Finance is a decision-oriented discipline that is complex, challenging and dynamic.
It’s about managing money and capital in the real world: making practical financial decisions that can add value to a business and the economy.
Finance focuses on investments (including portfolio theory); corporate finance (how businesses make internal financial decisions); derivatives (the study of financial securities deriving their value from other assets’ values); and international finance (finance across borders).
An understanding of Finance is essential to business, and Finance majors succeed in rewarding and highly-paid careers.
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Why study Finance?
Every person and every organisation raises and spends money. Finance examines the theory and practice of this process, with particular attention to the measurement and management of risk. It’s about deciding how money is allocated in the real world.
Finance is both a science and an art – a science because it systematically analyses information and uses it to make and test
predictions; an art because these activities are not exact and there is frequently no “right” answer.
Finance deals not only with the measurable, “quantitative” aspects, but also with the unmeasurable, in which intuition and experience play a strong role. Skills in these areas are invaluable in the workplace.
Above all, Finance is exciting. You will often have to make swift decisions concerning large amounts of money and resources.
There are no required subjects for studying Finance at Otago, but students who choose Finance usually have an interest in making decisions about managing and allocating money and resources. It’s helpful if you’ve studied Economics, Accounting, Mathematics or Statistics at school, but these are not essential.
The range of careers in finance is wide and varied, and well-paid. Graduates work in planning and budgeting, portfolio management, investments, securities, trading, risk management and foreign currency trading. They are employed by government departments, the education sector, banks, insurance companies, investment banks, accounting firms, stockbroking firms and many others.Because a Finance degree is relevant to economic structures worldwide, it is highly exportable. There are many job opportunities overseas, and Otago graduates compete well in international markets.
Finance at Otago
Finance is a major of the three-year Bachelor of Commerce degree programme and is taught within the Department of Accountancy and Finance.
Finance is very different from accountancy and economics. Finance is decision-oriented and focuses on how individuals allocate resources through time, either inside an organisation (e.g. corporate finance) or outside it (e.g. investments). Economics provides the intuition that guides financial decisions, while accounting reports and monitors the results of financial decisions, as well as providing the information on which financial decisions are based.
Within the Finance degree, you will learn about components of the financial system and about the institutions and financial instruments that facilitate the transfer of funds between individuals, businesses and organisations.
The degree covers practical aspects such as the concepts of value creation, required rates of return, financial mathematics, capital budgeting, capital structure and dividend policies. You will also learn about fixed income securities, options and futures, shares and simple techniques for hedging risk, portfolio diversification and portfolio evaluation.
As you progress through the degree, and perhaps into postgraduate study, you will have the opportunity to specialise in those areas of finance that particularly interest you.
Finance is taught in lectures and tutorials. You may be asked to write individual essays and reports, work on cases, complete group project work, give presentations and sit exams.
Double major/degree options
Many subject areas complement finance and will strengthen your degree, including Accounting, Business Law, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Law and Information Science.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
- Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)
- Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
- Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom)
- Master of Accounting and Finance (MAccFin)
- Master of Commerce (MCom)
- Master of Finance (MFinc)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance
BSNS 112 Interpreting Business Data
BSNS 114 Financial Decision Making
BSNS 115 Accounting and Information Systems
FINC 102 Business Mathematics
FINC 202 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
FINC 203 Financial Data Analysis
FINC 206 Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
FINC 302 Applied Investments
FINC 303 Financial Management
126 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Commerce.
Every programme must include BSNS 111-115. At least three of these papers must be passed before enrolling in any 200-level Commerce paper, and all must be passed before enrolling in any 300-level Commerce paper. For single-degree BCom students, all five must be attempted in the first year of study or equivalent.
STAT 110 or STAT 115 will be accepted as an alternative to BSNS 112 as a required paper or as part of the major subject requirements or as a prerequisite when:
Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in Finance
Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) in Finance
Master of Commerce (MCom) in Finance
Master of Finance (MFinc)
The 180 point programme of study shall consist of papers to the equivalent of 140 points from:
Plus one of the following project papers (40 points each):
Minor subject requirements
Finance as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
BSNS 114 Financial Decision Making
FINC 102 Business Mathematics
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|ACCT299||2023||Special Topic||18 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC102||2023||Business Mathematics||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|FINC202||2023||Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|FINC203||2023||Financial Data Analysis||18 points||Semester 1|
|FINC204||2023||Personal Finance||18 points||Summer School|
|FINC206||2023||Fundamentals of Corporate Finance||18 points||Semester 2|
|FINC299||2023||Special Topic: Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance||18 points||Semester 2|
|FINC302||2023||Applied Investments||18 points||Semester 1|
|FINC303||2023||Financial Management||18 points||Semester 2|
|FINC304||2023||Financial Markets and Institutions||18 points||Semester 1|
|FINC305||2023||International Financial Management||18 points||Semester 1|
|FINC306||2023||Derivatives||18 points||Semester 2|
|FINC308||2023||Financial Econometrics||18 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC309||2023||Financial Modelling||18 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC310||2023||Fixed Income Security Analysis||18 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC320||2023||Sustainable Investing||18 points||Semester 2|
|FINC399||2023||Special Topic||18 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC402||2023||Advanced Corporate Finance||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC403||2023||Studies in Capital Markets||20 points||Semester 1|
|FINC405||2023||Mathematical Finance||20 points||Semester 2|
|FINC406||2023||Advanced Financial Econometrics||20 points||Semester 1|
|FINC410||2023||Advanced International Financial Management||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC411||2023||Financial Risk Management||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC412||2023||Financial Analytics||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC420||2023||Climate and Energy Finance||20 points||Semester 1|
|FINC425||2023||Governance Issues in Finance||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC460||2023||Advanced Fixed Income Securities||20 points||Not offered in 2023|
|FINC480||2023||Dissertation or Case Study||40 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FINC498||2023||Special Topic: Advanced Modelling of Climate Finance Risks||20 points||Semester 2|
|FINC499||2023||Special Topic: Behavioural Finance||20 points||Semester 1|
|FINC501||2023||Applied Project||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
|FINC580||2023||Research Project||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
Key information for future students
Department of Accountancy and Finance
Otago Business School