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Position Yourself for Success

CURRICULUM

Our MSc Finance program is a full-time, 16-month program delivered over four terms, at the highest standard. It offers a wide selection of courses based on a foundation of financial theory and real-world experience. The curriculum consists of an online introductory component and four in-person semesters. All students take core finance courses in the first two semesters and are exposed to fundamental finance theory and practice, as well as learning practical programming skills in a language such as Python before moving into one of two streams: Investment Management or Research.

The Investment Management stream focuses on financial instruments, financial markets and finance theory. The Research stream focuses on the strong quantitative skills and rigour required for a career in financial engineering or academia. For students interested in the optionality of continuing their studies after the MSc Finance, the Research stream courses provide credit when entering the SFU Beedie PhD program (these courses will have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.5).

In each cohort, selected students from the Master of Science in Finance Program are invited to help manage the Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS) Fund and gain valuable professional experience, making our MSc Finance students ready for the next step in their careers.

MODULAR SYSTEM

Our courses are offered in modular form, meaning, you’ll take one course at a time in a shorter period of time - typically around 3-4 weeks. This system has many advantages such as allowing students to focus on one topic at a time and embeds assessment throughout the term without final exams piling up at the end. It also allows for more flexibility and topic serialization.

PRE-PROGRAM

To help get you ready to start the program, students participate in the preparation course BUS 800 – Foundations of Finance, which focuses on topics such as mathematics, accounting, and Python. The course will be delivered in a self-paced, online format. You will start the prep course before classes start in September, enabling you to learn at your own pace and ease your entry into the MSc Finance program.

The MSc Finance program critically depends on key topics covered in Foundations of Finance. In the mathematics module the curriculum emphasizes the essential skills needed for success in the program, along with an introduction to probability and statistics. The computational component delves into best programming practices, effective utilization of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), and fundamental concepts of the Python programming language. Lastly, the accounting segment focuses on fundamental accounting principles and an overview of basic financial statements.

Please note the exact selection of all courses is subject to change and stream offerings are subject to minimum enrollment numbers in each stream.

1st Fall Term

September – December

Principles of Finance

Principles of Finance offers a general introduction to corporate financial management, covering key topics such as time value of money, discounted cash flow techniques, financial securities, capital budgeting, risk-return trade-offs, capital market efficiency, and cost of capital. It serves as a foundation of subsequent courses and aims to equip participants with problem-solving, analytical, and decision-making skills.

Principles of Investments

The course provides a fundamental understanding of the principles of asset management with the primary focus on the North American markets. Topics include fundamentals of bond valuation and the term structure of interest rates, stock valuation, portfolio theory, asset pricing models, efficient markets and portfolio performance.

Financial Data Analytics

Financial Data Analytics combines key notions from financial econometrics with essential data analytics that are at the intersection of statistics, probability theory and Finance. It provides a set of tools that are useful for testing theoretical models in Finance, modeling financial data, and predicting future price trends. Tools such as regression analysis and hypothesis testing are covered in detail and explored with the help of Python problems.

Principles of Fund Management

This course provides an introduction to managing stock and bond portfolios from a practitioner’s point of view. This course is a pre-requisite to working on the SIAS Endowment Fund. The course will cover investment policy, allocation of assets to different asset classes, selecting specific securities, managing portfolio risk, an introduction to fixed income investing, and reporting to clients.

Professional Development

Through experiential and applied learning opportunities, students will understand and experience the fundamental components of job-search and career progression skills for securing employment and achieving career objectives. Co-curricular opportunities will complement and build upon the learning experience and contribute to overall development and personal branding.

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Spring Term

January - April

Corporate Finance

This is an encompassing, graduate level, corporate finance course. It is broad in scope and covers basic valuation concepts, portfolio theory, the CAPM, financing decisions and market efficiency. Students learn why corporate finance is fundamental for understanding economic growth and for achieving optimal decision making.

Derivative Securities

This course covers the fundamentals of derivatives – securities whose value is derived from underlying assets or securities. The course focuses mostly on options while also touching upon the other three primary derivative securities: forward contracts, swaps, and futures contracts. You'll learn about the organization of the markets in which these securities are traded, the mechanics of trading them, and effective trading strategies. One of the key goals is to explore the practical applications of derivatives, including risk management strategies and paper trading exercises. Finally, this course will delve into tools available from a leading online broker. By the end of the course, you'll have a good understanding of the exciting world of derivatives and the role they play in modern finance. 

Fixed Income Analysis

This course covers a conceptual framework for fixed income valuation and risk management. The course will introduce you to valuation of fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives including bonds, mortgage- and asset-based securities. You will learn analytic tools used in bond portfolio and interest rate risk management including yield curve construction, duration and convexity, and term structure models.

Managerial Communication

This course is designed to assist you improve your written and verbal communication skills in business settings. You will gain confidence in navigating important communication events. These skills will strengthen interpersonal and business relationships. Topics include analysis of personal development in your communications using various mediums, writing, speaking persuasively and collaborating with a team. Exercises will include individual and group communication, along with presentations.

Professional Development

Through experiential and applied learning opportunities, students will understand and experience the fundamental components of job-search and career progression skills for securing employment and achieving career objectives. Co-curricular opportunities will complement and build upon the learning experience and contribute to overall development and personal branding.

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Summer Term

May - August

Common to all streams

Professional Development

Through experiential and applied learning opportunities, students will understand and experience the fundamental components of job-search and career progression skills for securing employment and achieving career objectives. Co-curricular opportunities will complement and build upon the learning experience and contribute to overall development and personal branding.

Business Strategy & Ethics

Strategy is all around you; it defines you as a manager and separates the bad from the good or great organizations. This course will train you to think strategically so that you can look at a multitude of factors and forces swirling around a company and make sense of them, in order to recognize certain patterns, to identify emerging new ones and make good decisions with far reaching impact on the long-term performance of your organizations, and the organizations you may invest in.

Investment Management Stream

Investment Banking & Private Equity

This course mixes financial theory with concrete applications in investment banking and private equity settings. The main areas of study are around Corporate Finance, Equity Valuation and Investments that are of importance to investment bankers and private equity professionals.

Special Topic: International Finance

This course provides a comprehensive and integrated introduction to the discipline of modern international finance from a global perspective. The focus will be on the characteristics of international financial markets, institutions, instruments, and innovations, as well as their use in the investment, financing, and risk management decisions of multinational corporations.

Special Topic: FinTech

Disintermediation, Blockchains, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Smart Contracts – what do all these terms mean and what is the momentous impact they have on finance and the economy? These questions are addressed in this cutting-edge course on the latest developments in fintech.

Special Topic: Machine Learning

This course provides an in-depth exploration of the application of machine learning techniques in finance and is designed to provide hands-on experience in using machine learning models for algorithmic trading. The course covers topics such as data preprocessing, feature engineering, supervised and unsupervised learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and reinforcement learning. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the basic concepts and techniques of machine learning and their application in finance, design and implement machine learning models, and critically evaluate their performance. The course will be highly interactive, involving a combination of lecture and hands-on projects.

Research Stream

Business Econometrics I

Covers the fundamentals of identification, estimation and inference methods used in modern research. We first cover ordinary least squares and then introduce the very important instrumental variable estimators. Finally, we examine the bootstrap as the most general application of simulation-based econometric methods. You will get a lot of hands-on experience with using these methods on real Finance datasets. Python will be used extensively.

PhD Course: Corporate Finance Theories and Methods

Advanced analysis of decision making at the corporate level. Topics include investment decisions, the issuance of corporate securities, corporate governance, capital structure, and dividend policy. Special attention will be paid to the importance of asymmetric information, taxes, and contract enforcement costs in corporate decisions.

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2nd Fall Term

September - December

Common to all streams

Professional Development

Through experiential and applied learning opportunities, students will understand and experience the fundamental components of job-search and career progression skills for securing employment and achieving career objectives. Co-curricular opportunities will complement and build upon the learning experience, and contribute to overall development and personal branding.

Negotiations

The central issues of this course deal with understanding the behavior of individuals, groups, and organizations in the context of mixed-motive (competitive and cooperative) situations. The course is designed to be relevant to the broad spectrum of negotiation problems that are faced by managers, professionals and business owners.

Investment Stream

Portfolio Theory and Asset Pricing

This course covers the theory and empirical evidence relevant for investing, particularly in the context of portfolio management. (i.e., Markowitz optimal allocation, CAPM, Index and multi-factor models). It stresses issues of portfolio strategy, asset allocation and performance evaluation. The course is geared towards the understanding and implementation of “modern portfolio theory,” which is a general approach for maximizing the expected return of a portfolio given a certain amount of risk. This approach is the basis of virtually all quant investing strategies and is widely used by traditional portfolio managers.

Strategic Asset Allocation

Aiming to equip students with a solid understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects related to investment policy establishment, this course delves into factors such as return objectives, risk tolerance, investment horizon, tax considerations, and liquidity needs. The course starts by examining the standard mean-variance framework and the impact of capital market expectations on asset allocation. Subsequently, the framework is expanded to address non-standard preferences, alternative investments, and the effects of taxes and investment horizons. Behavioral models from current literature provide a foundation for investor risk assessment and profiling while readings from practitioner-oriented sources, demonstrate the real-world applicability of theoretical models.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CSR & Impact Investing

This course offers an interdisciplinary view of sustainable finance, encompassing historical, political, scientific, and economic perspectives. It explores the potential contradictions between maximizing firm value and sustainability while examining the role of externalities. Key topics include the Coase Theorem, implicit and explicit contracts, and the influence of human behavior on corporate decision-making and sustainability. The course also investigates human capital mismanagement, income inequality, and climate change, delving into the challenges of finding solutions based on scientific knowledge and economic principles.

Research Stream

PhD Course: Business Econometrics II

In Business Econometrics II, the skills needed to do state-of-the art empirical research in Finance are developed. You will study the techniques for estimation and empirical testing of static and dynamic models including maximum likelihood, generalized method of moments (GMM), bootstrapping and simulation methods. The methods are illustrated with Economic and Finance applications, often with the help of Python.

Theory of Financial Markets

This course will be an introduction to advanced topics in financial economics. We will cover both discrete time models and continuous time models in finance. Topics include: Utility Theory, Risk Aversion, Portfolio Selection Problem, Discrete Time Intertemporal Portfolio Selection, Math of Continuous Time Finance, Continuous Time Diffusion Process, Continuous Time Portfolio Selection and Asset Pricing, Continuous Time Option Pricing, and Stochastic Models of the Term Structure of Interest Rates.

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Professional Experience: SIAS

During the program, selected students gain valuable professional experience in managing the Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS) Fund, valued at $20+ million CAD. For 12 months, you’ll have the opportunity to gain applied experience and develop highly sought-after finance skills that you can put on your resume to help you take your career to the next level.

SIAS

Gain valuable experience managing Canada’s largest student-run investment fund as a portfolio co-leader or analyst.

Career Outcomes

Read Reah Endaya’s story about how applied investment experience in the MSc Finance program helped her land her dream job.

The MSc Finance program gave me the technical foundation that I couldn’t function without. I work with clients in very senior roles, and it’s important to demonstrate your technical knowledge to gain their trust.

Christine Jakshoej Sangha, MScFin

VP of Customer Success - Capital Markets

FINCAD

MSc Fin: Christine


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Our admissions team is more than happy to answer your questions so you know what you can expect before, during, and beyond your program.

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