Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit highlights the importance of financial literacy in personal financial decision making. It reflects the increased financial responsibility that students face in areas including debt accumulation, financial product selection and retirement savings decisions. Students explore a range of topics including the impact of behavioural biases that are a natural part of decision making, with a view to exploring the impact these biases can have on financial decisions. Students are introduced to time value of money, with examples of the dramatic impact of compounding on both debt and equity. This introduction includes analysis of the cost of credit card debt, loans and mobile phone contracts. Students critique the concept of human capital, with a view to identifying their own human capital and understanding the part that education plays in creating this capital. They explore the interaction between consumption smoothing, debt and investing, along with planning for retirement within the present Australian superannuation system. Students create their own personal balance sheet and a simple plan for their financial future and write a reflective journal concerning this task as part of the unit.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the impact of the time value of money for borrowing and investing; (2) identify the role of biases that can adversely affect their financial decisions; (3) contrast the roles of human and financial capital in spending, saving/investment and borrowing behaviours; (4) explain the concepts of consumption smoothing and evaluate the role within a financial plan; (5) identify the role of long term savings (e.g. for education, housing, retirement); (6) develop written communication skills with the completion of a reflective journal; and (7) identify the steps in the financial planning process and components of a financial plan.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation (20%)

; (2) assignment (20%); and (3) examinations (60%). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Paul Gerrans
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials/seminars/workshops: up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.