Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop skills in the application of economic analysis in business decision-making and planning.
  • To provide students with a critical understanding of key economic aspects of the business environment and the impact of changes in that environment at national and international level.
  • To provide students with a critical knowledge and understanding of the use of financial reporting external to the organisation, and of financial statements - their underlying principles and fundamental techniques of analysis and interpretation.


  • Markets, information and transaction costs.
  • Organisations, costs and the profit motive.
  • Competition and welfare.
  • Strategic behaviour by firms.
  • Global business and the macroeconomic environment.
  • Performance and business decisions.
  • Critical understanding of information conveyed through corporate reporting.
  • Analysis of company performance based on financial data.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have a specialist knowledge and understanding of the importance of, and interaction between demand, costs and prices at the level of the firm and the market; the interrelationship between the competitive environment and business decisions; and the macro-economic environment, at the national and global level.
  • Have a critical understanding and appreciation of the complex nature of the economic business environment.
  • Have a specialist knowledge and understanding of the use of financial data within organisations.
  • Have a specialist knowledge and understanding of the analysis of financial data for evaluating the financial prospects of organisations.
  • Have a critical understanding of the uses and limitations of corporate financial reports in internal and external business analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to apply economic understanding in the analysis of business decisions.
Key Skills:
    Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is delivered in discrete Units. These are designed to enable the learning outcomes to be achieved through a combination of specially written material, directed reading, reflection through self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading. Module tutors provide feedback on formative work and are available for individual consultation as necessary (by email, telephone, post or fax).
  • The summative assessment will be in two parts. The ‘takeaway assessment’ will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter, and will be issued only a short time (i.e. several days) before the submission date. The written assignment will further test students’ understanding of relevant concepts, and their ability to apply and interpret what they have learned to the analysis of a particular issue in depth.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Online Distance Learning Units 9 12 on average 108
Online Distance Learning Tutorials 5 Nominally 1 hour each 5
Preparation and Reading 37
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Takeaway assessment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Takeaway assessment 1,500 words (maximum) in total 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written assignment 1,500 words maximum 100%

Formative Assessment:

Written assignment of 1,500 words (maximum).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University