Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module BUSI42M15: Models for Decision

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI42M15: Models for Decision

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1K607
Tied to N1K807
Tied to N1K507
Tied to N1K307
Tied to N1KL07


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to a range of specialised tools commonly used to assist decision making
  • To promote a critical awareness of the use and limitation of these tools


  • Uncertainty & risk: decision rules for uncertainty; risk and probability; decision trees; correlated risk and portfolio models
  • Forecasting using simple time series: decomposition; estimation & forecast
  • Decisions with tradeoffs: structure, dominance; value functions; finding weights; further methods (e.g. goal programming); sensitivity
  • Optimisation: LP, graphical explanation, objectives and constraints; using SOLVER; the transportation and other allocation problems
  • Game Theory: an introduction; two player games; zero and non-zero sum games

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Specialised knowledge of the key concepts in:
  • risk forecasting
  • making tradeoffs (multiattribute modelling)
  • linear optimisation
  • game theory
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Have the ability to:
  • use and apply specialised quantitative models as aids to decision making
  • identify sources of risk and uncertainty
  • apply probability estimates to help in assessing risk
  • make time-series forecasts
  • structure problems involving the choice between alternatives, each characterised by a number of attributes
  • structure linear optimisation problems and use SOLVER for their solution
  • identify the nature of the interaction between decision makers using ideas from game theory
Key Skills:
  • Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; interpretation of data; computer literacy

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

  • Learning outcomes will be met through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical work, supported by guided reading. The summative assessment will comprise a written examination to test knowledge of key concepts and quantitative techniques, and a project to test students’ ability to apply those techniques in a specific business context.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 2 hours 18
Seminar/practical classes 4 1 hour 4
Preparation & Reading 128
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Project Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Project requiring the application of quantitative techniques in a specific business context 1,500 words maximum 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 90 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

Weekly exercises

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