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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

BSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Cohort 1FO21) (Higher Apprenticeship)

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Cohort 1FO21) (Higher Apprenticeship) Programme codeUDS4SBESBE16
Study mode(s) Academic year2023/4
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 an applicant has already developed in their 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 your 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 programme 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, 45 credits in Stage 2, 120 credits in Stage 3 and 75 credits in Stage 4.

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Stage 1

120 credits of compulsory modules (120 credits at Level 4)

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 20Yes
BEF1010DA Technology in Investment Management 20No
BEF1005DA WBL - The Art of Professional Development Planning 40No

Stage 2

45 credits of compulsory modules (45 credits at Level 5)

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF2001DA Operational Risk 15No
BEF2002DA Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions 15No
BEF2003DA FinTech in Investment Management 15No

Stage 3

135 credits of compulsory modules (75 credits at Level 5 and 60 credits at Level 6)

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEF2004DA Global Securities Operations 15No
BEF2106DA Advanced Professional Practice 45Yes
BEF3001DA Advanced Global Securities Operations I 15No
BEF3002DA Advanced Global Securities Operations II 15No
BEF3003DA Global Operations Management 30No

Stage 4

60 credits of compulsory modules, (60 credits at Level 6)

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:

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:

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:

7. Programme Regulations


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

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

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

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

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

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

Not applicable to this programme.

18. Final Award

BSc (Hons) Applied Finance (Cohort 1FO21) (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