Principles of Finance

Develop your understanding of the rapidly evolving and exciting theory of finance

This Summer School course serves as an introduction to the core concepts in finance. You will learn the nature and workings of financial markets and their use by corporations, investors and others, and the relevance of theory for financial and investment decision making. You will acquire skills in modern valuation techniques, including the pricing of fixed-income securities, equities and derivatives.

By the end of the course you will develop an understanding of:

  • The basic principles of finance and finance theory; the time value of money, the notion of compound interest, the definition of the internal rate of return, the valuation of financial instruments and the perpetual growth model.

  • How to apply the criteria that companies use to make investment decisions.

  • The concepts of market efficiency, portfolio risk and diversification.

  • The principal functions of capital markets.

  • The distinct features of main financial instruments including debt, equity and financial derivatives.

  • The general principles of the pricing and use of financial instruments.

Course content

During the course, you will learn about the principles of finance, including:

  • Arbitrage

  • Market efficiency

  • Asset pricing models

  • Portfolio theory

Teaching methods

Covid-19 safety and multi-mode delivery

The course will be taught in line with government COVID-19 guidance and restrictions for teaching, including social distancing and reduced capacity in lecture theatres. Students can choose to study fully online or through our multi-mode delivery format, which enables you to learn safely via a mixture of on-campus and remote online teaching. If you choose to study through multi-mode delivery, a minimum of 50% of the lectures will be delivered on campus. Should government guidelines in place at the time prevent on-campus teaching, we reserve the right to deliver the course fully online.

Lecture content and class material

Lecture content and class material will be made available through an interactive online teaching and learning hub – The Summer School Hub.

Workshops will use case studies, structured discussions and in-class exercises to demonstrate the application of concepts as you learn. You will also be expected to complete private study and exam preparation work outside of your scheduled classes.

A guest speaker programme, with presentations from high profile financial institutions, will put the course material into a practical context.


Academic level: Equivalent to an undergraduate course

Suggested credit level: 3 – 4 US / 7.5 ECTS credits. Your home institution will determine how much credit is awarded

Entry requirements: A level maths (grade B or above) or equivalent

For more details view our entry requirements.

Guest speakers and trips

Guest speakers such as recent Business School alumni working in relevant industries will visit the Summer School. Trips will also be organised to complement your learning, for example, previous classes have joined the London Finance Walking Tour which covers the origins of London’s financial centre from its humble beginnings in 17th century, and learn how the City of London developed into a global financial centre.


  • Multiple choice question quizzes – (30% of final mark)

  • 1 final individual examination – (70% of final mark)

Imperial College London will issue an official transcript with a final overall numerical mark – a breakdown of results will not be provided.
Imperial College London reserves the right to change or alter the courses offered without notice.

Key information

Duration: 3 weeks

Session dates: 28 June - 16 July 2021