from;
  • Current issues in Financial Risk Management
  • Financial Modelling
No more than one from;
  • Corporate Finance
  • International Money and Finance

Students take a total of eight taught modules.  Each taught module is worth 15-credits with the total credits accumulated from the taught modules equal to 120-credits. From May to September, students undertake a dissertation in finance, which is worth 60 credits. Students gaining 120 credits from taught modules and successfully completing the dissertation will be awarded the MSc. Students gaining 120 credits but not proceeding to the dissertation will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.  Students who do not gain 120 credits but pass modules worth 60 credits will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, provided they have successfully completed specialist modules from the designated list worth at least 30 credits.  Students who do not gain 120 credits but pass modules worth 30 credits will be awarded a Postgraduate Award.

Teaching and Assessment

The Course Director who is responsible for running the programme is the main source of support for students. Modules are taught in lectures, tutorials and computer laboratory classes. Practical use is made of standard software and data sources, alongside the Bloomberg Professional Services Platform. 

Taught modules are usually assessed by a combination of unseen examination and coursework which may include essays, mini projects and tests. Guidance is provided on the choice of dissertation topics and each student will be assigned a supervisor who will guide the student through to completion.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines, we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate course.

Below are brief module descriptions for the modules on this programme.

Financial Markets

Financial Markets provides students with an overview of capital market theory, asset pricing, and portfolio management, including a discussion of financial instruments, markets and institutions.  The module’s focus is in providing an understanding of the unifying principles and concepts in finance and an understanding of notions of informational efficiency in the context of financial markets.  The module provides a “hands-on” introduction to financial trading and portfolio construction using the Bloomberg professional platform.

Quantitative Methods in Finance

This module provides students with the basic mathematical and statistical techniques used by finance theory and finance professionals.  The module provides an introduction to major sources of financial information including Datastream and the use of statistical software for data analysis.

Financial Derivatives

This module studies the theory and practice of financial engineering with a focus on financial derivatives. It examines how financial derivatives such as options, futures and swaps are traded and priced. The module also explores the practical issues in risk management such as the use of financial derivatives by firms and individual investors to control or minimise their risk exposure.

Fixed Income Securities and Credit Risk

The module develops students’ appreciation of the functioning of fixed-income markets and related credit derivative markets. The module contains three broad strands. The first part examines the impact of different sources of risk that investors in bond markets face. This is followed by an analysis of relevant risk measures and alternative approaches that may be adopted to debt securities' valuation. In the final strand the focus in on the principles of credit risk analysis and applications of credit derivatives to credit risk management.

Portfolio Risk Management

This module explores the investment environment, sources of financial risks and relevant issues in portfolio management and portfolio performance evaluation in the context of equity and bond markets. Specialised tools in market risk and interest risk measurement and risk controlling are examined and applied. The practical part provides hand-on experience and develops skills in portfolio analysis using Bloomberg professional trading platform.

Applied Finance

The module analyses the modelling of financial data using statistical techniques. In particular it considers univariate and multivariate time series methods, factor models and the calculation of value at risk. The module adopts a practical approach and use of appropriate data and software is made.

Economics of Financial Decisions under Risk

This module underpins the analysis of financial markets with an examination of individual behaviour towards risk.  The module examines decision-making under risk aversion and explores how risk is priced and shared under a variety of alternative market arrangements.

Financial Modelling

The module examines modelling of bond and option pricing and also strategies in interest risk management using MS Excel with Visual Basic Application. It explores simulation and programming tools with application to selected areas of finance.

Risk and Insurance

This module studies the relevant mathematical and statistical techniques in risk and insurance and how these techniques are applied to basic General Insurance problems. The module will highlight individual and collective risk models of Insurance and explore the models' implementation.

Corporate Finance

This module focuses on the valuation of the firm and its investment opportunities, corporate structure and governance. The key features of corporate finance are addressed using (i) general methods of asset pricing (replication, arbitrage, stochastic discounting etc.) and (ii) agency theories of moral hazard and adverse selection.

International Money and Finance

The module examines the linkages between financial markets that tie together asset and goods prices through the operation of the foreign exchange market.  This module also studies how the market responds to international arbitrage opportunities and examines relevant hedging strategies.

Behavioural Finance

The module studies the conceptual basis of behavioural finance, including heuristics and biases that inform financial decision making. In this respect this module examines the influence of trader psychology on the market behaviour and related market outcomes.

Current Issues in Financial Risk Management

This module aims to make students aware of recent developments in financial risk management at both theoretical and applied level and examine a number of current issues in financial risk.
N.B. The schedule shown may be re-arranged with minor adjustments.

The Graduate Attributes Statement is designed to raise awareness of the attributes that will be developed whilst you are a student at Keele University. It explains each of the attributes in detail, tips on how to achieve them and how they relate to your chosen programme of study.

The Graduate Attributes Statement for this course can be downloaded here

In addition to the learning activities that are part of the MSc programme curriculum, students also benefit from a range of professional training events and activities to build employability skills.

In recent years we have enjoyed collaboration with Bloomberg, London. Students take part in the Bloomberg Professional training event which is delivered by experts from Bloomberg. During this event, students are familiarized with the Bloomberg Professional platform and explore its uses, functionality and tools as used by finance professionals.

Throughout their studies at Keele, students are able to use Bloomberg Professional service for their financial market research and also hands-on practice of applying professional analytical tools and functions. Bloomberg Professional is accessible from all terminals in KMS multifunctional IT suite. 

Students also gain a practical, hands-on experience of stock market trading and portfolio management by taking part in the Keele MSc student investment competition. During the competition, students make investment decisions and manage their portfolios in real time through Bloomberg professional platform which provides experience that is identical to trading in real life. Participants make investment decisions using real data, news and company reports in a very similar way as an equity analyst in the City or on Wall Street. The competition enables participants to:

  • Develop Investment Strategies, which includes trading on these strategies and evaluating their effectiveness throughout the competition.
  • Develop Research and Analytical Skills by researching the companies using fundamental data and using technical analysis to conclude the investment ideas. All these tools are available in Bloomberg.
  • Keep Abreast of the Latest Developments of the Market by engaging with current financial markets and following overall market trends, being mindful of mergers and acquisitions or earning releases of their target companies.
  • Build Bloomberg Skills by using Bloomberg professional trading platform throughout the competition and utilizing many Bloomberg functions as part of research.
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