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Course content

This practitioner-oriented Master’s degree provides students with a practical and theoretical foundation for successful careers in risk management, compliance, regulation and allied work streams within the financial services industry. Skills are developed through creating a broader understanding of financial firm risk-taking, accountability, governance.

The emphasis is on a deep analysis of mainstream and critical authorship. We will challenge current and past thinking on the role of financial institutions and markets. The programme particularly encourages students to examine regulatory structures and concepts in the context of recent and past financial crises.

Students will build the skills and knowledge needed to gain an understanding of financial reform processes and their consequences for markets around the world. Rigorous classroom teaching coupled with extensive reading provides students with a sound theoretical basis. An understanding of substantive legal issues is also developed.

Contributions by industry and regulatory experts introduces students to the nuances of real world application of theoretical constructs. Practical case studies, current legal positions and interactive student discussions or presentations are used in most lectures. In addition legal, academic, practitioner and regulatory input is gained through specialist guest lectures and visits as per the ability of the year-group.

Key topics

Some key topics taught within this degree include:

  • The causes and consequences of risk-taking – an in-depth understanding of the financial crisis
  • Solvency II, Basel, UCITS, company law and corporate governance requirements
  • The roles, structure and responsibilities of key regulatory and supervisory bodies including the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, IAIS, IOSCO, European Systemic Risk Board, SEC, FINRA, UK FSA and its successors, Bank of England and other central banks, EBA, ESMA, EIOPA, BaFin, global, regional and national regulators.
  • Risk appetite and the role of the Board of Directors, Chief Risk Officer and Senior Management
  • How to build a risk management framework and a compliance plan
  • Rationales for regulation and optimal regulatory structures
  • Prudential and conduct of business controls
  • Stakeholders and the consequences of regulatory and governance failures


  • Gain European and international insights by learning from and sharing ideas with finance & regulatory practitioners and respected academics
  • Engage with a range of critical and mainstream views 
  • Stand out from the crowd when applying from jobs by develop your own unique and informed voice
  • Broaden your international exposure with practice-centred teaching attuned to the workplace through case-studies, simulations and interactive discussions
  • Benefit from specialist seminars and class interactions, giving you the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and the ability to work with diverse groups 

Course structure

October – December: Part 1 Autumn Term

January: Part 1 Exams

January-April: Part 2 Spring Term

May – June: Part 2 Exams

June – August (12 month programme only): Part 3

August/Sep (12 month programme only): Part 3 Coursework deadlines

Course content

Part 1 compulsory modules

Part 2 compulsory modules

Part 3 optional modules

Students on the 12-months programme should choose one from the following:

Learning options

Full-time: 9 months Full-time: 12 months

Students will be resident and undertake full-time study in the UK. Under both, the 9 and 12-month programmes students take compulsory and/or elective modules in Part 2.

The 12 month option involves taking an elective 20 credit module between July and August, which would also mean a 20 credit reduction in the number of taught modules taken in the spring term.


The financial services sector has an ever-expanding need for graduates trained in the fundamentals of compliance, governance and regulation. This increasing demand has been fuelled by implementation of a number and rules and laws, including the EU Market Abuse Directive, Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID), global standards such as Basel II, and the FSA and US regulators’ focus on principles-based regulation, all of which require significant in-house compliance resources.

With recent explosive growth in capital markets such as China,India, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, combined with the increasing complexity of financial products and a growing sophistication on the part of investors and market participants, there are immense challenges facing institutions, compliance professionals within them and regulators.

Our graduates are in a very strong position to build successful careers in the compliance or legal divisions of investment banks, fund managers and hedge funds, retail banking institutions and other market participants.

Find out more about graduate destinations and career opportunities on our Henley Careers page

Professional accreditation

CISI Diploma

The ICMA Centre is a Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) Centre of Excellence. Centres of Excellence are a select group of UK universities, recognised by the CISI as offering leadership in academic education on financial markets. Students who are on a financially-related masters course recognised by the CISI are eligible for exemptions and membership. 

ICMA Centre students who register and successfully complete two CISI Diploma in Capital Markets modules (Securities and Bonds & Fixed Interest Markets) are eligible for an exemption from the third module (Financial Markets).

ICMA Fixed Income Certificate

To obtain the requisite knowledge to pass the rigorous FIC exam, students are required to take the ICMA Centre Fixed Income Cash and Derivatives Markets module at Part 2. In order to receive the FIC certificate, students will need to register and pass the FIC exam through ICMA.

Visit the Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance MSc page on the University of Reading website for more details!




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