The School of Banking and Finance at UNSW Business School offers an outstanding Honours degree that is open to all high-achieving undergraduate students, even if you’re not currently studying at UNSW. Financial support is available to many Honours students through tutoring and research assistant work. 

Our Honours degree is open to students who have demonstrated a strong performance in the BCom Pass program with a major in finance and have completed a minimum of eight finance courses (one of which must be FINS3775 Research Methods in Finance 1 or ECON3206). An overall Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of at least 75 and a finance discipline major WAM of at least 75 are required to qualify for acceptance into the highly sought-after program. 

Students enrolled in concurrent degrees at UNSW may undertake the Honours year prior to or after their second degree. 

As the finance discipline is an innovative discipline, it is recommended that not more than two years should have passed since the completion of your undergraduate degree and your application to commence with the Honours program. 

The Banking and Finance Honours degree provides introductory and rigorous research training to assist in tackling the financial issues and challenges encountered in future careers. While the undergraduate Pass degree provides a context for studying present professional methods and standards, the Honours degree provides additional expertise including: 

  • Advanced analytical and problem-solving skills required for specialist careers in business and government 
  • Highly sought-after research, project management and communication skills as well as advanced knowledge of finance 
     

The Finance Honours program requires completion of a total of four courses, three core and one elective. All courses are run with small numbers, combined with higher degree research course equivalents, providing opportunity to push and challenge your critical thinking and perspective, as well as taking your skills and understanding to the next level. The course structure is as follows: 

  

Term 1 

Term 2 

Term 3 

Core 

 

FINS4779 

  

Electives 

FINS4777 
FINS4792 
ECON5408*
ECON7004*

FINS4774
FINS4776 
ECON5106* 
ECON5206* 

  

Thesis writing 

FINS4796 

FINS4797 

FINS4799 

* Enrolment subject to meeting course pre-requisites and School of Economics approval; course scheduling may differ to above outline

Program Core Courses

This course provides critical understandings of the concepts and empirical approaches in asset pricing. Main topics include model testing, financial market anomalies, market efficiency, and asset management. This course exposes students to both conventional views and recent evidence on selected topics. 

This course is offered as part of and is required for the PhD, MPhil, Pre-Doctoral Studies Master, and Finance Honours programs. The course constructs the main theoretical foundations of finance, including investment decision making, utility theory, portfolio theory, equilibrium asset pricing, arbitrage asset pricing, the term structure of interest rates, option pricing theory, derivatives pricing, asset prices informational efficiency, asymmetric and incomplete information, agency theory, and performance measurement. The course emphasizes applications of mathematical and probabilistic tools/methods to provide a rigorous development of each topic. The course investigates current gaps in finance practices and investigates the need for future developments. 

Research Methods in Finance 2 is an advanced course on empirical research in finance. Course topics encompass (i) econometric theory and methods, (ii) data collection and management, and (iii) programming. The course establishes a unified framework for analysing three econometric methods (least squares regression, maximum likelihood, and generalised method of moments). These econometric methods are applied to topics in corporate finance and asset pricing. The data section of the course covers appropriate use of database management systems, such as SAS and SQL. Programming is taught using general-purpose languages so that students learn how to write structured, modular program design. Programming examples are geared towards solving common problems in Financial research. Throughout the course, specific topics are selected to reflect student's interests. 

Honours Electives

The valuation formulas used throughout the modern financial world are based on the economic theory of financial markets and general equilibrium. This course provides a treatment of the economic foundations of modern finance. We start with a discussion of how economic agents (should) make decisions when the economic environment is uncertain. Then, asset-pricing models are introduced, and we discuss how economic uncertainty can be dealt with using state-contingent securities, which in turn lead to efficient market outcomes when markets are complete. Further topics include option pricing, determination of firms' value and its relation to a firm's capital structure, and the theory of efficient portfolios. The tools and knowledge that students acquire in this course are particularly useful and sought after in the public and private finance sector. 

This course is concerned with the special statistical characteristics that arise when modelling time series data, such as commodity/asset prices, interest rates or exchange rates. Topics include key characteristics of financial data, concepts of volatility and risk, modelling time varying volatility (ARCH models), and modelling relationships among financial series. The knowledge and methods acquired in this course are particularly useful and sought after in the public/government and private/industry financial sectors. 

This course extends econometric modelling using linear regression to cover nonlinear models such as logit and probit, regression methods for forecasting, and an introduction to the treatment of endogeneity (e.g. instrumental variable estimation). Special emphasis will be placed on the process and potential pitfalls of conducting and evaluating applied econometric research. The course will equip students with the necessary knowledge to be able to conduct their own econometric research using typical economic data.

This course is an introduction to mathematical techniques that are widely used in Economics. We study the properties of sets, vector spaces, functions and equations and use them to describe economic environments. We employ mathematical techniques such as solving equations and finding fixed points, calculus and static and dynamic optimisation to analyse economic problems.

The aim of this course is to prepare Honours and Ph.D. students to do research in Empirical Corporate Finance. The course is organised around published and working papers in the field with an emphasis on econometric methods and the publication process. Rather than providing an exhaustive overview of the field, the course focuses in depth on selected topics to illustrate different empirical approaches. Using papers on from various sub-fields of corporate finance, the course will attempt to expose students to issues of identification, endogeneity, and instruments. The course will also attempt to strengthen your ability to digest and critique academic research. Finally, it will help improve your presentation skills through constructive feedback. 

This postgraduate course critically evaluates models of financial markets (market microstructure) and examines how asset prices are established in actual markets such as the stock exchange based on actual trades. It differs from asset pricing theory in which prices are assumed to be set such that supply and demand are equated via some costless auction-type frictionless mechanism that remains an undisclosed ‘black box’. Actual markets require actual rules and these rules affect the way in which prices are established, the way in which information possessed by traders is incorporated into asset prices, why some markets and stocks are liquid and why some markets are more fragile and costly than others. 

This course complements courses in asset pricing that students may have done or be doing. Analysis of microstructure is becoming increasingly relevant for research in corporate finance, as well, for example, FINS4776 and FINS4777: Advanced Topics in Asset Pricing and Advanced Topics in Corporate Finance. 

The Honours degree is offered as a separate one-year BCom (Honours) degree, (program code 4501) or as the final year in a four-year BCom Coop (Honours) degree (program code 3565). The finance stream is available in full-time mode only and commences in Term 1 of each year. View UNSW Handbook for additional information. 

How to Apply

Mid November 

Honours applications open for following year's Degree for program code 4501 students from UNSW and other universities 

End December 

Applications close for following year’s admissions 

Early January 

Honours Committee shortlist applicants, and advise candidates on the outcome of their applications 

Mid January 

Successful Honours applicants advised on admission (program code 4501 applicants) 

New students to contact Honours Coordinator and arrange work tasks for ‘holiday’ period 

Advise students of available Honours scholarships 

Early February 
 

Term 1 Coursework enrolment deadline 

Mid February 
 

Honours scholarship applications due 

School of Banking & Finance Honours Group Induction held 

Term 1 coursework begins 

March / April 

Ethics applications should be prepared and submitted 

June 

Application for National Honours Colloquium (biennial) 
 

Early June 
 

Term 2 Coursework enrolment deadline 

Term 2 coursework begins 

Late August 

National Honours Colloquium 

Early September 
 

Term 3 coursework enrolment deadline 

Mid September 
 

Term 3 coursework begins 

Late November 

Honours theses due 

Mid December 

Honours grades finalised and students formally advised of results