Top reasons to study with us
11th for Accounting and Finance in the UK
QS World University Rankings (2023)
65th for Accounting and Finance in the World
QS World University Rankings (2023)
Lancaster University is top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2024
The investment management and financial analysis sectors require industry professionals with advanced technical knowledge, plus practical experience with programming. Our Investment Management and Financial Analysis MSc (IMFA) programme is designed to equip you with these skills, and help you acquire your CFA Level II professional qualification.
As such, the course offers modules that are academically more advanced and, at the same time, more practice-oriented than those offered by a typical UK master's programme in finance. You will study technical and practice-oriented modules. LUMS accounting and finance specialists and expert tutors from Fitch Learning will prepare you to complete CFA Level II. Core modules embed training in financial programming languages including VBA, R and MATLAB, and provide hands-on experience with data platforms such as Thomson EIKON or FactSet.
You can elect to prepare for the February CFA Level I exam or if you already have CFA Level I, you will study alternative modules to benefit a career in Investment Management or Financial Analysis. You then prepare for the August CFA Level II exam. An alternative non-CFA pathway is available for those who do not want to acquire the CFA qualification, or those who already have the qualification but still wish to benefit from this practitioner-oriented programme.
You will study the following modules, outlined in the course structure:
Term 1 core modules:
- Fund Management
- Financial Modelling and Analysis
- Programming and Databases for Financial Applications
Students without CFA Stage 1 will also study Topics in Professional Analysis
Students who have already attained CFA stage 1, or those on a non-CFA pathway will also study Quantitative Methods for Finance
Term 2 core modules:
- Advanced Financial Markets and Investment Management
- Advanced Financial Reporting and Analysis
- Advanced Investment Research Methods
- Careers Skills in Finance with Applications to ESG
Students without CFA 1 will take the February examination.
Students taking the CFA Level II examination will complete the following modules followed by the examination in August:
- Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis
- CFA level 2 training
- Capstone project
Students not taking the CFA Level II examination will instead complete a dissertation.
Employability and careers
Employability skills are key to this programme. The curriculum has been developed to deliver "desk-ready" graduates with a strong academic background and professional attitude. You will also receive career support from our specialist Financial Careers Coach. Potential careers on completion of your Master's include working as an asset analyst/trainee fund manager or in the fields of asset management, investment banking or financial services.
LUMS Accounting and Finance Master’s students not only go on to work at blue chip Investment Banks, Investment Management firms, Consultancy and Financial Analytics firms but also at smaller and medium size boutique financial firms, often via relationships with LUMS alumni. Read more about where our graduates go in the careers information below.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in Finance, or in Accounting with a significant number of finance and/or quantitative modules studied. Applicants from other commerce (e.g. Business Studies or Economics, that contain finance or quantitative modules) or science related (e.g. Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or another quantitative subject) subjects are also encouraged to apply.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Career skills in Finance with applications to ESG
This module builds your personal and interpersonal skills alongside technical content. There are four elements to the module:
- Communication skills: How to present yourself to employers, build rapport and make a lasting positive impression, whether you are communicating face-to-face or in writing.
- Client Management skills: You will learn how to build relationships with different types of clients, how to interact with different types of personalities and how to manage difficult situations. These skills will enable you to provide excellent client service.
- Management and Leadership: How to manage and lead others.
- Technical content on the topic of ESG and how you can apply your communication skills to present this technical topic effectively.
Financial Markets and Investment Management
The financial markets and the world of investment management have undergone significant change since the global financial crisis. Investment managers need to keep abreast of these developments and take advantage of such changes. This module introduces the key changes in market conditions, including high-frequency trading, dark pools and the move to bring off-exchange instruments such as credit derivatives, on exchange. Within the world of investment management, we look at developments in liability-driven investment, alternative investments and new approaches to diversification.
The key objectives are to:
Endow students with an understanding of today’s financial markets, trading processes and decision-making (also on a high-frequency level)
Endow students with the concepts and ideas of advanced portfolio analysis
Endow students with an understanding of the subtleties of investment decisions and dealing with clients
Endow students with the relevant quantitative skills in this area for further advanced studies
Financial Modelling and Analysis
This module looks at the core tool set of the buy-side analyst, and emphasises that the key to adding value is in understanding where to find the ‘raw materials’ to include within the calculations, and the impact accounting policy choices have on the outcome. Estimation of intrinsic valuation is obtained by the application of valuation techniques. These techniques will determine the value based on assumptions of future performance and several other judgements. The base of these forecasts will be derived from the current financial position of a company. As what happened in the past is not necessarily what will happen in the future, an integrated financial model will allow research analysts to predict key indicators of performance and value by forecasting key financial drivers. It will further their ability to explore the potential developments of a company in the future. In addition to basic valuation techniques, insights are provided into how to use best practice to construct a good, professional model.
Financial Reporting and Analysis
The module aims to address advanced financial reporting issues from both conceptual and technical angles within the context of International Financial Reporting Standards and US GAAP. It assesses the impact of accounting theory in resolving major reporting issues and examines the importance of relevant academic research to the area. Additionally, it examines the importance of financial reporting for business analysis.
The aim of the module is to provide a thorough understanding of the issues that are relevant to the asset management industry with special emphasis on understanding and measuring investment performance.
Our discussions will focus on mutual funds, hedge funds and exchange-traded funds with less emphasis given to other fund management vehicles. The course will not cover security analysis.
Investment Research Methods
The purpose of this module is to give students a very solid grounding in the quantitative empirical research skills that are necessary in producing high-quality research, both in the academic as well as in the applied context, in the areas of empirical asset pricing and portfolio allocation.
Programming and Databases for Financial Applications
The module aims to equip students with a good background in software packages and programming languages commonly used in the finance industry, such as Excel/VBA and R. In addition, it will provide training in advanced features of Bloomberg to retrieve and manage financial data and create reports. Participants are advised to use a Windows laptop for this course. MacBooks are not supported in this class.
Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis
The first part of the module (CFA Level II training) aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level II examination.
The second part of the module (Capstone project) is aimed at providing the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct an empirical investigation of key current financial issues. The main aims are to:
- allow students to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills;
- develop in students the ability to write an extended report based on empirical analysis;
- prepare students for a career in particular specialist roles;
- provide a sound basis for future professional development and/or qualifications;
- relate cutting-edge research to recent and prospective developments in practice;
- give students the ability to address applied financial problems using quantitative methods of analysis;
- the ability to present written work, and to proceed to doctoral research.
Dissertation:Advanced Topics in Investment Strategies, Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds
Empirical Asset Pricing and Investment Strategies
The class introduces the fundamentals of investment strategies and some of the main strategies used by hedge funds and proprietary traders. In class and through reading exercises and discussions, the strategies are illustrated using real data and students learn to use “backtesting” to evaluate a strategy. The class is highly quantitative. It requires the students to work independently, analyse and manipulate large datasets, and use mathematical modelling.
During the five weeks (Week 1-5) of the Summer Term, it is compulsory for students to attend all the lectures and training sessions designed to provide an introduction to the key literature and research methods. Both during and following this taught component, students are required to undertake independent research that (i) reviews the academic literature relating to investment strategies and market anomalies, and (ii) reports empirical evidence of the effectiveness of a chosen investment strategy or asset pricing anomaly. This document provides details of the taught element of AcF 701.
Python and MATLAB will be introduced and used extensively for chosen investment strategy. Admitted students need to achieve at least 65% on average for their first-semester coursework. High achievement in econometrics-related subjects, previous knowledge in at least one of the following programming languages or econometric packs (e.g. EVIEWS, VBA, STATA, MATLAB, SAS, Python, R, C++, Fortran, Gauss, Mathematica), or strong desire to input hard work to learn programming will be critical for high achievement in this dissertation topic.
Quantitative Methods for Finance
This module will enable you to understand the key concepts and methods in data science, econometrics, and quantitative finance to carry out independent empirical work required for the job market, more advanced modules in accounting and finance and the MSc dissertation streams.
Topics in Professional Financial Analysis
This module aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level I examination.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
Fees in subsequent years
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.