FM302      Half Unit
Theories of Corporate Finance

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Martin Oehmke


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Finance. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students must have completed Principles of Finance (FM212 or FM213), Mathematical Methods (MA100) and Elementary Statistical Theory (ST102). Introduction to Econometrics, Principles of Econometrics or other statistics courses where at least linear regression models are covered are recommended but not required. Students who have not taken Principles of Finance, but have an excellent quantitative background, may be allowed to take this course at the discretion of the course leader.

Course content

This course introduces concepts and theories to critically assess major corporate financial policy decisions. The course focuses in particular on a firm's capital structure and the impact of taxes, bankruptcy costs, agency conflicts, and asymmetric information on a firm’s financing decisions. We will also discuss other major topics in corporate finance, such as the market for corporate control. In developing tools to analyze these issues, we will introduce the key concepts of corporate finance theory, including debt overhang, risk shifting, and the free-rider problem.


33 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course is taught in the interactive lecturing format. There is no distinction between lectures and classes/seminars; there are “sessions” only, and the pedagogical approach in each session is interactive.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 9 problem sets in the LT.

Indicative reading

Detailed course programmes and reading lists are distributed at the start of the course. Illustrative texts include: “Financial Markets and Corporate Strategy” by Hillier, Grinblatt and Titman. “Corporate Finance” by Ivo Welch, and “The Theory of Corporate Finance” by Tirole.


Continuous assessment (100%) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Finance

Total students 2020/21: 47

Average class size 2020/21: 47

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness