Master of Science
Ulster University Business School
Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
A fast-track qualification for non-finance graduates seeking employment in the rapidly growing financial services sector.
This programme is intensive and allows highly motivated graduates to ‘skill into’ the wholesale financial services sector and is designed for those with a business or cognate discipline (law, economics, computing etc.). A unique aspect of the programme is the option to undertake a placement with a wholesale financial firm. Such placements are subject to interview by the firm and cannot be guaranteed by the University.
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The full-time duration of the programme is normally one calendar year comprising three semesters. The programme is modular in design, with students taking 8 modules to obtain the Postgraduate Diploma and an additional dissertation, or work-based project, to achieve the award of MSc.
The structure of the course is as follows:
Financial Reporting & Analysis
Financial Markets, Institutions and Operations
Risk Management Practices
Derivatives and Alternative Investments
Research Methods in Finance
Either an academic dissertation or work placement report (the choice will be determined by whether the student undertakes placement).
Normally Pg Certificate (four months); Pg Diploma (nine months); Dissertation (four months); Placement (six months.
Pg Diploma element (150 effort hours per module).
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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This module provides an understanding of financial reporting and analysis relevant to the financial services industry. The module will enhance students' knowledge of the financial reporting environment and provide students' with the requisite knowledge necessary to undertake study of and work within the financial services industry. Subjects covered include income statements, balance sheets, taxation, the accounting regulatory framework, analysis of financial reports and financial reporting governance issues.
This module aims to provide students with the micro and macro economic tools required to understand market behaviour, business performance and the economic environment within which businesses function, in preparation for a career in the financial services industry.
This module provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to understand and apply financial mathematics, introduces the economic rationale for the existence and functioning of global financial markets, develops knowledge of the global financial services industry, financial assets, investment products & settlement processes.
This module develops students' quantitative and qualitative research skills. It begins with an overview of the philosophy of scientific research. Data categorisation, descriptive statistics and exploratory data analysis are then introduced as the building blocks for subsequent quantitative analysis. Probability theory and probability distributions provides the foundation for a firm understanding of multivariate analysis, while also equipping students with a powerful framework for understanding and modelling various data generating processes. It concludes with a synthesis of issues related to developing a research proposal and writing the subsequent research report.
This module provides an understanding of the regulatory and compliance issues regarding financial institutions, instruments and employees, with specific focus on the UK. Subjects covered within the module include the regulatory environment, the Financial Services Authority, codes of conduct and domestic and international regulatory legislation.
This module builds upon the financial markets and investments module to develop further students' academic and professional competencies to prepare them for a career in financial services. It enhances students' knowledge of valuation theory and develops the necessary analytical skills for valuing spot and derivative markets securities. An understanding of trading strategies and their consequent payoffs, in conjunction with a practical understanding and knowledge of the financial markets and institutions involved in issuing, trading and the settlement of securities is also developed.
The module provides a deeper understanding of fund management, the role of the fund manager, the tools at the disposal of the fund manager and the dynamics of the fund management environment. Subjects examined within the module include: fund construction and performance measurement, equity and bond fund management, risk management and market efficiency and the implications of behavioural finance.
The objective of the module is to provide students with a broad understanding of the general principles of risk in business, the key risks encountered by organisations operating within the financial services industry, the influence of corporate governance, regulation and codes of conduct, and the approaches typically used to identify, reduce and manage specific aspects of risk. The module will extensively assess previous risk events to both illustrate previous deficiencies and to identify the potential for future enhancements to risk management.
This module is optional
The dissertation module integrates and further develops the knowledge and skills acquired within the taught element of the programme. The module specifically allows the student to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to undertake a research dissertation investigating a topic relevant to the financial services sector and of interest to the student. The dissertation topic will vary, depending on the interests of the student and expertise of staff.
This module is optional
The Work-based project module integrates and further develops the knowledge and skills acquired within the taught element of the programme. The module specifically allows the student to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to undertake a project relevant to the financial services sector and of interest to the student. The project topic will vary, depending on the requirements of the financial services organisation that instigates the project.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must have gained Lower Second Class Honours in a business or cognate discipline, however graduates of any discipline will be considered. In recent years graduates of chemistry, physics, law, politics and software engineering have completed the program.
Candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence of their English language competence (minimum IELTS score of 6.0, or equivalent).
General English language entry requirement for most programmes of study require you to have a minimum of IELTS equivalent 6.0 (with no contributing band of less than 5.5).
Our Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT) is a specialised unit providing English language teaching and support for registered students who have English as an additional language.
Individual courses may require a higher level of attainment - please check course entry requirements individually.
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The programme is primarily structured to aid graduates in gaining employment in the wholesale financial services sector, but would also provide a base for further research based study at PhD level. A wide range of placement opportunities are available including CitiGroup, PWC Augment, EY Pearson and MTS Wealth in Belfast with other options being available in Dublin.
The programme is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) and graduates of the programme will be entitled to associate membership of the CISI and exemptions from the following CISI exams (CISI level in brackets): Securities and Investments (IOC); Derivatives (Certificate); and Fund Management (Diploma).
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Citi Group - Highest performing student on placement within Citi Group
Fund-Axis Global Investment Management Award - Highest Perfoming Student
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Admissions contact regarding application process: