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Unit of study_

QBUS6830: Financial Time Series and Forecasting

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Time series and statistical modelling is a fundamental component of the theory and practice of modern financial asset pricing as well as financial risk measurement and management. Further, forecasting is a required component of financial and investment decision making. This unit provides an introduction to the time series models used for the analysis of data arising in financial markets. It then considers methods for forecasting, testing and sensitivity analyses, in the context of these models. Topics include: the properties of financial return data; the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM); financial return factor models, with known and unknown factors, in panel data settings; modelling and forecasting conditional volatility, via ARCH and GARCH; forecasting market risk measures such as Value at Risk. Emphasis is placed on applications involving the analysis of many real market datasets. Students are encouraged to undertake hands-on analysis using an appropriate computing package.

Unit details and rules

Unit code QBUS6830
Academic unit Business Analytics
Credit points 6
ECMT5001 or QBUS5001
Assumed knowledge

Basic knowledge of quantitative methods including statistics, basic probability theory, and introductory regression analysis.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Andrew Phillip,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam hurdle task Final exam
Written exam
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
In-semester test (Record+) Type B in-semester exam Mid-semester exam
Written exam
20% Week 08
Due date: 21 Oct 2020 at 12:00
1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Group assignment
Quantitative data analysis and report
40% Week 13 30 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
Type B in-semester exam = Type B in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Mid-semester exam: The exam will examine concepts covered in weeks 1-6 of this unit. The questions intend to measure students’ knowledge of major principles in financial time series and forecasting, and their ability to provide a complete description of their essential characteristics, as well as understand and interpret statistical output, as discussed in weeks 1-6 of this unit. A formulae sheet and probability tables will be provided.
  • Group assignment: In groups of 3-5 member, students will be required to a two-part assignment due in week 9 and 13 respectively. Students will perform an analytical exercise and quantitative analysis of a dataset. Students need to construct descriptive statistics and relevant statistical charts and tables, build and select appropriate statistical models, estimate these and create forecasts as well as draw appropriate conclusions. There will be a peer review and peer assessment component to assess everyone’s contribution to this assignment. This will lead to a mark out of 5 for each individual group member, reflecting their individual performance, effort and facilitation of group activity in this project.
  • Final exam: The final exam will assess all aspects of this unit from weeks 1-13. The questions intend to measure students’ knowledge of major principles in financial time series and forecasting and their ability to provide a complete description of their essential characteristics, as well as discuss and interpret Matlab statistical output. The final exam is listed as a HURDLE TASK which means you must complete the assessment in order to pass the unit. Students who fail to complete this assessment, even when their aggregate mark for the entire unit of study is above 50%, will be given a Fail grade for this unit. As a result, a student's academic transcript will show a Fail grade and the actual mark achieved if the final mark of the unit is between 0-49 and a Fail grade and a capped moderated mark of 49 for all other final marks.

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

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 1. Properties of financial data and review of statistics and probability; 2. Introduction to Matlab and financial return data Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 Regression review and the CAPM and multi-factor models Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 Regression, CAPM, and factor models (ctd) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Forecasting, forecast accuracy, and introduction to time series Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Time series (ctd), AR, and MA models Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 07 Forecasting with ARMA models and intro to volatility modelling Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 08 ARCH and GARCH volatility modelling Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 GARCH (ctd), risk metrics, and volatility asymmetry Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 Volatility forecasting and volatility proxies Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 11 Financial risk and its measurement Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 Forecasting value at risk (VaR) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 Forecasting tail risk, VaR, and expected shortfall (ES) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

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.

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.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Tsay, R, (2010), Analysis of Financial Time Series, Wiley: New York. 3rd edition.

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. describe and summarise, with appropriate statistics, the empirical properties of financial prices and returns data
  • LO2. design and estimate of a range of quantitative, statistical models used by financial analysts and forecasters
  • LO3. appraise the suitability of both models and methods of forecasting financial data, financial quantities, and outcomes
  • LO4. develop complex programs in Matlab software for estimation of financial time series models and forecasting.

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.
  • Software: This unit will require coding and analysis using the software package Matlab, which is available in all computer labs in Building H69. It is each student's responsibility to obtain sufficient access to these labs, as well as sufficient proficiency in Matlab, to complete the assignment.

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