MSc Investment Banking and Islamic Finance

This degree is a first in the UK and aims to respond to the growing interest in Islamic Finance, which is evidenced by a continuous increase in Islamic Banking services, Islamic Investment and other financial services based on Islamic principles.

INCEIF LogoThe degree is taught jointly with INCEIF (International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance), Kuala Lumpur and has many key benefits including:

  • Available via two methods of delivery: 12 months including a period studying at INCEIF in Kuala Lumpur, and 9 months at Reading only which includes a compulsory research project
  • Jointly taught with a respected university in Islamic Finance
  • First degree in UK with Islamic material taught by Islamic specialists
  • Professional qualification from INCEIF
  • Opportunity to study in Kuala Lumpur for 3 months

The degree will not require any previous knowledge of Islamic Law or specific Islamic concepts but will address and explain the respective current issues within their overall Islamic economic and legal context.

Among the teaching staff are two leaders in the field of Islamic Finance: Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim who is the Secretary-General of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and Simon Archer whose research focuses on Islamic financial institutions and is co-editor of the book Miller European Accounting and Islamic Finance: Innovation and Growth.

All students will qualify for exemptions from parts of the Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) qualification from INCEIF if they successfully pass the MSc programme.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements

Undergraduate Degree
Minimum 2:1 or the equivalent from an overseas institution*.
Degree Discipline
Any discipline – no quantitative requirement.
No requirement.

* Please note that due to increasing competition for places on our Masters programmes our entry requirements may change.

We operate a rolling admissions system and you are therefore advised to apply early in order to be sure of your place on our programmes. We experience high levels of demand, and it is possible we might have to close applications to some programmes once places are filled.

English requirements

If English is not your first language, you may be required to take one of the following:

TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language): Overall score of 100 with no less than 20 in Listening, Writing and Reading and 21 in Speaking

IELTS (British Council International English Language Test): Score of 6.5 overall with no component less than 6 when attending the 6-week pre-sessional English course offered by the University of Reading. Entry to this pre-sessional course with a score of 6.5 fulfils your English language requirement.

Please note that students not attending a Pre-Sessional course will need to pass IELTS with an overall score of 7 and no component less than 6.0. For more options please see the International Study and Language Website or email a member of the Postgraduate Admissions team.


For more details, contact:


Fees 2014-15

Msc Investment Banking and Islamic Finance (12 month option incl. Malaysia) £21,000
MSc Investment Banking and Islamic Finance (9 month UK only option) £20,000

Fees are the same for both EU and overseas students.

Living expenses are in addition to the above fees. Overseas full-time participants can expect to spend approximately £9,400 on additional living expenses during the course of their studies. Home/EU full-time participants can expect to spend approximately £8,000 on additional living expenses during the course of their studies. Flexible participants can expect to spend approximately £5,000 during their part 2 studies.

Please note that the living expenses detailed in the paragraph above are for study at the University of Reading, details of living expenses in Kuala Lumpur will be available in due course.

How to Apply

Full-Time MSc Applications

The ICMA Centre operates on a rolling admissions basis, meaning that prospective students can apply for our programmes throughout the year, however we do advise to apply early in the year. We aim to return a decision within 4-6 weeks of receiving your application.

Full-time applicants can apply online.

Learning Options

Learning Options

This programme is available via two methods of delivery:

1. With overseas study components at INCEIF. On this option, students will spend the three ordinary terms at Reading and then attend a fourth term (studying 20 credits) from June to August at INCEIF (the Global University in Islamic Finance) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At INCEIF students will also benefit from combinations of industry visits, a one day Capital Market Course by the Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC), and industry talks.

2. Full time in Reading. This option involves the completion of a compulsory Research Project (20 credits) in the Spring term and the programme is completed in 9 months, with graduation in July.

Full-time: 12 months (Students will be resident and under take full-time study in the UK and Malaysia)

Full-time: 9 months (Students will be resident and undertake full-time study in the UK only)

Oct-Dec 2013: Part 1 - ICMA Centre, University of Reading, UK
Jan 2014: Part 1 Exams, Reading, UK
Jan - Apr 2014: Part 2 - ICMA Centre, University of Reading, UK
May 2014: Part 2 Exams, Reading, UK
Jun-Aug 2014: Part 2 - INCEIF, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Aug 2014: Part 2 Exams - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Is there an application fee?
Yes, there is a £30 application fee (one charge regardless of how many courses you apply for). You can pay this by card at (please contact us if you require details of alternative payment methods).

Can I apply for more than one course?
Yes, you are welcome to apply for more than one course. Please also note that if we cannot offer you a place on your chosen course we may suggest a suitable alternative. If you wish to discuss which courses may best suit your career aspirations you are welcome to contact our careers team. You can find more details at

Will I need to take an English test i.e. IELTS or TOEFL?
An English test may be required. You would be advised of this if we were to make you an offer. You would also be advised of Pre-Sessional courses available. English conditions are monitored by the Postgraduate Admissions office. If you have a question regarding English please contact

I have a conditional offer but have not met my academic conditions. Can I keep my place on the course?
If your results are much lower than our requirements we may not be able to offer you a place. However, if you only missed out by a small amount we will ask the admissions team to review your results and make a decision. This will take a few days although we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Can I defer my place?
We usually allow deferrals for one year. Please email if you wish to request a deferral.

Will I have to pay a deposit?
Yes, we require a non-refundable £1000 deposit within six weeks of receiving your offer recommendation. We advise waiting for your official offer (listing all conditions) before paying this. Please notify us when you have paid your deposit so that we do not send you any reminders.

What will I need to make an application?
You will need a card to pay the £30 fee (please contact us if you require alternative payment methods). The very least we need, aside from your completed application form and fee, is a current academic transcript. All other items can be set as conditions to be met at a later date (e.g. degree certificate, references etc).

Do you need references?
Yes, we require 2 references. If you have been out of education for longer than 5 years we are happy to accept professional references from a current manager/supervisor. When submitting your online application you will be asked to enter contact details for your referees. The application system will then send an automated request to your referees. Please note that if you have entered their personal email address (rather than professional), we will require the references to be uploaded on professional headed paper.

How many intakes do you have per year?
Our Full-Time courses only have one intake – September.

Will I need to take a GMAT?
We will need to assess your application to determine whether a GMAT is necessary. A GMAT condition tends to be applied when there is not sufficient evidence of a satisfactory level of numeracy or if candidates have been out of education for a significant period of time. We advise submitting an application as early as possible so that you have plenty of time to satisfy this condition if applied to your offer.

Are there any courses which do not have a quantitative requirement?
Yes, a GMAT is not required for the following courses:


  • MSc Capital Markets, Regulation & Compliance
  • MSc International Shipping & Finance
  • MSc Investment Banking & Islamic Finance

Please note that we do not assign a GMAT condition for MSc Financial Engineering applications as we require a quantitative degree for admission.

What is the application deadline?
We have not set an absolute deadline yet but recommend applying before the end of June to ensure there is enough time to complete all administrative procedures.

How do I apply?
Please submit an online application at . You will be prompted to upload your documents.

How long will the decision take?
We aim to give you a decision within 5-10 working days. It can be shorter or longer than this depending on the time of year. Offers need to be confirmed by Postgraduate Admissions; this takes a further 2-3 weeks after we give you the offer recommendation.

You have recommended that I am made an offer but I have not received my official offer yet. Why is this?
It usually takes 2-3 weeks for Postgraduate Admissions to confirm an offer and give you further details of your conditions etc. We ask you to be patient during this time. However, if it has been longer than 3 weeks, please email us at and we will follow it up for you. Before you do this please check the email has not gone to your SPAM folder.

Why have I been rejected?
The most common reason that we cannot offer a place is that the admissions team do not feel that you meet our entry requirements. If you wish to question this, you are welcome to email to request feedback. We also reject applications if they are not completed within a certain time frame (usually 1-2 months) – we will send you reminders before this point.

How many students do you take?
Our student numbers vary year to year but we tend to have around 200-350 Postgraduate students and 50-60 Undergraduates. We also co-teach for degrees offered by other departments.

Does the ICMA Centre have a code for the TOEFL/GMAT exam?
The TOEFL code for the University of Reading is 0769 and our GMAT reference is SH0-BR-04

Can I pay my Tuition fee in instalments?
We can offer two instalments – half to be paid before the start of the course and half before the start of part 2. 

Additional information


Careers in Islamic Finance

IBIF graduates will benefit from a thorough understanding of Western banking practices allied to the principles of Islamic Finance. There is a growing demand from financial institutions worldwide for specialist professionals trained in the techniques of Islamic Finance. We expect our graduates will pursue rewarding careers with investment banks in a diverse range of fields, including corporate and project finance, specialist structured products and derivatives, trade finance, sales and trading.

In addition, they will be well-qualified to join specialist Islamic financial institutions, regulatory agencies, investment managers, consultancies and the finance divisions of multinational corporations.

For more information regarding graduate destinations, please visit

Professional Development and Accreditation

Professional Development

ICMA International Fixed Income and Derivatives (IFID) Certificate

Students who successfully complete this degree including the module International Securities Markets will be granted this certificate.

Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP)

The degree covers the materials necessary to qualify for Part 1.

Further information is available regarding exemptions in MScs and Professional Qualifications.

Module listing and descriptions

NB. All our Masters degrees comprise a total of 180 credits: 80 credits at Part One and 100 credits at Part Two. Please note that module titles or content may vary each year.

Part 1 Modules

Part 1 Modules

Securities, Futures and Options

Module convenors: Mr Rohit Sonika  | Mr Yeqin Zeng  | 20 credits

Introduces techniques for analysing and valuing different classes of risky assets. It also develops ways of optimally selecting portfolios of such assets and develops models of how these portfolios may be priced in financial markets. The techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme. The module includes simulated trading sessions in our state of the art dealing rooms, where participants are introduced to real world pricing and trading strategies (INVEST sessions).

Outline Content: Financial assets and investing in securities markets; Investors and their objectives; Risk and capital allocation; Optimal portfolio selection; Capital asset pricing model; Single index and multifactor models; Arbitrage pricing theory; Derivative securities and the no-arbitrage principle; Forwards and Futures contracts; Simple hedging; Options basic properties and trading strategies.

Fixed Income and Equity Investments

Module convenor: Dr George Alexandridis20 credits

Fixed Income and Equity Investments deals with the valuation of fixed income and equity securities. The module focuses on the basic characteristics of each security and the strategies used for approximating their fundamental value and assessing their risk. Its primary aim is to discuss how certain characteristics and relationships can affect the value of fixed income and equity securities and how can they be exploited to form optimal investment strategies. The analytical techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme.

Outline Content: An introduction to securities,  Applying time-value-of-money (TVM) and probability theory to value financial instruments,  Bond prices and yields, Introduction to default risk, Term Structure of Interest Rates, Interest rate risk, Active Bond Management,  Economic and Industry analysis, Financial Statement Analysis, Equity Valuation, Behavioural Finance and Technical analysis   *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Financial Markets

Module convenors: Dr Alfonso Dufour  | Professor Brian Scott-Quinn  | 20 credits

Provides knowledge of global financial markets, the importance of liquidity, the distinction between exchange versus OTC markets, primary and secondary markets and the role of intermediaries in their various forms. Participants will gain an understanding of: international stock and bond markets, repo markets (for borrowing/lending on a secured basis); an introduction to foreign exchange and money markets, and to futures markets (which are developed in more detail in optional Part 2 modules); finally specific markets for commodity and energy are studied in more detail. Outline content
  • General introduction to world financial markets
  • Liquidity, the distinction between exchange versus OTC markets and the role of intermediaries in their various forms
  • Short-term debt securities issued by government and corporations
  • Classification of bonds according to issuer: government, agencies, corporate and municipa
  • Comparison of bond markets in major countries and a description of the main intermediaries and their role
  • Foreign exchange market, quotation conventions, types of brokers, central banks? policies
  • Primary and secondary stock markets
  • Futures markets
  • Commodities markets
  • Energy markets.
  *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Introductory Quantitative Methods for Finance

Module convenor: Dr Ogonna Nneji10 credits

The objective of the module is to give students an introduction to econometrics so that they might understand the analytical techniques used in the finance research literature. Via case studies and computer modelling exercises, students then learn how to apply these techniques to real data. Emphasis is placed on practical applications of the techniques in the global financial markets.

Outline Content: Simple linear regression, Hypothesis testing, Multiple regression: the Classical Linear Regression Model (CLRM), Violations of the CLRM assumptions and diagnosis  *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

The Principles of Islamic Commercial Jurisprudence and the Nominate Contracts

Module convenor: Volker Nienhaus10 credits

Provides students with the opportunity to study the juristic basis of Islamic finance, and the nominate contracts that are set out in Islamic commercial jurisprudence (the Fiqh al Muamalat). Students will develop an understanding of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence and its nominate contracts, and how these are applied in Shari’ah compliant financial products and services.
Outline content:
  • The origins of Islamic commercial jurisprudence
  • Prohibitions to be respected in order for Islamic contracts to be valid:
  • Avoidance of riba (pure return on money), maysir (speculation), and gharar (uncertainty or ambiguity of subject matter)
  • The frequently used nominate contracts
  • Overview of Islamic financial products and their basis in nominate contracts (see Module 255)
  • Shari’ah governance of Islamic financial institutions
  • The IFSB Guidelines on Shari’ah governance
*Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Part 2 - Reading

Part 2 Modules (Compulsory)

Corporate Finance

Module convenor: Dr Carol Padgett20 credits

The objective of the module is to introduce students to the main financial decisions taken by companies, examining how those decisions influence the market's valuation of companies. Outline content: The corporate form and initial public offerings, Valuation: management and measurement of value, Capital budgeting: decisions on fixed assets, Treasury function 1: working capital management and risk management, Treasury function 2: new issues, Treasury function 3: capital structure continued, Dividend policy: dividends and share repurchases, Mergers and acquisitions, De-mergers and leveraged transactions, Bankruptcy. *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Design, Implementation and Risk Aspects of Islamic Financial Products and Services

Module convenor: Professor Simon Archer20 credits

Provides students with the opportunity to study the application of Shari'ah principles and nominate contracts in the design of financial products and services that are Shari'ah compliant, as well as the risk characteristics of these products and services, with particular reference to Islamic banks and insurance (Takaful) undertakings. Outline content:
  • Review of Shari'ah principles - Fiqh al Muamalat
  • Islamic banking products and their basis in nominate contracts - Islamic financing (asset side)
  • Islamic banking products and their basis in nominate contracts - Islamic funds mobilisation (liabilities & capital side)
  • Islamic securities (sukuk)
  • Risk management and capital adequacy aspects
  • Islamic insurance (Takaful):  its basic principles and basis in Fiqh al Muamalat
  • Takaful basic principles and basis in Fiqh al Muamalat
  • Supervisory and regulatory considerations
  *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

The Financial Analysis of Islamic Financial Institutions

Module convenor: Professor Simon Archer10 credits

The module provides students with the knowledge required to analyse financial information on Islamic banks and insurance undertakings. Students will develop the skills enabling them to make judgements regarding the financial position and performance of Islamic banks and insurance companies.
Outline content:
  1. The financial statements of Islamic banks and insurance undertakings
  2. The differences between these and those of conventional banks and insurers
  3. Financial reporting issues and standards
  4. Evaluating profitability and solvency
  5. Valuation techniques for Islamic banks
*Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Islamic Financial Institutions and Markets

Module convenor: INCEIF Faculty10 credits

Develops deeper analytical and theoretical insights of the two main components that constitute the Islamic financial system and a full comprehension of the various financial systems and institutions that operates in the Muslim countries. Students will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the historical evolutions of financial institutions and markets. Students should also be able to compare and contrast conventional and Islamic Financial Institutions and also identify the similarities and differences between the approach taken by different countries with Islamic Finance Institutions and markets.
Outline content:
  • Functions of Financial Institutions and Markets
  • An Overview of the Global Financial System
  • The History and development of Islamic Financial Institutions
  • The Islamic Financial System of Selected Muslim Countries
  • The Islamic Financial Institutions (Covering History & Organisation, Function and Product & Services)
  • The Similarities and Differences of Islamic Financial Institutions in Selected Muslim Countries
  • Islamic Financial Markets (Covering Function & Organisation, Mechanism, Regulators & Regulations and Development)
  • The Monetary Authority / Central Bank.
  *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Research Project

Module convenor: Professor Charles Sutcliffe20 credits

The aim of the research project is to allow students to define and execute a piece of research in finance on a topic of their choice, with direction from an academic supervisor and with assistance from a doctoral student support supervisor. The Learning Outcomes of this module are:
  • Successful completion of the research project requires students to define and execute a piece of research in finance.
  • They will be required to seek out and to critically evaluate published literature in a particular field.
  • Students will improve their report-writing skills, learning how to structure their study, and how to place their findings in the wider context
 *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Plus a choice of one of the following modules.

Essentials of Financial Engineering

Module convenor: Dr Konstantina Kappou10 credits

This module provides an introduction to the basic techniques employed in Financial Engineering; from replication of cash flows, to asset valuation under no-arbitrage assumptions and the law of one price. Students will understand how these methods can be applied to design securities with desired payoff characteristics. They will be able to evaluate complex securities by means of reverse engineering and be aware of possible problems when these methods are applied to real world situations.  Outline content: Introduction to Financial Engineering, cash flow engineering, basic financial products, interest and forward rates, no-arbitrage and the law of one price; Pricing and hedging by replication, major interest rate (IR) swap structures, IR swaps, currency forwards and cross currencies FX-swaps, options; Structured products, introduction and evaluation; Dynamic strategies for hedging and principal protection; Credit markets: CDS engineering, credit indices and CDO's. *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes. *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

International Securities Markets

10 credits

International Securities Markets applies general valuation risk assessment methods to: fixed income securities, derivatives and markets. It describes the basic characteristics of each fixed-income security, cash and underlying, and develops practical strategies for finding its value and assessing its risk. It also considers how the markets for these securities are related and begins the task of showing how these relationships can be exploited for trading or investment. The analytical techniques introduced in this module are very applied to allow the successful candidate to apply directly to industry the more theoretical market valuation and risk models learned in other core modules taken in the first term.

Outline Content: Fixed income Analysis, Rates Trading and Hedging I, Rates Trading and Hedging II, Credit Analysis and Products I, Credit Analysis and Products II   *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Topics in Financial Regulation

Module convenor: Miss Deepa Govindarajan20 credits

This module provides an overview of the purpose and operation of financial regulation, and the consequences of financial sector reform for different markets, including those of the students’ home country. The module aims to deliver a broad insight into the key challenges for financial regulation particularly in the light of changes to the financial architecture in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007. *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Part 2 - Kuala Lumpur

Part 2 Modules at Kuala Lumpur

Compulsory for students visiting Kuala Lumpur

Islamic Economics

Module convenor: INCEIF Faculty10 credits

Provides students with a critical understanding of Islamic economy by considering the implications of the application of Shariah law for the economic and financial systems, drawing upon Islamic principles and the philosophy developed by Muslim thinkers. Students will be able to demonstrate a critical appreciation of how theory underpins the ethical basis of Islamic finance. Outline content
  • An Overview Of Islamic And Conventional Economics And Finance Theories
  • Economic Doctrines of Islam
  • Islamic Economic System
  • Wealth Creation and Mobilization
  • Role of Government in the Economy
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Behaviour of Producer or Entrepreneur
  • Risks and Returns
  • Islamic Business Ethics
  • Money from Islamic Perspective
  • Economic Thoughts of Muslim Thinkers
  *Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Wealth Planning and Management

Module convenor: INCEIF Faculty10 credits

Introduces students to the best ways of managing, investing and distributing wealth in accordance with the Islamic laws. This module also discusses the issues related to wealth planning such as tax matters, relevant institutions and the code of conduct for professionals involved in this industry. Students will be able to compare the similarities and differences between conventional and Islamic wealth management concepts. Outline content
  • Wealth Creation and Mobilisation from Conventional and Islamic Perspectives
  • Nature and Scope of Wealth Planning
  • Wealth Allocation Process
  • Investment in Real Estate
  • Investment in Securities
  • Insurance and Takaful Scheme
  • Estate Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Taxation Planning and Management
  • Issues Related to Wealth Planning and Management
*Please note this module may not be available on all programmes

Come and see us

Why not make an appointment to come and visit. You can chat with our Admissions and Careers teams and a member of academic staff. Email or call +44 (0)118 378 8239.

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