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BSc Finance (Sustainable Finance)

At a glance

Locations
Whiteknights campus (Reading)
Subject area(s)
Finance (ICMA Centre)
Duration
3 years (4 years with placement year)
Attendance
Full-time
UCAS Code
N370/N371/N372
Programme Director
Tony Moore
Dr Tony Moore

Overview

It is increasingly important for financial organisations to position their financial practice alongside sustainability. By choosing the BSc Finance (Sustainable Finance) pathway, you will gain insight into topics such as Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. As a graduate, having a firm grasp of Sustainable Finance will be beneficial when entering financial institutions and the wider corporate world.

In your first year you will study core modules introducing you to topics such as Securities and Markets, International Finance and Ethics in Investment Management. You will also take part in your first simulated trading session in our dealing rooms at the ICMA Centre.

In your second year you will build upon your core finance knowledge and incorporate the key principles of sustainable finance.

In the third year you will have the option to apply for either a paid work placement or to study abroad. These are great opportunities to enhance your CV, further develop your skills and apply your knowledge in a real work environment.

In your final year you will advance your study by further exploring topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility and Responsible Investment, looking at the benefits of a forward-thinking approach to finance.

The University of Reading is a member of the CFA University Affiliation Program. This recognises that our Finance degrees are closely tied to the practice of investment management and are helpful to students preparing for the CFA Program exams. Our students can apply for the CFA student scholarship, which offers a fee reduction for the Level I CFA exam.

Year 1

Compulsory modules Credits

Introduces you to the key financial markets, types of money including cryptocurrencies, and sustainable finance focussed on the role of the finance industry in mitigating climate change impact, Exchange mechanisms and the investment banks and investment management houses that operate in these markets and their various functions.

20

This module aims to provide the student with an overview of the financial system. This will include an overview of the role that the financial system plays in the economy, a discussion of some of the main players in the system, the instruments they trade, and the trading prices. Part of the module will focus on capital markets and the private and public financial institutions participating in these markets. The remainder of the module covers the time value of money, longer-term securities like bonds, risky securities like stocks, and the way in which returns and the values of real and financial assets relate to each other. The purpose of the trading simulation part of the module is to introduce students to computer simulation of securities dealing and spreadsheet modelling. Students are taught the relevant theory and will experience how this theory works in a virtual dealing environment.

Academic authors
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
20

An introduction to economics for students of business and finance. The module aims to provide an introduction to both microeconomics and macroeconomics sufficient to help students of business and finance understand the economic forces at play and economic framework that underpins their specific field.

Academic authors
Xi Li
Xi Li
20

This module introduces students to a range of quantitative techniques that are commonly applied in business, finance and management. The module will cover both introductory statistics and mathematical techniques that are necessary for a good understanding of financial theories and to be able to develop and understand the models used in business and finance.

Academic authors
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
20

To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. By the end of the course students will appreciate the ethical standards imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process, and be able to discuss the conflicts between economic efficiency and ethical behaviour. It will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how individuals’ decisions affect trading partners, clients and the market as a whole.

  • Career Management Skills: Provides you with the opportunity to develop self-awareness in the context of career decision making, extends knowledge of the career opportunities that are available to you, and the skills to make effective applications.
Academic authors
Deepa Driver photo
Dr. Deepa Govindarajan Driver
20
20

Year 2

Compulsory modules Credits

This module focuses on corporate value, considering how it is measured and how companies can create value through their strategies, financial decisions and governance practices. The module aims to offer students a good grounding in corporate finance theory and an appreciation of the related empirical evidence. There will be a focus on shareholder value maximisation and alternative corporate objectives, including a consideration of the impact of ownership and control on those objectives.

Academic authors
Dina Ghanma jpeg
Dr Dina Ghanma
20

The module aims to build on the techniques for portfolio selection that have been introduced in the Securities, Futures and Options module. The module examines the issues involved in understanding the investment market, constructing a competitive investment portfolio (of an active, passive or smart beta style), evaluating the performance of that portfolio, and adjusting its composition through time. It will also consider issues revolving around the management of risk. The compulsory, practical project of the course will provide students with hands-on experience in constructing and managing a realistic investment portfolio.

Academic authors
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
20

This module covers the basics of Sustainable Finance, covering applications in financing and

investment activities. The Environmental, Social and Governance factors are covered, and the

relevant policies and international regulations are discussed.

Academic authors
Dina Ghanma jpeg
Dr Dina Ghanma
20
  • Financial Modelling: Provides a rapid introduction to using MS Excel to solve a variety of practical problems related to finance. Many careers in banking and finance now require candidates to possess a strong grounding in spreadsheet modelling and a working knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
Academic authors
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
20

This module provides an overview of the scientific consensus on climate change and its projected social and economic consequences, in order to understand how the financial sector can help to mitigate and manage these impacts. It will discuss how climate change is becoming increasingly central to finance as governmental climate targets are incorporated into regulatory frameworks and investors demand green products and services. The first half of the module will examine the latest projections for how the climate will change and the underlying science, assess how these changes will affect the economy and, ultimately, the financial sector, and consider the response by government and industry. The second half of the module will examine the potential role of the financial sector in mitigating climate change, for instance by directing investment away from carbon-intensive industries and towards more sustainable alternatives, and managing the risks posed by more frequent extreme weather events.

Academic authors
Tony Moore
Dr Tony Moore
20

Students select one option from the following basket

Optional modules Credits

This module introduces students to the econometric techniques that are used in the empirical finance literature. Building on Introductory Quantitative Techniques for Finance module, this module aims to give students a solid understanding of the econometric approaches that are commonly employed to test financial theories.

  • Career Management Skills: Provides you with the opportunity to develop self-awareness in the context of career decision making, extends knowledge of the career opportunities that are available to you, and the skills to make effective applications.
Academic authors
Lisa 1 002
Dr Lisa Schopohl
20
20

The module introduces the students to Object Oriented Programming using Python as

the main programming language, for the purposes of data processing and applications in Finance. It covers the basics of programming, including using conditional statements and loops, process data from files, receive input and display relevant output. Students who complete this course should be able to write simple programming functions in Python, process data files including reading, and modifying and writing data to external files. Additionally, students will learn to read and write to Excel and CSV, connect to databases, obtain and process data from the Web, as well as use Python for Finance and Econometrics applications including developing event-based trading strategies and backtesting & optimising using historical data.

Academic authors
Vu Tran
Dr Vu Tran
20

There are two overall objectives to this module:

  1. To develop an appreciation of the “fixed income” market by exploring traditional and innovative debt instruments and methods of pricing.
  2. Moving to a portfolio context, you will explore how different financial institutions use portfolios of debt instruments to achieve stated objectives.

The module also extends and builds upon the computer simulation of securities dealing that was examined in the Part I module Introductory Finance/Trading Simulation I.

Academic authors
Gail Rolland
20

The module offers an intensive experiential learning opportunity. Students will work on projects for local organisations and businesses to help them build business solutions consistent with their Sustainable Development Goals/corporate social responsibility objectives. In doing so, students will have the opportunity to apply previously taught material in a real-world context

20

Students have the opportunity to select 20 credits from the list of University-wide modules

20

Year 3

Compulsory modules Credits

Introduces you to current techniques for measuring and managing risk in financial institutions. This module will help you to develop critical risk management skills that are now considered indispensable for anyone wanting to undertake a career in the financial sector. Topics include: types of financial risks, bank capital regulation, value-at-risk and expected shortfall, back-testing, variance forecasting, VaR decomposition and minimisation, credit rating systems and credit risk modelling.

20

Designed to combine the theoretical and practical approaches to derivatives pricing and trading. You will gain an overview of derivative securities and markets and a thorough understanding of derivatives pricing and trading. You will also be guided on the use of derivatives data and shown how to apply theoretical models and strategies presented in class through a number of case simulations in the dealing room. The trading cases involve both discrete and continuous time models and will require you to both trade and build hedging portfolios using put and call options.

Academic authors
Yueting Cui
Dr Yueting Cui
20

There is growing recognition of the role business and market-based solutions can play in tackling complex ‘wicked’ global sustainable development challenges, including reducing poverty, protecting vulnerable ecosystems, and facing up to global climate change.This module examines the role of business in society and the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

This module aims to develop students’ awareness and understanding of contemporary debates and practices of and to encourage their reflection on the wider role of business in society and global sustainable development.

20

This is an interactive and practical module aiming to give students a comprehensive introduction to the social enterprise sector.

20

Students select one option from the following basket

Optional modules 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.

Academic authors
Charles Sutcliffe
Professor Charles Sutcliffe
20

The objective of the Private Equity and Venture Capital module is to develop students’ appreciation of the practical aspects of investing by private equity and venture capital firms, understanding the dynamics between the venture capital investor and the entrepreneur, and also the practicalities of raising PE&VC funds from institutional investors. The focus of the module is on venture capital and high-growth ventures from the viewpoints of both the entrepreneur or management team and of the investing institution (general partner), although private equity as a whole is covered (including management buyout transactions) as well as the relationship between the private equity or venture capital firm and its own investors (limited partner institutions). This is a highly practical module; extensive use will be made of case studies and a group project in addition to guest lectures from invited experienced practitioners or entrepreneurs.

Academic authors
Keith Arundale
Dr Keith Arundale
20

This is an applied course with little quantitative content. It deals with one of the most important groups of institutional investors - pension schemes, focussing on occupational pension schemes. Pensions are in a state of crisis and change, and have become the subject of popular debate and controversy. They employ fund managers to invest many £trillions on their behalf. Developing countries, such as China and India, have the potential for an enormous expansion of their pension schemes. Therefore the assets under management of pension schemes globally are likely to increase considerably. The investment of pension funds requires an understanding of how pension schemes work, which is hard to acquire as it has not been taught by educational establishments. This module will provide a detailed knowledge of a major group of institutional investors (pension schemes) and the real would problems they face.

Academic authors
Charles Sutcliffe
Professor Charles Sutcliffe
20

The course is designed to give students a basic practical working knowledge of the hedging and trading of derivative securities, and in particular options. Most textbooks on the subject are either too mathematical/theoretical or too practitioner oriented, and this module attempts to bridge the gap between the two. By the end of the course students should be able to “speak the language” of the derivatives market whilst at the same time have an intuitive grasp of the subject. Whilst option theory is of obvious importance, the emphasis of this course is on practical application – in particular, we will look at the time/risk dynamics of options in a trading environment. The derivatives industry impacts on all sectors of investment banking, and whether or not students choose a career in derivatives trading/sales/research, they will find this course extremely useful. The overriding philosophy of the course is: “learning by doing”.

Academic authors
Michael smith
Dr Michael Smith
20

This module seeks to introduce students to Fintech as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how and why firms are implementing blockchain technology in their day-to-day business as well as the challenges they face. The module also covers cryptocurrencies, their governance and properties behind the most popular cryptocurrencies. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the major areas of FinTech, the ability to understand blockchain technology and why so many firms are implementing the technology, as well to reflect on the history, behaviour and impact cryptocurrencies have had on the financial sector. Students will gain a broad appreciation of recent develops in FinTech, including money and payment, digital finance, alternative finance and importantly FinTech regulation.

Academic authors
Mohammad Shehub Bin Hasan
Mohammad Shehub Bin Hasan
20

This module introduces students to the fundamentals of Machine Learning (ML), which is an important innovation behind many changes in Business and Finance in recent years, and its applications in Business and Finance. Students will learn about Machine Learning in general, including ML algorithms which provide useful tools for extractions of intelligence in the era of big data. The module aims to present topics in ML such as classification, clustering and probabilistic classification models, neural networks, dimensionality reduction, decision trees, K-nearest neighbours, as well as k-means clustering. The module also provides hands-on experience with analysing and solving a variety of practical problems encountered in business and finance using ML. Python will be used as the main programming language in this module. In addition, Structured Query Language (SQL) will be used for managing large datasets. Students will get a chance to reflect on how ML have changed business landscape in recent years.

20
'Responsible Investment and Sustainability Reporting’ provides the students with an understanding of how extra-financial factors play an increasingly important role in the investment process. This is achieved through critical analysis and discussion of the academic and professional status quo, relying heavily on academic and professional research publications.
20

Information systems are the means by which people and organisations, utilising technologies, gather, process, store, use and disseminate information. Digital business makes effective use of information systems to enable organisations to create value throughout the value chain. This module covers key concepts, theories, techniques, and issues towards an e-enterprise.

The aims of this module are to:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of information processed and presented by IT systems in decision-support and management within a business enterprise;
  • Acquire the ability of planning and implementing information systems to support digital transformation of organisations with the awareness of social and technological changes and advances.
  • It emphasises the importance of aligning business and IT strategies through an understanding of the structure and function of information processed by IT systems from both business and technical perspectives.
20

Students have the opportunity to select 20 credits from the list of University-wide modules

20

*The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change. Please note, constraints in timetable scheduling may mean you are unable to take some optional modules at the same time as others.

UK/Home students (2024/25): £9,250

Payment of this fee can be deferred, by means of a tuition fee loan, until after you have finished at university and are earning at least £21,000 (or equivalent) per year. PLEASE NOTE: All fees are set for one year only.

UK/Republic of Ireland fee changes

UK/Republic of Ireland undergraduate tuition fees are regulated by the UK government. These fees are subject to parliamentary approval and any decision on raising the tuition fees cap for new UK students would require the formal approval of both Houses of Parliament before it becomes law.

EU student fees

With effect from 1 August 2021, new EU students will pay international tuition fees. For exceptions, please read the UK government’s guidance for EU students.


Scholarships

The ICMA Centre offers a range of prizes and scholarships to help encourage exceptional students from across the globe to pursue their interest in finance.

Visit the scholarships page for more information.

International Students (2024/25): £27,650

Band 2 courses are programmes that have a significant laboratory or ‘workshop’ content.

These fees cover tuition, matriculation, examination, graduation and membership of the Students’ Union.

Scholarships

The ICMA Centre offers a range of prizes and scholarships to help encourage exceptional students from across the globe to pursue their interest in finance.

Visit the scholarships page for more information.

Careers

Here at the ICMA Centre, we recognise the importance of career development and have integrated specialist career management into the programme, thereby providing our students with a tool kit to help them achieve their career aspirations. Our graduates enter the market with knowledge and skills to enable them to gain excellent careers in areas such as sales and trading, asset management, operations and risk management. Our statistics show that typically more than 90% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduating.

Internships

Through the duration of this course, students are expected to undertake an eight to ten week working internship throughout the summer vacation between the second and third year. This invaluable experience can provide students with excellent experience and skills to add to their CV, as well as the opportunity to network. The ICMA Centre provides assistance in identifying and applying for internships with CV grounding and honing interview techniques.

Accreditations

CFA Institute

CFA Institute

GCSE: English grade B (5) or above.

A and AS Levels: ABB, including grade B in A level or AS Level Mathematics

International Baccalaureate: Achieve 32 points overall. Must include 5 in one of the following subjects: standard level Mathematics; standard level Mathematics: analysis and approaches, standard level Mathematics: applications and interpretations.

We also welcome students with other qualifications e.g. Scottish and Irish Highers and International Foundation Programmes. Please note that the foundation programme must contain a core element of Mathematics.

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 88 with no less than 17 in Listening and Writing, 18 in Reading and 20 in Speaking

IELTS (British Council International English Language Test): Score of 6.5 overall with no less than 5.5 in any component of the test.

Examinations and Assessment

The majority of units are examined with an element of coursework. You must pass your first year examinations in order to proceed to the second year, however these results do not count towards your final degree. The results of your second and third year examinations are combined to form your final degree classification, these are weighted a third and two thirds accordingly.

“National league tables show that Henley Business School consistently provides one of the most satisfying and rewarding student experiences in the UK.” Professor John Board, Dean.

Part of the University of Reading and the triple-accredited Henley Business School, the ICMA Centre has a global reputation for its excellence in undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education in finance, as well as professional and policy development research and consultancy.

Based in University of Reading’s award-winning Whiteknights campus – a short train ride from London, the financial capital of the world – the ICMA Centre is the product of the first active collaboration between the securities industry and a university finance department.

Find out more about:

Our pathways have been designed to allow you to focus your degree even further and tailor it to your specific interests. Here is a guide to help you understand them.

In year one of your studies you will focus on gaining core knowledge in Finance and the financial services industry. The content of the first year will be the same for all pathways as well as the general BSc Finance degree. At the end year one you will be able to transfer to a pathway of your choice or continue general programme. You are not tied to a specific pathway at this point.

Year of study % weight of modules
Year 1 100% compulsory modules (all pathways)

In year two you will gain a more in-depth understanding of Finance. You will now start to focus your degree further with modules that are specific to the pathway of your choice, as well as choose optional modules. At the end of the second year, you will not be able to choose a different pathway again, although you will have the opportunity to transfer back to the general programme.

Year of study % weight of modules
Year 2 50% compulsory modules (all pathways)
50% mix of compulsory and/or optional modules (pathway dependent)

Between your second and final year you will have the option to do a work placement or study abroad year. Opting for the year can be beneficial for your career prospects and considerably enhance your CV, setting you on the right path for a successful career.

Year of study
Study Abroad/Placement Year

In your final year you will consolidate your knowledge, ready for you entering the world of work. You will have more flexibility with optional modules, with compulsory modules still relevant to the pathway you have chosen.

Year of study % weight of modules
Final year 33.3% compulsory modules (all pathways)
66.6% mix of compulsory and/or optional modules (pathway dependent)

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