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Programme Specification for the 2024/5 academic year

BSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Operations JPM - Cohort 1OJ20) (Higher Apprenticeship)

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Operations JPM - Cohort 1OJ20) (Higher Apprenticeship) Programme codeUDS4SBESBE07
Study mode(s)Part Time
Academic year2024/5
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

The BSc (Hons) Applied Finance has been designed to embed two Higher Level Apprenticeship standards:

  • Investment Operations Specialist Apprenticeship
  • Financial Services Professional Apprenticeship

This undergraduate degree programme has been developed with our industry partners to blend academic and professional practice in its curriculum design. The programme combines the academic rigour of Exeter’s long tradition of teaching excellence into a blended learning format with applied learning elements embedded throughout each stage of the programme.

Integrative in its design and delivery, the BSc Applied Finance is designed for individuals who are new to the Financial Services sector and starting their career journey, or those with varying levels of existing experience in the field who are progressing their career within an organisation.

This programme aims to develop individuals with core knowledge of:

  • The structure of the Financial Services industry and in particular the role their part of the sector and organisation plays; the purpose of the function in which they work and how their function relates to the wider business.
  • The relevant Financial Services legal and regulatory framework and ethics, and the purpose behind them.
  • The relevant Financial Services products and services and broad understanding of the organisation’s policies and procedures.
  • Proficiency in relevant IT skills, and organisation and Financial Services specific software/systems, as required to deliver the role outcomes.
  • The approach to deliver fair client/customer outcomes across the business in a financial service setting including best practice.

Using principles of problem-based and inquiry-led learning, you are supported to demonstrate core skills such as client/customer relationships, delivering services, strategy and planning, problem-solving and decision-making, communication and marketing, teamwork and collaboration, developing self and continuous improvement which are then applied to work issues. You also develop well-rounded core behaviours, including honesty and integrity, adaptability, resilience and enthusiasm, innovation and creativity, and attention to detail. You will apply new knowledge to deepen your understanding. As you progress so the impact of your higher-level thinking is experienced in the workplace, and it is the application of knowledge, skills and behaviour that creates a difference in operational effectiveness. 

Each stage of study is structured to incorporate masterclasses, online learning, academic coaching and workplace mentoring. Assessment is ongoing and is relevant to the work tasks of students, measuring the higher-level thinking skills demonstrated in a variety of problem-based assignments.

Stage 1 of the BSc (Hons) Applied Finance is mapped to the Knowledge Skills and Behaviours of the Level 4 Investment Operations Specialist Apprenticeships. During this stage you are also required to complete the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) Certificate Professional Qualification. After completing Stage 1 and on achievement of the CISI Certificate, you will need to undertake the Apprenticeship End Point Assessment.

On successful completion of Stage 1 of the BSc (Hons) Applied Finance, and the Investment Operations Specialist Apprenticeship students’ progress onto Stages 2, 3 and 4 which are mapped to the Financial Services Professional Apprenticeship.  During Stage 3 you are also required to complete the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 professional qualification.  On successful completion of modules in stages 2, 3 and 4 and the CFA Level 1 qualification you will need to undertake the Apprenticeship End Point Assessment.

You have the opportunity to identify any prior learning that maps in part to Stage 1 of the programme; this may either be certified or based upon your professional and or voluntary work experience.  For experiential prior learning, you will be expected to provide evidence of learning that maps to specific module outcomes. The route of how this will be managed will depend on whether the prior learning maps to a whole module or part of a module. The approach taken will be aligned the University APL policy and processes.

There are a range of assessments within this programme which seek to draw on both your experiences in the workplace, and enable you to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and behaviours acquired through the formal programme of study.  The programme utilises both 'assessment for learning' (formative) and 'assessment of learning' (summative) assignments throughout.  Each module includes distinct elements of formative assessment which assist in the preparation of summative assignments.

Each module has at least two summative assessment methods: one of these will be a measure of knowledge and academic skills (including presentations, reflective essays, position papers, problem-based essays and examinations) and the other a practice-based measure of understanding (including projects, proposals, evaluations, and/or reports. Mark ranges, standard to modules at undergraduate level are applied within the assessment process.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

This programme is designed to increase access and widen participation into higher education through a programme which uses blended learning and blended assessment. We acknowledge that participants are employed and have consciously chosen to ‘earn whilst they learn’ (QAA, 2004) and as such this programme has been designed to recognise the knowledge, skills and understanding that you have already developed in your current job role.


The programme is designed around the assumption that the most authentic and powerful pedagogy is one that focuses on the identification, analysis and resolution of immediate problems in the learners’ world, and so links learning directly to the Finance Sector.


In line with the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Finance, this degree is:


Awarded to learners who have demonstrated:


Subject-Specific Knowledge and Skills


1)    An appreciation of the nature of the contexts in which finance can be seen as operating, including knowledge of the institutional framework necessary for understanding the role, operation and function of markets and financial institutions (for example the economic, ethical, legal, political, regulatory, social and tax environment, both national and international; the firm; the capital markets; and the public sector).

2)    Knowledge of the major theoretical tools and theories of finance, and their relevance and application to theoretical and practical problems (for example concept of arbitrage and examples of its use; financial mathematics; informational efficiency; optimal risk sharing; portfolio theory; asset pricing models and the valuation of securities; cost of capital; derivative pricing; risk management; information asymmetry; principal agency relationships; signalling; Fisher separation and capital budgeting criteria; behavioural finance; term structure and the movement of interest rates; determination of exchange rates; and financial intermediation).

3)    An understanding of the relationship between financial theory and empirical testing, and application of this knowledge to the appraisal of the empirical evidence in at least one major theoretical area. The appraisal should involve some recognition of the limitations and evolution of empirical tests and theory (for example the efficient markets hypothesis; anomalies; risk management; pricing of derivatives and other securities; portfolio management; interest rates; exchange rates; raising capital and capital structure).

4)    An ability to interpret financial data including that arising in the context of the firm or household from accounting statements and data generated in financial markets. The interpretation should involve analysis using statistical and financial functions and procedures such as are routinely available in spreadsheets and other statistical/econometric software packages. It may involve the skills necessary to manipulate financial data and carry out statistical and econometric tests (for example estimation and interpretation of asset pricing models; financial modelling and projections; event studies and residuals analysis; elements of time series analysis, such as serial correlation, mean reversion, and stochastic volatility).

5)    An understanding of the financing arrangements and governance mechanisms and structures of business entities, and an appreciation of how theory and evidence can be combined to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of such arrangements (for example decisions as to sources of finance and financial structure; the pricing of corporate securities; the market for corporate control; corporate governance; financial planning; and international dimensions of finance).

6)    An understanding of the factors influencing the investment behaviour and opportunities of private individuals (for example bonds, equities, and derivatives; risk aversion; risk/return trade-offs; portfolio management and performance measurement; pensions and long-term savings; the tax treatment of savings and investments; international diversification; foreign exchange risk; objectives of, and constraints on, institutional investors and advisers).

7)    An understanding of financial service activity in the economy, and the factors that are changing these activities over time, and an appreciation of how finance theory and evidence can be employed to aid such understanding (for example, ideas of information asymmetry, moral hazard and risk sharing could be employed to analyse the fundamental nature of services, such as insurance, pensions, bank lending and consumer credit, and also explore fundamental problems arising in such financial service provision; the efficient market hypothesis could be used to explore the value added by investment and financial services).

8)    An ability to understand financial statements, and a reasonable appreciation of the limitations of financial reporting and disclosure practices and procedures (for example financial statement analysis; the relation between cash flow accounting and accrual accounting; discretionary accounting practices; and financial statement-derived measures of financial performance, including risk).


On completion of a degree covered by this Subject Benchmark Statement, a student is generally expected to have the following abilities and skills:


Cognitive Abilities and Generic Skills


1)    critical evaluation of arguments and evidence

2)    independent and self-managed learning

3)    analysis, filtering and evaluation of data, and drawing reasoned conclusions concerning structured and, to a more limited extent, unstructured problems from a given set of data and from data acquired by the student

4)    location, extraction and analysis of data from multiple sources, including acknowledging and referencing of sources

5)    numeracy, including the processing and analysis of financial and other numerical data and the appreciation of statistical concepts at an appropriate level

6)    using contemporary information and communications technology for the acquisition, analysis and communication of financial information

7)    communication, including presenting quantitative and qualitative information, together with analysis, argument and commentary, in a form appropriate to the intended audience, and oral as well as written presentation

8)    working with others (such as through small group projects)


Threshold graduates will be able to:


1)    demonstrate a reasonable appreciation of the nature of the context and institutional framework in which finance operates

2)    demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of the main theories used in finance and a reasonable ability to apply them in straightforward structured situations from given data generated for the purpose

3)    reveal a reasonable ability to interpret financial data and carry out straightforward statistical and financial analysis

4)    relate empirical evidence to finance theory in at least one of the main areas of finance with a reasonable understanding of the significance and limitations of such evidence

5)    demonstrate an understanding of the financial needs of business entities, a reasonable appreciation and understanding of how theory and evidence may be used to guide practice; the workings of capital markets; the relationship between risk and return; and the nature and use of financial derivatives

6)    demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the principles of personal investment

7)    demonstrate a reasonable ability to use and interpret the information in financial statements

8)    demonstrate possession of the required cognitive abilities and non-subject specific skills to a reasonable level of attainment

9)    demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the economic, political, regulatory and social environments in which finance and financial services operates, and the ethical considerations embedded in these operations

4. Programme Structure

The BSc (Hons) Applied Finance (1OJ20 cohort) is a 50-month part-time programme of study at RQF Level 6. This programme is divided into four stages with 120 credits in Stage 1, 75 credits in Stage 2, 60 credits in Stage 3 and 105 credits in Stage 4.

5. Programme Modules

Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on department website:

Stage 1

Compulsory Modules

120 credits of compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF1001DA Introduction to Financial Assets and Markets 20No
BEF1002DA Introduction to Securities and Investments 20No
BEF1003DA Risks in Financial Services 20No
BEF1004DA IT in Investment Operations 20No
BEF1005DA WBL - The Art of Professional Development Planning 40Yes

Stage 2

Compulsory Modules

75 credits of compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF2005DA WBL - Managing Own Professional Development 30Yes
BEF2008DA Economics 15No
BEF2101DA Ethical and Professional Standards 15No
BEF3104DA Financial Reporting and Analysis 15No

Stage 3

Compulsory Modules

60 credits of compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF2007DA Corporate Finance 15No
BEF2103DA Quantitative Methods 15No
BEF3105DA Equity and Fixed Income 15No
BEF3107DA Derivatives and Alternative Investments 15No

Stage 4

Compulsory Modules

105 credits of compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF2001DA Operational Risk 15No
BEF2004DA Global Securities Operations 15No
BEF3110DA CFA Refresher and Consolidation Course I 15No
BEF3111DA CFA Refresher and Consolidation Course II 15No
BEF3209DA WBL: Final Financial Services Project in Practice 45Yes

Optional Modules


6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Industry and organisation understanding • Develop a deep understanding of the structure of the Financial Services industry and in particular the role your part of the sector and organisation plays; the purpose of the function in which you work; how your function relates to the wider business. • Demonstrate a good understanding of the impact the external environment has on Financial Services as appropriate to your role, together with relevant best practice. • Develop a sound understanding of the organisation’s ‘values’ and professional standards and how these are evidenced through your role. • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the purpose of the different areas of the organisation you need to work with in your role, and how you support them.
2. Financial Services legal/regulatory/ compliance framework • Establish a deep understanding of the relevant Financial Services legal and regulatory framework and ethics, and the purpose behind them. • Develop a sound understanding of the risk and governance frameworks of your organisation / sector, and how these manifest themselves in your role. • Demonstrate a sound understanding of relevant rules and principles for your own role / team. • Identify and communicate risks to the relevant management or compliance personnel within the organisation, understanding and following the appropriate company process to address. • Understand and be able to clearly articulate the implications of non-compliance for your organisation.
3. Products and Services • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the relevant Financial Service products and services offered to clients/customers by your organisation, together with sound knowledge of the products and services, and their features and benefits, relevant to your role.
4. Client /Customer Segments • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the client/customer segments that the organisation delivers to and the channels that they use. • Understand the approach to delivering fair client/customer outcomes across the business in a financial services setting, including best practice. • Demonstrate a deep understanding of your client’s/customer’s relevant financial service requirements relevant to your role (internal and external as appropriate)
5. Systems and Processes • Demonstrate a broad understanding of the organisation’s policies and procedures. • Develop a sound understanding of the systems, tools and processes used in the role, together with the standards to be met. • Possess proficiency in relevant IT skills, this may include the generic (e.g. excel), and organisation and Financial Service specific software/systems, as required to deliver the role outcomes
6. Operations • Develop a good understanding of processes and project management principles and how they are utilised within own area • Demonstrate a deep knowledge of controls that relate to your own area of work • Develop knowledge of Operational Risk and how to control it • Demonstrate knowledge of sector relevant market practises and their impact on the area under ownership • Effectively manage or influence small teams to deliver excellent customer service in a financial service regulated environment. This will include team coaching, performance management, resourcing and budgetary planning • Demonstrate effective project management skills, and execution of control framework within the sphere of influence of own team

Teaching is centred on problem-based and inquiry-led learning. There are three main components to the teaching methods:


1. Seminars


These sessions contain three elements:

  • Peer-led enquiry groups
  • Taught Masterclasses
  • Academic study skills


2. Online learning platform


All modules are delivered in a blended format; day or residential masterclass are supported by significant online resources. Each apprentice has the benefit of both a module lead (subject specialist) and an academic mentor, with whom you can develop your study skills, critical thinking skills, application of new knowledge, evaluate own progress and plan own development.


3. E-Portfolio


This portfolio is built up over the academic year and is submitted at the end of each stage of study. It contains elements which capture the apprentice’s engagement with learning and reflections upon skills and behavioural development.


E-Portfolio constitutes the following:

  • Apprentice journal – reflective learning on your development, review the impact of your activities and behaviours on the business and the team
  • Work based evidence – written work, small projects, performance review information, workplace observations, case studies, learning record entries, development plan content, emails, customer comments


Learning is enhanced through a teaching/ learning philosophy which partners with employer to blend academic and professional practice.


See Table 11-15 Sample Timetables for Level 4 Investment Operations Specialist and Level 6 Financial Services Professional Operations and Markets Pathways.

There will be a range of regular formative assessment which seeks to build the skills and confidence of learners whilst keeping them engaged with the programme. Summative assessment will include, but is not limited to, closed-book examinations, applied exercise, case studies, presentations, portfolios, reflective essays, position papers, business improvement projects, proposals, problem-based essays, book and article reviews, visual images, videos, infographics, academic essays, reports and peer assessment. Where elements of the integrated modules have not been completed or passed successfully, learners will be asked to retake the assessment component or complete a modified assignment tailored to specifically measure the relevant ILOs.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Illustrate arguments using reflections upon own practice and drawing from own reading of assigned academic texts
2. Apply proven management models when analysing simple problems.
3. Recognise where learning originates and translate new knowledge into suggestions for practice
4. Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information
5. Propose solutions to organisational problems and reflect upon the impact of those solutions through a process of critical thinking and reflection
6. Explore and create business improvement ideas using range of creative thinking techniques
7. Translate theoretical ideas into suggestions for application to practice
8. Determine the suitability of proven risk and investment management models appropriate to the role together with relevant best practice.
9. Evidence critical thinking in the construction of written proposals with support, scope and plan own research project.
10. With support, scope and plan own research project.

See details in Section A Learning and Teaching Activities.

See details in Section A Assessment Methods.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Client/Customer Relationships • Build ethically sound and trusted relationships with internal and/or external clients/customers to form the basis of a long-term partnership. • Work with clients/customers to identify their relevant financial services requirements. • Provide flexible and innovative solutions, integrating products and excellent service as appropriate to your role, in order to support client/customers and meet their best interests.
2. Delivering Services • Carry out all required activities, using agreed systems and processes, to ensure that the relevant policies of the organisation for your area of specialisation are met. • Take the initiative to meet challenging individual and team performance measures in line with organisation policy, values, standards and sector relevant regulatory requirements. • Deliver projects as required.
3. Strategy and Planning • Contribute to the development of strategic and operational plans for own area. • Manage and report on progress of specific elements of this in your area of responsibility. • Proactively plan and organise your work and time, clearly identifying priorities to meet commitments / KPIs/ deadlines.
4. Problem Solving and Decision Making • Evaluate information quickly and draw accurate conclusions. • Assess a problem from multiple angles to ensure all relevant issues are considered. • Gather the appropriate facts and evidence in order to make decisions effectively, using a structured approach. • Respond appropriately to unexpected events.
5. Communicating and networking • Deal effectively with clients/customers/ colleagues at every level of the organisation required by the role. • Use strong interpersonal skills and communicating well through a range of media, using language that is meaningful to the recipient e.g. written reports, presentations, phone, face to face, email. Communicate complex information clearly. • Listen actively to understand needs and adapts their style to the recipient. • Engage and network proactively with Client/customers and colleagues, including senior management, as required, to deliver business outcomes.
6. Teamwork and collaboration • Build/maintain strong positive working relationships with clients/colleagues/suppliers as appropriate. Consistently support colleagues and collaborates to achieve results. • Be aware of their role within team, how your team fits within the business, and how the team’s decisions impact on others. • Take a leadership role in the team when appropriate.
7. Continuous Improvement • Identify opportunities to drive higher performance and improve service/processes delivered, including sharing, and looking outside of your team for best practice. • Lead and/or contributes to development of specific changes through to implementation – this may include projects wider than your role.
8. Developing self and others • Keep up to date with sector relevant legal/regulatory changes, and alerts others to the implications where necessary. • Seek feedback and act on it to improve your performance. • Build your capability through ownership of your own development. • Act as a role model and support others in their development as appropriate.
9. Honesty and Integrity • Be truthful, sincere and trustworthy in your actions. • Show integrity by doing the right thing, demonstrating the organisation’s values. • Maintain appropriate confidentiality at all times. Be a visible role model and coach others where appropriate. • Follow and promote appropriate organisational procedures and policies.
10. Adaptability • Adapt positively to changing work priorities and patterns, and be flexible to the needs of the organisation. Demonstrate willingness to adapt approach to assist organisation and individuals to manage priorities as circumstances change, new tasks need to be done, or when business requirements change. Respond well to change.
11. Resilience and Enthusiasm • Display energy, determination and enthusiasm in the way they go about your role, dealing positively and with determination when setbacks occur, or when managing difficult situations. • Stay positive under pressure and show tenacity to follow jobs through to completion.
12. 650036870/1 • Demonstrate a curious and questioning approach in your work. • Be creative, innovative and enterprising when seeking solutions to business needs, whilst understanding relevant boundaries e.g. financial services regulations.
13. Attention to Detail • Handle tasks with thoroughness and accuracy. • Take ownership for the quality of work, and recognise and resolve errors.

See details in Section A Learning and Teaching Activities.

See details in Section A Assessment Methods.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-Specific Award Rules


This Apprenticeship comprises four non-standard stages over four years with the specific stage:credit:level pattern as follows: Stage 1: 120 credits at Level 4; Stage 2: 60 credits at Level 5 and 15 credits at Level 6; Stage 3: 30 credits at Level 5 and 30 credits at Level 6; Stage 4: 30 credits at Level 5 and 75 credits at Level 6. The BSc (Hons) award is calculated based on Levels 5 and 6 weighted in the ratio of 1:2.


End Point Assessment and Grading


Achievement of the apprenticeship will depend on apprentices successfully completing a number of assessment activities. The methods used will ensure that you are assessed across the whole of the Level 6 Financial Services Professional Standard as published at the start of your level 6 apprenticeship.


Each assessment method will be individually graded fail, pass and distinction based on the criteria set in the Apprenticeship Standard.


You must achieve at least a pass in both elements of the EPA to achieve a pass overall in your apprenticeship, and a distinction in both elements to achieve a distinction overall.


For the avoidance of doubt this equates to the following when determining the overall Apprenticeship grade:


Work-Based Project Grade

Panel Interview Grade

Overall Apprenticeship Grade























End Point Assessment (EPA) must be conducted by an approved independent assessor.


Level 6 End Point Assessment Overview– this contains 2 mandatory components, which are described in more detail in the programme handbook:

  • A Work-Based Project that demonstrates the capability of the apprentice to deliver the key aspects of the role.
  • A Structured Panel Interview based on the Portfolio of Evidence. The Panel Interview will focus primarily on the skills and behaviours of the Standard, testing the competence of the apprentice, the content of the Portfolio, and how well you are performing in your role. The portfolio that is tested by the interview will include a range of types of evidence including reflective learning. It will be created throughout the apprenticeship.


Apprenticeship standards:

Further details can be found in the programme handbook available on ELE.


8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be allocated an academic mentor whose role it is to support you in your professional development. There will be work-based  meetings, known as tripartite reviews, between the employer, the apprentice and the academic mentor. At each of these meetings your progression and personal development is discussed, reviewed and recorded in the E-Portfolio.


You will also benefit from advice and support from your workplace mentor whose role extends to providing you with opportunities to identify projects, evidence and ongoing professional development.


The academic mentor will provide details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties related to being a student of the university. They are able to liaise with the module leads and programme director on your behalf, and will provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

10. Admissions Criteria

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. Most candidates will have completed a Level 4 Investment Operations Apprenticeship Standard or an equivalent Level 4 qualification and hold English and Maths qualifications at Level 2.


Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.


Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate  Study Site webpages

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The BSc Applied Finance is designed to meet the requirements of the Level 6 Financial Services Professional Standard. The Institute for Apprenticeships has a role overseeing External Quality Assurance (EQA) across all EQA providers to ensure quality, consistency and credibility.

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

BSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Operations JPM - Cohort 1OJ20) (Higher Apprenticeship)

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision