Finance is an exciting and rapidly growing discipline that examines the acquisition and allocation of financial resources. It involves the study of savings, investment and risk. Rather than measuring past performance, Finance is future-focused and looks at future planning for firms and investors.
Finance draws heavily on the tools of mathematics, statistics (including probability), and accounting, as well as economics and econometrics. At UC, emphasis is placed on the three core areas of finance. These are:
- Corporate Finance - examines how firms raise and utilise funds. It focuses on the financial decisions of the business firm. Topics include the cost of investment capital, the impact of firm value of managerial decisions about investment, and the methods used to pay for these investments.
- Investments - investigates how investors choose securities and asset classes for their portfolios. It looks at the application of scientific tools to personal investment decisions. Topics include the ways in which assets and securities can best be combined for individual investors, how these instruments are priced by markets, and how their performance can be measured.
- Financial Institutions and Markets - explores the financial system. It examines the role of banks, regulators and other institutions intrinsic to the financial system, explains the ways in which financial markets operate, and analyses the determination of interest rates.
Our BCom in Finance is recognised by CFA and prepares students for a variety of jobs in the finance sector. Our programme of study positions students to sit CFA exams and has a variety of opportunities such as internships and participation in competitions.
Recommended preparation for Finance includes Year 13 Mathematics and Statistics. Students with outstanding NCEA results can be offered direct entry to 200-level Finance courses at the discretion of the Head of Department.
In the first-year BCom majoring in Finance, FINC101 Personal Finance is a recommended course. MATH 101 or MATH 102 are also required.
UC Finance courses cover a diverse range of current topics such as Business Finance, Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments, Corporate Finance Theory and Policy, Investments, Derivative Securities, and more. Explore the full list of courses offered in Finance
Students majoring in Finance should also consider taking 200-level Economics courses in microeconomic theory and econometrics.
BSc (Hons), BCom(Hons) – Students complete a fourth academic year of study comprising 90 points (120 in the BSc(Hons)) in 600-level papers and a research project.
MCom in 180 points – students complete 12 months of further study comprising 120 points of 600-level papers and a research dissertation.
Master of Applied Finance and Economics – students complete a further 12 months of study comprising taught courses in both Economics and Finance.
MCom or MSc by thesis - Students complete two further years of study with the second year being by thesis.
PhD - Students complete a 3-4 year research project written up as a thesis. Entry is after successful completion of either Honours or Masters by thesis degree.
- See graduate and postgraduate options for details on qualifications
The Department of Economics and Finance offers Finance under research-focused Masters degrees: MCom and MSc.
Master of Commerce
There are two pathways leading to the MCom in Finance.
A. For students with an undergraduate degree, or equivalent, in finance or another approved subject
MCom in 180 points – students complete 12 months of further study comprising 120 points of 600-level papers (chosen from FINC 601-679) and a research dissertation (FINC 691; 60 points). For fulltime students requiring no additional preparatory work, this pathway can be completed in approximately 12 months: two semesters of coursework followed by the research dissertation over the summer. Requirements for admission to this pathway are:
(i) B+ average in final-year finance courses; and
(ii) Successful completion of undergraduate papers in statistics, mathematics, econometrics, and financial economics.
For more information, contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator (Finance) and consult the University Calendar. To be awarded with honours, the minimum study period for full-time (part-time) students is 12 (18) months, and all requirements must be completed within 18 (36) months; without honours, the corresponding periods are 12 (24) months and 24 (48) months respectively.
B. For students with an honours degree, or equivalent, in finance or another approved subject
MCom or MSc by thesis - students complete two further years of study with the second year being by thesis. This pathway is designed for students who have previously completed a graduate-level coursework programme, and consists solely of a thesis (FINC 695; 120 points) on some topic in finance. The main purpose is to demonstrate an ability to undertake a significant piece of independent research (under the supervision of two academic staff members), using the established methods of research appropriate to economic analysis.
Requirements for admission to this pathway are:
(iii) Award of honours, or equivalent, at the second class (division 1) level or better (approximately B/B+)
(iv) Availability of an appropriate supervisor.
The Graduate Studies Coordinator (Finance) will help students who qualify under (iii) to establish if there is a suitable staff member able to act as their supervisor. This cannot be guaranteed. The minimum study period for full-time students is 7 months, and the thesis must be submitted within 12 months to be eligible for Honours, and within 24 months to be eligible for a pass. Part-time students have twice the time limits of full-time students. Most full-time students take approximately 12 months.
Master of Science (MSc)
For students with an honours degree or equivalent who wish to do a thesis-only (120 point) masters degree, the MSc (Finance) is also available. Requirements and prerequisites are very similar to those for the MCom. For more information, contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator (Finance).
Applications are welcome at any time. NOTE: international students should apply at least four months before the desired semester start date. The University Calendar contains the regulations for all study undertaken at the University of Canterbury, and should be consulted carefully by all students.
There are three requirements for admission into Part II of the MCom (Finance)
- Applicants shall normally have qualified for an Honours degree or passed Part I of the Masters degree, in Finance, with at least a B+ average.
- Applicants shall normally have satisfied the Graduate Studies Coordinator (Finance) of (i) their ability to write in clear and accurate English, and (ii) their ability to successfully undertake a programme of independent research.
- Applicants shall normally have obtained the agreement of an academic staff member of the Department to provide direct supervision of the research. This may involve agreement on a proposed direction for the candidate's research programme.
The Graduate Studies Coordinator (Finance) will attempt to help applicants (who qualify under points 1 and 2) establish if there is a suitable staff member who is willing to act as their supervisor, but is unable to guarantee that a supervisor will be available.
The Masters degree is a research qualification. The main purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate the candidate's ability to undertake independent research under guidance, using the established methods of research appropriate to economic analysis. Because the emphasis is on independent research, students should not expect that their supervisor will do the research work for them. Rather the role of the supervisor is to provide direction for, and feedback on, the candidate's own original work. In order to ensure good communication with the supervisor, the candidate shall normally undertake the research at the University of Canterbury.
A candidate for Part II of a Masters degree is expected to be a full-time student. Part-time study is permitted for employment, health, family or other reasons, but requires approval by the Academic Board. The minimum time for full-time study for Part II of the MCom degree is 7 months, and the thesis must be submitted within 12 months to be eligible for Honours, and within 24 months to be eligible for a pass. Part-time students have twice the time limits of full-time students.
The Master of Applied Finance and Economics (MAFE) is a coursework-based masters degree that combines traditional postgraduate training in finance and economics with intensive, hands-on applications of tools and techniques relevant to the business, financial, banking, and public sectors.
International student applications for next year's MAFE intake must be received by no later than 1 October. Domestic student applications must be received by no later than 1 December.
Who is this degree for?
Applicants must have a completed undergraduate degree from a recognised tertiary institution. Other than that, the MAFE is designed to accommodate a variety of backgrounds. For students with an undergraduate degree in just one of finance and economics, it offers an ideal way of getting “up to speed” in the other discipline. For students who have little interest in the significant research component of traditional postgraduate degrees, it offers a wholly coursework-based alternative. And for students with only a limited background in economics and finance, it provides the opportunity to become professionally qualified in these areas.
The MAFE consists of a total of 10 courses. A capstone course that involves hands-on applications of advanced tools and techniques is compulsory for all students. In addition, most students will be required to take a preparatory course in January-February. The remaining eight (for students required to take the preparatory course) or nine (all other students) courses must be split evenly between offerings in finance and economics.
The MAFE allows students to obtain in-depth knowledge and understanding of various areas in economics and finance, including asset pricing, behavioural and experimental economics, international money and finance, microeconomic theory, monetary economics, quantitative methods and modelling, and risk management.
For full-time students, the MAFE is intended to be completed in 12-13 months. Students enter in January or February (depending on background) and finish in February of the following year. Admission to the MAFE is generally only possible in January or February. UC undergraduate students completing an economics or finance major may apply to begin in July, but permission to do so is not guaranteed.
The minimum entry requirements to be eligible for admission to the MAFE are:
- At least one university course in microeconomic theory or applications at the intermediate (post-introductory) level.\
- At least one university-level course in business finance or financial management.
- At least one university-level mathematics course containing calculus.
- At least one university-level statistics course containing estimation and hypothesis testing.
The MAFE is designed to produce graduates who are both ‘work-ready’ in the short run, and have the intellectual foundation to succeed in the long run. Graduates will be qualified to pursue careers in both private and public sectors; for example, in commercial and investment banks, corporate treasuries, government ministries and central banks, consultancies and think-tanks, and international organisations.
Want to know more?
The Department of Economics and Finance offers the PhD in Finance, and students with a postgraduate degree of a suitably high standard in either of these subjects are eligible to apply for admission.
The PhD degree is by thesis only, although preparatory coursework may be required. The purpose of the thesis is to undertake an extensive, sustained and original piece of independent research (under the supervision of 2-3 academic staff members) that makes a significant contribution to intellectual knowledge. To determine whether suitable supervision is potentially available, please consult the Department’s researchers.
Potential applicants in finance should, contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator and provide the following:
• Official GMAT results
• Complete academic transcripts, including course outlines for advanced finance courses
• Examples of any formal written work, such as a masters thesis
• PhD research proposal
An interview may also be required.
The PhD typically requires the equivalent of 3–4 years full-time study.
Fees and Financial Assistance
The University offers PhD scholarships for both domestic and international students, and there are also scholarships from external organisations. For a list of doctoral scholarhips available visit www.canterbury.ac.nz/get-started/scholarships/
In addition, the Department of Economics and Finance provides the following sources of funding to PhD students in Finance:
1. A scholarship to cover tuition fees for 3 years of fulltime PhD study; and
2. For students with good performance and without other substantial University of Canterbury sources of funding (such as the UC Doctoral Scholarship), $5,000 per year in their 2nd and 3rd years of study in return for research/teaching/administrative assistance. This is conditional on sufficient Departmental funds being available.
Find out more
For more detailed information about the UC PhD visit www.canterbury.ac.nz/postgraduate/phd-and-doctoral-study/
What is an internship?
An internship is an opportunity to get some practical experience in a business or organisation. Internships are for educational purposes only and there is no expectation of reward or pay and you are not employed by the host organisation or the University. This can be varied by special arrangement and some internship opportunities can be paid (Five summer opportunities arise annually with ANZ bank for Economics majors. These are paid roles.)
There are two types of internships:
- Project based – you will work on a project, usually as part of a team of students, for a business or organisation. The project will address a real world question that the organisation wants answered. Organisations that have engaged students for projects include World Vision, Bradley Nuttall Finance and Ngai Tahu Properties.
- Work-place based – you will be located in an organisation in a “work experience” environment. These opportunities will often occur over the summer. Students have been placed with ANZ Bank (this is a paid opportunity), Environment Canterbury and ACC (students in the latter two received a $1000 fees scholarship).
How do I get an internship?
Students who have completed or who are enrolled in both Intermediate Microeconomics courses ECON 207 and ECON 208) or both level-200 Finance courses FINC 201 and FINC 203, are eligible to apply for any opportunities that arise. Priority is given to Economics majors and Finance majors.
Can I get academic credit for an internship?
Who do I contact about internships?
See Industry and partners for more information or contact Stephen Hickson for more information.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute aims to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence. The CFA designation is the most respected and recognised investment management credential in the world. The University of Canterbury (UC)’s Bachelor of Commerce major in Finance has been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and as placing emphasis on the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the program. The programme positions students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has become the most respected and recognised investment credential in the world. Find out about the CFA Level 1 Exam topics and exam dates
In this challenge for Finance students, teams compete to present the best company analysis, research report, and presentation for an opportunity to vie for the regional and global titles. For business and finance students, it’s an extraordinary CV builder and a chance to interact with the industry’s top firms.
The UC team competes against six teams of undergraduate and postgraduate students from other New Zealand universities. Each team prepares a sell-side investment report and presents their work to the judges, who are CFA Charter holders and work for top fund managers in New Zealand.
UC student teams have consistently featured in the top three since the competition began in 2008.
- See the official website for more information.
Financial engineering is a cross-disciplinary field combining financial theory, mathematics and computational tools to design and develop new financial or actuarial products, portfolios and markets. It also has an important role to play in the financial industry's regulatory framework. Financial engineers manage financial risk, identify market opportunities, design and value financial or actuarial (insurance) products, and optimise investment strategies. To carry out these tasks, financial engineers develop mathematical and statistical models, and the computational tools to implement them.
BSc in Financial Engineering
UC is the first university in New Zealand to offer degrees in Financial Engineering. A three-year undergraduate BSc in Financial Engineering covers the core technical skills in financial and economic theory, mathematics and statistics, and computer science. 16 courses are prescribed to provide the depth and breadth of knowledge required of all Financial Engineers. The remaining 8 electives provide pathways to specialise in finance, mathematics and statistics, or computer science.
Honours and Masters in Financial Engineering
Our undergraduate programme provides students with employment opportunities at graduation, or allows them to advance to the one-year Honours degree at Canterbury, or to a Masters of Financial Engineering. Graduates with such cross-disciplinary knowledge and highly technical skills have a breadth of career opportunities such as investment, actuaries and statisticians/data scientists.
The Erskine Fellowships are used to bring distinguished visitors from around the world to UC to contribute to our teaching and research.
- See Erskine Programme for more information.
Previous Erskine visitors:
- Professor Paul Heald, University of Illinois, America
- Associate Professor John Landon-Lane, Rutgers University, New Jersey, America
- Associate Professor Ryan Whitby, University of Utah, America
- Professor Ehud Ronn, University of Texas, Autin, America
- Professor Doug Allen, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- Professor Andy Puckett, University of Tennessee, America
- Professor James Alm, Tulane University, America
- Professor Louis Murray, University College Dublin, Ireland
- Professor Ray Rees, Ludwig-Maximilians Unversitaet Munchen, Germany
- Professor Anindya Banerjee, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
- Professor Aaron Smith, University of California Davis, America
- Professor Guido Erreygers, University of Antwerp, Belgium
- Professor Dr Martin Bohl, Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany
- Professor Rossitsa Yalamova, University of Lethbridge Alberta, Canada
- Professor Nicolas Schmitt, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- Associate Professor Christina Atanasova, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- Professor William Schulze, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, America
- Professor Dr Daniel Schunk, Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany
- Professor Dr Juergen Wolters, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
- Professor Roger Stover, Iowa State University, America
- Professor Richard Froyen, University of North Carolina, America
- Associate Professor Robert Mohr, University of New Hampshire, America
- Professor Ray Rees, University of Munich, Germany
- Professor Ajai Singh, Lehigh University, America
- Associate Professor John Spraggon, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, America
- Professor Douglas W. Allen, Simon Fraser University, America
- Associate Professor Joel Harper, Oklahoma State University, America
- Associate Professor Duncan James, Fordham University, America
- Professor Kenneth M. Kletzer, University of California, Santa Cruz, America
- Professor Michael LaCour-Little, California State University, Fullerton, America
- Professor Ruth Towse, CIPPM Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
The Investment Society was established in 2014 to promote the role that investing can play in your financial future. Our broad range of events include Invested Interests seminars, which host some of New Zealand’s top business leaders from a wide range backgrounds. The Stock Portfolio challenge provides an opportunity to put skills learned at our Investor Basics seminars to the test, and the Valuation Competition will allow you to learn about a fundamental aspect of corporate finance. Check out our website for more information or see Facebook.
Learn from our students' experiences
'I enjoy exploring economics and finance related theories and applying them to daily experiences...'
'It’s cool when you start to understand the underlying causes of what is happening in the world...'
'The motivation for doing the MBA is to widen my knowledge of leadership and to develop into a well-rounded businessman...'
'Having studied and worked at UC, I have a wide range of experience and an extensive network...'
For more information on studying Finance
contact a member of staff
News, events and seminars
The University of Canterbury has signed an agreement with one of China’s top ranked research universities to collaborate ...
The series brings leading economists to Canterbury to provide a lecture highlighting their recent work.