ICM218-Research Project

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring (Double presentation)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2023/4

Module Convenor: Prof Charles Sutcliffe
Email: c.sutcliffe@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Students choose a finance question that is of interest to them, and produce a Research Project which addresses their question. The Research Project starts in the middle of the Autumn term, and continues during the Spring term. This gives students plenty of time to complete their Research Project, and the flexibility to phase it to fit in with other demands on their time. The Research Project usually involves the analysis of data. At the start, each student is allocated an academic supervisor who offers advice on their Research Project. Student assessment is based solely on the quality of their Research Project, which is submitted on the first day of the Summer term.


The aim of the Research Project is to allow students to define and execute a piece of research in finance on a topic of their choice, with direction from an academic supervisor. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Students will improve their report-writing skills, learn how to structure their study, and how to place their findings in the wider context. 

  • A Research Project will also develop their ability to draw conclusions from a data set. 

  • The self-directed nature of study for this module should encourage students to be resourceful in their search for relevant literature and data, and to manage the various stages involved effectively, leading to timely submission of the finished piece. 

  • A Research Project enables students to develop a deep knowledge and expertise in their chosen area of finance, which can help when applying for jobs, or form the basis for further research.

Additional outcomes:

The examiners will assess Research Projects according to the following learning outcomes: 

  • Topic/Objective: Is the topic adequately introduced and motivated? What is its practical relevance? 

  • Organization/Structure:  Is the Research Project well-structured in an orderly and logical fashion? Are the empirical results sufficiently interpreted?

  • Flow: Is the Research Project well written? Are the various sections well connected?

  • Understanding/Independence: Does the student have a good understanding of the topic? Is there evidence of independent research?

  • Novelty: How original is the Research Project? 

  • Sophistication/Technical Level: What is the level of the methodology used in the Research Project? Is it understood and clearly expressed?

  • Effort: What level of effort was demonstrated by the student?

  • Presentation: Does the Research Project use clear English with no spelling, grammatical or typographical mistakes, and are the graphs and tables easily comprehensible.

Outline content:

In the middle of the Autumn term students select a research question in finance, and are then allocated an academic supervisor. The supervision continues until the end of the Spring term, and the Research Project is handed in on the first day of the Summer term.


Global context:

Research Projects can address questions concerning any aspect of global finance.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

An initial lecture will be held at the beginning of the Autumn term to explain the objectives and required format of the Research Project. Students will then be asked to submit a formal proposal in the middle of the Autumn term and be allocated an academic supervisor, who will offer feedback and constructive comment on the proposal. Work will then commence on the project.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 1
Project Supervision 2 2
Guided independent study:      
    Carry-out research project 60 135
Total hours by term 63 137 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Research Project 100%, handed in on the first day of the Summer term.

Formative assessment methods:

Students have the opportunity to submit a Preliminary Proposal, Draft Outline and an Interim Report to their academic supervisor and receive feedback. These documents are not assessed. Students will also receive feedback on their submitted Research Project from the examiners after the examinations are completed.

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/qap/penaltiesforlatesubmissionpgflexible.pdf

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;

  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/qap/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf

You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

You can either revise your initial Research Project, or submit a Research Project on a new topic that has been approved by your supervisor. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 30 March 2023


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