Postgraduate Qualifications in Risk Management

University of East London


This course was assessed by the IOR in April 2010. The following gives a summary of the key elements of the course. The IOR considers the course fit-for-purpose; and appropriate for students seeking to build a career in risk management. Prospective students should consider this course in the context of other courses on offer from other bodies.

Overview of UEL Course

The UEL offers a Post Graduate Certificate, Diploma and a full MSc in Risk Management.. Results other than MSc, however, are exit routes rather than a direct planned outcome. It is rare to exit without at least a certificate and few students fail to achieve the MSc.

As part of its postgraduate programme in risk management the UEL offers the following modules:

  • Managing Operational Risks
  • Risk Financing and Portfolio Management
  • Measuring and Modelling Risks
  • Strategic Management of Enterprise Risks
  • Applied Dissertation

All modules are worth 30 credits, except the dissertation, which is worth 60 credits.

The full MSc requires the completion of all of the above modules. To get a PGC two 30 credit modules must be completed, for the Diploma all four must be completed.

Further information on each of the above modules is available from the University of East London via their website:

Duration of Study

Completion of the full MSc takes one year for full time study (two semesters of taught modules plus approximately three months for the dissertation) and two years part time (four semesters plus three months for the dissertation). The intermediate awards take proportionately less time (i.e. 4-8 months for the PGC depending on whether full or part time, 8-16 months for the Diploma).

The course has two intakes per year, accepting students in February (start of Semester 2) and September (start of Semester 1).

Entry Requirements

For admission applicants must normally have either:

  • An undergraduate honours degree from a recognised/accredited university with a minimum 2.2 classification, or equivalent. Ideally this should be in a more numerate discipline such as business, management, technology, engineering or similar – however UEL will give all applications due consideration, which may include prior work experience or by interview
  • Pass in a recognised Pre-master’s or Master’s Qualifying Programme.

In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) is required. International qualifications will be checked for appropriate matriculation to UK Higher Education postgraduate programmes.

Students may apply for exemptions from certain modules via Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes, or through an approved articulation agreement (where UEL may have a collaborative agreement with another college/university that recognises their qualification as an exemption from a module at UEL). If members wish to take advantage of this they should contact the UEL.

Postgraduate applicants are normally required to produce two supporting references, at least one of which should preferably be academic.

Method of Assessment

Modules are assessed using a combination of coursework and group presentation.  Although in the case of the Dissertation it is 100% coursework, this being a 12,000 word piece of applied research on a relevant topic selected by the student in question.

In terms of the coursework component of each module a variety of assessment approaches are used including individual essays, reports and portfolios, as well as group projects, presentations and case studies.

Student Body

Most students come with several years of work experience and are fairly mature. Some are part time and working while studying. The fact that the modules are delivered from 6pm to 9pm in the evening makes this possible.

Equally some of the full time students are sponsored by their employers, and so maintain good industry links.

Students come from a wide range of industries including financial services, engineering, retail, consulting, etc. This adds to the diversity of the student body and should provide a rich source of cross-sector learning.

The current cohort is around 35 strong – which should allow for good levels of student/teaching interaction.

Employment Prospects Post Study

A postgraduate qualification cannot guarantee career advancement. However students have been successful in advancing their careers. Given the small cohort size and the fact that the course is relatively new it is difficult though to reach any firm conclusions on this.

Several students have decided to remain in study and complete PhDs.

Course Tutors

The course is taught by two full time members of staff:

  • Dr Hosein Piranfar – Course Leader
  • Dr Mark Rhodes – Lecturer

Dr Piranfar has background in Economics (PhD Sheffield University) and Operations Management. Dr Piranfar is an active member of the research cluster in the business school Field of Finance, Accounting, and Economics called Risk Management & Ethics. He is a very experienced academic and has published widely in related fields such as finance, logistics and organisational change. Dr Rhodes is a trained economist and has more direct experience in risk management, having worked at the FSA.

Where possible guest lecturers are also used, these are either industry professionals or academics from other institutions. Many different guest lecturers have been used in the past from a range of industries/disciplines. Input is currently provided by Mohan Bijanpur (with FSA experience) and Hang Zhang (PhD student).

We would expect the University to add more full and or part time staff as and when class sizes increase.


The Business School is located on a new campus and has very modern facilities. Classrooms are fairly standard, with internet access, projectors, etc. There is access to Bloomberg and Datastream.

The Business School has its own on site learning resources, including a ‘Trading Floor’, library, computer access, etc. These all appeared acceptable.

The Campus is located opposite London City Airport and is around 30-45 minutes from Bank Station (via the DLR).

General Summary and Assessment

UEL is ranked 107 out of 127 by the Sunday Times. However, it has invested heavily in business education and has been remarkably successful in terms of attracting students onto its MSc in Risk Management. The quality of teaching also appears good, as does the quality of its current cohort of students.

The IOR endorses the course.



The following outlines for IOR members the process that leads to IOR certification.

Certification is a co-operative process with the body issuing a qualification relevant for the discipline of operational risk.  The IOR appoints two assessors, who must be members of the IOR, to assure such key issues as course work, examination standards, teaching, the quality of the issuing body, the student support structure and so on.  The issuing body makes available to the IOR assessors requested material and the IOR assessors visit the issuing institution to meet lecturers and students.  The IOR assessors agree with the issuing body a short write-up covering the above; and this is placed on the IOR website.  Updates are made when appropriate.  The issuing body can publicise that the IOR gives certification.  Both parties may withdraw from the process at anytime, without publicity.

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