Taught course

International Banking and Finance

Heriot-Watt University · Edinburgh Business School

Entry requirements

A good Honours Degree (or its equivalent) from a British or overseas university in a relevant subject.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Months of entry


Course content


The MSc International Banking and Finances gives you the opportunity to develop specialist expertise to help you transition into professional and managerial careers in banking and finance, in the public and private sectors.

This master's programme has been developed by the ex-deputy Managing Director of Royal Bank of Scotland in response to industry demands, making you highly sought-after upon graduation, and giving you access to opportunities in employment, further education, and research. Your knowledge and skills will provide you with an international perspective on banking and finance, allowing you to continue your work or studies anywhere in the world.

During the master’s programme, you’ll develop a systematic understanding and knowledge of international banking and finance and gain a critical awareness of current issues within the academic discipline and professional practice. You’ll understand and evaluate a comprehensive range of research techniques used in the area of finance and banking and how these are put into practice, in order to create and interpret knowledge. You’ll cover the core concepts in international banking and finance, including the operations of the forex market, the international money market and the international credit market. You’ll explore the way loan requests are analysed in banking, considering the risk/return trade-offs and the use of collateral and legal guarantees, and analyse the securitisation of loans through bank balance sheet management. You’ll examine the international financial markets and institutions, the way they operate, and their impact on the global banking system. Throughout the programme, you’ll develop critical thinking and analyses, as you evaluate relevant academic research, professional research pronouncements and financial media articles.

Your learning will equip you with highly employable expertise across crucial areas of international banking and finance. You’ll have the opportunity to choose three optional courses – from corporate finance, corporate governance and sustainability, capital markets, empirical financial modelling, and coding for social science application in Python – to customise your learning and develop your specific subject interests. Your international banking and finance dissertation will allow you to build upon this interest, by carrying out an original research project at the forefront of knowledge.

The programme covers the core theories and concepts in international banking and finance, to provide you with the knowledge base and the analytical and research skills necessary for doctoral study or employment in a range of roles, including bankers, stockbrokers, tax consultants and financial advisors in the banking and financial divisions of national and international corporations. You’ll develop key transferable skills, including teamwork, communication, organisational and presentation skills to prepare you for lifelong learning and personal development in the banking and financial service sector. Group work and tutorial discussions will provide you insight into the working practices and perspectives of different cultures, and prepare you for a global career, working with colleagues from all over the world.

As Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University is situated on the edge of Edinburgh, you’ll have excellent links to the financial sector of Scotland’s capital city, and the UK’s second-biggest financial and economic hub. Edinburgh is a major centre for fund management and is home to two of the world’s largest banks. You’ll also benefit from our close ties to the London Stock Exchange and Bloomberg, which can provide you with excellent industry-focused learning opportunities.

Our Expertise

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active academics whose work covers four key areas:

  • Employment, Work and the Professions
  • Logistics and Sustainability
  • Networks and Enterprise Excellence
  • Social and Economic Data Analysis

Your learning environment

The MSc International Banking and Finance programme is taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and group work allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your peers, the teaching staff and academics. You will be assessed by coursework, exams, and your dissertation, and will receive support and feedback throughout the programme.

During your studies, you’ll benefit from and have access to our state-of-the-art facilities, including our professional-standard Bloomberg Trading Room with 12 Bloomberg Terminals to enhance your employability with data skills. These Terminals are equipped with industry-standard software that provides live financial data and trading tools to the world’s leading banks and corporations.

Outside of the classroom, you can join Heriot-Watt’s Business Society which holds regular social events and provides networking opportunities and insights into career prospects in Economics, Business, Finance, and other relevant industries.

Customise your learning

You’ll learn from the core five courses on the syllabus, with the choice of three optional courses to focus on the area of international banking and finance that interests you the most. This gives you the opportunity to customise your degree to match your specific interests or career pathway by selecting a specialist course option.

In semester three, you’ll explore in-depth your chosen area of international banking and finance through your dissertation. You will be required to demonstrate your mastery of the subject area by developing new insight from the analysis of valuable primary research.

You can choose whether to study the programme full-time, part-time, or by course. This flexibility allows you to fit your postgraduate studies around your lifestyle. You can begin the programme either in January or September, based on your availability, and the full-time course will last 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time. If you decide to study part-time, you register for two courses per semester and progress to the dissertation at the end of your second year.

You may have the opportunity to Go Global on our Inter-Campus Transfer. Opportunities for postgraduate study abroad are assessed on a case-by-case basis and if you are interested in studying at our Dubai campus or Malaysia campus for a semester or longer, you should contact the Go Global Team.


We work closely with industry to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.

Heriot-Watt University is a named Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner (ELP), a programme designed by Bloomberg to recognise universities that are leaders in experiential learning. 

Our partnership with Bloomberg, and the achievement of ELP status, is a mark of our innovative approach to connecting our teaching experience with real-life practical applications. Being a Bloomberg experiential learning partner allows Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Business School to better integrate industry-leading data, research, news and analytics into our curricula.

The Bloomberg Trading Room at Heriot Watt University is unique in Scotland and enables students from different disciplines of business to better understand different aspects of markets, business behaviours and economic trends. It enables:

  • Performance comparison between different companies or industries using financial reports, company valuations, company news, company portfolios, key changes/trends. 
  • Supply chain analysis through company's supply chain relationships that includes suppliers, customers and competitors. This enables managers to refine their supply chain configuration and strategy.
  • Market share analysis by providing key industry data, interactive charting and commentary by Bloomberg industry experts.  It also provides industry fundamental statistics, market share and other key industry specific metrics (i.e., retailers, airlines, global auto manufacturing, etc.)
  • Strategic portfolio analysis through creating portfolios against markets and market positions, allocation of asset and performance attribution analysis.
  • Accounting and Financial analysis by providing financial history of companies and indices including current and historical income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, ratio analysis and more

Fees and funding

UK students
£9,152 (full-time) £4,576 (part-time)
International students
£20,376 (full-time) £10,188 (part-time)

See University website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    full time
    9 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    21 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Office