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Study finance in the UK

Pursuing finance in the UK can change your life


Studying finance in the UK comes with its own set of advantages. UK is known to be the financial hub of the Eurozone, specifically Scotland which hosts some of the world’s biggest finance and accounting firms like RBS, Barclays, J.P. Morgan, E&Y, HSBC, Blackrock, Lloyds Banking Groups, Virgin Money and many more. A finance degree from the UK allows you to pursue different specialisation modules to help tailor your skills for industries like financial management, IT for business, financial reporting, business ethics, etc. Further, most UK universities offer sandwich programs where your degree is for four years, and you gain one year of work experience with a reputed company in your third year. 

Read more: Sandwich programs in the UK

Course structure 

The UK offers finance degrees at both Bachelor’s and Master’s Level. Their full-time bachelor’s degree, just like the Indian curriculum, is awarded in three years, whereas a Master’s degree takes one year for completion. At both levels, you might have an option to go for an internship year. This means you get to practice what you are studying and add valuable work experience to your profile. 

Many such courses that offer an internship year do not charge full tuition fees for that year but will incur some administration costs (can go up to approx. 40% of your previous year’s tuition fee.)

Eligibility criteria

A career in finance demands validation from any of the professional bodies which regulate courses and their curriculum in the UK. Some finance qualifications necessary for many professional routes are Master’s in Finance (MiF), Accountancy courses, Banking qualifications, Financial services qualifications, Wealth management courses, Financial planning certificates, Tax qualifications, etc.

To pursue these courses, you need to have studied Mathematics and English in your previous qualification. You might also need to prove your English language proficiency (for instance, IELTS scores) along with qualitative and quantitative aptitude tests like SAT for undergraduate level and GMAT/GRE at Master’s level.

Read more: Entrance exams for studying in the UK

Popular specialisations

There are various specialisations that you can opt for when you choose finance as your stream. Some of the most popular ones include: 

1. Corporate Finance 

This branch of finance deals with capital structure, management level investment decisions, funding sources and most importantly learning the process to analyse and allocate financial resources.

Top UK institutions to study Corporate Finance: 

King's College London

Queen Mary University of London

Loughborough University

University of Glasgow

2. International Finance 

This division of finance deals with the interrelations of different countries on their monetary terms. It is a chance to study key financial topics as they apply at the international level. It is also known as International Macroeconomics, which is a branch of financial economics. 

Top UK institutions to study International Finance:

SOAS University of London

Durham University

University of Southampton

University of Sussex

3. Behavioural Finance 

This branch of finance aims to explain why people within financial industries make ‘bad’ decisions, leading to inefficiencies and/or market crashes. This means using a combination of psychological, cognitive, cultural, emotional, and social factors to understand market outcomes.

Top UK institutions to study Behavioural Finance: 

University of Warwick

University of Reading

University of Exeter

Queen Mary University of London

4. Financial Mathematics 

This specialisation aims to provide students with highly developed mathematical and computational skills required for specialised finance careers. This field of applied mathematics relies heavily upon the knowledge of key subjects such as statistics, probability, and economic theory.

Top UK institutions to study Financial Mathematics: 

University of York

University of Leeds

University of Liverpool

Careers in finance

Having a career in finance is often linked with a high-paying and well-settled job, which comes with its own set of reputation and responsibilities. Many big firms are in constant search of skilled graduates who can put their knowledge into practice and can become an asset to the company. Some popular careers in finance are:

  • Financial planning careers invite individuals with very creative skillset. They make sure that you’re financially sound for the current and future needs and goals. Their work may focus on wealth preservation and high risk-free investment

  • Investment banking has become one of the most sought-after career options with a high paying return. It involves financial remodelling of individuals, assets of businesses by taking calculated risks. An important role is to provide financial consultancy services to individuals or organisations

  • Insurance careers include assessing the financial risk involved in insuring different things, providing advice to customers, processing insurance claims, and identifying new opportunities for insurance companies. Similar roles are available in the pensions sector.

  • Financial consulting careers involve providing advice to help businesses and individuals improve their financial processes and performance. This could mean offering guidance on budgeting, debts, investment, wills and estates, mortgages, and the development of business plans and strategies

  • Commercial banking careers involve all sorts of financial services for commercial banks – from large companies to local institutions. You can work as a bank teller, loan officer, marketing and branch manager and others

A recent study of 2020 by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) states that the average starting salary for graduates in financial services business sectors is £31425.*

If you are excited about a career in finance but do not know how to go about it, get in touch with us at IDP and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through the journey. 


Updated on February 20, 2021

Stay updated

For students like you interested in studying in the UK, we have a wonderful series – Study Abroad Insights. This web series covers the most common questions about studying in the country answered by industry experts.

Read more Insightful articles

UK University Guide 2020-21

5 Types of UK universities

Top 6 reasons to study in the UK

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