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MSc Infrastructure Investment & Finance

Application deadline 1 June 2014 for full-time study and 5 September 2014 for part-time study.

Overview

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

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.

Background and Rationale

Many governments around the world including the UK, US, the EU, China and India are focussing on improving infrastructure. The required capital for investment is estimated to be in the trillions of US dollars. At the same time there is a dire need for professionals equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver regional, national and international infrastructure projects. This is particularly important given two unprecedented conflicting trends: firstly, the record levels of investment required to transform our energy and transport networks, and secondly, the prevalence of some of the highest government budget deficits and national debts ever recorded. This limited ability of governments to directly fund infrastructure investment will demand innovative investment and financing models to bridge the gap in infrastructure financing. The UCL MSc IIF is the only course in the UK, and one of few globally, to focus on the finance, funding and commercial issues associated with these global infrastructure needs and this is the space where graduates of the MSc IIF will come into their own.

MSc IIF brings together the fundamental aspects of funding and financing, including concepts of project life cycle, market failures including externalities and imperfect information, contract structures, risk allocation and incentivisation, network effects, demand drivers and macroeconomic policy risk. These principles are then applied to regulated and unregulated sectors, enabling students to explain observed performance, form clear hypotheses about how to improve business models, and to understand how infrastructure procurement will develop in the future.

The insights provided by the IIF programme will shape graduates, giving them exceptional career opportunities for the pre-construction structuring and financing of infrastructure projects. Our graduates will also understand the importance of early decisions about financing and risk allocation in the construction and on-going operation of infrastructure assets.

The UCL IIF programme is designed for early to mid-career professionals seeking to specialise in a range of infrastructure themes including investment, economics and finance, procurement and regulatory functions. In addition to enabling finance graduates the opportunity to specialise, the MSc IIF will also be attractive to engineering graduates wishing to adapt their career options, and to graduates in other related numerate subject areas (e.g. economics, planning, etc.).

Educational Objectives

The course has the following specific objectives:

  • To prepare and equip professionals for the transition into infrastructure investment careers, and develop the knowledge and capabilities that professionals need for practice in this field.
  • To broaden the educational base of economics/finance graduates in two directions: to establish and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of some of the defining characteristics of infrastructure; and to raise their awareness of the range of practical perspectives relevant to the funding of long-term investments in infrastructure.
  • To provide an opportunity for graduates of infrastructure delivery related subjects (e.g. engineering and other numerate disciplines) to specialise in the study of infrastructure investment and finance.

The philosophy behind the MSc IIF is that the study of infrastructure investment and finance is not a self-contained field and involves the application to infrastructure delivery of general principles from financial theory, microeconomics and macroeconomics (e.g. capital asset pricing models, portfolio management and diversification, real options theories of investment, asymmetric information, models of risk and uncertainty, principal agent problems and contract theory, strategic decision-making, game theory and network analysis, monetary macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy). At the same time the course will demonstrate ways of exploring and analysing the peculiarities of the infrastructure investment and finance industry, focusing on powerful analytic tools in general disciplines and adapting them to the infrastructure context.

The course aims to provide a rigorous and theoretically informed approach to the study of infrastructure investment and finance that will serve the students throughout their subsequent career. The programme will equip them either for practice in the infrastructure ownership, finance and project management industries or for academic careers.

Last but not least, MSc IIF aims to shape students capable of building and extending the multidisciplinary research base on infrastructure. To that end, the MSc IIF is also intended to serve as a foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Accreditation

MSc IIF is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is exploring accreditation by Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

More information on these efforts will be posted in the future as it becomes available.

Structure

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)[1].

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 & 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 & 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 on Assessment for more information.

Summer term: Dissertation (60 credits)

The dissertation is a 10,000-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 & 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 (3,000 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 (April-May). Deadlines for the submission of essays/coursework will be determined by module leaders and announced to students at the beginning of the academic year.

For dissertations there are two parts to the assessment:

  • A 1,000 word Dissertation topic outline which has to be submitted in late February (November of year 2 for part-time students). This counts for 10% of the overall dissertation mark;
  • The full 10,000-word dissertation manuscript, which has to be submitted in early September. This counts for the remaining 90% of the dissertation mark.

Non-Assessed Modules

Students of MSc IIF will also benefit from the delivery of a number of short modules on a non-assessed basis. These will take place during the first two terms. The topics to be covered will be:

  • Defining infrastructure: Technical and economic characteristics
  • Financial modelling skills
  • Research skills (to be confirmed)

Timetable

During Terms 1 & 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 to deal with 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).

Mode of study

The course is available full-time over a full academic year (September to September) or part-time over 2-5 academic 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. 

[1] 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.

Content

The 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 assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: unseen written exam


IF2: Infrastructure using a Special Purpose Vehicle

Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: essay/coursework (3,000 words)


IF3: Infrastructure: Economic principles and policy

Module assessment:
compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: unseen written exam


IF4: Infrastructure as an asset class

Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: unseen written exam

Term 2

IF5: Agency and transaction costs in infrastructure projects

Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: essay/coursework (3,000 words)


IF6: Risk modelling and Asset Management in infrastructure projects

Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: unseen written exam


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

Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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.

Method of assessment: essay/coursework (3,000 words)


IF8/PMG: The management of large projects and programmes


Module assessment: compulsory (15 credits)

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

Method of assessment: essay/coursework (3,000 words)

Staff

In addition to the UCL academics, the MSc IIF lectures and seminars will be supplemented by guest lectures delivered by senior officials from the European Investment Bank 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. The names of these individuals will be made available at the beginning of the academic year (September) and/or during the course of the programme.

Programme Director

Dr Aris Pantelias
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Programme Administrator

George Burridge
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Module Instructors

Professor Michelle Baddeley
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Dr Chen-Yu Chang
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Professor Andrew Davies
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Dr Andrew Edkins
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Graham Ive
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John Kelsey
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Professor Peter Morris
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Alex Murray
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Applying

Application process, fees, funding and scholarships

To apply for a position in the MSc Infrastructure Investment and Finance (IIF) you will need to complete and submit a standard UCL application.

If your application meets the programme’s admission criteria you will then be invited to participate in a telephone interview with the Course Director. The final admission decision is based on a combined assessment of the strength of the application and the performance of the applicant during the interview.

The faculty Admissions also offers information and guidance on how to apply and as well as fees, funding and scholarships.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree (2:1) from a UK university in a relevant subject (including engineering, mathematical-based science, built environment, economics and finance), or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. In exceptional cases, a lesser academic qualification combined with substantial professional experience and demonstrable academic ability will allow acceptance onto the course.

We advise that if you wish to investigate the status and equivalence of international qualifications in the UK prior to submission of an application, you refer to NARIC.

If English is not your first language and you have not lived in an English-speaking country, you will need to take an International English Language Test Scheme (IELTS) or a Pearson Test of English (PTE). 

Information on the UCL English proficiency requirements.

Your Application

When we review your application we are particularly interested in:

  • Why you want to study for the MSc IIF and what attracts you to this specialism
  • Why you want to study at UCL
  • How your academic and professional background and your previous experiences are relevant to and meet the demands of the MSc IIF
  • How the MSc IIF will help you to achieve your career plans
  • All applicants are advised to pay particular attention to their personal statement, which provides them with the opportunity to focus upon their interests and their motivation for applying to the programme, as well as anything else that they believe is pertinent to their application.

When to apply

The MSc IIF is an exclusive programme with a limited number of available places. Because it attracts a large number of applicants from all over the world, competition for the limited places available is fierce. The deadline for applications is 2 August 2013 but you are advised to apply as early as possible as places will fill up quickly.

Note: For the 2013/2014 inaugural year the MSc IIF will aim to have a max class size of 20 students.

Contact

For more information about the programme please contact Dr Aris Pantelias.

Opportunities

Students enrolled in the MSc Infrastructure Investment and Finance (MSc IIF) at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management (C&PM) will join an exciting, pioneering course equipping them with the potential to become future innovators, leaders, senior managers, policy makers, researchers and teachers in the fields of infrastructure finance, ownership and project management.

The programme is delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars, group tutorials/workshops and project briefings led by a well-balanced mix of academics, industry professionals and policy-makers. It will provide a thorough theoretical and practical perspective on this professional field.

The MSc IIF directly benefits from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UCL and the European Investment Bank (EIB). This MoU sets out the scope of the EIB's support and on-going involvement in the planning and delivery of the MSc IIF. It is expected that the EIB’s involvement will significantly enhance students’ understanding of infrastructure finance and investment, through the Bank’s long and multifaceted experience in this field.

Additionally, the C&PM is situated in the heart of London, one of the most vibrant cities in the world, and enjoys close and strong relations with some of the world’s most prominent consultancies and commercial organisations, many of which have already committed their support and will be actively involved in the delivery of the MSc IIF.

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 will encourage our students to be proactive in their learning and to contribute to UCL’s research. There are many past examples of C&PM’s postgraduate students collaborating with UCL Bartlett academics in the publication of research papers and research projects. The MSc IIF will complement this well-established trend by providing enthusiastic students with as many opportunities for academic collaborations as possible.

Careers

Careers-related events for the entire C&PM will be 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.

Last but not least the MSc IIF programme and the C&PM will actively support students and alumni in establishing their professional network, recognising the importance of networks in providing graduates with opportunities and support throughout their careers.