Postgraduate study

Finance, Technology and Policy

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

How well financial markets work is critical to the lives of everyone in a modern economy. The functions markets perform are vital for the development of transparent, informationally efficient and fair financial systems. Market functions, such as liquidity and price discovery, hold significant societal impacts. Technology has fuelled the rise of ultra-fast high-tech, opaque trading venues and expanded access to financial services across the globe. While there are positive aspects to these changes, the emergence of new technology-driven paradigms has also increased concerns about the integrity and fairness of financial systems. Concurrently, the pace of technological transformation in financial services and markets has led to the emergence of a knowledge gap in the fast-growing intersection between finance and technology.

Our MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy is developed as an interdisciplinary response to this knowledge gap and as a platform to evaluate and debate the impact of technology on the financial services industry and financial markets. The programme offers a unique degree sitting at the intersection of the three most important drivers of a modern economy – financial services/markets, technology and policy.

This is the first programme of its type in the world and is focused on understanding and exploiting the broader links between finance services and technology on the one hand, and policy and the technological transformation of the financial markets and services on the other. The programme is also unique in the sense that it directly responds to a knowledge gap in the global workforce, one that is emerging due to the fast pace of changes in the modern global economy.

The programme design ensures that courses complement one another. Courses are designed to provide you with a detailed analysis of modern (financial) markets and the transformation of the financial services industry against the backdrop of technological and policy innovations. While our MSc offers you an unvarnished view of the functioning of existing financial market and financial services structures, it also advances criticisms of the current set up and offers the basis for the development of alternative markets and financial services products.

The programme applies principles of financial economics, sociology/philosophy, and practical programming/machine learning and big data analysis to help you focus on solving real problems and developing the skillsets that are relevant for employers now and in the future. You will also have the opportunity to tailor your degree to include other relevant aspects of operating within the financial technology space. Courses specifically designed for the programme further examine design, entrepreneurship and innovation, legal and the human-computer interface issues. You will work with industry partners to develop cutting edge solutions to live challenges as part of student consultancy projects sponsored by financial institutions.

You will be required enroll on eight compulsory courses worth 90 credits and option courses worth 30 credits. You will also write a dissertation worth 60 credits.

Learning will be primarily through formal lectures, seminars, workshops, flipped classes, practical computer labs sessions, student presentations, guest speakers, master classes, research assignments, and the research dissertation. Delivery of the taught element of the programme is primarily via a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops.

Assessment methods include examinations, reports, essays and team presentations.

  • Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of key theoretical finance and economic concepts underpinning financial markets.
  • Critically compare, contrast and evaluate the different machine learning techniques in terms of their applicability to solving problems in finance. Demonstrate by using appropriate software to apply techniques to a given set of data.
  • Have an in-depth understanding of the relationships existing among the key global financial systems; for example, how bond yields dictate investment in equity and its derivatives.
  • Conduct valuation of financial instruments and projects within relevant regulatory contexts.
  • Trade financial instruments on exchanges/trading platforms by using state of the art software packages and harnessing the power of relevant real-time financial data.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the role played by policies in shaping financial services delivery and financial markets.
  • Critically evaluate markets by being able to competently present arguments on the criticisms of the current set up and offer the basis for the development of alternative technology-based markets and financial services products.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the social dimensions of technology use in financial markets.

MSc Finance, Technology and Policy provides training for pursuing careers in the industry/private (including voluntary) sector, public sector and further study or employment in academic institutions.

Specifically, graduates from this programme will be enable you to apply for jobs in, for example, the following (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Financial technology products-linked firms (e.g. Seedrs, as product developers/managers)
  • Trading/investment desks and back offices of financial institutions such as Barclays Capital, Baillie Gifford and RBS (as fund managers and product development team leads/members).
  • Market and Consumer Research Centres/firms
  • Regulatory agencies/government ministries and departments (e.g. the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Bank of England)
  • Academia via further research at PhD level

Entrance to our MSc programmes is strongly competitive. You can increase your chances of a successful application by exceeding the minimum programme requirements.

Academic requirements

A UK first-class or 2:1 honours degree in one of the subjects below, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

  • An undergraduate honours degree in finance, economics, engineering or informatics is normally required.
  • You will need to have taken and passed at least one course with significant statistical analysis and/or programming as part of your undergraduate degree or be able to demonstrate that you have relevant work experience in the use of statistical and/or programming software packages.
  • Candidates with a first class or 2:1 honours degree in other disciplines will be considered on an individual basis if some level of finance/economics/informatics content formed part of the degree and you can demonstrate a high level of quantitative ability through your degree results.
  • Candidates with a first class or 2:1 honours degree in an unrelated subject area but have relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Candidates with a first class or 2:1 honours degree in an unrelated subject area but who have relevant professional qualifications will be given due consideration on an individual basis.
  • If you are a mature candidate with significant finance and tech industry experience or with relevant professional qualifications, you will be given due consideration on an individual basis.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 within 28 days to secure their place on the programme.

The fee does not include the cost of text books for core and options courses so you should budget an additional amount for this required expenditure. See the programme website for more information:

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • The University of Edinburgh Business School
  • 29 Buccleuch Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JS

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

Due to high demand, the School operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through the competitive process described on the School website.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2019/20:

Round Application deadline Decisions by
1 17 October 2018 6 December 2018
2 12 December 2018 14 February 2019
3 20 February 2019 11 April 2019
4 17 April 2019 6 June 2019
5 12 June 2019 25 July 2019

Full details on the admissions process and the selection deadlines are available on the Business School website:

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • The University of Edinburgh Business School
  • 29 Buccleuch Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JS