Introduction to Finance

Gautam Kaul, University of Michigan

This course will introduce you to frameworks and tools to measure value; both for corporate and personal assets. It will also help you in decision-making, again at both the corporate and personal levels.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  This course is being discontinued after the current session June 1 - mid September is over. The content has been translated into the first two courses of a new specialization we are launching titled "Introduction to Finance: Valuation and Investing" offered by Professors Gautam Kaul and Qin Lei. The specialization has been motivated by two specific kinds of feedback consistently provided by learners over the past three years who have enrolled in this MOOC: to make the content more modular, while also providing advanced frameworks and applications. There are two introductory courses based on this MOOC, and we have added two more advanced and applied courses. All learners interested in the Introduction to Finance MOOC should enroll in the specialization instead;  the first course launches on September 15, 2015.  For more information please visit the Specialization site. If you are enrolled in the next session of this MOOC, Coursera will batch-enroll all leaners in the first course of the specialization. Anyone can choose to unenroll at any time of course.
About the original MOOC:This course is primarily devoted to the fundamental principles of valuation. We will learn and apply the concepts of time value of money and risk to understand the major determinants of value creation. We will use both theory and real world examples to demonstrate how to value any asset.

Subtitles for all video lectures available in: Chinese (provided by Yeeyan), English, Portuguese (Lemann Foundation), and Ukrainian (Pinchuk Foundation)


See the detailed Syllabus. Please note that based on feedback we have received following our first offering of the course, we have decided to extend the duration to fifteen weeks for this, and all subsequent offerings.

Recommended Background

This is a tough issue.  I do not believe in prerequisites, except for a sense of curiosity and an attitude. Having said that, exposure to economics (the mother discipline of finance), accounting (the language of business), and/or algebra and statistics (we all need it) will clearly help.  I will however try and cover everything starting with fundamentals and will highlight when there is a need for you to do some further work in specific subjects.  In fact, I hope the class will motivate you to learn more.  I believe that learning usually happens when you are motivated by a curiosity to understand something.

Suggested Readings

For information on the suggested readings, please see the detailed syllabus.

Course Format

The class will consist of videos, broken up into bite-size pieces with their lengths varying based on the topic. Almost every video segment will have opportunities for you to assess your knowledge. You are strongly encouraged to take every opportunity to work on the problems/examples before you view my analysis. There will also be standalone assignments every week that are not part of videos, and a (not optional) final exam. Doing the assignments is the way you will learn the material.


  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate signed by the instructor.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    Please see detailed Syllabus and watch the recent video about the class.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    How finance is all about life.

  • 5 October 2015, 15 weeks
  • 1 June 2015, 15 weeks
  • 2 February 2015, 15 weeks
  • 6 October 2014, 15 weeks
  • 2 June 2014, 15 weeks
  • 3 February 2014, 15 weeks
  • 7 October 2013, 15 weeks
  • 3 June 2013, 15 weeks
  • 28 January 2013, 15 weeks
  • 23 July 2012, 13 weeks
  • Details to be announced
Course properties:
  • Free:
  • Paid:
  • Certificate:
  • MOOC:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Email-course:
  • Language: English Gb


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