Information for MicroMasters Program in Finance Learners
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Course Overviews and Prerequisites
Prerequisite requirements vary by course.
Prerequisites and overviews for each course are below, and are further detailed on the MicroMasters Program in Finance Prerequisite and Resources Site. Current and prospective learners are encouraged to review the information on the Prerequisite and Resources Site carefully to ensure you are well prepared to take each course. This Site also contains upcoming course and exam dates.
Note that you must click “enroll” in order to access the site. Site access is completely free, and always available to anyone interested in this material.
Foundations of Modern Finance I
This master’s level course provides learners a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of modern finance and their applications to business challenges in valuation, investment and risk management, and corporate financial decisions. This course focuses on four topics:
- Introduction to corporate finance and capital budgeting;
- Valuation of fixed income securities and common stocks;
- Risk analysis, the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT), and the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH);
- The financial challenges firms and households face and the principles of modern finance in tackling these challenges.
Prerequisites: Single-variable calculus (required), linear algebra (required), probability and statistics (recommended); familiarity with Excel or comparable spreadsheet software (required).
Foundations of Modern Finance II
This course provides a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of modern finance and their applications to business challenges in valuation, investments, and corporate financial decisions under a unified framework. Following on Foundations of Modern Finance I, this course focuses on the following topics:
- Portfolio theory;
- Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM);
- Valuation of derivative securities; and
- Corporate financial decisions, including real options, capital structure, payout policy, corporate bonds, and interaction between investment and financing decisions.
Prerequisites: Foundations of Modern Finance I; single-variable calculus (required), linear algebra (required), probability and statistics (recommended); familiarity with Excel or comparable spreadsheet software (required).
This course provides a rigorous introduction to the principles of financial accounting. We will focus on the preparation and analysis of financial statements, and on why financial statements take the form they do. We will cover the basic structure of financial reports and the process of recording transactions. We will also learn how investors, creditors, and other users analyze financial statements to assess corporate performance. This course will focus on using the financial statements to gather inputs to valuation models and for corporate finance decisions.
What you'll learn (at a glance):
- Understand accounting terms
- Understand how financial statements are constructed
- Learn to read financial statements
- Gather inputs to valuation models and for corporate finance decisions
Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Finance
This course develops the tools needed to describe financial markets, make predictions in the face of uncertainty, and find optimal solutions to business and investment decisions. This course will help anyone seeking to confidently model risky or uncertain outcomes. Its topics are essential knowledge for applying the theory of modern finance to real-world settings. Quants, traders, risk managers, investment managers, investment advisors, developers, and engineers will all be able to apply these tools and techniques.
What you'll learn (at a glance):
- Probability distributions in finance
- Time-series models: random walks, ARMA, and GARCH
- Continuous-time stochastic processes
- Linear algebra of asset pricing
- Statistical and econometric analysis
- Monte Carlo simulation
- Applied computational techniques
Prerequisites: Multivariable calculus (required), probability and statistics (required), linear algebra (required), basic programming skills (required).
Prerequisite Resources: You may use the 15.455x Prerequisites and Resources site to prepare for this advanced math course. The site contains resources – including a readiness assessment – to help you confirm that you have a solid understanding of the 15.455x prerequisite material, and to indicate directions of study in case you need to build on your current foundations prior to starting the course.
Derivatives Markets: Advanced Modeling and Strategies
Derivative securities, and the sophisticated analytical methods that have been developed to understand and deploy them, are powerful tools for managing and pricing risk. Learners in this course will develop a sophisticated and durable understanding of derivative modeling, valuation and hedging methods, a basic familiarity with major markets, instruments and strategies, and insights into current market developments.
The skills acquired are relevant to all financial market practitioners, but will be most useful for those planning a career in sales and trading, portfolio management, commercial banking, investment banking, insurance, hedge funds, financial advising, or in a public sector financial institution or central bank.
Prerequisites: Foundations of Modern Finance I and II (required); single-variable calculus (required); basic programming skills (recommended).
Future Course Dates
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