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Unit outline_

BUSS4413: Finance Honours B

Semester 1, 2023 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit covers literature in the fields of advanced corporate finance (and market microstructure). The research led teaching in this unit is designed to help students to form research questions, develop testable hypotheses, identify and apply appropriate research methods to test these hypotheses. Armed with advanced research skills, students are able to critically review both empirical and theoretical papers within the research fields of advanced corporate finance and market microstructure.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Finance
Credit points 6
Students must meet the entry requirements to the Honours program, including completion of a pass undergraduate degree and a major in the specialisation area
BUSS4001 and BUSS4412
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Buhui Qiu,
Lecturer(s) Buhui Qiu,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation Presentation
Oral presentation
20% Week 07 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment 1
Written report
30% Week 07
Due date: 04 Apr 2023 at 17:00
5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Assignment 2
50% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 17:00
10 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3

Assessment summary

  • Presentation: Each student is to lead the discussion and introduce one of the listed research papers in the week it is assigned for discussion. The presentation should be supported by PowerPoint and/or handout. Students are required to lead the discussion of at least one paper from the unit readings as assigned by the instructor, and contribute to the discussion of all other papers assigned for the unit. 
  • Assignment 1: This assignment will require that students provide a critique (in the form of a referee’s report) of a current working paper from the conference program of a top finance meeting. The report will be graded based on how well it assesses the contribution of the assigned paper, uncovers any weaknesses of the paper and provides constructive criticism. Provide a justified assessment if you think this paper is publishable in a journal of high standing.
  • Assignment 2: Each student needs to pitch a research idea in any topic of corporate finance. It should clearly state the research question (what is the question and why it is important/interesting) and clearly indicate the identification strategy (how to tackle the endogeneity problem). The identification strategy should be reasonable and implementable. The proposal should also clearly indicate the data sources for the pitched idea. It will be desirable for the proposal to include some initial empirical results as well (although this is optional).

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Methodology in corporate finance: causality in corporate finance Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 Methodology in corporate finance: dealing with endogeneity issues in CF - the instrumental variables approach Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 03 Methodology in corporate finance: dealing with endogeneity issues in CF - natural experiment 1 Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 04 Methodology in corporate finance: dealing with endogeneity issues in CF - natural experiment 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 05 Methodology in corporate finance: dealing with endogeneity issues in CF - regression discontinuity design Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 06 Corporate governance Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Agency problems Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Capital structure Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 IPO and SEO Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 Mergers and acquisitions Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Cost of capital and investment Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Climate finance Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 13 Review of the unit content Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Lecture recordings: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.
  • Attendance: Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90 per cent of timetabled activities for this unit of study, unless granted exemption through special consideration, special arrangement, previously arranged disability adjustment, of by the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean may determine that a student fails this unit of study because of inadequate attendance.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate familiarity with the common empirical methodologies used in corporate finance research
  • LO2. demonstrate familiarity with the recent corporate finance literature
  • LO3. conduct original empirical research in corporate finance through the development of a valid research question, identifying resources to address the question, developing testable hypotheses and identifying (and even practising) appropriate empirical techniques to test these hypotheses.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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