Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Economics and Finance


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Not available in 2020/21
Tied to N3K109


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of a Finance-related issue.


  • The topic, which must be Finance-related, is chosen by the student and formally approved by the Board of Examiners, and should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation at an advanced level.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To have a critical understanding of a relevant topic in Finance and the most appropriate techniques of analysis
  • To have a critical awareness of ethical issues associated with undertaking research in Finance
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply empirical methods to an area of research in Finance
  • Ability to apply appropriate advanced methods to the analysis of data and understand the result of the analysis
  • Ability to select and apply a range of numerical techniques to present and interpret financial information in a recognised format
  • Ability to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project in Finance at an advanced level, including undertaking critical appraisal of relevant literature, and apply critical judgement and discrimination
Key Skills:
  • Ability to make appropriate use of library facilities, databases and other learning resources
  • Ability to make effective use of IT to assemble, analyse and communicate a range of information
  • Ability to manage and organise study time and utilise a range of study skills so that knowledge and subject-specific skills can be applied to solve problems in a selective and critical manner

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

  • The module is delivered via online learning across a six month period, divided up into study weeks with specially produced resources to guide students through the dissertation process. Resources vary according to the learning outcomes but normally include: video content, directed reading, reflection through activities, opportunities for self-assessment and peer-to-peer learning within a tutor-facilitated discussion board. Supervisors provide feedback on formative work and facilitate discussion board communication as well as being available for individual consultation as necessary (usually by email and Skype).
  • The formative assessment is writing a research proposal including a literature review. Students then work independently on their research, analysis and writing up, under the guidance of a supervisor. Normally the student will engage with their supervisor (e.g. face-to-face meeting, telephone, Skype) for a maximum of six hours in total. This is considered appropriate, given that the dissertation module is underpinned by the teaching of research methods in other core modules (please see separate mapping document).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Online Lectures specially produced for the dissertation 15
Supervisory contact (e.g. face-to-face meeting, telephone, Skype) 6
Research, preparation, analysis and writing-up 579
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 15,000 words maximum 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Research proposal, including brief literature review, of 1500 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