University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Specialisation subject areas

For the Master of Commerce, students need to complete at least one specialisation from the subject areas listed below. Students in the master's degree, graduate diploma or graduate certificate can also choose advanced units from these subject areas as elective options in their programs.


The Accounting specialisation equips students with an in depth understanding of the current techniques and practices in accounting for use in an executive or managerial position and encourages enquiring minds. It examines key issues relating to financial accounting, management accounting, decision making, audit and assurance, financial statement analysis, accounting systems, corporate governance, sustainability reporting, management control systems and international accounting. With its emphasis on understanding, analysing and interpreting financial and non-financial information for decision making, this specialisation qualifies students in the evaluation of the financial position and performance of companies and their accounting systems, governance and management controls. In addition to giving an important start to professional accreditation, this specialisation prepares students to work either locally or overseas, within an accounting practice or other public and private sector organisations. The Accounting specialisation provides students with strong technical, analytical and problem solving skills, while keeping abreast of contemporary accounting practice.

Aviation and Maritime Management and Logistics

A rapidly growing international industry, aviation and maritime management offers a vast array of commercial and employment opportunities within all sectors of the aviation and maritime supply chain. It covers all aspects of international business and management along the entire value chain from consumer, producer and investor perspectives. Aviation management students develop an understanding of the economics of airline operations, airports and other aviation entities, and analyse the competitive strategy implications around the development of hubs and networks. Units in this specialisation examine airline strategies, business models, marketing, finance, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, yield/cost management, forecasting, regulation, benchmarking, ancillary revenues, terminal management and cargo logistics, supply-chain management, distribution, international freight transportation, and environment issues. Our strategic partnership with the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) gives our students valuable access to industry databases, company information and aviation contacts and networks. The ports and maritime management area of study covers all aspects of global supply chains from producer, shipper, carrier, stevedore, public authority and investor perspectives. Students analyse the economics, logistics, management, financing, insurance, security and environmental impacts of international supply chains relating to bulk and containerised freight. Units cover industry concepts, quantitative techniques and management methodologies. Presentations by senior managers in the aviation and maritime industry enrich study in this field.


The Banking specialisation offers the highest standard of qualifications in the theory and application governing contemporary financial institutions. It provides a detailed examination of the workings of banks and related deposit-taking financial intermediaries in the context of the banking system in particular, and the financial system generally. The core units equip students with an in depth understanding of the structures and functioning of financial institutions, and issues related to banking in a contemporary, globalised economy. As well as providing the necessary knowledge of bank management, risk management and risk assessment, the Banking specialisation offers intermediate corporate finance, equipping graduates with a well-rounded qualification that is modern, in depth and competitive.

Big Data in Business

This new specialisation is available from semester 1, 2016.

The Big Data in Business specialisation is designed to provide students with specialised training in the areas of big data and analytics in order to succeed and thrive in today's business world. The specialisation is comprised of units of study offered by the Disciplines of Business Analytics, Business Information Systems and Marketing that have been specifically chosen for their focus and emphasis on dealing with big data, as well as associated analytical tools and technologies, to help solve real business problems and make effective business decisions.

Business Analytics

The Business Analytics specialisation enables students to master the tools of quantitative analysis and apply them in a business setting. This involves building models of business problems and analysing business data. In today's business environment, there are often great amounts of data available, but few people with the skills to realise its profit potential. This specialisation provides opportunities to apply sophisticated analytical approaches in many different functional areas, such as in accounting, marketing, finance and operations.

Business Information Systems

The postgraduate specialisation in Business Information Systems is concerned with the application of modern Digital Technologies in the business domain. Students acquire the skills and techniques to carry out effective business analysis with a view to improving business operations through the application of Business Information Systems. The specialisation also enables students to gain an understanding of the role of Business Information Systems in facilitating business transformation and implementing digital business models in increasingly competitive market environments. Units of study in this area cover business process integration, enterprise systems, information governance, and business transformation.

Business Law

The Business Law specialisation is designed to develop a sound understanding of the impact of commercial law on business activity. Students are taught to recognise potential legal problems and work in house on their solution, as well as identify when to seek expert advice and maximise interactions with the legal profession. The emphasis throughout the specialisation is on the legal problems likely to be encountered by graduates in their future careers. This specialisation adds value to any business graduate by providing a framework of legal knowledge. Business law has always been an important part of the professional education of accountants (the units are accredited for accounting purposes) and study in this area complements specialisations in other business or finance-related fields.

Business Sustainability

Sustainability has become a strategic issue for major businesses worldwide. This includes identifying the risks to, and opportunities for, value creation given rapidly changing regulatory regimes, social attitudes and environmental challenges. Investors also demand increasing transparency in the reporting of business activities and for business to demonstrate the sustainability of corporate activities. An understanding of sustainability is therefore a key competency for successful business graduates in an era of significant regulatory and market change (e.g. carbon emissions pricing, sustainability corporate rankings, reputational risks). The Business Sustainability specialisation allows students to tailor their focus on sustainability around a range of possible foci, including sustainable business growth, sustainable transport, energy, social sustainability and corporate environmentalism and the business implications of climate change.


The Economics specialisation builds a clear understanding of the overall context of business and government. The core units, with their strong focus on social data and events, give graduates the competitive edge in areas of analysis and policy work. The Economics specialisation includes in depth analysis of microeconomics and macroeconomics, investigating market structure and strategic business decisions. An international focus on money and finance is paramount in keeping up with the globalised nature of contemporary economics. As well as providing essential perspectives on international economics, the specialisation includes the study of industrial competitiveness, as well as trade and development, and bank management.


The Finance specialisation ensures that graduates are well armed with an understanding of the foundations of strategy, which come from the 'Game Theory'. The focus is towards an understanding of the complexities of modern risk management as well as the fundamentals and technical tools for all aspects of finance in a global setting. Units of study cover broking and market making, advanced asset pricing, portfolio theory and applications, derivatives securities, international business finance, fixed interest securities and financial statement analysis, as well as the applications of high level financial theory to understanding mergers and acquisitions and the international market.

Infrastructure and Transport Management

Transport and infrastructure is the physical fabric that binds society together. The movement of people and the goods and services we produce is a vital part of economic and business activity and is critical to our well-being. Major transport links and other key infrastructure such as electricity and telecommunications networks are expensive to build and maintain. These multi-billion dollar projects are decisions that captivate the attention of the public, but have complex objectives which have real impacts on society with sometimes controversial outcomes. It is therefore important to understand the travel demands of an economy, to carefully and strategically plan and assess new infrastructure requirements, and efficiently manage and maintain existing assets. In this specialisation students examine infrastructure and transport from a planning, policy, and management perspective and are provided with the theory and tools to be able to successfully plan, assess, manage, and finance large transport and infrastructure projects.

International Business

The International Business specialisation is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills relevant to the development, strategy and management of international business organisations and the institutional context for their development, growth and operation. The specialisation encompasses the broad domain of international business studies including multinational and transnational business activities, strategies and managerial processes that cross national boundaries, joint ventures and strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and the interactions of international business organisations with their economic, political and cultural environments.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management

The Logistics and Supply Chain Management specialisation is designed for students who want develop careers in the fields of logistics and supply chain management, as well as for those currently practising in these areas. The emphasis is on the operations and logistics functions in companies that source, produce, distribute and market nationally and internationally. Students are provided with a solid grounding in the concepts, techniques and principles that underlie logistics and supply chain management and discuss these issues from a managerial, practice-oriented perspective. Graduates develop skills in design and management of global supply chains, production planning and control, sourcing and supplier management, warehouse and inventory management, supply chain risk analysis, and logistics and supply chain implementation challenges facing Australian businesses.


Marketing is the function that links a firm to its consumers. The Marketing specialisation offers exciting opportunities for research, theory and strategy in all aspects of business and organisation. The specialisation builds on basic marketing principles to give students the leading edge in marketing strategy and planning, including market research, communications, consumer behaviour and the development and marketing of new products.

People, Management and Organisations

Effectively managing people and organisational change are key attributes of successful businesses. The specialisation in People, Management and Organisations encompasses the basic functions and processes of management whilst providing opportunities to focus on organisational behaviour, human resource management, organisational change, communication, sustainable business practice, diversity and industrial relations.

Project Management

The Project Management specialisation equips students to understand and apply established and new orientations of project-based work in organisations. Core skills involving ten knowledge areas from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK, Project Management Institute) are developed as students are exposed to contemporary project management challenges. By utilising theoretical and skills-based learning, the specialisation covers a range of project management approaches from structured ones (e.g. PMBoK, PRINCE2) to adaptive ones (e.g. Agile, Lean), set in a variety of contexts. The specialisation includes the compulsory ‘Project Management in Practice’ unit, which emphasises how project management approaches are currently applied in industry.

Quantitative Finance

The Quantitative Finance specialisation is designed for students who want to apply quantitative methods of analysis within a financial context. The specialisation introduces many of the theoretical and analytical tools that are important in modern finance. Students learn techniques for analysing financial data and also the skills needed to build and use models for financial forecasting and decision making. There is an emphasis on spreadsheet methods that can be applied in practice.

Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Strategy is a critical component of a business. Increasingly, a premium is placed on strategists who are able to exploit creativity and innovation to attain competitive advantage. The Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship specialisation focuses on creativity and innovation in strategy formulation and on the importance of formulation being complemented by a strong capability in strategy execution. These factors are investigated in both entrepreneurial and corporate settings. Elective units cover topics such as opportunity identification and business start-ups, managing growth, business restructuring, business negotiations, intellectual property management, managing change, management consulting and the nature of innovative organisations.