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Course Content

Course content

The primary aim of the MSc in International Shipping and Finance (ISF) is to address the educational needs of the rapidly evolving, highly competitive and capital intensive shipping industry, by bridging the gap between academic theory and business practice.

The programme is designed to provide a unique educational experience that combines research-led, technically advanced teaching by world-renowned academic faculty and senior industry practitioners. The shipping industry itself is highly involved in shaping its structure and contributing to its delivery as well as the career development of its participants. The delivery of this programme is based on a practice centred, hands-on approach. The ultimate objective is to ensure that graduates are equipped with the knowledge, technical expertise and skills required by major employers in the sector. 

You will gain an in-depth understanding of how the shipping and financial markets interact and complement each other. You will specialise in the analysis of shipping markets and cycles, maritime trade patterns and commodities carried by sea, chartering and ship-broking practices, maritime logistics systems, legal aspects in shipping, the selection of alternative shipping finance and investment methods as well as the development, implementation and appraisal of shipping related risk management strategies. You will also gain exposure to securities trading, corporate transactions, valuation, investment strategies and quantitative techniques.

Students on the MSc ISF programme also benefit from our partnership with Spinnaker Global as well as memberships of Maritime London and the Baltic Exchange offering them the opportunity to register as associate members during their study.


  • Experience a practice-centred teaching approach that includes specialised workshops, distinguished guest speakers, bespoke simulations and company visits.
  • Receive a Dual Degree Award, with two full time MSc degrees in International Shipping and Finance from both the ICMA Centre and ALBA Graduate Business School
  • Gain international experience with one month’s study in Greece, a country with a long-standing tradition in shipping and the largest merchant fleet in the world
  • Utilise our industry links to access unique work-experience placement opportunities, whilst benefitting from our in-house career development programme and partnership with leading shipping recruitment company Spinnaker Global
  • Benefit from professional exam exemptions from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS)

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

At ICMA centre


Part 2 optional modules (at ICMA centre)

Students on the 9-month (12-month) programme can select 40 (20) credits from the following modules:

Part 3 optional modules

Students on the 12-months programme should take 20 credits from the following:

Learning options

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.

Careers in International Shipping and Finance

After completion of the programme you will be well equipped with the knowledge for a successful career in the shipping/ transportation industries, as well as in the wider finance sector.

On average more than 90% of our graduates are in work or further education 6 months after graduation.

Indicative career paths for our graduates are ship-owning and transportation companies, ship-broking/chartering firms, shipping divisions of investment banks, shipping analysis/consulting firms, ship-finance arrangers, port operators, and shipping-related investment funds, among others. The wide curriculum of the programme will also enable you to consider careers in the global investment banking and securities markets.


Internship opportunities with leading companies in the shipping industry are available to outstanding MSc ISF graduates. A number of companies have joined our work placement scheme and offer work experience placements to some of our excellent graduates (subject to successful interviews and work permits where applicable). Additional placement and full time opportunities in the shipping industry are also made available to our students on an ad-hoc basis .

Career Advisory Partnership

Along with a full range of career advisory and professional development services available to our students from our dedicated Henley Careers team, students will also benefit from our partnership with Spinnaker Global, the leading shipping recruitment consultancy. As part of our collaboration Spinnaker provides career advice and support to our students and promotes their profiles internationally for internship and full time opportunities. 

Professional Accreditation

Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Professional Qualification

The programme is accredited by ICS and our students are eligible for 3 exam exemptions from the ICS qualification, which is the maximum number of exemptions offered by the institute. The 3 exemptions offered are for the ICS modules:

  • Introduction to Shipping
  • Economics of Sea Transport and International Trade
  • Shipping Finance

Our successful graduates have to take only 4 out of the 7 ICS exams to qualify for the ICS membership. 

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 International Shipping and Finance MSc page on the University of Reading website for more details!




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