There is mounting evidence that people violate many of the "rationality" assumptions of mainstream economics. Behavioural Economics is a relatively new field that studies such violations and proposes theories to explain them. Behavioural Finance is a part of Behavioural Economics that studies important "irrationalities" on financial markets. Key topics include common mistakes people make when deciding how much to save and how to invest, excess volume of trade, equity premium puzzle, bubbles, and predictability of financial markets.
Why study Behavioural Finance
Behavioural Economics and Behavioural Finance have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years. The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Daniel Kahneman in 2002 for Behavioural Economics and to Robert Shiller in 2013 for Behavioural Finance. There has been increased interest by the public, as evidenced by a spate of popular books in these areas. There has also been increased interest by governments: for example, David Cameron appointed a "Behavioural Insights Team" in 2010 to help design government policies.
The backbone of the programme consists of a first-semester module in Behavioural Economics and a second-semester module in Advanced Behavioural Finance. Apart from these two modules, students can take modules covering more traditional topics in finance.
A thorough knowledge of Behavioural Economics and Behavioural Finance provides students with a deeper and more realistic understanding of financial markets than is offered by mainstream finance alone. Such knowledge also makes students less susceptible to common mistakes in their own lives and careers. A successful completion of the programme would provide students with valuable skills for a wide range of careers in areas such as investment, banking, public service, or academia.
The programme consists of five compulsory modules in semester A as well as two compulsory modules and three electives in semester B. During the summer period students will also have to complete a 30-credit 5000-word dissertation under the supervision of an academic member of staff.