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Study Finance at Otago

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.

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.

Background required

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.

Career opportunities

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.

Teaching style

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.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance

Level Papers Points

BSNS 112  Interpreting Business Data

BSNS 114  Financial Decision Making

BSNS 115  Accounting and Information Systems

FINC 102  Business Mathematics

BSNS 111 Business and Society, BSNS 113 Economic Principles and Policy – must normally be taken in first year of study







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

Two further 300-level papers, (one must be a FINC paper, and the other must be a  FINC, ACCT or ACFI paper)





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:
(a) the paper has been passed before the student has enrolled for a BCom degree; or
(b) a student is enrolling for both a BCom and another degree for which STAT 110 or STAT 115 is required.

Total 360

Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in Finance


Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) in Finance

  • 120 points from 400-level FINC or ACFI papers. Other papers may be substituted subject to approval, up to a maximum of 40 points.

Master of Commerce (MCom) in Finance

  • Thesis: FINC 5

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

Level Papers Points

BSNS 114  Financial Decision Making

FINC 102  Business Mathematics




See below


Three FINC or ACFI papers above 100-level, including at least one 300-level FINC paper


Total   90


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 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
FINC102 2022 Business Mathematics 18 points Semester 1, Semester 2
FINC202 2022 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management 18 points Semester 2
FINC203 2022 Financial Data Analysis 18 points Semester 1
FINC204 2022 Personal Finance 18 points Summer School
FINC206 2022 Fundamentals of Corporate Finance 18 points Semester 2
FINC299 2022 Special Topic: Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance 18 points Semester 2
FINC302 2022 Applied Investments 18 points Semester 1
FINC303 2022 Financial Management 18 points Semester 2
FINC304 2022 Financial Markets and Institutions 18 points Semester 1
FINC305 2022 International Financial Management 18 points Semester 1
FINC306 2022 Derivatives 18 points Semester 2
FINC308 2022 Financial Econometrics 18 points Not offered in 2022
FINC309 2022 Financial Modelling 18 points Not offered in 2022
FINC310 2022 Fixed Income Security Analysis 18 points Not offered in 2022
FINC399 2022 Special Topic: Sustainable Investing 18 points Semester 2
FINC402 2022 Advanced Corporate Finance 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC403 2022 Studies in Capital Markets 20 points Semester 1
FINC405 2022 Mathematical Finance 20 points Semester 2
FINC406 2022 Advanced Financial Econometrics 20 points Semester 1
FINC410 2022 Advanced International Financial Management 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC411 2022 Financial Risk Management 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC412 2022 Financial Analytics 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC420 2022 Climate and Energy Finance 20 points Semester 1
FINC425 2022 Governance Issues in Finance 20 points Semester 2
FINC460 2022 Advanced Fixed Income Securities 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC480 2022 Dissertation or Case Study 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
FINC498 2022 Special Topic: Advanced Modelling of Climate Finance Risks 20 points Not offered in 2022
FINC499 2022 Special Topic: Behavioural Finance 20 points Semester 1
FINC501 2022 Applied Project 40 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
FINC580 2022 Research Project 40 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Accountancy and Finance
Otago Business School