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MSc Infrastructure Investment and Finance

The MSc in Infrastructure Investment and Finance (IIF) is designed to enable infrastructure specialists to develop the skills essential to the delivery of complex infrastructure projects.

Dr Aris Pantelias, programme leader for The Bartlett's MSc Infrastructure Investment and Finance

With a strong commercial focus, this course provides candidates with a well-balanced mix of economic and financial theory as well as industry practice, including modules exploring:

  • the history and future of infrastructure investment at global, national and sector levels, and the key determinants of total and sector investment levels
  • the impact of government policy, funding and private capital markets on investment in infrastructure.
  • the role of regulation in incentivising private investment
  • the cost of capital for infrastructure investment and the allocation of risk in contracted delivery
  • the commercial perspective of infrastructure project sponsors, lenders, investors and contractors throughout the procurement, design, construction and operation of infrastructure assets

Completing the one-year programme will equip graduates with skills necessary to a career in infrastructure procurement and development whether as public sector advisors, private sector financing specialists or consultants within advisory firms.

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Course content

MSc IIF contains the following eight core (compulsory) modules. Full details of module aims and content will be available to view online in the near future. If you have any questions related to these modules please contact the programme director Dr Aris Pantelias.

Term 1

IF1: Financing Infrastructure: Fundamentals and innovations in funding and financing

Module aim: To equip students with the fundamentals needed to specialise in the financing of infrastructure projects. It provides the introductory concepts and knowledge that form the foundation for many of the subsequent modules of the course.

Module assessment: compulsory, unseen written exam (15 credits)


IF2: Infrastructure using a Special Purpose Vehicle

Module aim: To equip students with the professional skills needed to bring projects to a successful financial and commercial close. Students will acquire a clear understanding of the types of risk that make a project un-financeable and how contract structures can be used to transfer these risks. Successful graduates will have the knowledge they need to design and negotiate efficient and effective risk allocations for projects by taking into consideration the perspectives of all project stakeholders. Additionally, students will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of asset management and project life-cycle analysis that significantly affect project risks and risk allocation.

Module assessment: compulsory, 3000 word essay/coursework (compulsory)


IF3: Infrastructure: Economic principles and policy

Module aim: To enable students to understand the microeconomic, macroeconomic and financial forces determining infrastructure investment. Fundamental microeconomic principles will be introduced, building up from standard theories of production and investment. Market failures relevant to infrastructure will be explored including externalities, public goods, asymmetric information and principal agent problems, as will insights from behavioural economics and network analysis relevant to infrastructure projects. Students will also learn about the fundamental forces generating macroeconomic risk and uncertainty and will explore the monetary and macroeconomic factors that determine the cost of finance. Students will also acquire an understanding of the impacts of infrastructure on growth and productivity and the structural and spatial factors (local, regional and international) affecting infrastructure investment.

Module assessment: compulsory, unseen written exam (15 credits)


IF4: Infrastructure as an asset class

Module aim: To equip students with more advanced skills and knowledge required to open-up career opportunities in infrastructure investment fund management, pension fund portfolio management, investment banks’ infrastructure divisions or academic specialisation in infrastructure finance. To foster students’ understanding of the characteristics of long term finance and the way empirical evidence relates to existing assumptions regarding the risk-return profile of investments in infrastructure.

Module assessment: compulsory, unseen written exam (15 credits)


Term 2

IF5: Agency and transaction costs in infrastructure projects

Module aim: To teach the latest theories of contracts and optimal risk allocation, and to explore their application to the analysis of contracting problems in infrastructure projects. To provide students with real world examples where significant financial and economic losses have been incurred as a result of failures to consider the effect of information asymmetries and sunk costs in project mechanism design. To show how information asymmetry and hold-up threat may affect contracting parties’ behaviour and how these contracting problems can be mitigated in real world contexts. Lectures will focus on illustrating the usefulness of related economic theories in understanding the nature of contracting process in infrastructure projects.

Module assessment: compulsory, 3000 word essay/coursework (15 credits)


IF6: Risk modelling and Asset Management in infrastructure projects

Module aim: To equip students with the skills required for modelling the impact of quantifiable probabilistic risks, while also developing their judgment in assessing and dealing with essentially non-probabilistic scenarios. Additionally, to provide a detailed overview of asset management and infrastructure reliability concepts and practices which are essential in managing and understanding technical infrastructure risk.

Module assessment: compulsory, unseen written exam (15 credits)


IF7: Demand forecasts, business cases and appraisal methods for infrastructure projects

Module aim: To provide insight into the range of infrastructure sectors (transport, energy, water & wastewater, solid waste, and telecommunications), their past and likely future public (and private) funded investment programmes, as well as the specificities of private capital financing investment in each sector. To enhance students’ understanding of the development and appraisal of business cases for infrastructure projects and to identify common practices, similarities and differences among the various sectors.

Module assessment: compulsory, 3000 word essay/coursework (15 credits)


IF8/PMG: The management of large projects and programmes

Module aim: To enhance students’ ability to:

  • Learn about the discipline and relevant cutting-edge developments in the field of the management of project
  • Realise the role and benefits of innovation
  • Appreciate the need for a systems perspective and to go beyond normal project management enabling students to understand the external inter-relationship of large projects and programmes within their environment as well as the internal relationships of the constituent parts of a large project or program.
  • Think dynamically, holistically and strategically about managing large projects and programmes using a varied set of approaches based on a combination of academic research and practitioner-led input.
  • Analyse and critically discuss major issues arising in real infrastructure programmes and large projects and be capable of making suitable recommendations

Module assessment: compulsory, 3000 word essay/coursework (15 credits)

Structure and assessment

MSc IIF candidates will undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The course consists of eight (8) core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

A postgraduate diploma (PGDip) is also offered comprising 120 credits for taking all the taught modules full-time over nine months, part time over two years or flexibly over three to five years. The PGDip has no dissertation. The IIF programme does not incorporate a postgraduate certificate option.

For full-time students the course is structured as follows:

  • Term 1: four core modules (60 credits)
  • Term 2: four core modules (60 credits)
  • Term 3: examinations and assignments
  • Summer term: dissertation (60 credits)

Term 1: four core modules (60 credits)

The first term will deal with the first four core (compulsory) modules. These modules cover the fundamentals of the course and are very intensive. They consist of lectures, seminars and group exercises or discussions. There is a high degree of contact time under the direction of the module leader.

Term 2: four core modules (60 credits)

The second term will deal with the remaining four core (compulsory) modules. These modules cover more specific topics and are also very intensive. They consist of lectures, seminars and group exercises or discussions. There is a high degree of contact time under the direction of the module leader.

Term 3: examinations and assignments

The third term is usually used for the administration of university exams and the submission of coursework assignments. Please to refer to the section below on assessment for more information.

Summer term: Dissertation (60 credits)

The dissertation is a 10000-word manuscript, which is the outcome of original individual research carried out by the students. Work on the dissertation commences in Term 1 (preliminary selection of topic) and continues until the following September. However, due to the intensity of class attendance in Terms 1 and 2 and the examinations and coursework deadlines in Term 3, students usually undertake the bulk of their dissertation work during the summer term.

The dissertation research process is almost entirely directed by the students although a supervisor is also assigned to each of them in order to guide them through the process. Each student has the responsibility to choose their own dissertation topic, to manage the progress of their work, to collect original data and to ultimately elaborate on their research in a final manuscript to be submitted for assessment.

The dissertation research can also be combined with on-the-job research for students on internships. The IIF programme is willing to provide students with such an option provided that the entire process is coordinated by the students themselves who will be responsible for making all necessary arrangements (e.g. negotiating the internship, securing dual supervision, etc.). Additionally, dissertation topics related to industry work will need to possess academic value commensurate with the level of rigorousness of the MSc IIF course, in order to be considered towards obtaining the MSc degree.

Course Assessment

The MSc IIF will be conferred upon students who successfully pass all taught core modules and the dissertation.

All eight-core modules have mandatory assessment components. Depending on the module the assessment will be either:

  • 100% essay/coursework (3000 words)
  • 100% unseen written exam (2-3 hours)

MSc IIF has a well-balanced mix of the two methods of assessment and includes 50% essay/coursework and 50% unseen written exams. All unseen written exams will be administered during Term 3 of the academic year. Deadlines for the submission of essays/coursework will be determined by module leaders and announced to students at the beginning of the academic year.

Dissertation assessment has two parts:

  • A 1000 word dissertation topic outline, submitted in late February (November of year 2 for part-time students). This counts for 10% of the overall dissertation mark.
  • The full 10000 word dissertation manuscript, which has to be submitted in early September. This counts for the remaining 90% of the dissertation mark.

Non-Assessed Modules

MSc IIF students benefit from a number of short, non-assessed modules. These take place during the first two terms. Topics covered include:

  • Defining infrastructure: technical and economic characteristics
  • Financial modelling skills
  • Research skills

Timetable

During Terms 1 and 2 all lectures and seminars are grouped into two days per week, Tuesday and Thursday, to assist part-time students. Full time students will attend classes on both days throughout both terms. Part time students taking the course over two years will attend on Tuesdays in their first year and Thursdays in their second year. A few additional days of attendance are also required on other days for the non-assessed modules.

Term 3 and the summer term will be used for assignments, examinations and the dissertation.

In addition to the above, students will be expected to spend time on private study, research and group work (when and where applicable).

Study modes, entry requirements and fees and funding

Study modes and entry requirements

Duration: The course can be studied full-time over one year or part-time over two to five years. Part time students completing the course over two years take four core modules each academic year with the dissertation also in the second year. 

Entry requirements: Read the full entry requirements for this course on the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

Fees and funding

Fees: Tuition fee information can be found on the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

Funding: For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding section of the UCL website.

Accreditation

MSc IIF is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is an academic partnership with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

Programme staff

In addition to academic staff from UCL, MSc IIF lectures and seminars are supplemented by guest lectures delivered by senior officials from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and experienced professionals from various firms and organizations (both public and private sector) that are actively involved in the area of infrastructure investment and finance.

Programme leader

Dr Aris Pantelias
a.pantelias@ucl.ac.uk

Deputy programme leader

Dr Vedran Zerjav
v.zerjav@ucl.ac.uk

Teaching and learning administrator

Maria Vaughan
maria.vaughan@ucl.ac.uk

Careers and further study

Students successfully completing the programme will be able to show:

  • Competence in their ability to apply a wide range of theories and concepts to a variety of infrastructure focused problems and contexts.
  • They possess high level critical and research skills.
  • Their ability to critically appraise and interpret the importance of trends and developments in the infrastructure investment and finance sectors of the countries in which they work.
  • Their ability to appraise critically the continuing developments in the literature and research on infrastructure investment and finance.
  • We encourage our students to be proactive in their learning and to contribute to UCL’s research. There are many past examples of the School’s postgraduate students collaborating with UCL Bartlett academics in the publication of research papers and research projects. MSc IIF complements this well-established trend by providing enthusiastic students with as many opportunities for academic collaborations as possible.

School and UCL careers events are held during the year to enable students to meet prospective employers.

Organisations that are likely to take on graduates of MSc IIF include infrastructure developers, infrastructure financiers and investors such as banks and equity funds, infrastructure operators, public sector commissioning and regulatory bodies, as well as advisory firms active in the growing infrastructure market.

The MSc IIF programme and the School actively supports students and alumni in establishing their professional network, recognising the importance of networks in providing graduates with opportunities and support throughout their careers.

 More information

Watch: MSc IIF programme overview


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infrastructure investment finance project management management